Follow TV Tropes

Following

Western Animation / Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/9c43a822_b970_40da_8bfc_57973c216462.png
Advertisement:

Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum is a PBS Kids animated series based on the children's book series Ordinary People Change the World by New York Times best-selling author Brad Meltzer and illustrator Christopher Eliopoulos. This new multiplatform series will introduce kids ages 4-7 to inspiring historical figures – from Rosa Parks to Leonardo da Vinci – who will help them learn important social-emotional concepts. It premiered on November 11, 2019.

The series follows the adventures of Xavier Riddle, his sister Yadina and their friend Brad. In each episode, they face a problem and turn to the Secret Museum, a hidden room under an ordinary museum, to help them solve it. The museum allows Xavier, Yadina and Brad to travel back in time to meet real-life historical figures when they were kids. They witness pivotal moments that shaped each of these iconic people and learn social-emotional lessons – such as being resilient in the face of adversity and making and accomplishing goals. Each episode is designed to help viewers make the connection between the attributes that made each historical figure a hero, and those same attributes within themselves, while approaching history in an engaging, age-appropriate manner. Each episode of the show will include two animated 11-minute stories with accompanying interstitial content.

Advertisement:

Produced at Brown Bag Films' Toronto studio, executive producers on the series are Vince Commisso, Brad Meltzer, Christopher Eliopoulos, Fonda Snyder and Rob Weisbach. The series is directed by Cory Bobiak (Peg + Cat), with Meghan Read (Dot., Dino Dan) in the role of executive story editor. The look of the show is based on Christopher Eliopoulos’ illustrations featured in the Ordinary People Change the World series.

Advertisement:

This show provides examples of:

  • Adorkable: Brad seems to be this based on the preview trailers. He is really shy, nervous, and loves comics and butterflies.
  • Aerith and Bob: Xavier and Brad are normal names; Yadina, not so much.
  • All for Nothing: In "I Am Johann Sebastian Bach", the kids travel miles by foot to see a concert that Bach really wanted to go to, but only see a snippet of it before Bach runs off to work on his song. Yadina points out how dumb this idea was.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Xavier and Yadina have brown skin, but their ethnicity is unknown.
  • An Aesop: Every episode has a lesson supplied by the historical figure featured in it.
  • Animated Adaptation: Of the Ordinary People Change the World books.
  • Artistic License – History: Although the show does its best to be historically accurate, there are some parts that were clearly made up, like Florence Nightingale having a pet mouse, Harry Houdini idolizing a tightrope walker named Fearless Jean, etc.
  • Author Avatar: Brad is based off of Brad Meltzer.
  • "Awesome McCool" Name: Xavier Riddle is definitely an awesome name in its own right.
  • Ballet: "I Am Anna Pavlova" is all about ballet, and in the opening sequence, the kids don tutus and ballet slippers and try to be graceful when dancing.
  • Ballet Episode: "I Am Anna Pavlova", which is all about a ballet dancer.
  • Baseball Episode:
    • "I Am Jackie Robinson", which is all about a baseball player.
    • Also, "I Am Lou Gehrig."
  • Bearded Baby: Despite the historical heroes being kids when the trio meets them, some of them have beards like Charles Dickens and Leonardo da Vinci.
  • Bizarre Taste in Food: In "I Am Neil Armstrong", Xavier is seen making different sandwiches with weird food combinations.
  • Black Bead Eyes: All these characters have these type of eyes.
  • Blinding Bangs: Tyler from "I Am Marie Owens" has his eyes covered by his hair.
  • Boyish Short Hair: Marie Owens has very short hair, and isn't all that feminine.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: In "We Are the Wright Brothers", Brad says Xavier's Catchphrase — "To the Secret Museum!"
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In the opening and closing sequences, the characters talk to the viewer. Luckily, there's no Fake Interactivity.
  • Brother–Sister Team: Xavier and Yadina.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": The X on Xavier's hoodie stands for Xavier.
  • Butt-Monkey: Brad. He always gets dizzy while time traveling, and doesn't want to go back in time yet is always dragged along. Not to mention that in "I Am Susan B. Anthony", Xavier and Yadina wouldn't let him have a say on what should go where in the Secret Museum, and in "I Am Alexander Graham Bell", he loses his voice and Xavier and Yadina do all the talking for him instead of listening to him.
  • The Cameo:
    • Helen Keller made one in "I Am Alexander Graham Bell", as she is a student in his class.
    • George Washington made one in "I Am Alexander Hamilton."
  • Companion Cube: Yadina has a stuffed turtle named Dr. Zoom, who she loves very much.
  • Crush Blush: In "I Am George Washington", Yadina keeps blushing around Kid!George Washington. Along with the fact that she constantly gushes about how great he is, this hints that she may have a crush on him.
  • Determinator: In "I Am Marie Curie", Marie doesn't let sexist rules stop her from following her dream, as she goes to a secret girls' university and starts her own lab to learn more about science.
  • Dreadful Musician: Xavier at first in "I Am Johann Sebastian Bach", as he plays "Hot Cross Buns" on the recorder off-key.
  • Edutainment Show: This show teaches about history and social-emotional concepts.
  • Expy: Brad can be this to Sean Rafferty from Ready Jet Go!.
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: In "I Am Jackie Robinson", Jackie's mom says his full name, Jack Roosevelt Robinson.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: The characters only have four fingers on their hands.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Yadina wears her hair like this.
  • Girls Love Stuffed Animals: Yadina has a stuffed turtle named Dr. Zoom, who she loves very much.
  • Growling Gut: This happened to Yadina twice in "I Am Neil Armstrong".
  • Heel–Face Turn: Sarah, the racist little girl, undergoes this in "I Am Jackie Robinson", when Jackie (who she was mean to) shows her kindness. This also happens to Brian, the kid who wouldn't let Yadina play on the swings.
  • Hiccup Hijinks: The episode "I Am Florence Nightingale" has Yadina get hiccups on the day she plans to give a school report on cookies. Everyone then goes back in time to get help from Florence Nightingale. At the end, she then decides to do her report on hiccups, and she's cured.
  • Iconic Item: Each one of the historical heroes has an artifact that belonged to them that is featured.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Much like the books, the episode titles from this series start with "I Am" and the name of the historical figure featured in it.
  • I Do Not Like Green Eggs and Ham: In "I Am Neil Armstrong", Yadina thinks she won't like a cheese and marmalade sandwich, but when she tries it, she likes it.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: In "I Am Johann Sebastian Bach", Yadina makes a pun based on Bach's name, but Brad and Xavier don't think it's funny.
  • Innocently Insensitive:
    • In "I Am Susan B. Anthony", Xavier and Yadina are so used to tending to the Secret Museum themselves that they unintentionally leave Brad out and don't let him have a say on what should go where.
    • In "I Am Alexander Graham Bell", Xavier and Yadina keep talking for Brad when he loses his voice instead of listening to him.
  • The Leader: "I Am George Washington" is about this trope. Yadina is picked to lead the Nature Troop, but proves to be a bad leader. The kids turn to the Secret Museum for help, and meet George Washington, who shows Yadina how to be a great leader.
  • Limited Wardrobe: All the characters wear the same clothes most of the time. In fact, in "I Am Lou Gehrig", it's implied that Xavier has more than one of the same type of hoodie.
  • Long Title: Downplayed. The show's title is longer than average.
  • Luminescent Blush: Characters blush a lot in the show, usually from embarrassment or happiness.
  • Meganekko: Mary Leakey wears glasses as a child in "I Am Mary Leakey."
  • Mistakes Are Not the End of the World: A key lesson taught in "We Are the Wright Brothers", and briefly in "I Am Anna Pavlova".
  • My God, What Have I Done?: In "I Am Susan B. Anthony", Xavier and Yadina have this reaction when they realize they've been unfair to Brad by not letting him have a vote on what should go where in the Secret Museum.
  • Nerd Glasses: Brad wears these types of glasses.
  • Nice Girl: Marie Owens stands out in this regard. She doesn't get mad when someone does something wrong and prefers to solve problems in a positive way.
  • Nice Hat:
    • Jackie Robinson wears a blue baseball cap.
    • Eleanor Roosevelt wears a fancy purple hat.
    • Theodore Roosevelt wears a hat, which is also his artifact.
    • Marie Owens wears a cowboy hat.
  • Oh, Crap!: Brad has this reaction every time the kids travel through time.
  • Once an Episode: You can count on these things being a constant:
    • Brad being hesitant to travel back in time.
    • The kids going to the Secret Museum in a weird way, like via a tornado.
    • The kids saying their catchphrases.
    • The time travel sequence, where Yadina makes a meditation pose and Brad spins around.
  • One Steve Limit: So far, there are 2 Alexanders (Graham Bell and Hamilton), 2 Marys (Shelley and Leakey), 2 Georges (Washington and Washington Carver) and 2 Maries (Curie and Owens)
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Sarah from "I Am Jackie Robinson", who is racist until she changes her ways.
  • The Pollyanna: Lou Gehrig. Even when the going gets tough, he focuses on the good stuff, which he teaches Xavier, Yadina, and Brad.
  • Pretty Butterflies: Brad utterly adores butterflies for this exact reason. In "I Am Marie Curie", as he tells Marie about how much he loves butterflies, he imagines a flock of butterflies flying around him.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: In "I Am Johann Sebastian Bach", a bit of "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor" is played.
  • Puppy Love: In "I Am George Washington", Yadina gets a crush on Kid!George Washington. Obviously, both of them are kids.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: A lot of rhymes are made in "I Am Mark Twain." For example, "We didn't notice the fence got done/We were having too much fun!"
  • Robot Buddy: Berby, who helps the kids time travel, and is shown in between episodes playing with them.
  • Running Gag: Yadina trying to blow her whistle in "I Am George Washington".
  • Scout-Out: Xavier, Yadina, and Brad are part of the Nature Troop, which is seen in a few episodes.
  • Secondary Sexual Characteristics: To make them more recognizable, the child versions of male historical figures like Leonardo da Vinci and Mark Twain are generally depicted with mustaches and beards similar to those that the actual historical figures had, even though the child versions are way too young to have facial hair.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shown Their Work: Aside from a few cases of Artistic License – History, the show does have a lot of research and accuracy put into it. For example, Helen Keller and the water pump, the Bronte Sisters' made up world called Glass Town, George Washington Carver's secret garden, Amelia Earhart's homemade roller coaster, Zora Neale Hurston's characters named Miss Corn Shuck and Mr. Sweet Smell, etc.
  • Silent Treatment: In "I Am Lou Gehrig", Yadina gives Dr. Zoom the silent treatment because she's mad at her.
  • Start My Own: In "I Am Marie Curie", since the girls of Poland aren't allowed to go to university, they start their own university where they can learn more about science. Brad takes inspiration from this idea and starts a butterfly club for people under 10.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Referenced a few times in the show. In "I Am Marie Curie", Marie isn't allowed to go to university because she's a girl. In "I Am Susan B. Anthony", Susan says that at her time, only men could vote.
  • Strictly Formula: All the episodes have the same format. One of the characters has a problem, so the gang goes to the Secret Museum for help. Brad always protests against going there, but is made to come along anyways. The kids access the Secret Museum in a certain way (that can differ from episode to episode) such as through a dinosaur mouth or by posing in an Egyptian exhibit, etc. Then, they slide down the pole, in the exact same order: Xavier, Yadina, and Brad.note  The Secret Museum presents them with an artifact from the person they're going to meet, shows a hologram of the person, and shows the location and year. Berby delivers the kids back in time, where they meet the person. The person helps the focus character solve their problem by delivering the Aesop of the episode, multiple times, until the focus character gets it. When they get it, the kids decide to go back home, where they solve their problem.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Helen in "I Am Helen Keller" when she says her dog's name for the first time, Belle.
  • Sweet Home Alabama: In "I Am Helen Keller", the kids travel back in time to Alabama, where Helen Keller is. Everyone there is super polite.
  • Tears of Joy: Brad cries these tears after Xavier gives an amazing performance at the school talent show in "I Am Johann Sebastian Bach".
  • That Cloud Looks Like...: The kids do this in "I Am Mary Shelley".
  • ¡Three Amigos!: Xavier, Yadina, and Brad.
  • Time Travel: The show's M.O.
  • Title, Please!: No episode titles are given in the show.
  • Token White: Brad is the only white character of the main cast.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Yadina's is a cheese and jelly sandwich.
  • Tutu Fancy: In the opening sequence to "I Am Anna Pavlova", Yadina wears a tutu.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: Xavier and Brad are boys, and Yadina is a girl.
  • Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises: The characters get these sort of eyes in extreme emotions like fear, anger, etc. This is just one example.
Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report