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YMMV / Madeline

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  • Common Knowledge:
    • Miss Clavel is not a nun. Yes, she dresses the part, but she's never once been referred to as 'Sister'. That there are two forerunners to Miss Clavel in Madeline's debut story The Golden Basket, one of them being named Sister Angeline, may be a contributor. This is such a common misconception that Bemelmans' grandson and successor has had to go on record that Miss Clavel is not a nun.
      • The Filipino dub refers to her as "Sister Clavel", though, and she's portrayed as a nun in the 1998 film too.
    • The place the girls are staying at isn't an orphanage, it's a boarding school. Madeline herself is an orphan in two adaptations, but not all. Much like Miss Clavel as a nun, this is a common enough misconception that Bemelmans' grandson and successor has had to go on record that building is not an orphanage.
    • People frequently claim that Madeline's adventures are set in 1939, during World War II. 1939 was the year her spin-off book was published, she herself first appeared in 1936 in The Golden Basket. The books (excluding Madeline at the White House, which has a 1960's setting) and animated series take place in an unspecified time in the 1930s, while the live-action film takes place in the 1950s.
    • While popularly thought of as French due to the setting, Madeline is actually American, with family in Texas and the book Madeline at the White House by Bemelmans' grandson has established that her mother is a friend of the first lady, who has a daughter Madeline's age. Though this wasn't revealed until Madeline in America was published long after Ludwig Bemelmans' death .Only the animated series explicitly portrayed her as French, with the shorts from the 50's not giving her a nationality, the episode from Shirley Temple's Storybook correctly portraying her as American, and the film seemingly portraying her as British. Much like Miss Clavel being a nun and the place being an orphanage, this is also common enough that Bemelmans' grandson and successor has had to go on record that Madeline is not French.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Madeline falling off the bridge into the water in both versions of Madeline's Rescue and the movie. The narrators of the book and the TV special do not hesitate in mentioning that Madeline would have died had Genevieve not come to her rescue.
    "Poor Madeline would now be dead,
    But for a dog that kept its head,
    And dragged her safe from a watery grave."
  • Older Than They Think:
    • A character with whom Madeline gets Ship Tease with originated with the unseen secret admirer Herman in Four Color Comics #796, titled "Madeline and Genevieve" in 1942. Pepito did not appear in the franchise until 1956.
    • Lord Cucuface's name being changed to Lord Covington in the 1998 film was preceded by the Shirley Temple's Storybook episode in 1960 which changed his name to Mr. Murgittroyd. Likewise the idea of a Setting Update also originates with that episode, setting it in the then present day if the mention of Frankie Avalon and television is any indication. The Adaptational Heroism for the Gypsies in the animated special of "Madeline and the Gypsies" also originates from this episode.
  • Toy Ship: Madeline and Pepito are a very popular ship among fans, for their growth from enemies to friends in Madeline and the Bad Hat and their close friendship from then on. It helps that one episode of the animated series even has Madeline kiss Pepito on the cheek and Pepito blush in response at one point.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Pepito is male, but the books and DiC animated series give him a more feminine appearance, with hair just as long as Madeline's. The film averts this.

  • Narm: "Lord Cucuface, beware! Genevieve, noblest dog in all of France, you shall have your ven-ge-ance!" For the record, that line did not appear in the TV special. The movie did include the second sentence, albeit with a normal pronunciation of "vengeance".
  • Nightmare Fuel: There's Pepito in Madeline and the Bad Hat (and its Cinar adaptation), who before he came around is gifted with a tool chest by Miss Clavel, which he uses to build himself a guillotine. With this, he beheads his chickens to cook for dinner. The girls and Miss Clavel react to this sight about as well as you'd expect.

     Western Animation 
  • Adaptation Displacement:
    • There was a 1950's short, too. It's vaguely remembered, though it was put on the DVD release of the 1998 film.
    • In the books and early specials, Madeline's parents are known to be alive, and even appeared in the Christmas special. The live-action film, in which she's an orphan, caused DiC to retcon her into an orphan, much to the confusion of many. Although to be fair, only in Lost in Paris was she vividly portrayed as an orphan not unlike the live-action film, while the animated series after the movie does little to nothing about referencing that.
  • All Animation Is Disney: DiC was owned by Disney at the time the series and Lost in Paris were produced, which made many people believe that the Madeline TV series and first Direct to Video movie were from Disney (It doesn't help that Lost in Paris, at least the original 1999 release before it was rereleased on DVD by Shout! Factory, opens with the text "Disney Presents")
  • Awesome Music: Long Live the King of Chocolate. It isn't Aesop-y like most of the songs and is very catchy.
  • Fridge Brilliance: In Lost in Paris, a man named Horst, who claims to be Madeline's relative from Vienna, Austria brings suspicion to Madeline because he trips on a suitcase and says "Sacre bleu!". It seems weird, considering that Translation Convention is in play and they would already be speaking French to one another... but then you realise that he is saying it in a French accent - it's not the fact that he temporarily spoke in French that made Madeline suspicious, it was the Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping.
  • Fridge Horror: The last act of "My Fair Madeline" up until Emma tells the King of England the truth about Madeline's role in the heist is full of this in regards to Miss Cleval, Lord Cucuface and potentially France in general. As far as the King knew, this French nun who ran a boarding house and the politician who bankrolls her knowingly brought a thief into his country with the backing of the French government, and said thief very nearly steals the Crown Jewels after being caught trespassing in the palace and "assaulting" one of the royal guards. At best, if Emma had not confessed, then the King could have demanded Miss Clavel and potentially the French government as a whole to pay steep reparations for Madeline's "crime". At worse, he could have considered it an act of war.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • "Lost in Paris", a story about Madeline being forced to work in a sweatshop, becomes this after the 2007 abduction and possible murder of Madeleine McCann.
    • And In-Universe example in the movie: when Uncle Horst brings the girls lace collars as gifts, it seems like a sweet sentiment from a relative who just met his niece just now. ...And then later in the movie, you learn about the Lace Factory, and all those orphaned girls who slaved to make them.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • CINAR came up with the initial ideas for the specials and partnered with DiC to execute it. Then Cinar went their way when the partnership ended while DiC went on to make the the TV series and two specials. Almost two decades later, CINAR became Cookie Jar and subsequently bought DiC, and then merged.
    • One episode is "Madeline and the Hunchback of Notre Dame", in which Madeline, Pepito and the girls perform a play based on Victor Hugo's novel. A year later, Disney released their adaptation of ''Hunchback''...and a year after that, added Madeline to it’s lineup of shows. Then, in 2002, Disney's adaptation got a direct-to-video sequel which gave Quasimodo a love interest named... Madellaine.
  • Moe: Moreso with the animated series than anything else. The characters are all designed in an adorable, endearing way, and their actions can tug at the heartstrings.
  • Nightmare Fuel: According to a number of complaints filed by parents at the time the special was released, Lost in Paris was full of this to their children. It doesn't help that the movie features Madeline being lured from the old house to a sweatshop where she is forced to participate in a child labor ring.
  • Questionable Casting: My Fair Madeline had Whoopi Goldberg (yes, THAT Whoopi Goldberg) as Miss Clavel.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: Lost in Paris has the song "We Can Sing, We Can Dance", which is rather similar to "Be Our Guest", complete with similar lyrics. The fact that Disney originally released the special on video doesn't help much either.
  • Too Bleak, Stopped Caring: Well, not so much as bleak, so much as frustrating. My Fair Madeline isn't very well-liked among fans due to the main character getting put through the wringer for almost no reason whatsoever as well as the conflict relying on You Have to Believe Me! and Adults Are Useless tropes as very tiring. It was also blamed for possibly killing the franchise.
  • The Woobie:
    • Madeline in My Fair Madeline. She becomes a Butt-Monkey and goes through a lot of bad experiences just to prove that a pair of thieves were going to steal a painting and the crown's jewels.
  • Win Back the Crowd: Madeline in Tahiti comes off as the producers hoping to make up for Madeline's Adaptational Wimp/Butt-Monkey status in My Fair Madeline by giving her a role that is more in-tune with her Action Girl roots in the cartoon proper.