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  • Acceptable Targets: As a Satirical series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid always makes fun of certain people. Maddox Selsam in Double Down is a Straw Character representing kids raised in the present time without modern comfort. He has never seen a video game before, is never allowed to eat junk food, has a large bookshelf in place of a TV, practices violin and constructs Master-Builder-esque LEGO sets in his free time.
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  • Accidental Innuendo: Greg's idea of a catchphrase in Double Down, which is "Bite my biscuits!"
  • Adaptation Displacement: It used to be a very obscure webcomic on a site. Now it's a wildly popular book series with equally popular movie adaptations.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Is Greg really a major Woobie who suffers both being The Unfavorite and being bullied in school or is he an Unreliable Narrator who over exaggerates the cruelty he suffers to downplay his own Jerkassness?
    • This makes more sense if you assume The Movie is the actual depiction of events, since many scenes had to be changed for dramatic tension (for instance, Greg writes that he scared kindergarteners with a worm, which led to his expulsion from the Safety Patrol, while in the movie he abandoned them in a pit at a construction site.)
    • Some people take it one step further and categorize Greg as a sociopath. However, it should be noted that he does have occasional Pet the Dog moments not motivated by greed, such as the end of Cabin Fever where he goes out of his way to deliver a wrapped present to the church toy drive, or a point during Hard Luck where he hid a diamond ring worth millions specifically to keep his family from breaking apart from the fighting.
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    • Most people find it blatant that Manny is a horribly spoiled child due to his parents' unrealistic favoritism towards him (to the point where he never gets punished in the slightest for even committing the most immoral of acts; see Moral Event Horizon below). There are also implications that Manny is a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who acts friendly when they're around and considering that neither Greg or Rodrick are saints in particular, he's favored due to the parents thinking he's the sweetest kid in the house. Also, in regards in Cabin Fever, was Manny willing to have his family killed for not tying his shoes or was it for no real reason whatsoever and made up the "excuse" because he knows his mother will easily forgive him no matter what, even if whatever he did was for the pettiest of reasons?
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    • Frank is either a Jerkass who mistreats his sons or just an occasionally stern but well-meaning father.
  • Animation Age Ghetto: Averted. You'd expect a book with a cartoony art style not to succeed in a medium where children's entertainment can deal with a lot more serious subject matter, but instead the cartoony art style has been one of the books major selling points.
  • Anvilicious:
    • Cabin Fever seems to really really be giving one the point that Jeff Kinney hates the American education system.
    • The Meltdown opens up with a huge Author Tract about anthropogenic climate change.
    • Due to Jeff Kinney's personal thoughts on the subject, every book between The Long Haul and The Meltdown (including Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid and besides Double Down) has had an anti-cell phone scene.
  • Ass Pull:
    • In The Last Straw, Greg is suddenly revealed to be wearing contact lenses, and he then has to wear backup glasses. His eyesight was never brought up before or after the reader learns this.
    • Manny having a box jellyfish in his bucket in The Getaway. Greg never mentions Manny bringing the bucket with him on the snorkeling trip, and it appears briefly in one picture. Also, why would he need to bring it with him on a snorkeling trip?
  • Award Snub: Averted. The series' many victories at the Kids Choice Awards are viewed as monumental upsets over the likes of Harry Potter, Twilight, The Hunger Games, and The Fault in Our Stars.
  • Awesome Music:
    • The end credits song for the first film, "What Do You Want From Me?"
    • Greg singing "Total Eclipse of the Heart" in the first movie.
    • In the second movie Rowley lip synched "Tik Tok".
    • Rodrick's band singing their original song; Exploded Diper. Even better when you consider that in the books, Greg described his music as horrible.
    • In the third movie Rodrick does a rock cover of Justin Bieber's Baby.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Greg himself. Due to his less than desirable traits, he's either seen as an unlikable protagonist who really shouldn't be rooted for, or a sympathetic character with a hard life who's balanced out by those same traits.
    • Rodrick also counts too. Either he's liked, particularly for his charisma, or hated for his massive Big Brother Bully attitude towards Greg.
  • Broken Base:
    • It isn't impossible to find people who believe that the books up to The Last Straw were the best, and then the series undergoing a decline in quality due to focusing less on a school-related plot-line and more on the antics of Greg and company (such as The Long Haul and The Getaway). It doesn't help that the timeline of the books usually now take place in two months at the longest instead of taking place over a good few months.
    • The movies (well, the first three, due to the failure of The Long Haul) aren't exempt from this either. Are they good adaptions of the books onto the big screen and feature a much more truthful light of Greg's actions, or are they just as overblown and inane? Particularly Dog Days gets a lot of flak from people who were put off by the fact the film was rushed as soon as possible so the actors would have one last role before growing too old.
  • Crazy Awesome: Rodrick when he wants to be.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: The Mad Pantser pantsing the vice principal. So offensive, so uncalled for, and yet so funny.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy:
    • While it's a stretch to call it outright darkness, the sheer amount of unlikable characters (for instance, the main character Greg already suffers from an unrealistic number of glaring flaws he hardly notices) and sheer amounts of What an Idiot! from all characters moments can really be a bother when trying to find something to root for and keep going. Despite being sold as realistic fiction, the story is set in a world of incompetence where bad things happen to bad people, although this world is interpreted from Greg's obvious Protagonist-Centered Morality. The movies, however, attempt to fix this by giving Greg and Rodrick better personalities and lessening some of the What an Idiot! moments, even having them reconcile after their biggest schism in the Rodrick Rules movie, as they now treat each much better. It even carries over into Dog Days, where Greg is horrified at thinking Rodrick was being loaded into a garbage truck, and upon seeing his brother is okay, hugging him tightly, to which Rodrick is obviously touched.
    • The three biggest offenders are:
      • The ending of Cabin Fever, wherein Manny's Jerkass tendencies are taken Up to Eleven as he cuts off the power to the house in the middle of a blizzard with the exception of his own room, leaving the rest of his family to die and yet he still doesn't get punished.
      • The entirety of The Long Haul. The book's plot is mostly a series of misfortune events caused entirely by the family being completely idiotic or some form of Ass Pull.
      • The entirety of The Getaway, for many of the same reasons as The Long Haul. Yet another series of unfortunate things happening to the family who just want to relax, with most of their misfortunes either being caused by their own idiocy or just bad luck.
  • Designated Hero: Greg himself to some readers. While he is sympathetic in several ways, some feel that his Jerkass tendencies out-weigh his good qualities and makes him too unsympathetic as a result. It doesn't help that he's frequently mean to Rowley and some of his other classmates, always attempts to downplay his own faults, and rarely learns from his mistakes. However this is subverted since Word of God stated that Greg is not supposed to be a hero but an Anti-Role Model, and Greg sees himself as a good person only because he's an Unreliable Narrator. The movies made an effort to make Greg more sympathetic, and arguably succeeded.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • Rodrick. Usually the Big Brother Bully falls easily into The Scrappy, but Rodrick is not that bad...largely due to being played by a cute actor in the movies and the fangirls having a crush on him (see Ensemble Dark Horse).
    • Greg himself. Every character who is mean to him gets hated and demonized by fans (except Rodrick), even when it's clear that Greg, who is far from a nice guy, did something to deserve it.
  • Eight Deadly Words: It can be hard to care about characters in a world where everyone's either a jerkass, an eternal Butt-Monkey, or both.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
  • Fandom Rivalry: Fans dislike Dork Diaries for being seen as a vastly inferior copy of the series.
  • First Installment Wins: The first movie used more content relevant to the books.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The books and the movies are extremely popular in Singapore. It's actually so popular among Singaporean crowds, Fox decided to release the sequel over there 8 days before the US and the rest of the world.
  • Ho Yay: From the movie:
    Rowley: Hey Bryce, cute butt!
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The comic strip Wacky Dawg stopped being funny when the comic stopped making jokes and was about the dog essentially becoming a mouthpiece for the opinions that the creator had - sounds pretty familiar, doesn't it?
    • In the 3rd book, Greg said that in the future, everyone will have a personal robot that tells you whatever you need to know. Virtual assistants and smart speakers, anyone?
    • In the first movie, Rowley rejects Greg's offer to get ice cream. Fast forward to the next time he ran into ice cream...
    • On top of that, Rowley breaks his arm. Robert Capron would later play another character in a Haunting Hour episode who breaks his arm...and then ANOTHER one who does so.
    • In Cabin Fever, Rowley asks Greg if he wants to build a snowman.
    • In the 11th book, Greg is planning on making a movie. What's next, befriending a girl with leukemia against his will?
    • In the expanded do-it-yourself book, there's a section called Diary of an Awesome, Friendly Kid which showcases some diary entries from Rowley's perspective. Eight years later, it would become a fully-fledged book.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Greg is lazy, self-centered, a Small Name, Big Ego and a bad friend to Rowley...but he suffers from Middle Child Syndrome, gets picked on by bullies at school and Rodrick at home and Rowley's parents consider him to be a bad influence on their son. It's really easy to see why he's prone to Jerkass moments. Not to mention that little if any of his plans are successful, which in really turns him into a Iron Woobie.
    • Rodrick is a huge bum who mistreats Greg on a daily basis, but he has his occasional woobie-ish moments, particularly in the movie version of Rodrick Rules. He even loses his chance of getting Heather Hills to like him.
  • Later Installment Weirdness: Since The Long Haul, the book are usually single events rather than the usual random plot-relevant events. Double Down possibly averts this.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • #NotMyRodrick (being the poster child for DOAWK memes), see They Changed It, Now It Sucks!.
    • "Ploopy!" Manny only said it a few times in The Last Straw however, but is used more often than "Bubby" by the fanbase.
    • "Rodrick has filled a condom with Diet Coke, froze it, and bashed Manny over the head with it. Manny has fucking died," as posted by a Frank Heffley parody Twitter account.
    • The Cheese Touch has become quite popular.
    • "I'M NOT GAY, GREG," from the 25 Years Later fanfic, where Greg (who came out to Rowley in their youth) tries to visit Rowley in despair when Frank is dying from cancer. When Rowley finds Greg on his doorstep, he says this before slamming the door in his face.
    • ManosExplanation 
  • Memetic Psychopath: Fans like to exaggerate Manny's bad tendencies and make him into either a God or a killer.
  • Moe: The movie version of Holly Hills, which portrays her as a lovable, sweet Girl Next Door who likes and loves everyone, despite being one of the most popular girls at school. She even signed Rowley's yearbook saying "you are so cute," with "cute" being underlined three times.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • In the first one, a gang of teenage bullies make Rowley eat the cheese. Keep in mind, in the book, Rowley was temporarily traumatized by the incident.
    • Manny crosses this in book six when he shuts down all power in the house except for his room, so he can be pampered while he leaves his family to freeze.
  • Never Live It Down: Manny's actions in the climax of Cabin Fever which nearly caused Greg, Rodrick, and his mother to freeze to death, followed by his lack of punishment.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • The defense that "It's a journal, not a diary!" was used by another 11 year old kid before Greg existed.
    • The comic strip Wacky Dawg stopped being funny when the comic stopped making jokes and was about the dog essentially became a mouthpiece for the opinions that the creator had. Something similar has actually happened in real-life Newspaper Comics, Mallard Fillmore and Non Sequitur, decades before the first book.
  • Periphery Demographic:
    • Everyone. The print publishers chose to market it as a kids' book but Word of God is that it was written as a nostalgia trip for adult readers "...like The Wonder Years".
    • Some of the problems that Greg faces involve issues that only older readers would be able to relate to; for example, in the webcomic, Greg loses his progress during the game Twisted Wizard because his mom turned the console off, and the game doesn't let you save. How many children do you think are familiar with older game systems that lack a save feature anymore, especially in the age of autosaving and flash memory?
  • Retroactive Recognition:
  • Ron the Death Eater:
    • A lot of fans tend to paint Greg as a sociopath because of how much off a crazy and self- absorbed jerkass he always is, and with how he treats his best friend, Rowley. This got so massive that Jeff Kinney responded to it by stating Greg is not a sociopath, and he based the character off himself as a child. This response didn't help as now some people think Kinney himself is a sociopath.
    • Manny is not the nicest person in the books, but the fandom turns him into an outright psychopathic Enfant Terrible.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Manny thanks to not only his inability to get in trouble for anything no matter how big of a mess he causes, but also for often coming out on top no matter the trouble he causes, either. For many, his actions in Cabin Fever, in which he cut the power to the house (except his own room) during a blizzard, and locked himself in his room with heaters and a ton of food while his hungry brothers and mother struggle to remain warm and suffering no consequences for doing so was the breaking point, and he hasn't gotten better since. (Especially in The Long Haul where he's nothing but a hindrance to the family and their trip most of the time and gets a pet pig for his troubles.)
    • The unnamed pig the Heffleys get in The Long Haul is often seen as a terrible addition to the series. He usually fails to be funny because most of his gags revolve around him being a useless source of trouble (the family getting into trouble via Ass Pull is already getting old) and/or acting unrealistically human-like, which is just jarring in a series that's otherwise grounded in reality. It doesn't help that he only became the family pet due to the insistence of fellow scrappy Manny, and that the author overused him to the point where even those who didn't hate him in the first place think he overstayed his welcome. It's likely the backlash against the character was the reason he was absent from The Getaway, and him running away from the Heffley family and not being found in The Meltdown.
    • In-universe, Old-Timey Tobias, the mascot for the Old-Timey Ice Cream Parlor. Every time he comes out to entertain the kids at the restaurant, he gets pelted with ice cream left and right.
  • Sequelitis: Many fans of the series think the books have been getting progressively less funny with each new installment. It doesn't help that the number of books is going on fourteen with no end in sight, and much like your average sitcom, nobody is allowed to grow up or change. Jeff Kinney has stated on Twitter that he wants to write "at least 20" books.
  • Snark Bait: Good god, the trailers for the film adaptation of The Long Haul have been snark bait since day one. See They Changed It, Now It Sucks!.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: The Long Haul mentions the Underpants Bandits series that's Captain Underpants with the Serial Numbers Filed Off. The boys in school are crazy about it, but the adults don't want them to read it because of all the potty humor. Kinney really drives the message home: You can't tell kids to read and then tell them not to read what they actually enjoy just because it's got some harmless toilet humor.
  • Squick:
    • The first book features the moldy cheese that lies on the baseball court for a very long time. And then Rowley is forced to eat it... In Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid, it is revealed that Rowley is now too grossed out to eat anything containing cheese.
    • In the second movie, Greg eats the melted chocolate on his bum because everyone thinks it's poop. Even though it isn't, it's still really gross.
    • Old School has the most out of any book in the series.
      • Rowley getting a tooth lodged into his forehead.
      • The stew at Hardscrabble Farms is all the leftovers at the end of mealtime combined, and has been around since Greg's dad was Greg's age. A girl named Melinda tries to get sent home early by eating it and gets food poisoning.
    • Greg and the pig throwing up in Double Down.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • The introduction of an unrealistic behaving pig to the family in The Long Haul, which was already one of the more polarizing books in the series, was this to many fans, considering the series is rather down to earth. Ascended with The Meltdown making a clear mention that the pig was put in a kennel for Christmas vacation, and it ended up running away, explaining why he had been written out of The Getaway.
    • The general reaction to the reveal that the film adaptation of The Long Haul will have an entirely new cast. To be completely fair, the original cast members have grown up significantly since the last movie, so this is to be expected; though why they replaced the adult cast members is anyone's guess. This has gotten to the point that the first trailer has more dislikes than likes overall. Arguably the largest point of contention when it comes to the live-action adaptation of The Long Haul is replacing Rodrick's wildly popular original actor Devon Bostick with newcomer Charlie Wright (Bostick even made a video of himself reacting to the trailer). It got to the point where the hashtag "#NotMyRodrick" went viral on Twitter. And when it was finally released in theaters, it got abysmal reviews (19% on Rotten Tomatoes; 41 on Metacritic) and was the franchise's lowest-grossing open, to the surprise of no one. As of December 23, 2017, the trailer has 4.5 times more dislikes than likes. As of the same day, most of the video's comments include or only feature the hashtag #NotMyRodrick.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: The very end of the third book introduces a new girl into Greg's and Rowley's life, only to have her dump both at the beginning of the fourth book. That's a shame, since giving Greg a female friend could've changed his outlook somewhat. Come to think of it, Greg doesn't really seem to get that one can have more than just one friend, and most of the characters who could've filled Greg's social circle (Fregley, Chirag, Tyson, Christopher) end up being One-Shot characters at best or they simply forget Greg at the end of it. Abigail could've also filled that role, but Greg himself admits that they have mutual dislike for one another, Abigail because of the Noodle Incident at the dance and Greg because she's monopolizing Rowley's attention.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The movie making scenes in Double Down come in at the very end of the book, and all that happens is Greg and Rowley are chased by geese after they film the introduction. What if Greg's movie was an adaptation of a Spineticklers book? What if he tried multiple different genres of movies before deciding on a horror film? What if he composed a soundtrack with his French horn? What if his weird dreams gave him ideas for things in the movie?
  • Unpopular Popular Character: Greg is very unlucky and unpopular in-universe, but is liked by fans for being The Woobie (or a Jerkass Woobie at worst) and a relatable Cool Loser.
  • We're Still Relevant, Dammit!: The Meltdown has a page were one kid is seen dabbing while pretending to be a statue. Granted, it's only a one-off gag and that would probably happen even today, but still. It also mentions selfies.
    • Grampa is shown to be a Facebook user in Old School (having accidentally CC'ed all the grandparents for what was meant to be a movie night with a friend), although Greg refers it to the "Internet".
    • In Cabin Fever, Greg plays a Webkinz -like game. It's very hard to get the reference.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • Some of the choices Greg makes are borderline Face Palm-worthy at times. There are numerous times throughout the series where Greg would have gotten out of trouble easily had he just explained what had happened to get himself there. 90% of the time, however, he opts to run away or try to make himself look better instead, often getting himself in even more trouble than he already was as a result.
    • Outside of those moments, there are plenty of times where other characters are guilty of this. For example, in The Ugly Truth, Greg's Uncle Gary has gotten married (for the fourth time) and during the wedding reception, for seemingly no apparent reason one of the best men decides to tell everyone (including the bride Sonja) that Gary had wanted to leave Sonja for her sister and only agreed to marry her because he thought everyone present for his Accidental Proposal would beat him up if he said no. Uncle Gary makes no attempt to deny this. Needless to say, Gary's marriage doesn't last, and he's single again by his next appearance because someone couldn't keep his mouth shut.
  • Win the Crowd: The announcement of an animated series has gotten positive reception from fans, since let's be honest, it was only a matter of time until it happened.
  • The Woobie:
    • Rowley, since Greg constantly takes advantage of him.
    • Sweetie when he becomes overweight and immobile.
    • Greg, although he doubles as a Jerkass Woobie.
    • Fregley turns into this in Hard Luck, when it's revealed that he has no friends. It's so bad that even Greg feels bad for him.

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