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YMMV / Sofia the First

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  • Adorkable:
    • Sofia herself is very endearing and easily excitable.
    • Whenever Roland takes on tasks such as fishing and baking, he's pretty clearly out of his element. He tries to play it off with as much regality as he can muster, but that often just comes across as him trying way too hard. He also gets instantly giddy over jiggy-wiggly pudding.
    • Cedric has always been an awkward dork whenever he slips out of scheming mode, but when he gets to visit his hero Merlin, he goes full fanboy.
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    • Vivian keeps her reserved personality both before and after character development, along with her excitement, and it is adorable.
    • Hugo reveals his silly side in "Lord of the Rink".
    • Surprisingly enough, Chrysta actually can be this at times. A notable example is in "Undercover Fairies", where her attempts to be dainty don't turn out well, but you can't help but love her.
  • And You Thought It Would Fail: Prior to the show's premiere, certain camps of the Disney fandom were skeptical that the show had much going for it aside from the obviously profitable Disney Princess angle, not helped by the marketing team's retroactively debunked announcement that Sofia would be Disney's first Latina princess. In addition, the show would be spearheaded by a scriptwriter with no showrunner experience and had worked largely in live-action projects and the Disney Fairies shorts. The show then went on to be a critical and commercial success, and Sofia and Elena of Avalor would also pave the way for creator Craig Gerber to produce more shows for Disney, both animated and live action.
  • Angst? What Angst?:
    • When Rapunzel makes her appearance, she's... rather flippant about her past. Though it could possibly be justified as her having coming to terms with her past since the events of Tangled.
      Rapunzel: Evil women pretending to be my mother, I can handle.
    • On a similar note, Roland is rather well-adjusted for a man whose wish for a family unwittingly led to his wife's death by childbirth. At the start of the series, he's had at least eight years to cope, so justifiably, one could see how he'd have moved on since then.
    • While Sofia struggles with everything about her mother's remarriage, from bonding with her new family members to her new bed, Miranda herself is remarkably well-adjusted. She never stumbles on etiquette or worries about being accepted by Amber or James, despite the situation being just as new to her as it is to Sofia.
  • Awesome Music:
    • "True Sisters" sung by Cinderella to Sofia about her lament over not being able to have a happy sisterhood with her own stepsisters and encouraging Sofia to reach out to Amber.
    • Prisma's stylish Villain Song, "My Power Will Be Crystal Clear".
    • The noble and triumphant "For One and All" in the Series Finale "Forever Royal," which starts with Sofia pleading to her family to fight when everything they know is at stake. One by one, they find the courage to follow her lead as the special enters its final act.
    • The final song of the show, "On Your/My Own", a boss-music-esque duet between Sofia and Vor as the latter tries to break the former into defeat, only for Sofia to realize she will always have her loved ones and the princesses at her side. The music becomes proud as Sofia regains her resolve and defeats Vor with a light from her heart.
  • Cult Classic: It may not be a mainstream hit, but the fanbase is pretty dedicated.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Lucinda the Witch is incredibly popular among the Periphery Demographic, enough to make her a recurring character.
    • Sofia herself can be considered this among Disney Princesses even if she's not in the lineup. Her altruism and independence are definitely key factors.
  • Epileptic Trees: Due to the show's nature of summoning Disney Princesses, a few circles wonder if Sofia the First could crossover somehow with Kingdom Hearts.
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: For whatever reason, it's popular to make rather dark theories about the show that go on unbeknownst to Sofia. This is mainly in regards to what happened to the previous Queen, what happened to Sofia's father, and the true state of the kingdom. Usually, these theories are along the lines of Roland being complicit in his first wife's death so he could be with Miranda, and/or Sofia being his illegitimate child, and/or the kingdom somehow being a terrible place to live. Hilariously enough (or possibly the writers did it to shut down the theories), the series finale states the simple answers: Roland did accidentally kill his wife, but in a poorly-phrased way; Sofia's father died at sea, which no one could have prevented.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
    • Sofia the First is popular in Spain with people of all ages, in a no small part due to the uncanny coincidence that the current "princess" of Spain, King Felipe VI's older daughter, is named Sofía. The series airs here outside of Disney Junior sometimes along with Violetta and My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.
    • It also did well in some French speaking countries, where Sofia the First is lovingly refered to as "Princess Sofie". This is likely due to the fact that dispite having mostly white collar protagonists, the show does not insult it's blue collar characters or belittle them. In fact, it's basically a rags to riches story. It also teaches moral lessons about not judging people regardless of their status or rank.
    • It is also very popular in Japan, where it got some pieces of merchandise that have not come to America, with the most noteworthy being a set of Gashapon toys. It is also notably one of five Disney shows that have aired as a stand-alone program on terrestrial TV in Japan rather than as part of a Disney-themed show. note 
      • Related to this, there was an article about Japan's favorite heroes and heroines, Sofia made the list. The interesting thing is that she's the only western animation character on the list.
  • Girl-Show Ghetto: Even with the fluffy exterior, the show averts this, and managed to catch a wide audience.
  • Growing the Beard: The show started out pretty strong, but the second season onward greatly expands the show, with further recurring characters, guest stars, Worldbuilding, and villains. It also significantly tones down the "Disney Princess magically drops in to advise Sofia" gimmick following Season 3, all but dropping it in Season 4 save for a wordless cameo in the finale.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Throughout the show, numerous villains want to steal the Amulet of Avalor for themselves, like Cedric, or even ''destroy'’ it, like Ivy. It turns out in Season 3 that there's someone trapped inside, meaning that she could have died a horrible death and no one would know. And that's after spending four decades stuck in there after watching your parents get murdered and never seeing your family again...
    • For all Sofia's issues with her step-siblings Amber and James, Elena may have thought about her relationships with her sister and cousin Isabel and Esteban.
    • The scene where Sofia sings "Me and My Mom" in "Mom's the Word" counts as this with Ariel Winter's strained relationship with her mother, not to mention her emancipation in 2015.
  • He Really Can Act:
    • Though Ariel Winter has done some voice acting before, she shows off a lot of range as the titular character. The pilot movie and "The Mystic Isles" are among the many examples where she shines.
    • Similarly, Darcy Rose Byrnes has a lot of fun voicing Amber, playing up her vain side, yet is also able to show genuine compassion and sadness when the time calls for it.
    • Megan Hilty typically voices good-natured characters like Rosetta and Princess Charlotte in this series. The second character she voices here is Prisma, the primary antagonist for the Mystic Isles arc. She pulls it off better than you think.
    • Though his voice-acting capabilities have been proven before, Travis Willingham is surprisingly not too shabby of a singer.
    • It's clear that Jess Harnell loves hamming it up as Cedric, but as the series goes on he's also shown to bring out an incredible amount of pathos to the character without breaking from such a broad vocal type. It's shown especially well throughout "Day of the Sorcerers" and "Through the Looking-Back Glass."
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Just the idea of summoning past Disney Princesses may seem familiar to some.
    • Ariel Winter, the voice of Sofia, also plays young Kairi, a Princess of Heart, in Kingdom Hearts, and the sister of Ariel Winter, Shanelle Workman, voices a villain of darkness (Larxene).
      • In Kingdom Hearts III, Larxene shows up in the Frozen world to go after Elsa, who is believed to be a Princess of Heart, while Anna may also be a Princess of Heart. Both Anna and Elsa did not appear in Sofia the First.
    • Shortly before the show began airing, The Legend of Korra had Amber's voice actress, Darcy Rose Byrnes, and James' original voice actor, Zach Callison. Byrnes' character, Ikki, would have her sister, Jinora, be shipped with Callison's character, Skoochy, despite never meeting onscreen.
    • In the Series Finale, Sofia defeats the Big Bad by summoning a light from her heart. Is she a Princess of Heart yet?
    • Rapunzel appearing in the show raised the Fridge Logic of how she could have appeared with her magical hair if she had lost it after going through the adventure she is so known for... only for the series to be released, in which Rapunzel grows her magical hair back and the overarching mystery of the show is how and why it returned.
      • Her guest star appearance features her meeting and riding dragons. Cue an episode of Tangled: The Series, where she and Pascal accidentally find and raise a dragon. Crew members of both shows noticed the coincidence.
  • Incest Yay Shipping: Sofia tends to be shipped with ether James or Amber. Taking scenes of Sofia and Amber out of context has become a pretty popular kind of meme, such as Amber and Sofia sleeping together in "The Baker King" or Amber staring at Sofia all night in "Princess Ivy".
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Amber in the pilot movie.
    • Cedric in the TV show. Really doesn't help that Sofia is the only one who treats him with respect, though this mercifully changes as his Character Development progresses.
    • Prisma of the Mystic Isles, while selfish and even a bit sadistic, only turned to villainy for reasons similar to Cedric - low self-esteem and growing up in the shadow of someone related to her, in this case her sister. The Grand Finale only gives her more sympathy, as being used and possessed by Vor clearly has done a number on her and left her feeling deeply remorseful for her actions.
    • "The Princess Stays in the Picture" does this for Hildegard, who reveals that she acts like a snooty know-it-all to avoid a repeat performance of her first day at Royal Prep.
    • Hugo in "The Flying Crown". Sure, his behavior in "Just One of the Princes" was unacceptable, but in the former episode, it turns out that's just how he was taught. It doesn't help that his older brother mercilessly pushes him to live up to the family legacy, especially with emotionally hurtful "jokes".
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Some fans only see the episodes with Disney Princess cameos.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Sofia, when she's not being shipped with her step-siblings, ships like Sofia/Lucinda, Sofia/Vivian, Sofia/Cedric, Sofia/Desmond, Sofia/Hildegard, Sofia/Zandar, and Sofia/Hugo are all popular. It helps that Sofia is very kind and affectionate with pretty much everyone.
  • Memetic Mutation: In May 2020 (during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic, which led to many shows getting binged more often), the theme song became popular to lipsync to on Tiktok, evidently by people who grew up with the show or watch the show with their younger siblings/children.
  • Moe: Sofia herself!
  • Moral Event Horizon: Given the kind of show this is, most of its antagonists don't really go too far over the line in their evildoing. But then we have Vor, the series' Final Boss, who not only pulled a Demonic Possession on Prisma after using her to restore her magic ring sealed within the Wicked Nine and put all of Enchanica under Mind Control, even making Sofia's friends and family lock themselves up in Cedric's Tower while she made plans to deport them from the kingdom, but when Sofia wishes for Vor to be sealed inside her amulet, Vor drags Sofia down with her while Amber watches in horror. And then once they're both inside the amulet, Vor attempts to kill Sofia with her power. ("My dear, you won't be standing long!")
  • No Yay: Though there are AU's with an older Sofia or a younger Cedric that try to mitigate this, there's a strong push against pairing the two together given their canon age difference.
  • Periphery Demographic:
    • This show is popular with adults and teenagers who like its clever writing, music, and the cameos by older Disney Princesses and increasing number of big-name guest stars. Some foreign Disney channels even took notice of this and placed it not only on the Disney Junior block, but outside of it.
    • In Spain, the show is sandwiched between Violetta and My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Marathons containing the show are frequently run outside of Disney Junior, one such example being "Una Noche Bella", which aired the Belle episode of Sofia and Beauty and the Beast: Belle's Magical World during the evening. France's Disney Channel also ran episodes on weeknights for a short time during summer 2014.
    • And speaking of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, it's also quite popular with little boys. Show creator Craig Gerber stated in a piece for Huffington Post that he specifically wanted Sofia to be a hero for his own son; he was inspired after a not-so-good encounter in a Target store when he was buying his son a Dora the Explorer DVD. Needless to say, he's succeeded greatly in his mission, with certain episodes even smashing traditional gender roles.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: This is probably the closest thing we'll get to a Western cartoon adaptation of Kilala Princess, as well as almost all the low-shelf Disney Princess games Disney's released over the years centering around a young girl avatar interacting with the princesses in a fantasy setting.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song:
    • "Rise and Shine" sounds very similar to "When Will My Life Begin" from Tangled on some notes.
    • Sofia's leitmotif resembles the opening notes to "I See The Light" as well.
    • The end of "A Little Bit of Food" has a few notes that sounds like the beginning of a Wheel of Fortune puzzle. Make of that what you will...
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Gwen the inventor only appeared in the episode "Gizmo Gwen" and never appeared again afterward note . Wouldn’t it have been fascinating if she appeared more and she had used more of her inventions to help Sofia with her adventures from time to time?
    • A lot of villains who only appeared once or twice in the series, vowed to return for their revenge, but they never did.
      • Slickwell only appeared in one episode and following his defeat, he vowed to return. Unfortunately, Slickwell never appeared again.
      • Not even villains who appeared twice were immune to this (ex.: Mamanu, Sir Oliver). Despite vowing revenge following their second defeats, they never appeared again.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • "Sofia The Second" isn't quite as clever a title as "Sofia The Worst", especially since Sofia's self-created Evil Twin actually says it in the episode!
    • Between "Hexley Hall" and "Day of the Sorcerers" there were only two episodes, both of which involved a new magical person coming to Royal Prep as a teacher (one of them, Baron Von Rocha, being a villain, the other one, Mr. P, not being one). Then in "Day of the Sorcerers", Grimtrix, the villain from "Hexley Hall", gathers many sorcerers seen previously in the series together for a plan where all of them can overtake their respective kingdoms, one of the sorcerers being Baron Von Rocha from "The Princess Prodigy", the episode that had immediately followed "Hexley Hall". It seems like there could have been a longer Story Arc here with all the sorcerers infiltrating Enchancia one by one until Grimtrix called them all together for the finale, which not only would've allowed more breathing room in between appearances by the likes of Grimtrix and Von Rocha, and would've given characters like Morgana and Graylock more time, but it would've made a bigger event out of the episode where Sofia finally learns that Cedric is a villain with aspirations to dominate the kingdom who's been after her amulet since the start of the series and also the episode where Cedric makes his Heel–Face Turn.
    • Season Four introduces the Wicked Nine, nine artifacts belonging to famed Disney Villains, as a plot point. Prisma seeks to collect them all in order to restore herself to full power unaware that the spirit of Vor within her locket is actually using her so that she can restore her magic ring from the pieces sealed within the Wicked Nine and take physical form again. After failing to get Shan Yu's sword and Maleficent's spindle, Prisma obtains Queen Grimhilde's crown with help from Wormwood, establishing an arc where sometimes The Bad Guy Wins. One would think that afterwards, the other six items would get episodes focused on them before it's time for this arc to end. Instead, only one more item gets an episode in which Prisma isn't even present. And then in the series finale, we see that the Protectors retrieved the Crown from Prisma off-screen and now have all the Wicked Nine locked up in a vault that Prisma just uses the Necessi-Key she stole from Sofia to get into. Seems like the Wicked Nine was something the writers ran out of time for and just rushed a conclusion for it in the first half hour of the Grand Finale so that Vor could regain her ring and free herself from the locket.
      • It may not justify everything, but this tweet does explain some things on certain events being either put off or glossed over. While the show became more serialized, it's still a Disney Junior show, and thus has to maintain a sense of optimism and lightheartedness, hence why every episode either has a straight up happy ending or has a bittersweet ending with the happy elements given more emphasis, hence why something like "Day Of The Sorcerers" ends with Enchancia saved while everyone else is saved offscreen to keep the show lighthearted, or how "In Cedric We Trust" ends with Cedric and Roland making amends even when Prisma got what she wanted. When you think of some other shows that became more serialized, they're aimed for older kids, and can thus be more open about the effects and not always go for a happy ending or at least not always emphasize the good elements. This method mentioned has also carried over to other younger skewing kids shows that became more serialized, where they cannot be openly dark, and must have a type of happy ending, which is simply the case here.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • The character designs can look a bit creepy at times. In particular, the ones that try to look more realistic than stylized and cartoony... such as Meg and Peg in "The Buttercups".
    • The wishing well in "When You Wish Upon a Well" has a creepy robotic face and its calm, soothing voice makes it even worse.
  • Unexpected Character:
    • Olaf's the first non-princess character to make an appearance in the show.
    • Merlin from The Sword in the Stone also ends up guest-starring in an episode as well and then reappearing in two later episodes as well.
    • The Series Finale revealing that the show takes place in the same universe as Peter Pan.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Crackle in "Bad Little Dragon". Yes, she was the one who stopped Crispy and had been wrongly framed by him multiple times, but she does come across as a little excessively jealous before Crispy's true nature was revealed, despite the fact that Vivian just adopted Crispy, who is pretending to be a cute baby, and thus would naturally feel more attached to him at first. Also, when Vivian makes Crackle sleep outside for the night (in her dragon home) after Crispy frames her for scorching Vivian's mandolin, Crackle is willing to leave despite knowing of his true nature and plans to rob the castle's treasury instead of working to prove her innocence.
    • Ruby and Jade in "Four's a Crowd". It was really nice of them to make friends with Amber after a rocky start in "The Big Sleepover", but in the process, they're insensitive to Sofia, who invited them to join her and Amber in the Flylight Pageant in the first place. They completely ignore her and don't let her join in their fun, and they don't even notice how hurt she is when they teach Amber their handclap—and when Sofia reveals in the climax how she felt, Ruby and Jade don't even apologize to her.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: Cedric's Jerkass Woobie status, surprisingly extensive Character Development, and a delightfully hammy performance from Jess Harnell have made him a major show favorite, especially with older fans.
  • The Un-Twist: In "The Tale of the Noble Knight", the character who's set up as the Noble Knight actually isn't. However, this is painfully obvious within seconds of meeting the guy and listening to his insufferably boastful song, yet the truth doesn't get formally revealed into the third act of the episode.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • Sure, Cedric, give Sofia a spell that will make everyone go to sleep in the ballroom while you're in there as well. What could possibly go wrong? Also counts as Didn't Think This Through.
    • Even knowing the amulet curses users as punishment for bad deeds, Cedric isn't worried about it happening to him if he ever gets it. Thus, when he finally gets the Amulet in "Cedric Be Good", he's honestly surprised that itnote  considers taking over the kingdom a bad deed.
    • In "The Floating Palace", when Sofia spots a mermaid (named Oona) watching her from behind a large rock, Oona dives back under the surface. Keep in mind she has absolutely no reason to trust Sofia at this point, was raised to mistrust humans in general, and wears an extremely powerful magical relic on her headnote . What does Oona do next? Why she breaks the surface again, of course! Except even closer to Sofia and with zero cover! She gets spotted again and the cycle repeats one more time, this time tangled in a line and within Sofia's reach. If Sofia wasn't such a good person...note 
    • Sofia has the Protectors store the Wicked Nine, items of Disney Villains that can combine to create "unspeakable power" in an area Prisma can reach. Guess what happens?
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?:
    • The finale reveals that Roland's first wife died giving birth to Amber and James, and Roland's wish on the wishing well for a family caused it.
    • In the backdoor pilot for Elena of Avalor, you have Elena witnessing Shuriki murder her parents and being trapped in Sofia's amulet for the next forty years while having no idea what happened to her other family members, the worst part being her same-aged cousin Esteban being an old man who had to live those forty years without his family and working for Shuriki. Elena also explicitly tries to kill Shuriki later out of revenge.
  • The Woobie:
    • Let's just say that you will feel sorry for Sofia whenever something bad happens to her.
    • In "Through the Looking Back Glass", Cedric officially crosses from Jerkass Woobie into full-blown Woobie, with the incident that started all his woes and the tragic irony behind it being revealed.
    • Chrysta earns this status as of "The Mystic Isles: A Very Mystic Wassailia". The reason she always takes part in protector duties on Wassailia is because she doesn't have any family to spend Wassailia with, and does a little activity at each stop to bring a little joy to herself.


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