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WordGirl and her sidekick, Captain Huggyface

"From the planet Lexicon; watch out, villains, HERE SHE COMES!"
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WordGirl is an animated television show on PBS. The title character is a superhero who fights crime with her powers of literacy as well as her powers as a Flying Brick. The show is an Affectionate Parody of the superhero genre, and uses writers from sketch comedy shows like Saturday Night Live, plus actors known for ad-libbing ability, in hopes of making a show as entertaining for adults as it is educational for kids.

WordGirl uses her great vocabulary to fend off villains such as The Butcher, Dr. Two-Brains, Granny May, Tobey, and Chuck The Evil Sandwich-Making Guy. She never reveals her alter-ego to anyone, including her own family. She and Huggy use their crashed spaceship as a secret hideout.

The series ended with the two-part episode "Rhyme and Reason", which was released online on August 7, 2015. A Comic-Book Adaptation was published by KaBOOM! Comics.

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The show provides examples of:

    open/close all folders 
    Tropes A-L 
  • Accent Relapse: Guy Rich speaks with a Southern accent until he reveals himself to be an ordinary person, not the affluent man he lead everyone to believe he was.
  • Accidental Misnaming:
    • Many characters have mistaken Captain HuggyFace's name for something like "Captain Hoozywinks" or "Colonel HairyFace".
    • The Whammer can never get Chuck the Evil Sandwich-Making Guy's name right.
  • Adults Are Useless: It's a kids' show. Surprised?
    • Averted with some of the villains.
    • Becky's parents also seem to be get smarter and more useful over the course of the show, as both show off the ability to outwit villains when needed.
    • Becky's Grandpa Bampy can defeat a giant robot with just a screwdriver!
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Inverted. Tobey's Mecha-Mooks occasionally refuse to obey him, sometimes even turning against him. Notable in particular with his WordBot in the episode by the same name, which he programmed to be "devoted" (one of the words of the day) to him, only for it to turn against him when he keeps paying too much attention to WordGirl and decide to be devoted to destruction instead.
  • All Your Powers Combined: When Victoria Best steals most of the other villains' powers in "Don't Mess With The Best".
  • Alliterative Name: Besides the characters important enough to be on the Characters page, we have Bampy Botsford and Hal Hardbargain.
  • And Call Him "George"!: Eileen's enthusiastic tea party and dressing-up of Captain Huggyface.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: Bob finds himself on the receiving end of this in "The Rise of Miss Power" when he makes his disdain for Miss Power's methods clear to Becky, only for her to tell him that she doesn't care what he thinks and that "You're just the sidekick". The look on his face after hearing this is heartbreaking to say the least.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Tobey's gigantic Mecha-Mooks.
  • Attack Pattern Alpha: WordGirl's "Emergency Plans".
  • Baby Morph Episode: "Big Baby" has Mr. Big accidentally transforming himself into a baby using his new invention, forcing Leslie to watch over him.
  • Badass Mustache: Steve McClean in "The Ballad of Steve McClean" has a mustache so impressive that various other characters try to be as snazzy as him with fake mustaches of their own. It even gets to the point where Dr. Two-Brains, in an attempt to reclaim his title as number one villain, redubs himself as Dr. Cool-Brains and has two mustaches, with one attached to his exposed brain.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Downplayed example. In "WordGirl and Bobbleboy", TJ's success in his WordGirl bobblehead dolls business distract our hero so much that she gets smashed to the ground by Chuck's Crusher. Luckily she gets better, but the villain featured for the rest of the episode is Dr. Two-Brains and not Chuck.
  • Banana Peel: Captain Huggyface uses one to defeat the Whammer in "Crime in the Key of V".
  • Beard of Sorrow: Doctor Two-Brains gets one when he falls out of the #1 villain ranking.
  • Berserk Button: Some of Tobey's robots go berserk because of things other characters say or do.
  • Big Red Button:
    • In "Mecha Mouse", Two-Brains is defeated by one of the self-destruct variety, which he put on his well-designed power armor. Also, the button is on the exterior, which Two-Brains can't touch anyway.
    • Then there's the "Holy Cow! Don't Press This Button!" button.
    • And the "Merge With Copier" button.
  • Big Word Shout:
    WordGirl: Change it BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK!
  • Bilingual Bonus: In "The Fill-In", the fictional ancient city Santa Palabra literally means "Saint Word" in English.
  • Big "NO!": Employed quite a few times in the series.
  • Black Comedy: From "Two Brains Quartet":
    Mayor: Whoa - a dog from the old days! That dog is probably dead now.
  • Blatant Lies: Becky's many excuses whenever she must change into her superhero identity.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Happens very often, with characters talking to/arguing with the narrator. In "Lunch Lady Chuck", Chuck reaches up out of frame to give the narrator a sandwich.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: In "Meat My Dad", the Butcher calls out his dad for constantly guilt tripping/badgering him into moving back in with him and forming a criminal duo together, something the Butcher makes it pretty clear he doesn't want to do.
  • Captain Obvious: Most of the "predictions" made by Seymour Orlando Smooth's obelisk in the episode "Fortune Crookie" are just obvious facts that were inevitably going to happen anyway, such as saying the school cafeteria will serve chocolate milk when they always serve chocolate milk, and saying that tomorrow will be Tuesday, even though the day after Monday is always Tuesday.
  • Cardboard Prison: Being caught and sent to jail never seems to get rid of the villains. Somewhat justified by the fact that the Warden is one of the most staggeringly incompetent characters on a show absolutely stuffed with incompetent characters.
  • Cartoon Cheese: Thanks to Two-Brains's cheese addiction, there are more examples of this in the show than you can count.
  • Catchphrase: Warden Chalmers has "...I'll eat my hat!" Made funny by the fact that he actually will eat his hat, and seems to enjoy the taste. He actually started having them made out of meat after his first one didn't taste so good.
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Parody: "Who Wants Candy?"
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: Exaggerated in the episode "Two Brains' Quartet". Dr. Two-Brains doesn't even try to win legitimately despite multiple protests from his henchmen that they could probably win and cheating is likely to backfire. They end up disqualified, but the henchmen plead to perform anyway, and their song is amazing — the mayor outright states that they probably would have won if they hadn't already been disqualified for cheating.
  • Chewbacca Defense: Ms. Question relies on this when she's put on trial.
  • Chronic Villainy: "Tobey Goes Good".
  • City of Adventure
  • Clear My Name: WordGirl has had to do this in multiple episodes, notably in "The Wrong Side Of The Law".
  • Cliffhanger: The two-part stories "The Wrong Side of the Law", "WordGirl Makes a Mistake", and "A Better Mousetrap." It's one of the featured words in the second half of "A Better Mousetrap", with WordGirl providing the definition.
  • Cliffhanger Copout: At the end of part 1 of "WordGirl Makes a Mistake," Mr. Big uses the Lexinite to disable WordGirl by clipping a collar around her neck with a star-shaped chunk of it on. No wait, come part 2 a few minutes later, she's actually been put in a Lexinite cage instead.
  • Clip Show: "A Better Mousetrap". The first half features WordGirl reminiscing with Scoops about the many times that she's defeated Dr. Two-Brains. At the end of the first half, Two-Brains takes over the show, then in the second half he shows a series of clips designed to humiliate WordGirl.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Chuck the Evil Sandwich-Making Guy refuses to believe a "High-Five Sandwich" is not actually a new kind of sandwich that everyone likes better than his, despite being told by multiple people throughout the episode.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: "Showdown at the Super Secret Spaceship Hideout". Dr. Two-Brains discovers the room where WordGirl keeps mementos of all of her past adventures, including weapons from all of the other villains and a display that has all of the different ray guns Two-Brains has used in the show. The episode even gives a nod to the fact that Dr. Two-Brains once penned the book "Superheroes and You: A Practical Guide".
  • Contrived Coincidence: Very, very often with the themed villains. One episode's plot is even based around lampshading this trope.
  • Cool Old Guy: Bampy, Becky's grandfather, who is the only non-main character to know her secret identity and can jump and backflip like nobody's business. He takes down a giant robot with just a screwdriver! Twice!
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot:
    • "Have You Seen The Remote?": When it turns out Tobey had a tracking device all along.
    • "Line Lessons With Lady Redundant Woman": When Lady Redundant Woman is told everyone already knows what it's like to be treated rudely.
    • "WordGirl Makes A Mistake: Part 2": Both when the handy-man has a dictionary and when it turns out Mr. Big already got his casserole dish back.
    • "Mr. Big's Mini-Golf": When Mr. Big finds out that Guy Rich wasn't really a villain.
    • "Cleanup In Aisle Eleven": When Lady Redundant Woman realizes the grocery store manager just wanted money for the food she was taking.
    • "A Sticky Situation": When Becky realizes that her mom didn't care about the figurine she broke.
  • Critical Research Failure: In-Universe: Chuck the Evil Sandwich-Making Guy, when he decides to reinvent himself as "The Handsome Panther". It quickly becomes clear that he knows pretty much nothing about real panthers, such as the fact that they're nocturnal.
  • Cute Kitten:
    • Little Mittens in "Meat with a Side of Cute".
    • Violet's pet cat.
    • Possibly even Bootsy the Cat in "Mousezilla".
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Lampshaded in "When Life Gives You Potatoes..." when Dr. Two-Brains's henchmen ask him why he doesn't just use the gold he steals to buy things, instead of turning it into potato salad and then into cheese. Dr. Two-Brains instantly rejects this idea because it doesn't fit his cheese theme.
  • Darker and Edgier: Subverted in "Don't Mess with the Best". Dr. Two-Brains tells Victoria Best that if she really wants to get rid of WordGirl and prove she's the best villain, she should push that red button on the back of his cheese ray. Turns out it just sprays Victoria in the face with gunk, causing her to drop it and allowing Dr. Two-Brains to pick it back up.
  • Deathbringer the Adorable: Lil' Mittens, originally named "Meat Hook".
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Many of the characters speak redundantly as a means for the show to indirectly teach kids synonyms. Warden Chalmers gets special mention though.
    Warden Chalmers: Today is a historic day in history, for on this historic day, history will show that we have indeed made history.
  • Disguised in Drag: Mr. Big disguises himself as an elderly woman in episodes "Big Business" and "WordGirl Makes a Mistake".
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: Miss Power in "The Rise of Miss Power".
  • Double Entendre:
    • WordGirl: "Hold it right there, Butch...er?"
    • In "Play Date", we get this fun little exchange:
      Becky: You're awfully mischievous.
      Tobey: Mischievous! Are you trying to impress me with your vocabulary?
      Becky: I'm not trying to impress anyone.
      Tobey: Why didn't you just say I'm a naughty boy, hmm?
    • In "Re-Enter, The Butcher", Reginald refers to The Butcher as "smelly wiener man".
    • In "Re-Re-Enter, The Butcher", the Grocery Store Manager tells The Butcher he'll have to "leave [his] personal meat at home".
  • Do Wrong, Right: The villains have their own Villain Code rulebook and get angry when one of their own breaks said rules.
  • Drunk with Power: Leslie has a brief moment of this in "Leslie Makes It Big".
  • Edutainment Show: The main purpose of the show.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • WordGirl joins forces with Dr. Two-Brains in the episodes "Mouse Army" and "Dr. Three-Brains".
    • In "The Rise of Miss Power", all of the show's villains team-up against Miss Power and help WordGirl defeat her.
    • WordGirl does this with Tobey when the Coach steals his robot design and uses it to threaten the city in "The Robot Problem", forcing the two to team up against him.
  • Engineered Public Confession: Mr. Big in "Mr. Big's Big Plan".
  • Episode Title Card: Every single one of them.
  • Even the Dog Is Ashamed: When Becky's done something immoral, Bob makes his disappointment visible.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Besides Captain Huggyface, we have General Smoochington and Colonel Gigglecheeks.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Most of the villains are this way.
  • Evil Laugh: Pretty much all of the show's villains have their own.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!:
    • WorldGirl does this to herself at one point. As she's lecturing the Learnerer about why his Verbal Tic of adding suffixes unnecessarily to words is annoying, it suddenly occurs to her that he said that he had been learning her moves!
    • From "By Jove, You've Wrecked My Robot!":
      Becky: Well, Bob, realize means to figure something out, to understand something. Like how Tobey realizing all those things made him think I'm WordGirl. [screen pans to the right, showing a grinning Tobey] And how I just realized that I probably shouldn't have defined that word.
  • Face Palm: In one of the episodes of "May I Have a Word?", Phil's prize for winning the initial game is a life-size Beau Handsome cut-out, which he says he doesn't want. When he learns that his prize for winning the bonus round is a larger-than-life Beau Handsome cut-out, he facepalms.
  • Fan Boy: Glen is one to Dr. Two-Brains. And an in-universe Ascended Fanboy no less.
  • Female Monster Surprise: The Energy Monster is female and is really named Maria.
  • Forgot About His Powers: We see the villains in jail frequently, yet nothing is ever done to stop them from using their superpowers, except in "The Return of the Reprise of Lady Redundant Woman". It's as if they don't have powers while in jail.
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself:
    • Implied in "Vocab Bee".
    • Averted in "Tobey's Tricks and Treats".
  • Formally Named Pet:
    • Granny May's cat "Colonel Mustard".
    • The other two monkeys in the show - General Smoochington and Colonel Gigglecheeks.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: All human characters - and even the monkey - have four fingers.
  • Freak Lab Accident: Dr. Two-Brains's origin.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: "Dr. WordGirl-Brains" has this happen WordGirl and Dr. Two-Brains. It's mixed up a bit by the fact that the mouse brain isn't affected by the mind-swap, meaning that WordGirl in Two-Brains's body becomes an evil cheese-seeker while Two-Brains in WordGirl's body doesn't feel like it anymore and takes on her heroics in the interim.
  • Free-Range Children: Despite Becky's parents showing protective tendencies, she and all her other classmates frequently get to go anywhere and everywhere in the city without an adult around. Even at school or other adult-supervised events, Becky always manages to sneak away without too much trouble. On a few occasions, Becky has even been kept somewhere overnight or very late into the night, and her parents don't seem worried in the slightest.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In "Re-Re-Enter, The Butcher", when The Butcher is attempting to rob the grocery store, you can see the sign above the aisle behind him indicates said aisle has chainsaws, crowbars, and zombie-repellent.
  • Friendly Tickle Torture: Meant to be a remedy for Becky's hiccups in "Word (Hicc)Up!".
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
  • Glad I Thought of It: Mr. Big does this in "Scary with a Side Of Butter" where he takes credit for Leslie's idea, much to her disappointment.
  • Green Aesop: In "Earth Day Girl", especially during the "cleanup montage", which is so campy and over-the-top that it may actually be a Stealth Parody.
  • Group Hug: In the episode "Granny's Book Club", all the villains hug Granny May, one even exclaiming "Hugsies!"
  • Grumpy Old Man: Scoops's grandpa. He always has the same frown in all of his appearances.
  • Hair Reboot: Seen in "Becky's Birthday".
  • Hiccup Hijinks: "Word (Hicc)Up!", with Mr. Botsford being the one to come up with all the crazy cures. Amusingly, it's one of the villains (Chuck the Evil-Sandwich-Making Guy) who comes up with the solution by telling her to simply hold her breath... only for Mr. Botsford to ruin it by scaring her into starting to hiccup again.
  • High-Class Glass:
    • Reginald the jeweler.
    • Count Cloudy in "The Pretty Princess and Magic Pony Power Hour".
  • Hurl It into the Sun: How WordGirl destroys Mr. Big's Lexonite machine at the end of "WordGirl makes a Mistake".
  • Hypocritical Humor: Lampshaded in "Earth Day Girl".
    Birthday Girl: The Earth is trying to steal my birthday! It's giant, green, and spoiled!
    Narrator: Hmmm... you could be describing yourself, Birthday Girl.
  • I Ate WHAT?!:
    • Two rare cases where the characters are fully aware of what they're eating and do so purposely.
      • Dr. Two-Brains will chew through walls to break out of jail and commit crimes.
      • Lady Redundant Woman eats paper in "I Think I'm A Clone Now" in order to clone WordGirl and attempt to clone Captain Huggyface.
    • In "Chuck With A Sidekick Of Brent", Captain HuggyFace eats a mud-cake that TJ made before he knew what it was.
  • Idiosyncrazy: Discussed in "The Young and the Meatless". Lady Redundant Woman and The Butcher keep trying to steal the same things because they are both meat and matching or redundant sets.
  • Impact Silhouette: Used a few times when the larger villains, especially The Whammer or Nocan, enters a building to steal something. Sometimes it's combined with a There Was a Door.
  • In Love with Your Carnage: Mr. Big gets really excited when he learns that Leslie Took a Level in Badass and nearly took over the city while he was away.
  • Incest Subtext: Becky/WordGirl and TJ. Averted a bit, because technically she's adopted. She still finds it gross, though. And, to be fair, TJ has no idea that WordGirl is his sister.
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals: One of the newsmen has the exact same face as another random townsperson (who wears an orange shirt), but there's no indication that they're the same character. Stranger still, both of them have a striking resemblance to Dave, the manager of the copy shop where Beatrice Bixby works.
  • Inkblot Test: Used in "Mobot Knows Best" as a joke rather than to make a statement about any of the characters. Becky's art project appears to be a Rorschach test that bears considerable resemblance to The Butcher.
  • Insult Backfire:
    • From "Mr. Big":
      WordGirl: You fiend!
      Mr. Big: Yes, well when you've got it, you've got it.
    • When an overly-aggressive WordGirl calls Dr. Two-Brains's plan stupid, he essentially goes, "And your point?"
  • Intergenerational Friendship:
    • Steven Boxleitner and WordGirl at the beginning of the series.
    • Possibly Exposition Guy and Eileen in "The Birthday Girl's Monstrous Gift".
  • Interspecies Romance: Whichever shipping you may prefer, any character with WordGirl is this. Even with the most-canon shipping, WordGirl and Scoops, she's still an alien, which might make things slightly... odd, if there's any signs of a serious relationship.
  • Is This Thing Still On?: In "You Can't Crush City Hall", Chuck shouts at WordGirl from his giant sandwich press and then "signs off". He then starts singing and dancing to himself, calling himself "Chucky-boo" and "Mr. Handsome", until WordGirl points out that he left the PA on.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: "A World Without WordGirl" is about Becky wishing WordGirl never existed as her birthday wish and being transported to an alternate universe where Chuck dominates the city as a result of WordGirl not being there to stop him.
  • Jerkass:
    • The new assistant librarian. He's more obsessed with fining late books.
    • Dr. Two-Brains's ex-number one fan Glen Furlblam. After failing to impress his idol, now he wants to outdo him.
  • Jumping Out of a Cake:
    • Bob does this in the episode "Becky's Birthday".
    • The Butcher does it in "Granny's Book Club".
  • "King Kong" Climb: In "The Birthday Girl", the roles are reversed as the Birthday Girl, in her giant green form, climbs a tower with Bob the monkey in her hand. A witness lampshades this, asking if it should be the monkey holding the girl.
  • Kryptonite Factor: In "WordGirl Makes a Mistake":
    Mr. Big: I don't get it, Leslie. WordGirl has always dominated me in the past, both in her battle skills as well as her flawless way with words. Something... mmm... fishy is going on around here.
    Leslie: It's the meteorite, sir. It's from her home planet — Lexicon. Whenever a superhero comes into contact with a meteorite from their home planet, it takes away their superpowers. Haven't you ever read a comic book, sir?
  • Lampshade Hanging: The show loves to do this.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: The episode "Two-Brains Forgets", used with Master of Delusion.
  • L33t L1ng0: In "Two Brains Highway", the security code for the alarm on the rare cheese exhibit at the museum is 1337.
  • Left the Background Music On: Whenever The Butcher and Dupey interact, romantic music plays. Everyone wonders where it's coming from, then a guy apologizes and turns off his boombox.
  • Leitmotif: Many of the characters/villains have their own theme music. Not to mention the word-defining music and the melodramatic sadness music, just to name a few...
  • Limited Wardrobe: Lampshaded with both Dr. Two-Brains's and Becky's wardrobes.
  • Living Prop: A large number of the townspeople and pretty much all of Becky's classmates who aren't Violet, Tobey, Scoops, Victoria, or Eileen.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: They keep adding new villains every season to keep the show fresh. The orignal shorts originally have five villains, as by Season 4 the show had about two dozen repeat offenders.
  • Loony Fan: A bit of a spin with Glen, who emulates (until he decides to replace) his hero, Dr. Two-Brains... who happens to be a villain.

    Tropes M-Y 
  • Made-for-TV Movie: "The Rise of Miss Power", which premiered on February 20, 2012.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Mr. Big to Chuck in "Bongo Rock".
  • Master of Delusion: See Laser-Guided Amnesia, above.
  • Meadow Run: The Butcher and Dupey in "The Young and the Meatless".
  • Medium Awareness: At one point, Becky gives a thumbs up and winks at the camera. One of her friends then asks her who she's winking at.
  • Memetic Mutation: In-universe: In "Yes Monkey", Mr. Big calls Captain Huggyface a "chipmunk", which causes WordGirl to later refer to him as a "chipmonkey".
  • Mentor Ship: Could be loosely implied for the WordGirl/Dr. Two-Brains ship, due to him teaching WordGirl everything she knows as a hero back when he was Prof. Boxleitner.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: Anyone under the influence of either Mr. Big's mind control or Victoria Best's hypnotic recorder will show these (glowing green spiral eyes for the former, purple circles for the latter).
  • Minion with an F in Evil: At one point Granny May attempts to enlist the help of her hulking grandson Eugene, although this is foiled by Violet when she caters to his timid nature.
  • Misleading Package Size: In one episode, Becky receives a Pretty Princess and Magic Pony Power Hour toy in the mail. The toy itself is pretty small, but it comes in a package bigger than even Becky herself.
  • Mood Whiplash: Among other examples, in "The Young And The Meatless", the viewers go from being amused to being sad to being amused again in the ending. Even The Butcher himself temporarily stops being distraught just so he can find out what a word means.
  • The Movie: "The Rise of Miss Power" is a special four-part episode that's marketed as a movie.
  • Mundane Utility:
    • Tobey's artistically-gifted robot, as well as his minor-do-gooding robot in "Tobey Goes Good".
    • WordGirl uses her super-speed to clean her room in "Super-Grounded".
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Becky has a moment of this after she wishes that WordGirl never existed, not knowing that the birthday cake was enchanted due to the Energy Monster's overload.
  • Never My Fault: When a group of rightfully pissed-off super villains ask Mr. Big why he hypnotized his allies just to build him a miniature golf course, his justification for his actions is to blame Guy Rich (a villain who faked being richer than him). As he puts it, if Guy Rich hadn't showed up to brag, none of what happened would've happened.
  • Never Say "Die": Becky is almost "done for", "finished off", told "good-bye" by a villain preparing to crush her with a giant robot, and we're often told it could be "the end" for WordGirl. Since the main character is 10 and the target audience is not quite that age, we're never told she's going to be killed by the few dangerous bad guys.
  • Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: Tobey has one of these in the episode "Cherish is the Word" - he draws a Valentine's Day card for WordGirl picturing him holding hands with her and a robot ready to destroy her in the background.
  • Not a Date: "Have You Seen the Remote?", is a fine example. (On WordGirl's part, at least.) Because we all know that the most efficient way to search for something is to go to the park and eat ice cream.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: None of the characters seem to age. Becky herself has two birthdays in the show, yet she still seems to be a ten-year-old fifth-grader.
  • Not Me This Time: In "What A Tangled Knot You Tie, Amazing Rope Guy" many of the other criminals go to jail, despite declaring their innocence, because The Amazing Rope Guy impersonates their identities and crimes.
  • No Smoking: Borderline averted in one episode, where Becky's Muggle dad uses a cigarette lighter to light a candle on a magic cupcake. It's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, but even that's pretty envelope-pushing for PBS.
  • Not-So-Innocent Whistle: Becky's dad does this once, and Hal Hardbargain does it in "Rat Trap".
  • Oh, Crap!: Dr. Boxleitner gives this expression when Squeaky presses the red button that causes the experiment to read his mind to turn the two into Dr. Two-Brains.
  • Oh Wait, This Is My Grocery List: In "Yes Monkey", the Mayor does this when he pulls out the wrong note card for a prepared speech in presenting yet another key to the city to WordGirl and Captain Huggyface.
  • Once per Episode: The vocabulary words, which are noted during the Episode Title Card.
  • One Steve Limit: While most of the characters, villains or not, have nicknames, this trope is true for the most part. However, it's subverted in "The Ballad of Steve McClean", most likely for subtle comedic affect in that Steve McClean takes Dr. Two-Brains's Number 1 spot on the Top Villains List, and Dr. Two-Brains's original human name was Steven Boxleitner. Fair City isn't big enough for two villains named Steve! After this episode, there is, quite literally, only one Steve because McClean, while showing up for silent background cameos, is never mentioned again.
  • Onion Tears: It's shown in one episode that Raul Demiglasse, a chef who challenged others' cooking skills on his TV show, used onion flakes to make his opponents cry.
  • Only Sane Man: Pretty Princess's magic horse.
  • Opposing Sports Team: Dr. Two-Brains's soccer team "The Cheese-Eaters", who rival Becky's team "The Butterfly-Unicorn-Laser-Gorillas" in the episode "Bend It Like Becky".
  • ...Or So I Heard: Becky pulls quite a few of these after accidentally saying something that she'd only know if she was WordGirl, nearly informing others of her secret.
  • Out-of-Character Alert:
    • In "What A Tangled Knot You Tie, Amazing Rope Guy" when The Amazing Rope Guy is impersonating Chuck and accidentally says that he doesn't really like sandwiches that much.
    • Glen Furlblam pretends to be Dr. Two-Brains, but he lacks Dr. Two-Brains's vocabulary knowledge and doesn't know that melted cheese is called "fondue".
  • Paper-Thin Disguise:
    • The Butcher in "Ch-ch-ch-change Day", wearing nothing but an obviously fake mustache.
    • In "Oh What a Tangled Knot You Tie, Amazing Rope Guy", the titular villain uses these combined with his impression skills to pretend to be his fellow villains and commit crimes. Being as stupid as the populus is, they actually believe him to be said villains.
    • Mr. Big uses one in "Banned on the Run" and even WordGirl falls for it, even though this "disguise" consists of a fake mustache and top hat.
    • Subverted in "The Talented Mr. Birg", where WordGirl spends most of the episode harassing Mr. Birg, a man who sounds and looks exactly like Mr. Big but with a fake mustache. It's later revealed that this man happens to be his doppelganger.
  • Parental Bonus: WordGirl's home planet is called "Lexicon", a linguistics term that basically means "vocabulary".
  • Parental Obliviousness: Even aside from WordGirl's parents missing all the clues about her having superpowers, Tobey's mom rarely seems to notice the clues that he's getting into trouble, and Eileen's mom has never even appeared (though she's been mentioned), despite her daughter frequently rampaging through the city and destroying things. Even Violet's mom, for another example, is never present when Violet gets involved with the crime or danger (as in "Becky And The Bard").
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish":
    • Chuck the Evil Sandwich-Making Guy's password is "mustard", and later the name of his childhood pet.
    • In the episode "Lunch Lady Chuck", Chuck threatens to demolish the whole school with a giant sandwich press, and the only way to stop it is with the password... that he forgot. WordGirl literally spends half the episode frantically scouring everywhere Chuck went during the day to try to figure out the password, to no avail... until Chuck remembers, just in time, the password was "password".
  • Perplexing Plurals: Several characters struggle with the plural of the word "thesaurus" in "I Think I'm A Clone Now".
  • Perpetual Frowner: Scoop's grandpa. Even when he's mind-controlled. And he's not even worried when the villains attack.
  • Photo Booth Montage: From the episode "Theme Park WHAM-page".
  • Picky Eater: Chuck's boss in "Chuck the Nice Pencil-Selling Guy" hates all sandwiches except grilled cheese.
  • Playing a Tree: Scoops gets cast as a wall in the school play. It's an interesting twist, considering he saves the play when the other characters are off dealing with villains by narrating it himself.
  • Police are Useless: Because if they were actually at all useful, then WordGirl wouldn't have nearly as much to do. Lampshaded pretty blatantly in "Ch-ch-ch-change Day". Becky and Bob are trapped by the Butcher in a bank vault surrounded by customers and are unable to transform into WordGirl and Captain Huggyface. Pressed for options, Becky suggests with a tone of hopelessness that maybe the police will solve the problem. Outside the bank, one of the police officers asks the chief for direction and he is forced to admit that he doesn't know what to do because normally WordGirl would have solved the problem by now.
  • Punny Name/Meaningful Name: Ms. Libri and Ms. Dewey, who own a book store and manage a library respectively, among many others, like Hunter Throbheart, Hal Hardbargain, Sonny Days, Guy Rich...
  • The Rashomon: "A Hero, a Thief, a Store, and its Owner".
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Miss Power's speech to WordGirl, and, to a lesser extent, how she talks to everyone.
  • Recap Episode: "A Better Mousetrap" is spent showing various clips from many of the previous episodes, mostly centering around WordGirl's dealings with Dr. Two-Brains.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: Tobey by WordGirl in "Tobey Goes Good".
  • Ret Gone: After missing much of her own birthday party due to having to stop crime as WordGirl, Becky wishes that WordGirl never existed. She finds herself in an alternate reality where Chuck the Evil Sandwich-Making Guy rules the city due to there being no superhero to stop him. Becky also loses the ability to transform into WordGirl, because WordGirl technically doesn't exist anymore. In the end, she undoes her wish and restores the original reality.
  • Riddle of the Sphinx: In "Ms. Question's Riddle Rampage", Ms. Question forces everyone to answer the "What has four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon, and three legs in the evening?" riddle to pass her on the road. Apparently nobody can answer the riddle, as this creates a traffic jam that disrupts the Botsfords' trip to the beach, but WordGirl is eventually able to figure out the answer.
  • The Rivals: The Ming family are apparently rivals to the Botsfords.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: Used in this interview with WordGirl.
  • Rogues Gallery
  • Samaritan Syndrome: Causes Becky's frustration in "A World without WordGirl". It really doesn't help that Bob and the narrator are there to railroad her into saving the day.
  • Saying Too Much: In "By Jove, You've Wrecked My Robot!", Tobey catches himself a bit too late when his list of reasons why Becky is similar to WordGirl starts heading into romantic territory.
  • Secret Keeper: Besides the ones on the Characters page, we have Bampy Botsford and Rose.
  • Sampling: In one episode, a BGM track samples the drums from Daft Punk's Da Funk.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness:
    • One episode features a villain inducing this in people in order to sell dictionaries.
    • The Walk And Talk WordGirl doll also uses this, when she's not outright using made-up words or using them incorrectly.
  • Shaped Like Itself:
    Beatrice Bixby: He's just lucky that my thirty-minute lunch break is only a half hour long.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Violet has some with Scoops.
    • Scoops gets some with Becky as well once he learns of her Secret Identity, because sharing the secret brings them closer together.
  • Shoehorned First Letter: In "Art in the Park", Violet states that the "three P's" needed for her and Becky's performance are paintings, poetry, and... "pmusic".
  • Shout-Out:
    • The names TJ and Becky might ring a bell. A Recess bell.
    • "Book Ends" is named after a Simon & Garfunkel song, "Banned on the Run" is named after a Paul McCartney song, and "Cherish is the Word" is named after a song by The Association.
    • The following quote from "Kids Action News" may ring a bell for wrestling fans and San Diego residents alike:
      WordGirl: Huggy, initiate secret plan number 6-1-9!
    • In "Mouse Brain Take-Over", the scene where Two-Brains lets the mouse take over is straight out of Twin Peaks.
    • The Bat Signal, anyone?
    • May be unintentional, but "Invisi-Bill".
    • In "Chuck with a Sidekick of Brent", Chuck tries turning the city into a sandwich by squashing it between two giant slices of bread. His plans are thwarted by WordGirl (natch) and the bread ends up breaking into little bits and are shown raining down from the sky and being caught and eaten by the citizens below.
    • Eileen's powers (Grows huge and green when she gets mad) are taken directly from the Incredible Hulk.
    • When the citizens are looking for the word to describe the energy monster expanding when it eats electricity, one of them suggests "embiggen".
    • In "Victoria is the Best... WordGirl?", Victoria hooks up her recorder to a guitar amplifier and knocks WordGirl and Huggyface back. She then gloats, "That'll do, notes. That'll do."
  • Show Within a Show:
    • A variation: The WordGirl episodes are followed by a segment featuring a Game Show that stars its own characters (and Captain Huggyface). Like the main segment they're intended to teach the meaning of words to the audience.
    • There's also the Pretty Princess and Magic Pony Power Hour. The special "The Rise of Miss Power" let viewers watch an episode of it during the interstitials.
  • A Simple Plan: The plot of the appropriately titled "A Simple Plan" is Dr. Two-Brains trying to pull one off, only for his Complexity Addiction to get in the way.
  • Skyward Scream: The Butcher provides a prime example of this in "The Young and the Meatless".
  • Smarmy Host: Beau Handsome.
  • Something Only They Would Say:
    • Becky frequently says things that only WordGirl would say and vice-versa, nearly revealing her identity.
    • From "Mobot Knows Best":
      Becky: Why did you write "Robots forever"?
      Tobey: You wouldn't understand.
  • Spinoff: WordGirl started as a series of shorts that appeared after Maya & Miguel.
  • Spiritual Successor: The premise is similar to The Electric Company (1971)'s short "Letterman" segments, and the Electric Company comics had yet another hero named WonderWord.
  • Spit Take: Becky and Violet do this in "Mount Rushhere" after trying coffee for the first time and hating it.
  • Status Quo Is God: Averted in "Invasion of The Bunny Lovers". Scoops learns WordGirl's secret identity and promises to keep it a secret, defying both his own reporter's instincts and the long-running tendency of wiping the memories of anyone who learns Wordgirl's identity. Followed up in "News Girl", where the school paper's new Intrepid Reporter Rose captures Becky's transformation on tape and presents it to Scoops, but he convinces her to keep it a secret.
  • Stealth Pun: Plenty. For just one example, in "Answer All My Questions and Win Stuff", Captain Huggyface tries to grab Seymour Orlando Smooth, but keeps sliding down his body, as if he were unusually smooth.
  • Super Hero
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial:
    • The Butcher: Hi! I'm NOT The Butcher!
    • Also commonly employed during Becky's Blatant Lies.
  • Sweet Tooth: Many of the characters are shown loving dessert, often eating too much at once (e.g. Mr Botsford, The Whammer, etc.).
  • Take a Third Option: In "Change Day", Becky and Bob are trapped in a bank vault and faced with either letting The Butcher get away with bank robbery or revealing their secret identities as WordGirl and Huggyface to everyone. They take a third option by tricking The Butcher into opening the vault.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: For WordGirl, when she stops to define a word in the middle of a heated battle.
  • Talking in Your Sleep: Dr. Two-Brains is guilty of this in the episode "Showdown at the Super Secret Spaceship Hideout".
  • Tangled Family Tree: Three instances show in the kids' family trees for a school project in one episode.
    • Todd's parents are brother and sister.
    • Violet's dad is also her mother's brother.
    • A "Botsford" ancestor (on Tim's side of family) looking like Sally.
  • The Teaser: Normally not used, but seen before the title theme in "The Rise of Miss Power" to introduce Miss Power.
  • Tech Marches On: Intentionally averted. The producers wanted it to look like it could have been made in the 60s, 80s, or today. No internet, no home computers (the only computers seen take up almost half the room), small corner TVs, a few passing references to home video, and the journalist wannabe works at a newspaper a la Jimmy Olsen. Even the family car looks like a station wagon from the 70s. They claim if cell phones are ever used, they'll be bulky devices circa 1995.
  • Techno Babble: Occasionally used by Tobey and Dr. Two-Brains, like this example from "Bummertime":
    Tobey: Like I have the time to explain the intricacies of alarm-block-based quantum mechanics to an aggravating nuisance like you.
  • Tempting Fate: At the end of "By Jove, You've Wrecked My Robot!", when Mrs. Botsford tells Tobey he's in big trouble, he scoffs at her and tells her she isn't his mother. Cue the sudden arrival of Mrs. McCallister, complete with ominous lightning flashes.
  • That Cloud Looks Like...: Done in the end of "Living in the Granny's Paradise".
  • Thick-Line Animation: It's the page image. What do you expect?
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Prof. Boxleitner's reaction when Squeaky is about to push the "Holy Cow! Don't Press This Button!" button.
    Prof. Boxleitner: Oh boy. This is gonna sting.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: WordGirl doesn't kill or even harm any villain she's up against (save for Tobey's robots and Lady Redundant Woman's copies). No surprise considering it's a family show.
  • Tooth Strip: Every character has undivided strips of teeth.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Snappy Snaps for the Botsfords and the city in general (it seems to be their default cereal).
  • Training Montage: Quite a few episodes have some type of this, usually lampshaded. Examples include "Monkey-Robot Showdown", "I Think I'm a Clone Now", and "Earth Day Girl".
  • Treehouse of Fun: TJ and Becky have one, usually used to hold the WordGirl Fan Club meetings.
  • Triang Relations: The two main romances of the show make a type 5: Tobey crushes on WordGirl, who doesn't like him, while she crushes on Scoops, who doesn't seem to notice.
  • Ultimate Authority Mayor
  • Undesirable Prize: The prizes on the "May I Have a Word?" game show segments are almost inevitably some form of this.
  • Up to Eleven: Quite literally, as in the episode "Mr. Big Words", Mr. Big turns his mind-control device up to eleven.
  • Verbing Nouny: The episode "Judging Butcher" uses this naming convention.
  • Villains Out Shopping:
    • In "Becky's Birthday", WordGirl, while confronting another villain, encounters Dr. Two-Brains, who's just made a trip to the grocery store. He may steal cheese, but he buys the crackers he puts the cheese on.
    • In another episode, Becky runs into Tobey when they're both shopping with their parents. Who are taking forever, incidentally!
  • Villain Team-Up:
    • Featured in, "Mousezilla". Tobey and Dr. Two Brains build a giant robotic mouse. Although it definitely starts out well, the team-up breaks down when they argue about what they should do with the trapped WordGirl.
    • "Too Loud Crew".
    • In "The Fill-In", The Butcher shows up as a temporary fill-in for Dr. Two-Brains's henchman, Charlie. Dr. Two-Brains tells him that he's too good to be just a temporary fill-in and tries to insist on one of these instead, but The Butcher turns him down flat because "they never work" and even tells him "It's Not You, It's Me". He later jets in the middle of a robbery when Charlie returns.
    • Chuck teams up with Nocan in "Nocan the Ingredient Finding Guy", and it works out about as well as his team-ups with the Whammer.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Steve McClean has swarms of fans in his episode, despite being a known criminal.
  • The Voiceless: Scoops's grandpa hasn't said a single word. If he did, it probably wouldn't be anything nice judging by the look of his perpetual frown.
  • The War Room: Fair City apparently has one, as shown in "Scary with a Side of Butter". Among them are the Mayor, the Police Commissioner, and Brent the Handsome Successful Everybody-Loves-Him Sandwich-Making Guy.
  • We Can Rule Together: In "The Rise of Miss Power", Miss Power tries this with WordGirl until she gets wise.
  • We Interrupt This Program/This Just In!: Virtually every time Becky sits down to watch TV. It's used as a plot device for her to find out when and where villains are causing trouble.
  • We Used to Be Friends: WordGirl and Dr. Boxleitner used to be friends until he transformed into the evil Dr. Two-Brains.
  • We'll See About That:
    • Mrs. Botsford says this to Dr. Two-Brains when he says that he and his henchmen will win the soccer game in "Bend it Like Becky".
    • Chuck also uses it on WordGirl in "Chuck With a Side of Brent" when she tells him "It's over!"
    • TJ uses it in "Dinner or Consequences" when Becky wants to use a family trial to prove her innocence and get out of being "mega-grounded".
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Literally in "Mouse Army". When Dr. Two-Brains creates an army of super-intelligent mice, they are all reverted to normal in the end... except for one, but we never hear of it again. In the episode "Birthday Town", Mr. Botsford is watching TV and the mouse is seen in the news. It seems to have furthered its career in science and fused a cat and dog's minds together.
    • Mouse-Zilla is shown to have survived WordGirl throwing it into a lake, but it never returns as well.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?:
    • Tobey's robots are the only enemies WordGirl is ever seen punching and kicking. Every other villain she usually just finds some way to subdue or tie up. She's even hurled them into the sun as they cry, "Noooooooooooooo...!"
    • Lady Redundant Woman's copies get destroyed right and left, yet in "The Young And The Meatless" and even "Lady Redundant Woman Gets The Blues", it's implied that the copies have separate personalities and even feelings. Dupey doesn't get turned back into paper in "The Young And The Meatless", most likely because she is actually shown to experience love.
  • Where The Hell Is Fair City?
  • White Flag: When WordGirl has been falsely jailed, it's up to Captain HuggyFace to stop literally every single villain WordGirl's ever faced going on rampage all at once. While a capable crime fighter, this proves to be to much for the good captain and he soon gives in by waving a white flag.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Granny May pulls this in "Down with Word Up" when she manages to deceive the citizens (except T.J.) into thinking WordGirl is a cold-hearted menace who hurts elderly people.
  • You Are Grounded: In the two-parter "Dinner or Consequences", Becky gets "mega-grounded" after missing two of her father's special dinners. This means that not only does she get sent to her room, but her room has been wiped of all her favorite things and she's basically not allowed to go anywhere or do anything fun.
  • You, Get Me Coffee: In "Chuck With a Side of Brent", Chuck's brother Brent resurfaces and apologizes for having been such a bad sidekick to Chuck and begging for another chance. Chuck reluctantly agrees and asks him if he promises to do every evil and villainous thing he tells him. Brent agrees and Chuck tells him "You can start by picking up my dry-cleaning. Oh, and I have some ironing I need done too."
  • Your Costume Needs Work: TJ consistently tells his sister that her WordGirl impersonation isn't very good.

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The Comic-Book Adaptation provides examples of:

  • Art Shift: Most of the stories are drawn by Steve Young and Andy Price, whose art styles differ greatly from that of the show's.
  • Enemy Mine: In one comic, WordGirl teams up with Tobey against the Coalition of Malice.
  • Instant Fan Club: "Super Fans"
  • Kryptonite Is Everywhere: In "Fashion Disaster", Mr. Big is apparently in possession of so much lexonite that he can put a piece of it in each and every one of his mass-produced fashion clothes.
  • Take That!: At Lady Gaga, in "Fashion Disaster":
    Fashion Judge 1: Clothes made of meat? Uch! Who would wear something like that?
    Fashion Judge 2: Only someone who's totally desperate for attention. Next!
  • Villain Team-Up: In the first issue, five of Wordgirl's villains form "The Coalition of Malice".

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