Follow TV Tropes


Western Animation / Time Warp Trio

Go To

"There they go!
Three boys surfin' on a time continuum
There they go!
Green mist fills the air
The book can take em' anywhere!

There they go!
Three girls warpin'
Time is 2105
There they go!
You can catch a ride with the Time Warp Trio!"

A 2005 Discovery Kids series, co-produced with WGBH Boston, based off the book series of the same name by award-winning children's author Jon Scieszka (also known for The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and The Stinky Cheese Man).

The show mainly focuses around ordinary kid 10-year-old Joe, who, on his birthday, is given a mysterious book by his magician uncle who he was named after. This book, simply called "The Book", uses Time Travel to send Joe and his best friends, Sam and Fred, to the time of Blackbeard. They get out okay, but more time travel ensues. They soon travel to 2105, where they meet their own great-granddaughters named after them: Jodie, Samantha, and Freddi. Soon, the six of them go on time-warping adventures-usually three an episode, mix and match- and are sometimes joined by Joe's little sister Anna.


It ran 26 episodes from 2005 to 2006. Despite a second season being ordered and it briefly being moved to a new and more appropriate time slot, said second season never made it to air.

If you're looking for the original books, go HERE.

This show contains examples of:

  • Absentee Actor: None of the original trio (Fred, Joe, and Sam) appear in Lewis and Clark....and Jodie, Freddi, and Samantha; and The High and Flighty.
    • As for the boys separately:
      • Fred is absent in Nightmare on Joe’s Street, Breaking the Codex, and Plaid to the Bone.
      • Joe is absent in Birdman or Birdbrain, My Big Fat Greek Olympics, What’s So Great About Peter?, Caveman Catastrophe, and Harem Scare’m.
      • Sam is absent in Birdman or Birdbrain?, Breaking the Codex, and Plaid to the Bone.
  • Achilles' Heel: The concept is directly discussed in "My Big Fat Greek Olympics", upon discovering their opponent is afraid of blood.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The powers of The Book has been expanded. In the book series, it's never seen as more than a time machine (though it could warp them into books and plays as well) but in the TV show, it actually is the entire space-time continuum incarnate. Destroying it would spell the doom of the universe.
    • Additionally, extra lore regarding people who use The Book and a story arc is added to the series.
  • Advertisement:
  • Adaptation Personality Change: The boys are less snarky and selfish than they were in books. Sam is also more cowardly and paranoid. Jodie is more of a selfish Valley Girl than in the book series (though this is much more toned down in the later episodes) and Freddi has become as cowardly as Sam, which was slightly hinted in at least one book.
  • Adaptation Name Change: In the books, Jodie was named Joanie while Samantha liked to be called Samza.
    • The man they run into in "Hey Kid Wanna Buy a Bridge" is named Mr. Mug in the book, and Mr. Beaner in the episode.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance: Samantha's robot cat first appears in Sam Samurai while in the books it was not introduced until "Oh I Say I Can't See".
    • Fred's brother Mike first appears in "See You Later, Gladiator" while in the books he first appears in "Viking it and Liking It".
  • A Day in the Limelight: Along with adding a big bad, the girls get their own adventures by themselves.
  • AlphaBitch: Jodie. She mellows out as the series progresses.
  • Arson Murder And Jay Walking: In "The Seven Blunders of the World", there's this with Hamonri and "Marduk"
    Marduk: And so you will. Or I will rain fire upon your house, dry up your wells, and plague you with itches in hard to scratch places!
  • Anime Hair: Jodie's hair is bigger and more frizzy than most other girls. Samantha has six punky pigtails that stick out over her head.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Joe's sister Anna who tags along every now and then. Ironically, she's said to have more skills in using the Book than her brother.
  • Ascended Extra: Jodie, Freddi and Samantha. In the books they only appear a few other times after their duet, while the series at least one of them is in most of the episodes in the latter half. And as noted above, they get two episodes of their own.
  • Bad Future: It's not seen on screen but this apparently what becomes of Samantha's time in the episode where they accidentally allow Napoleon to win Waterloo.
  • Bears Are Bad News: One in the Lewis and Clark episode comes to steal food, trapping Samantha against a tree.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Uttered in the opening and played straight in the series; let's just say that imagining being into a historical setting compared to being IN it is two different things all together.
  • Book Dumb: Fred
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: The website has character bios and sort of implied this was the case with Samantha. According to it, she's smart but isn't as into school as Sam is (she gets bored just sitting around all day).
  • Bowdlerise: In the book version of "The Not So Jolly Roger", Blackbeard says "Damnation and hellfire" when realizes his gun is not loaded. The episode changes it to "barnacles and bilgewater".
  • Comically Small Bribe: Played with; $1 in the 30s was a lot of money, but the girls are from a time when 100s are small change so they view it this way.
  • Cowardly Lion: In "Lewis and Clark...and Jodie, Freddi, and Samantha", Lovable Coward Freddi draws a bear's attention to save Samantha, who was trapped against a tree when it came foraging for food.
  • Cliffhanger: At the end of "Able Was I Ere I Saw Elba", the book is seen being stolen by someone. This is continued in "The 7 Blunders of the World".
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Fred
  • Dead Guy Junior: Jodie, Samantha, and Freddie were all named after Joe, Sam and Fred, who were dead by the time they were born.
  • Deus ex Machina: Sam and Samantha's pocket watch, the latter who modified it to allow them to hope forward or backward in time (albeit in random locations or only a few minutes back). Allowed the crew to fix major blunders during crucial moments.
  • Different as Night and Day: Done with Cowardly Lion Sam/Fearless Fool Samantha and Book Dumb Fearless Fool Fred/Prone to Tears Freddi. This is lampshaded once for each pair with the braver of the two expressing shock at their relation.
  • Disney Death:
    • In "Wushu Were Here", Joe and Anna thought Fred got killed by a monk, but it turned out that Fred wasn't dead, and in fact a monk never kills.
    • In "Dude, Where's My Karma?", the kids thought Fred ate something poisonous, but turns out he was only sleeping.
    • In "The Good, The Bad and The Goofy", Joe thought Sam and Fred drowned in a rapid river.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Mad Jack appeared in the background of every episode before his official appearance in The Seven Blunders of the World.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Jodie, Freddi and Samantha, who are the trio's great-granddaughters. In the book series, it is revealed they were named after them.
  • Duck!: In "Hey Kid, Wanna Buy a Bridge?", someone throws something their way, and they shout "duck!". Sam is looking at a segull and thinks they got confused, before realizing what they mean.
  • Foreshadowing: The episode "Breaking the Codex" reveals that at some point Joe will have a fight across time against Mad Jack. Due to the series cancellation, we never saw it
    • In "The Good, the Bad, and the Goofy", when Joe is flipped through the book, a page that says "Able was I Ere I Saw Elba" can be quickly seen. This becomes the setup for the episode of the same name.
  • & In "Birdman or Birdbrain?", a poster of Amelida
  • Frankenstein's Monster: In "A Nightmare on Joe's Street," they travel back to the time Mary Shelly and she accidentally brings the monster to life by writing in The Book.
  • Future Badass: Joe will take on his Uncle in a battle that will determine the fate of space and time in the future so one can assume he will become this. Plus, Freddi reveals he becomes a warp wizard.
  • The Future: The entire plot of “2105”. The boys accidentally send themselves 100 years into the future we’re they eventually meet their own great-granddaughters. The farthest they have gone beyond that year was in the episode itself one year into the future to 2106. Besides a few cameos of the 22nd century especially if the girls are present in the story it is the only time when forward time-traveling became the setting to an episode, not counting episodes where future traveling was only intended for a few minutes to days into the future.
  • Gender Flip: In "Me Oh Maya", Jun is a girl while they were a boy in the book.
  • Hero of Another Story: With a show that heavily relies on Historical Domain Character, this is a given. Notably, one episode featured this happening to one of the main characters. After Sam and Fred get back from their adventure with Jodi in "Jinga All The Way", Joe runs into the room raving about his adventure with Samantha and Freddi. Turns out the past and future versions of the Book were reacting to each other.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Joe, Sam and Fred are this to each other. Their descendants, Samantha, Jodie and Freddie are this as well. For that reason, we can deduce that Sam, Fred and Joe remained friends for the rest of their lives.
  • Historical Domain Character: Basically runs on this trope.
  • Historical In-Joke
  • Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: In one episode, Joe, Samantha and Fred accidentally cause Napoleon to win the Battle of Waterloo. When they return to the present, the U.S. is now "New France" and they are forced to go back in time and fix it.
  • How We Got Here: The preview before the opening shows the gang stuck in the past. After the opening, we figure out how the heck they get there.
  • Hypothetical Casting: The website's character bios list who could possibly play that character in a movie.
  • Identical Grandfather: Sam, Joe, and Fred look just like Freddi, Jodie, and Samantha. However, the girls have personality traits that are vastly different than the guys.
  • I Kiss Your Foot: Joe was forced to kiss a female priest's foot in "See You Later, Gladiator". Not just any female's, either; he kissed his sister's, because she had The Book and wouldn't save them unless he did so.
  • In the Blood: "Dude, Where's My Karma?" reveals that terrible magic tricks run in Joe's family as his ancestor, who Fred, Sam, Freddi and Samantha are helping get married so Joe and Jodi don't get erased from existence, tries to pull the classical "watch me remove my thumb" trick, prompting all 4 of them to roll their eyes and Fred to quip "At least we know where Joe gets it from."
  • Inn Between the Worlds: Mable's Diner is a diner for time travelers that exist out of any one time zone.
  • Jerk Jock: Fred's older brother is only briefly seen, but it's enough to confirm he's one. Fred is ALMOST this, but he seems to know the line between teasing and actually hurting feelings most of the time and if anything is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Samantha is the Masculine Girl to Sam's Feminine Boy.
  • Memento MacGuffin: The Book was given to Joe on his 10th birthday.
  • Music Soothes the Savage Beast: In "Nightmare On Joe's Street", Frankenstein's monster is calmed down by Sam's singing.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: More often, it's Fred's fault that they're stuck in the past. Joe may or may not be involved as well.
  • Nice, Mean, and In-Between: The main male trio has: Sam, the nice and nerdy one, Fred, the mean and tough one, and Joe, the in between and well-meaning leader of the group. For the female trio, we have: Freddi, the Shrinking Violet, Jodie, the snobby and needy one, and Samantha, the Brilliant, but Lazy one who remains in between most of the time. Jodie is the leader, despite being the mean one.
  • Not a Game: Both trios are in real danger of being killed during their time travels, largely due to less then savory historical characters.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Sam scores the winning goal in a football game, probably the only physical achievement in his life. We mostly likely don't see it because it's been Ret-Goned.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: In "Dude, Where's My Karma", Fred becomes amazingly smart when he notices that Joe was a horrible magician, so he couldn't have been making himself disappear.
  • Panthera Awesome: In "Me Oh Maya", the kids are kidnapped by Mayan soldiers and taken to be eaten by jaguars.
  • Performer Guise: Joe will often pose as magician in an attempt to get out of trouble for being somewhere the characters shouldn't be (they have little to no control over where they Time Travel to).
  • Pun-Based Title: The episodes have some such "Me Oh Maya", "My Big Fat Greek Olympics", and "You Can't, But Genghis Khan".
  • Punny Name: A running gag is all non- Historical Domain Character villains have names that are bad puns on insults.
  • Ridiculous Future Inflation: "Give me that hundred back you borrowed for gum". Made even funnier by the facts it's said directly after a man in Amelia Earhart's time offered them a whole dollar.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Fred being the one who's off to face whatever's in front of them, Sam being the one who wants to think logically.
  • Rule of Three: Three characters are the focus every episode, usually the three main boys, sometimes shared with some of the girls, and the girls sometimes get the spotlight.
  • Second Episode Introduction: The girls get introduced in 2015.
  • Shout-Out: Blink and you'll miss it, but in "2105", a boy with brown hair wearing a red vest flies by on a hover board.
  • Sixth Ranger: Joe's little sister Anna can be counted as this when she joins the team in "Tut Tut" and has traveled with the group in several episodes since.
  • Skewed Priorities: In "2105", after an ill-advised pocket watch jump by the boys and Samantha wound up erasing the latter from history temporarily, Samantha quite rightly begins freaking out over her missing legs; Jodie only cares about the shoes Samantha borrowed being missing. Later in the same scene, Samantha is more concerned with how poorly Sam drew her hair than with the explanation he gives for what will happen if he and his friends don't get back to their own time; fortunately her priorities get back on track when he bluntly tells her that the male trio has to get back home "or you are toast!"
  • Smart Ball: Fred actually grabs this in "Dude, Where's My Karma?", where he points out Joe's fading body can't be a magic trick because Joe is a terrible magician.
  • Spanner in the Works: Sam inadvertently saves Joe's family in "Dude, Where's my Karma" when Mad Jack attempts to do away with Joe once and for all by poisoning his ancestor, Lakshmi with some pastries he has Mahaloogie deliver. Sam doesn't give them to her, not because they're poisoned as he is unaware of this, but because he's disgusted at Prince Mahaloogie's chronic congestion.
  • Stable Time Loop: Most of the time when the trios go back to the past, they don't affect the future (save for a few cases). A major danger though is that the crew have to avoid being killed during their adventures and keep their book intact. Especially true for the boys cause if something happens to them in the far off past (or get stuck too long in the future), their granddaughters will never be born.
    • This was definitely played straight in the Amelia Earhart episode. Freddi wants to figure out what happened to her...only to find out that when the Female Trio got to the plane that Amelia was asking who THEY were and how they got on her plane.
    • In 2105, the girls knew where to find them because in the future they write them a note telling them where to meet. The boys only know to do this because they were told they did so in the future.
  • Talking Animal: In "Harem Scarem", a monkey at first appears to be a case of Consulting Mister Puppet. It turns out to be this.
  • Stage Magician: Uncle Joe is this and Joe wants to be this.
  • Temporal Paradox: Explored in the episode "2105" where Joe, Sam, Fred, Jodie, Freddi and Samantha realize they have to get the boys back to the year 2005 or else their timeline will be altered and the girls will not be born.
  • Trade Mark Favorite Food: Samantha loves onion rings so much she regularly goes to the past or to Maple's to get them. She's also fond of Marshmallows.
  • Trapped in the Past: Almost every episode (the exceptions being the time they were trapped in the future and the maybe two times they didn't loose the book.
  • Time Police: While it's mostly informal, time travelers are responsible for making sure no one screws up the way history is supposed go down (read: Mad Jack). Although it's implied it's a little more formal than we think (for example there's Time Agents monitoring things in specific times/locations).
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Samantha is the tomboy to Jodie and Freddi are the girly girls.
  • Totally Radical: Averted mostly, but parodied nonetheless. When Fred calls a Moai Statue "Rocking" Samantha and Freddi laugh at what they his dated past slang, asking "What else is it? Cool? Groovy?" Only for it to be revealed that the statue was literally rocking back and forth.
  • Town Girls: Snobby and vain Jodie is the femme, outgoing and bold Samantha is the butch, which leaves the shy and cowardly Freddi as neither.
  • Translation Convention: All other languages are translated by the book so the Trios (and the viewers) hear them in English.
  • Universal Translator: The book can translate all languages. The two times this breaks down causes problems for the Trios (almost getting attacked by a Samurai for seemingly sneaking into his house and not being able to explain themselves and accidentally setting the book to a dead language, and thus not being able to get back respectively).
  • The Unreveal: There are two instances of this: The first one is Joe fighting his uncle in an epic fight, and Sam being told he'd invent something super amazing that'd change everything. (Although the books reveal Sam invents anti-gravity so it's likely that)
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: The male trio more so. They tend to tease and poke at each other often. But they always come through for each other when they need it.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: At the end of the Lewis and Clark episode. Jodie comments that she "really shouldn't have eaten those berries", then retches, and Samantha and Freddie flee the tent.
  • Walk the Plank: Subverted at first as there isn't historical precedent for it but ome pirates hear them mention it and think it's a good idea. Later on, someone hears this and tells another British guy to write it down, as it's "a splendid idea".
  • Wayback Trip: Apparently they were SUPPOSED to have kind of destroyed the hanging gardens, saved Sitting Bull, etc. as by doing so history stayed the same.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: In the Easter Island episode, Freddi does terribly with the cliffs and declares that she's not playing lookout and plans on staying in the cave they're hiding in. Samantha points out she's claustrophobic and Freddi replies "I know. I'm having a really hard time right now..."
  • Wild Hair: Seems to be genetic in Sam's family (Sam's hair is an unruly black blob, Samantha's hair is styled oddly in a series of wavy bun-like things, and Sam's Russian ancestor has an unruly beard that his refusal to shave almost gets him executed over and that he uses to hide things in).
  • Would Hurt a Child: Some episodes had villains that would kill a child in order to get away. There's also Mad Jack who tries to hunt the kids down and steal the book. He even tries to erase Joe from existence (also Jodie because Joe is one of the people responsible for her existence). Most likely this was in order to prevent the future showdown they will have.
  • Young Future Famous People: The boys meet Genesis Khan as a young boy, but could also be applied to Joe and Sam from the girls point of view as both grow up to be famous in the future. Joe for a famous battle against Mad Jack and Sam for inventing...something.
  • You Watch Too Much X: Given an Ancient Babylonian twist in "The Seven Blunders of the World": "You've been reading too much epic poetry!"