Diary of a Wimpy Kid

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A series of graphic novels by Jeff Kinney based off his webcomic of the same name, aimed at kids around the age of 12 years old. They tell the story of Greg Heffley, a self-proclaimed "wimpy kid" attempting to navigate the pitfalls and perils of middle school life. The books are presented as Greg's journals. Befitting a child's diary, they are filled with handwritten notes and stick drawings of his daily adventures.

Greg's family includes his mother, Susan; his father, Frank, and his two brothers, Rodrick and Manny. Rodrick is older and often picks on Greg, whilst Manny is the baby of the family who can get away with anything. Other kids in the neighborhood include Greg's friend Rowley, and the creepy kid Fregley, who lives down the block.

The books to date are:

  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2007)
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid -- Rodrick Rules (2008)
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid -- The Last Straw (2009)
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid -- Dog Days (2009)
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid -- The Ugly Truth (2010)
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid -- Cabin Fever (2011)

To date, there have been movie adaptations of:

  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010)
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid -- Rodrick Rules (2011)
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid -- Dog Days (2012)

There is also a Do-It-Yourself Book (2008; expanded in 2011) and, tying in with the 2010 film adaptation of the first book, a Movie Diary (also updated in '11 when the second book was filmed).

Tropes used in Diary of a Wimpy Kid include:


  • A Boy and His X: A boy and his journal. JOURNAL.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Rodrick, all the way. Whoa-oh!
  • Adaptation Expansion: Especially in the second movie. In the books, at Rodrick's Wild Teen Party, Greg is locked in the basement all night until Rodrick needs help cleaning up from it. In the movie, Rodrick locks Greg in the basement, only for him to find a phone down there and call Rowley to come rescue him. When his parents call, Greg threatens to tell their parents about the secret party if Rodrick doesn't let him out, so Rodrick lets him out. Also in the book, their parents don't find out until they go through the camera and see a picture accidentally taken of the party, in the movie however their mom finds out when a bathroom door they had to replace has no lock on it.
  • A Movie In The Limelight: The second movie for Rodrick. It even has his name in the title.
  • Adorkable: Greg.
  • Adults Are Useless: Most of the grownups in the books are idiots, to put it lightly. It's not only a genre trait of school-themed works, but also from the point of view of a teen. Greg's mom is arguably the most useful...but she's just out of touch.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: "Chicks dig bad boys."
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Pretty much everyone's parents, although since Greg is the narrator his parents' antics get the spotlight most often.
    • Subverted to the point where it actually helps Rowley's image out in the film.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Sometimes, Rowley's actions are a bit suspect, especially with Greg. You'd think that a 12-year old boy would realize that sharing a "Best Friends" locket (in the shape of a heart) with another 12-year old boy would be weird or realize that being a fan of a rather effeminate pop singer isn't exactly manly. It could be argued that he's just completely unaware of these things considering that he is a Cloudcuckoolander and is completely sheltered, however.
    • Heck, Greg himself has his moments... a lot of moments. However, his frequent crushes on girls push him safely into Camp Straight territory.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: MANNY. He would not survive in most families without being physically tortured as retribution; add in Parental Favoritism and you got the perfect recipe for Cain and Abel.
  • Anti-Hero: Greg is a Type III/IV, also with strong elements of a Type I.
  • Art Evolution: The art used in the novels is less sketchy than the one in the webcomic.
  • Art Shift: In the movies, sometimes the perspective will change from live-action to animated versions of the book illustrations.
  • You Fail Biology Forever: Greg stated that the moose, along with humans, evolved from birds in his Science Project. The teacher was not amused.
  • You Fail History Forever: Rodrick.

Dad: Well, for starters, Benjamin Franklin didn't fight in Vietnam...

  • Ascended Extra: Diary of a Wimpy Kid itself. It used to be a very obscure webcomic on a site meant for elementary school age kids (specifically Funbrain.com). Now it's a wildly popular 6-book series with two movies, a third in the making, and more books to come.
  • Berserk Button: Do NOT make the gym teacher drop his groceries.
  • Big Brother Bully: This trope could practically be called "The Rodrick".
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Rodrick.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family: The Heffleys are definitely not a stable family. Frank's a Jerkass and Bumbling Dad, Susan's absolutely oblivious to how teenagers are nowadays, Rodrick's a step away from dropping out of school, Manny can't seem to stay in school and Greg is a slacker who could very well end up like Rodrick. The rest of the family isn't that much stable either.
  • Bile Fascination: In-Universe - Greg and his dad can't resist reading the dreadful comic Li'l Cutie (a parody of The Family Circus) just to see how bad it is. (One of the captions for a Li'l Cutie comic was, "Daddy, is rain just God sweating?")
  • Bishonen: Rowley's favourite singer, Joshie, is more or less described as being one of the sort. Emphasized in The Ugly Truth when Rowley goes to a Joshie concert and notices that he is the only boy in the audience.
  • Black Bead Eyes
  • Black Sheep: Several members of the extended family; especially Gary who is explained as having been married at least four times.
  • Blatant Lies:

Frank: (displaying a photo of Rodrick's party on the TV screen) Can you explain what you're doing in this photo?
Rodrick: That's not me.
Frank: (lowers eyes) That's not you?
(beat)
Rodrick: (averts eyes) Nope.

  • Blind Without'Em: Patty Ferrell. Greg is also revealed to be one in the third book (he wears contact lenses).
  • Brick Joke: There's a picture in The Last Straw that reveals that Greg once turned in a book report 4 pages long (cover included), and only a few sentences long because he took up more than half of the last page writing "THE END" in big letters, using the excuse that he was running out of paper. That spoiler-tagged part comes up at the end when Greg admits that he was ending his story on sort of a generic happy ending note, but he admits that he's running out of paper...
  • Bridal Carry: In the second movie, Greg's dad has to do this to him while in the middle of a roller-skating rink.
  • Brilliant but Lazy: A lot of Greg's problems in school would be avoided if he wasn't so lazy.
  • Broken Aesop: The Be Yourself video in the first book, which is lampshaded.
  • Bumbling Dad: The father seems to act rather old for his age...and we mean like an 80-year-old. Except for the fact that he hates Li'l Cutie.
  • Bumbling Sidekick: Rowley
  • Butt Monkey/Iron Butt Monkey: Any boy in Greg's year that isn't popular (ie. anybody who's not Bryce Anderson and his flunkies), it's just that we see Greg being a Butt Monkey the most since it is told from his point of view.
  • Character Development: Throughout the books, Rowley learns to stand up for himself and grow a spine instead of blindly following people.
  • Charlie Brown Baldness: The way Greg draws himself and Rodrick. This is untrue for the movie, however.
  • Chekhov's Gift: In book 4, Greg gets a "Ladybug", a phone that can only call home and 911, for his birthday. At the end, he calls 911 with it because he thought Frank was going to sell him (It Makes Sense in Context).
  • Chekhov's Gun: The muddy hand in the 4th book.
    • Don't forget...THE CHEESE!!! in Book 1.
    • The picture on the very first page[1] in the 5th book.
  • The Chew Toy: Greg is such a Chew Toy he could give Charlie Brown and Al Bundy a run for their money.
  • Child-Hater: Aunt Cakey. Dear God, Aunt Cakey. [2]
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Trista, a girl from New Mexico was introduced and set up to be a major character at the end of The Last Straw. After a brief appearance in Dog Days, she's never heard from again. Justified since she ditched Rowley and Greg at the country club in the summer between the end of The Last Straw and the beginning of Dog Days.
    • Aunt Cakey. Made an early appearance in the webcomic, disappeared from it and never appeared in any of the other media.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Fregley is this to the point where he gives Osaka a run for her money in the weirdness department. Rowley is a less extreme example.
  • Clueless Chick Magnet: Rowley. He doesn't seem to be all that interested in girls, yet in Rodrick Rules he's managed to socialize with some of the most popular girls in his year.
  • Cool Big Bro: Rodrick can be this when he wants to.
  • Cool Loser: Subverted. Greg wants to be seen as such by others (the reader included), but most will tell you that Greg is pretty much a dork.
  • Comes Great Responsibility: Spoken by the Safety Patrol teacher in the film version.
  • Completely Missing the Point: Greg feels that the girls and Rowley did this in regards to the egg sitting project.
  • Contemptible Cover: Greg's comment on the cover of the fantasy novel Shadowdoom, a cover that features a female barbarian warrior in a Chainmail Bikini:

Greg: I've read Shadowdoom, and from what I can remember there aren't even any women in the story. In fact, I kind of wonder if the person who designed the cover even read the book.

  • Covers Always Lie: The Ugly Truth. Greg is seen with his egg that he has during the brief Egg Sitting plot. It goes on for two journal entries, has no impact on the plot, and is never mentioned again.
  • Crapsack World
  • Creator Breakdown: In the first book, the school newspaper needs a new cartoonist after the kid who drew Wacky Dawg starts using it to handle his "personal business".
  • Creepy Doll: Greg's lost Alfrendo baby doll from the 6th book. It Got Worse when Greg found it again.
  • Cringe Comedy: From start to finish, each book is filled with it.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Greg but his dad isn't really far behind him in levels of snarkiness.
  • Death by Newbery Medal: Greg is aware of this trope. When his mom tries to organize a summer reading club in Dog Days and assigns him Charlotte's Web, he predicts that either the girl or the pig pictured on the cover won't live to the end of the book. He never learns he's wrong -- it's Charlotte the spider who dies -- because he only gets three chapters into it.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: In the movie when Rodrick catches Greg and Rowley in his room, Rowley clings to Rodrick's leg to hold him off.
  • Demoted to Extra: Manny and Patty in the second movie.
  • Did Not Do the Research: Rodrick is usually guilty of this whenever he has homework.

Dad: Well for starters, Abraham Lincoln didn't write "To Kill a Mockingbird".

Greg: (Dad is standing up in the canoe and about to hit his head on a tree branch) Duck! Duck!
Dad: (looking through binoculars) Where? Where?

  • Dumbass Has a Point: The very few times Rowley calls out Greg for being unfair, he's completely right.
  • Eye Scream: In the webcomic, Greg's pet angelfish has its eyes ripped out by Rodrick's fish. [1]
  • Egg Sitting: Used for a mini-plot in The Ugly Truth. All the boys break their eggs except for Greg and Rowley; Greg's mom accidentally scrambles his egg for breakfast.
  • Embarrassing Old Photo: Used a lot actually. There is a time in which Rodrick had a high-school yearbook that had his second grade picture instead of his seventh, due to a screw up on the part of Greg's dad.
  • Estrogen Brigade Bait: Rodrick, in the movies.
  • The European Carry All: Greg states that he doesn't want to take Home Ec. 2, even though he was pretty good at Home Ec. 1, because this kept happening:

Kid 1: Hey, look, Greg has a purse!
Greg: Actually, it's an embroidered bookbag.
Kid 2: Okay, Pursie.

  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": "Nasty Pants" in the 6th book.
    • It's implied that that's actually his name, however, as Greg calls his mother "Mrs. Pants".
  • Exact Words: In Rodrick Rules, Rodrick drives Greg home, but makes him ride in the back. He then slams on the brakes each time that Greg hits his head. The next time Rodrick drives Greg, Greg asks him to please go easy on the brakes. What does Rodrick do? Say "okay", but then go over every speed bump he can.
  • The Faceless: A character in the webcomic named Herbie Meaner. He's the leader of a gang of bullies and pretty much the reason why no sane kid in Greg's school stays on the basketball courts past 3:00.
  • False Reassurance: Deny, deny, deny.
  • Fat Best Friend: Rowley.
  • Film of the Book: Actually, film of the book of the webcomic.
  • First-Person Smartass
  • Flanderization: Rowley was simply gullible and slow on the uptake before becoming the Adult Child.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: In-universe, the movie about the muddy hand. The last person who sees the hand is always the next victim. At the end of the movie, the hand crawls straight towards the screen, implying that Greg and Rowley are the next victims. This kept them nervous and paranoid for the rest of the book.
  • Funny Foreigner: Chirag.
  • Gaslighting: In 'Cabin Fever', Greg believes Rodrick was doing this to him with the Santa Scout.
  • Generation Xerox: In The Ugly Truth, it turns out that Greg looks exactly like Frank's cousin, Terrence. He's not happy about it.
  • Genre Savvy: Greg knows that most classics his mom will force him to read will have the Death by Newbery Medal trope. He does mess up on one prediction, though. He says that because Charlotte's Web is a "Classic", either the girl or the pig won't make it to the end of the book. He doesn't know this because he doesn't finish it.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • In the first film, the "girls and motorcycles" magazine is probably standing in for something a little more raunchy.
    • At the party in the second film, everyone's drinking out of red cups - standard for beer, IRL.
    • There's this exchange from "The Last Straw"

Manny: Wipe my heinie, Pootie!

  • Gentle Giant: Rowley.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Greg's mom tells him that if he lies again he'll be grounded for a month. The result? Greg starts to use Brutal Honesty.
  • G-Rated Drug: The energy drink Rowdy Riot (see Does This Remind You of Anything? above for details).
  • Heävy Mëtal Ümlaut/Myspeld Rokband: Rodrick's band is called Löded Diper (although Greg remarks that his brother probably doesn't know how to spell "Loaded Diaper" anyway).
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Greg.
  • Hood Ornament Hottie: Referenced. Manny gets ahold of one of Rodrick's magazines, which Greg mentions has a picture of a woman in a bikini spread out on the hood of a car on the cover. Manny brings it to show-and-tell Although Greg said it was "nothing to get worked up over", their mother is not pleased.
  • Horrible Camping Trip: In The Last Straw, the father-son Boy Scout trip is a wash for Greg and his dad after the first night. And it's not even Greg's fault!
  • Humiliation Conga: Greg suffers one at the beginning of the second movie, which finishes with him falling into a cake and subsequently getting beaten up by the irate birthday girl and her friends.
  • Hype Backlash: In-Universe in the webcomic; Gregory is shown as being incredibly anxious to play a video game called "Twisted Wizard 2" and then says it's the lamest game ever made.
  • Hypocritical Humour: Greg gets an honourable mention in a contest for anti-smoking posters. The person who won first prize smokes at least a pack of cigarettes a day.
  • I Do Not Like Green Eggs and Ham: When Rodrick tells Greg that Rowley's new babysitter Leland is the biggest nerd in high school, Greg is reluctant to play Dungeons & Dragons [3]. Subverted in the fact that while Greg actually likes D&D, he agrees with Rodrick that Leland is a nerd.
  • Ignoring by Singing: In the third book, when Greg and Rowley are being driven to a roller skating rink to impress Holly Hills and Susan overhears the conversation:
  • I Got a Rock: Each year, for Christmases and his birthdays, Greg gets nothing but clothes and books.
  • Insistent Terminology: It's not a diary, it's a journal, get it right.
  • Jerkass: Let's just say that Rodrick would drive anyone to commit fratricide. He ALWAYS abuses his brother for no good reason (and it goes way beyond the normal siblings-pick-on-one-another thing), and he never gets in trouble for it. He also has NEVER been nice to Greg ONCE in the book. Even when Greg does something really nice for him at the end of Rodrick Rules, he doesn't ease up, even for a bit.
      • Well, he did teach Greg the "tie your trash bag near the bottom" trick when the two of them had to rake leaves. Greg himself even comments that "this is what older brothers are supposed to teach you."
    • Greg's dad also is a pretty big one. He is VERY mean to his kids (although not to the extent of Abusive Parents) and has NEVER shown one bit of love to Greg, unless you count him not sending him to military school. And even THAT was only after Greg's wimpiness helped him.
    • Aunt Cakey in the webcomic. Even though it's Manny she's responding to, passing off his displays of affection as a sign that he needs speech therapy is pretty cold.
    • Greg himself. When he and Rowley often try to accomplish tasks together, he usually makes him do all of the work. Also, there's his treatment of Chirag Gupta and pelting Patty Farrell with apples.
      • The movie makes this a little more justified, by portraying Patty Farrell as an Alpha Bitch who is stuck on an insult he did in kindergarten.
  • Jerk Jock: Subverted with Bryce Anderson. Greg tries his best to make him seem like one, but so far there's no real evidence that Bryce is one of these.
  • Just Following Orders: When Greg's mom wants Greg to no longer lie, he tells every single truth to the fact a 200 pound kid can't play basketball due to weight, to making his Mom stand in the rain to say she's not in the house in the second movie.
  • Karma Houdini: Rodrick. He NEVER gets punished for bullying Greg and not one bad thing has happened to him due to him doing said bullying. Manny as well as he is always screwing things up.
    • Greg himself once, in a flashback when he wrote very rude anonymous Valentine's Day cards to everyone in his class (case in point: "Dear James, you smell.") He was Genre Savvy enough to write a card for himself so the teacher wouldn't suspect him. It worked.
  • Kiddie Kid Greg's best friend Rowley acts like a seven-year-old. It's justified by the fact that he's extremely sheltered because of his overprotective parents.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Well, this is Middle School, after all. Keep in mind that Greg himself isn't above doing such middle school cruelty. Chirag Gupta will tell you that first hand.
  • Kids Shouldn't Watch Horror Films: In Dog Days, Greg and Rowley watch a B-Movie called Hello, You're Dead that they found in Rodrick's room, featuring a muddy hand. Rowley has his eyes covered the whole movie. Greg doesn't find the movie all that scary...until the end, when the "muddy hand" crawls straight to the screen, meaning the "hand" is coming for the viewer next.
  • Large Ham: Rodrick in the movies.
  • Lean and Mean: Greg and Rodrick.
  • Loud of War: When Rodrick's garage band attracts loitering teenagers, Greg's dad fights back by playing classical music from a boom box in the window.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: Devon Bostick, who plays Rodrick.
  • Memetic Mutation: In-Universe example: The local news channel captures Greg's mom dancing while taping Loded Diper's performance. After being uploaded to the internet, the video is dubbed "The Dancing Mom video".
  • Middle Child Syndrome: Oh my god, Greg.
  • Multiple Choice Form Letter: Greg does this in the first book, typing out his Christmas cards on the computer with parts missing so he could just fill in the necessary adjustments to it later. (It doesn't work completely well though, such as when he fills out a thank you card for a new pair of pants and he has to say that all is friends would be jealous of it or that he likes how it looks on his legs).
  • Noodle Incident: Throughout The Ugly Truth Greg and Rowley avoid each other following a massive fight at the end of last summer (which was never shown in Dog Days.)
    • In Rodrick Rules Greg has often talked about how Rodrick is black mailing him with an embarassing secret that isn't revealed until the end of the book. He got stuck in the woman's bathroom at the old folks home.
  • Noodle People: Everyone.
  • Nightmare Fuel / Paranoia Fuel: Mild example-in the webseries, Greg stays with a relative and complains over how boring it is. He then tells a story where him and Rodrick find an old board game at said relative's house. They open to find out that it was filled with spiders. Greg has a hard time opening boxes after that.
    • Another in-universe example: In Dog Days, Greg watches an old B-Movie about a muddy hand who kills the person who sees it right after it kills someone else. The last shot of the movie implies that the hand will go after the viewer next, causing Greg throughout the rest of the book to try to prevent a muddy hand attack.
    • Yet another in-universe example of Nightmare Fuel occurs when a younger Greg gets scared because the author of a children's book looks scary to him. His father uses this to his advantage by telling him if he gets out of bed he's run into the guy in the hall. Greg still doesn't leave his bed at night.
  • Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book / Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Played with when Greg has to draw what he thinks teenagers would draw after watching violent horror movies (as part of Rodrick's science project). Played straight when Manny accidentally watches one of the movies from the same project, then draws a bunch of pictures that scare Greg when he finds them. (It's never explicitly stated that the movie actually scared Manny; in fact, the picture in the book just shows him looking at the TV confused.)
  • Only Child Syndrome: Rowley. In the fourth book and in the webcomic, when Rowley has a nightmare, his parents rush to his aid and ignore that Greg was thrown on his face.
  • Parental Favoritism: Greg's parents clearly favor Manny, to the point where he'd pretty be a Spoiled Brat. Manny is allowed to get his way, such as throwing tantrums over minor things like how his sandwich wasn't cut the right way. And his parents let him do it.
    • Manny is also Gramma's favorite (all you need to do is look on her fridge for proof), to the point where everyone in the family (yes, even Susan) is aware of it.
    • Grandpa, however, will tell you straight up who his favorite is.

Grandpa: Gregory is my favorite!

  • Parental Obliviousness: Susan seems to be completely unaware of modern teenage behaviour.
  • 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".
    • An in-universe example: Rowley's favorite musician is a European singer named "Joshie", but Greg looks at the album cover and immediately tells Rowley that Joshie's music is more than likely targeted at eight-year old girls. More or less confirmed in the 5th book, when Rowley talks about the time when he went to a Joshie concert and is the only boy at the concert.
      • And the only one over 10, to boot.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Greg and Rodrick.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Zig-Zagged. Greg's mom doesn't appear to have a job, but he mentions that she runs an article in the newspaper, and it's implied she might have been a therapist (but one for younger kids if anything) but is implied to go to school. Otherwise...she's not really doing anything. Greg's dad escapes this because they don't mention what he does, only that he takes a carpool.
    • Not to mention, this is arguably a case of Fridge Brilliance - it's told from Greg's point of view. What would he know about what his parents do on a day-by-day basis?
  • Poor Communication Kills: Several things could have been avoided if Greg just told people what was going on.
    • In The Ugly Truth, this is what pretty much leads to Uncle Gary's second divorce.

Lydia: I've got about thirty thousand in the bank.
Gary: And I've got forty-five!
Greg: As it turns out, Uncle Gary only had forty-five dollars, not forty-five thousand.

  • Porn Stash: While Rodrick's magazine as seen would be sold right out on the open shelves in any store, his mother treats it as such.
  • Potty Dance: Fregley does this, while screaming "JUUUIIICE!"
  • Potty Failure: Revealed in Cabin Fever that Greg had a bed-wetting calender when he was eight.
  • Pottery Barn Poor
  • The Quiet One: Manny and Rowley.
  • Retraux: In the film version, "It's Awesome to Be Me" was done as something from 1980s.
  • Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: Greg's mom forces Rodrick to play Dungeons & Dragons with Greg. On the very first turn, Rodrick [the DM] declares that everyone fell into a hole and died.

Rodrick: You and your group of nerds fall into a pit and it's full of dynamite and you blow up. The end.

  • Sadist Show: The books rely heavily on misfortune and the misery of everyone, but since it's Greg's diary, we see most of his misfortune and misery.
  • School Play: In the first book, Greg's school puts on a production of The Wizard of Oz. It does not end well.
  • Shout-Out: To Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing: in Dog Days, Greg and his family have a Father's Day brunch. Dad tells the story of his dog Nutty running away to a butterfly farm when he was a kid, and Grandpa reveals that Nutty didn't actually run away to a butterfly farm; he was accidentally run over by Grandpa's car. Angry, Dad leaves Grandpa with the brunch bill, goes out and buys a dog. Rodrick suggests that the dog's name be Turtle.
  • Serious Business: Bingo, for the old ladies that Greg's grandma hangs out with. They use things like lucky blotters and Bingo Trolls and whatnot when they play. ("One of Gramma's friends is so good she memorizes all her cards and she doesn't even NEED to use a blotter to mark them off.")
    • At one point, Greg accidentally calls out Bingo when he doesn't have the matching numbers and a rival table sends out one of their own to intimidate Greg because they don't like it when newbies win on their first night. Serious Business indeed.
  • Slice of Life
  • So Proud of You: Averted somewhat.
  • Spartan Sibling: Rodrick has it in for Greg.
  • Stealth Pun: On page 52 of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, there's a picture of a guy with a hockey mask and a chainsaw chasing Greg and Rowley with the written sound effect "RRRRRRRRRRRRR!" (with exactly 13 "R"s).
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Greg and Rodrick in the movies.
  • Stupid Good: In-Universe, Greg's mom plays Dungeons & Dragons this way. For example, her solution to the party being attacked by a band of orcs is to give the orcs all of the players' food. She then gets the idea that the game is a good way to teach Greg and Rodrick to get along better.
  • Stylistic Suck: "Li'l Cutie". Oh, dear lord. "Daddy, is rain just God sweating?"
  • Symbol Swearing: Rodrick does this when he drops a glass on the floor and it breaks. Manny imitates him.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: In-Universe example: Li'l Cutie.
  • Take That:
    • Li'l Cutie is pretty much a Take That parody of The Family Circus.
    • Precious Poochie could be a subtle Take That toward Peanuts. The two strips are not alike (Precious Poochie is shown sitting on a phonograph thinking "I just can't seem...to figger out...what's all the fuss...over these...new-fangled...phonograph devices!"), but both are being run in papers despite the author having died years ago. Whenever the newspaper tries to replace it with something fresh, the strip's elderly fans protest.
    • Sherlock Sammy is a Take That parody towards " Encyclopedia Brown". It's described as they are all the same where some adult commits a small crime, makes some stupid mistake, and then Sherlock Sammy solves it and then makes the adult look like an idiot. ("Your first problem was that you forgot to convert Fahrenheit to Celsius!")
      • In the webcomic, he actually names Encyclopedia Brown.
  • Teens Are Monsters: This is a school.
  • Title Drop: A partial one in the second movie when one of Rodrick's friends scribbles "Rodrick Rules" on the Heffleys' bathroom door.
  • This Loser Is You: The readers are meant to identify with Greg, who is not only a self-proclaimed "wimpy kid", but who regularly gets tormented from the bigger kids around him and hangs out with the likes of Rowley and Fregley.
  • TMI: Gregory makes a comic strip telling people not to talk about that sorta stuff in public.
  • Toilet Humour: Used a lot. For instance, Greg's secret in the second book.
  • Too Dumb to Live: After Greg and Rodrick buy fish from a pet store (an angelfish and a very aggressive, carnivorous fish, respectively), Rodrick never bothers to feed his fish or clean the bowl (it lives off the algae growing in the inside of the bowl). Greg's mom sees this and finds it to be gross, so she puts Rodrick's fish in Greg's fish's bowl. You can guess what happens from there.
  • Totally Radical: Parodied when Greg receives a book for Christmas called Math is Rad. "It'll help you get a jump-start on algebra!"
  • The Swear Jar: Susan sets one up because Manny is learning too many bad words from Rodrick and Greg. And Manny gets the money.
  • The Unfavourite: Rodrick and Greg, Rodrick moreso than Greg (not by much though).
  • Token Not-An-Anti-Hero Family Member: Susan. She's the only one who isn't a total Jerkass in the family.
  • Took a Level In Kindness: Rodrick is way better in the second movie than the book (well, most of it).
  • Unreliable Narrator: An example where it's Played for Laughs. One good example is during Ugly Truth, Greg says that they got a good thing going whereas Rowley is shown pulling Greg up the hill.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Greg. Boy howdy, Greg.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Greg and Rodrick have their own special language that allows them to swear at each other without getting in trouble (e.g. "Spooky stork!" "Squishy slime stick!" "Raspberry plastic tickle bear!").
    • Ploopy.
    • Fregley's cries of "JUUUIIICE!" when he has to use the bathroom.
  • Wild Teen Party: Rodrick throws one of these in Rodrick Rules when Frank and Susan leave. (When the parents take another weekend trip in The Ugly Truth, they have the boys' grandfather babysit all of them so this won't happen again.)
  • What Does She See in Him?: One's a snarky, Jerkass, grumpy, bumbling dad who hates teenagers, heavy metal, video games and only wants to toughen up his middle child while get rid of his eldest child. The other is a former kindergarten teacher who's a gentle, caring, well-meaning Moral Guardian mother who dances to heavy metal, loves her family for the way they are, the only thing wishing for them to be is more like a family and genuinely tries to do the best for her sons (though it's often lost because of her inability to understand the fact that problems teens face can't really be solved with methods used to solve problems for kindergarteners). They're married. Tropers, we present to you, Frank and Susan Heffley.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The "Holiday Bazzar" in book 6 was never mentioned again after the signs were hung up.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: In Rodrick Rules (the movie), Chirag dresses up as Holly to play a prank on Greg.
  • You Are a Tree Charlie Brown: Greg is a tree in his school's production of The Wizard of Oz. Subverted in that he wanted this role, in part because he didn't want to be in the show but was forced to audition by his mom.
    • Another student ends up with the role of a shrub. He ends up delaying the start of the play due to stage fright. Greg even comments on how ridiculous the whole situation was.

Greg: You'd think that someone whose job it was to sit on the stage and do nothing could just suck it up for one performance.

    • In the movie adaptation, Greg wanted a main role in the play to make Rowley jealous. He can sing extremley well, but he's a male soprano. The theatre director said the only soprano parts in the play were Dorothy (he quickly made her drop that idea) and the Trees.
  • You Are Grounded: Well duh! Who wasn't grounded as a teenager?
  • Youngest Child Wins: Only in that Manny winds up getting treated much better than his siblings.
  1. As in even before the title and dedication
  2. You won't find her in any of the books. She's only in the webcomic.
  3. in the books it's Magic and Monsters, likely due to copyright restrictions