El Chavo del Ocho

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

"¡Tenía que ser El Chavo del Ocho!" ("It had to be El Chavo del Ocho!")

El Chavo del Ocho is a legendary Mexican Sitcom (and staple of popular culture) about a little orphan boy and his quirky neighborhood. Famous for casting adults as little children, this lets the show get away with having many rather awful things happen to the kids without it being too horrifying, since they're really adults and playing parodies of kids, anyway.

The show was created by comedian Roberto Gomez Bolaños (whose artistic name was Chespirito, "Little Shakespeare"), along with other classic sketch characters like El Chapulin Colorado. Chespirito is considered by many to tie Cantinflas as Mexico's greatest comedian, and his sketch comedy shows are beloved amongst the entire Latin American population.

The show relies mostly on Bottle Episodes. Most of them take place in the main courtyard or patio of the "vecindad" (community houses) where almost all of the characters live. Sometimes, there are episodes where the kids are in school or some other location, like the often-mentioned but rarely-seen "other patio", or the small business some character owns.

The main ensemble consists of:

  • El Chavo: An always-hungry orphan boy, who seems to live in a barrel in the main yard (though this is actually the place where he hides when scared or upset - he used to live in the house number 8 until its owner died, now it's said that he sleeps at his neighbors'). Obssesed with ham sandwiches. It seems that no one takes care of him, and he survives with tips from menial jobs. Too clumsy for his own good, always hitting someone one way or another. Other characters either mock him for his perceived ugliness, or try to get advantage of his naiveté.
  • Quico (also written Kiko): A pampered and bratty kid with a mean streak. Fortunately, he is too dumb to cause real harm, or be a threat to begin with. Obsessed with getting a "square ball." Mocked for his gigantic cheeks, and his deep stupidity. Delights in one-upping Chavo; whenever he spots Chavo playing with a simple home-made toy, Quico will within moments show up with an obscenely flashy, store-bought version of the same.
  • La Chilindrina: A mischevious girl, who lives to get some advantage from others, even the adults. Identifiable by her twin pigtails, her glasses and her freckles. Mocked for her short height, and the fact that she is less pretty than other girls her age (and her attitude makes her looks worse). Named after a "freckled" Mexican pastry. By far the smartest kid in the show.
  • Don Ramón: A widower, Chilindrina's father, and laziness personified. Always owes 14 months of rent. Survives by doing odd jobs, which rarely last more than one episode. The Designated Victim of Doña Florinda, often makes El Chavo pay for it. Mocked for his very thin body, and his ugliness. Probably the character that most interacted with El Chavo, and their situations together are a source of much of the show's humor. Played by Ramón Valdés, one of a group of sibling comedians(along with El Loco Valdés and Tin Tan), Don Ramón is possibly the show's most popular character along with El Chavo and La Chilindrina.
  • Doña Florinda: A young widow who believes herself to be superior, both morally and monetarily, to her neighbors. The Alpha Bitch grown up, only fallen and with perpetual hair curlers. Pampers her son (Quico) to a ridiculous extent; she often defends him by slapping Don Ramón, whom she perceives as a child abuser. A perception caused by misunderstandings she would never allow him to clarify. Has a No Hugging, No Kissing romance with Profesor Jirafales.
  • Profesor Jirafales: The kids' elementary teacher, a very educated man with Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness. The Straight Man, with relatively little patience. Mocked for his height, is often callen "Maestro Longaniza" (which roughly translates as "teacher Longsausage"). His name is also a word play on the word jirafa(hee-rah-fah), meaning giraffe. Has a chaste relationship with Doña Florinda.
  • Sr. Barriga: The owner of the "vecindad", and often the Only Sane Man in the madness of the neighborhood. He is always, always hit by El Chavo, usually when arriving. A fat man, who is mocked for his obesity. His last name, Barriga, means "belly" in Spanish.
  • Doña Clotilde "la Bruja del 71": An old spinster, whose sense of fashion got stuck in the twenties. Lusts intensely after "Don Rrrrrrramón", but it goes unreciprocated. Her nickname, "The witch of (house) Number 71", alludes to the kids' perception that she is an evil witch. This, and her bad habit of naming her lap dogs with demonic monikers, only contributes to the confusion, leading to Three Is Company moments.

Other memorable characters include:

  • Godínez: Only appearing in the school episodes, he is an example of Obfuscating Stupidity. Rarely interested in the class and easily distracted. A fan favorite.
  • La Popis: Quico's cousin, she's not as stupid as him (nobody is), but decidedly ditzy, her recurring advice whenever someone was insulted by someone else was "tell on him to your mom!". When he and Chilindrina left the show, she took over their parts. Has a doll that serves as a foil for jokes.
  • Ñoño: (pronounced "Nyonyo") The son of Sr. Barriga, and as fat as his father (played by the same actor as well.) Very book smart and well-behaved. Since he has a stabler home and higher income than the neighborhood kids, he's portrayed as more naive than they are.
  • Patty: An on-and-off character, who represents the classic pretty girl. Often presented either as recently moved to the vecindad with her gorgeous aunt, or as the kids' schoolmate. In the "neigborhood" episodes, her beauty is more emphasized, but in the school episodes her ditzyness is.
  • Jaimito the mailman: An old mailman, often too tired to do his work. He was given a bicycle by the post office that hired him, which makes his work harder because he can't ride a bicycle and can't let his employers know it. Took Don Ramón's place in the later years. Initially sweet-natured and mildly senile, he eventually took on Don Ramón's less sympathetic characteristics when he became his Suspiciously Similar Substitute.

The show began in 1971, as a segment in a Sketch Comedy. In 1973, this segment got its own Half-Hour Comedy. The show proved to be very popular, and at its peak of popularity spawned a lot of merchandising. After TV special El Chavo en Acapulco, two major actors left the series, taking their characters with them because of licensing issues, which caused what many believe to be inferior quality episodes. Soon after, "El Chavo" and its sister show El Chapulin Colorado were merged into an hour-long sketch comedy show called "Chespirito" (fittingly, since they originated as sketches on the original "Chespirito" show). On "Chespirito", few new Chavo scripts were written, but restaging of old Chavo episodes were a regular feature on the show until Chespirito retired the character in 1992.

The show has been too difficult to translate, due to the nature of its very regional humor. The only exception is Brazil, where the show was renamed Chaves and got an over the top translation.

Depite its excessive regionalism, its lack of "sophistication" and its very dated appearance, the show is still very popular in syndication and has been a staple of TV channels in almost all Central and South American countries (And Spain) for years. Many people watch it for the nostalgia factor, but others watch because of a deep identification with the struggle of the characters. In Brazil, it is so popular that when the channel that broadcasted it tried to cut it from their schedule after almost twenty years of uninterrupted transmission, the public reacted with such outrage that they had to restore it almost immediately. There's also an anual El Chavo Fans Meeting.

The show is considered to be quite possibly the most beloved and successful comedy show in Latin American history; it's literally IMPOSSIBLE to go to any country in Latin America where this show was not shown. Part of its success was based on the social status of the characters: they were working poor who tried to make the best out of their lack of money and tried to lead decent, happy lives in spite of it. This attitude was embraced by the poor masses of Latin America, making the show a success. It was also successful for being a comedy show that was appropriate for all ages, yet still maintained a level of sharpness and sophistication that did not insult any audience.

Recently, El Chavo got an Animated Adaptation where, for first time, the kids are actually shorter than the adults. La Chilindrina does not appear here either, due to copyright disputes from her actress who owns the rights.

Tropes used in El Chavo del Ocho include:
  • Abhorrent Admirer: Doña Clotilde
  • Abuse Is Okay When It Is Female On Male: Lampshaded in many episodes.
  • Agony of the Feet: One episode revolved around Mr. Barriga having a painful corn in one of his feet. Hilarity ensued when the kids accidentally hurt his foot too many times! At the end of the episode, Don Ramón ended up having one, too.
  • An Aesop: Many fans of the show take Don Ramón's teachings by heart. Two famous examples: "Good people should love their enemies" (this touched even Doña Florinda's heart, go figure!), and "Revenge is never complete; it kills the soul and poisons it" (it's kind of like Gandhi's "an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind").
  • Animated Adaptation
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Doña Florinda is a master of this.
  • Artifact Title: The "del Ocho (8)" part of "El Chavo del Ocho" was there merely to promote the fact that the show aired on Canal 8 (Channel 8). At some point, the show moved to Canal 2 and the series title was shortened to "El Chavo", but the character was still mentioned with his "last name" in the show and an In-Universe reason was given that it meant he actually lived in the (never seen) Apartment 8, rather than the barrel he uses as hideout. In syndication, the title is always "El Chavo", yet the show is still most commonly known by the full name.
  • As Himself: The actors have often commented how Don Ramón was pretty much Ramón Valdés without a stable income.
  • Aside Glance: Done a lot, by everyone, usually in reaction to something stupid another charater has said.
  • Balloonacy: every episode with balloons
  • Banana Peel
  • Bankruptcy Barrel: El Chavo's hideout
  • Beach Bury: On the Beach Episode. Played for laughs with some of the characters, making fun of the heights of Professor Jirafales (as if there were two people buried instead of one) and Chilindrina (who appears to be even shorter than normal), and of Sr. Barriga's fatness (he has a huge mound of sand on him to represent it).
  • Beach Episode: A two-part special.
  • Big Gulp: Don Ramón, when he's really scared, or whenever Chavo says something that strikes an emotional nerve.
  • Big "Shut Up!": Quico usually yells one to El Chavo whenever he wouldn't stop talking. It's one of his Catch Phrases ("¡¡¡Aaaay, cállate, cállate, cállate, cállate, que me desespeeeeras!!!"/"Oooh, shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up, you're driving me craazyy!!!").
    • He once even did this to himself.
    • Whenever Profesor Jirafales begins the lesson at his class, the students will invariably make noise and refuse to pay attention. Then, the good teacher will always have to utter "Silencio. Silencio. ¡¡¡SI-LEN-CIO!!!" (Silence... Silence... SI-LENCE!!!)
  • Bindle Stick
  • The Blank: "Cow Eating Grass". What grass? The cow ate it. The cow? Went to the bathroom (or it just left, depending on the episode).
  • Bottle Episode
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Not used as part of the show's humor. Is usually used in two-part episodes for telling the viewers that the story will continue in the next episode.
  • Brother Chuck: Quico and Don Ramón, given a certain amount of time after their departures.
  • Brutal Honesty: El Chavo (being excessively naive) and the other kids (being meaner or just plain stupid) are specially prone to this.
  • Building of Adventure: the neighbourhood of the "Vecindad".
  • Butt Monkey: Many character take turns on this, but Don Ramón is always one. Poor guy.
  • Captain Obvious
  • The Cast Showoff
  • Catch Phrase: a lot. Listing them all would require a page only for this trope.
    • One example, by Quico:

(always after Doña Florinda slaps Don Ramón): "¡Sí, mami!" "Yes, mommy!"
(goes in front of Don Ramón) "¡Chusma, chusma, prrrf!" (pushes him and gets away) "Riffraff, riffraff, prrrf!"

    • Borrowed Catchphrase: happened sometimes, too. One example is when Señor Barriga stumbles at (and totals) El Chavo's refreshment stand: he yells "¡Tenía que ser el Señor Barriga!" in frustration! And, in a typical Chavo manner, he responds "Fué sin querer quierendo..." (roughly, "I didn't mean to mean to do it...").
  • Character Tics: Many, but the most noticeable is the idiosyncratic way of crying that every character has:
    • El Chavo cries with an amusing "pipipipipipipipi" sound.
    • Chilindrina bawls with a screechy "waah-waah-waaaaaaaaah" that can easily become a pain to hear. She even does this while pumping her arms and rubbing herself wherever she got hurt.
    • Quico cries with a rather amusing "ggggrrrrrrrr" sound that must be heard to be fully understood.
      • And just to ramp it Up to Eleven, Quico has to be leaning face-first against the wall at the neighborhood's entrance in order to cry. Despite the urge to cry, he holds back very well until he gets to the wall.
    • Profesor Jirafales' "¡TA-TA-TA-TA-TA!" may count as crying as well (though he only uses it when he's insulted).
    • Usually when he's been REALLY humiliated, Don Ramón cries with a high-pitched "eeeeeeeeeeeee" and always put one hand over one of his eyes.
    • Ñoño cries with an "Ehi-AH! Ehi-AH! Ehi-AH!" sound like a bird.
  • Canon Discontinuity: The 1979 Season, also the final season of the half-hour show. The departures of Ramón Valdés and Carlos Villagrán caused a loss in energy that the rest of the cast and a minor Retool could not make up for. Many fan-made episode guides end after the 1978 season closer in Acapulco, Villagran's last episode.
  • Comedic Sociopathy
  • Continuity Nod: In an episode, Don Ramón breaks his TV in rage because he thought it malfunctioned. In the next few episodes when he's idle in the scene, he can be seen repairing the TV in his house.

"Now where's the damned transistor?"

  • Costume Inertia: some characters initially wore different clothes; but once they find the "iconic" look, never changed again.
  • Creator Provincialism: the show makes no attempt to avoid Spanish vocabulary that's used only in Mexico. Most Spanish speakers can guess the meaning most of the time, which makes the show almost completely comprehensible, but it still routinely uses some vocabulary incomprehensible to non-Mexicans—words like guajolote, tejolote.
  • Crossover: with El Chapulin Colorado, where Chavo invokes Chapulin's help because lately everyone at The Vecindad's were in a really, really bad mood and he wanted everyone to be happy again. El Chapulin Colorado felt surprised and amazed, as Chavo was the first person ever to have summoned him to do a favor for others instead for themselves. At the end of the episode, Chapulin rewards Chavo's good heart by giving him one of his Shrink-O-Lin Pills, allowing the hungry kid to shrink himself and have an awesome feast with just a little amount of food.
  • The Danza: Florinda Meza as Doña Florinda, Ramón Valdés as Don Ramón and Maria Antonieta de las Nieves as Doña Nieves.
    • Chespirito liked to do this, because he felt the actors would be more connected to their characters this way. Same went for many of them when they played extras in El Chapulin Colorado, which used the same cast.
  • Dawson Casting: Hilariously lampshaded; the kids are played by adults from the very beginning.
  • Deathbringer the Adorable: Doña Clotilde has the very bad habit of naming her puppies "Lucifer" or "Satan". This, of course, scares the crap out of the overhearing kids, who already believed her to be a witch.
  • Department of Redundancy Department
  • Designated Victim: almost each character is this for another.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper
  • Dirty Old Man: Except not.
  • The Ditz: About everybody, though especially Quico.
    • Though Quico is not without strokes of Ted Baxter. Blame his doting mother for that.
  • Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off: Don Ramón.
  • Double Entendre
  • Double Take
  • Dumb Is Good
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Early on, especially in episodes patched together from the sketch-show days, the characters look all wrong- most noticably, Doña Florinda doesn't have her curlers, but there's also Chilindrina's long pigtails and white dress, Señor Barriga's occasional beardedness, and Don Ramón without moustache and living in a completely different apartment.
    • Never mind the mustache and the apartment. In an early episode, Don Ramón is wearing a new, yellow, fancy (as in "it has buttons") collared shirt!
    • On Chilindrina's case, she always had long pigtails until they are cut by Chavo on a barber shop. Despite saying she would be scolded by her father for that, she kept the shorter pigtails forever.
  • Easier Than Easy: Godínez's Beginner's Chess - a 2 x 2 chess board.
  • Economy Cast
  • Evil Matriarch: Doña Florinda is a mild version, more of a My Beloved Smother technically speaking... but truly terrifying when seriously pissed.
  • Five-Man Band: The Kids
  • Five-Man Band: The Adults
  • Fleeting Demographic Rule: For Chespirito, it's generally a three year rule, although sometimes a story would only get one season off before being repeated.
  • Franchise Zombie: After the departure of Quico and Don Ramón the show substantially dropped in quality, but it still went on for approximately ten more years.
  • Friends Rent Control: Subverted. Don Ramón's apartment is the opposite of luxurious, but there's still no way he should be able to afford to live there. It's just that Señor Barriga continually pardons him the unpaid rent he's accumulated (a particular example doubled as Crowning Moment of Heartwarming).
  • From the Mouths of Babes
  • Full Name Ultimatum: Although it almost never happens, Kiko knows he's in trouble if Doña Florinda ever refers to him as "Federico".
  • Fun with Acronyms: Done once when the kids went on "Strike",

Prof.Jirafales: ¿Qué significa E.M.P.L? [1]
Chilindrina: Exigimos Derechos Pro Libertad.[2]
Chavo: Yo creí que decía El Maestro Parece Longaniza. [3]

El Chavo: (to Don Ramón, in an episode where the kid thought he was going to be millionaire) I'll pay your late rents! And I will also buy you new clothes! (pause, then daydreaming) And I'll also buy clothes to those poor women that appear in the magazines you read...

    • In another instance, when El Chavo was checking up on Chilindrina, who was sick after eating an entire cake:

Don Ramón: She's in bed with 39 (Celsius degrees).
El Chavo: And everyone fits?

      • One more came when The Profesor wanted to explain something to Don Ramón.

Prof. Jirafales: Altruistic, is a man who loves the other men.
Don Ramón: Oohhh, here we have other name for them.

"No es señora, ¡es señorita!"

  • Insult Misfire: In one episode, Don Ramon entered Professor Jirafales' class claiming he wanted to learn. (He just wanted a place where he'd be safe from Doña Florinda) When El Chavo first saw him there, he believed it was an old kid who looked like Don Ramon. When Don Ramon stated something like "I am, idiot!", El Chavo said they had even that in common.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One: In an instance for example:

Quico: Did you hear them, Mom? They called you an old dirty-mouth!
Doña Florinda: Don't pay them attention, Quico.
Quico: But you're not a dirty-mouth!

  • I Was Just Joking
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Even Doña Florinda gets Pet the Dog moments here and there.
    • It is heavily implied that the only reason why El Chavo survives is because the entire adult cast takes turns to feed him and shelter him, despite their own poverty.
    • Don Ramón used to play this trope often, being mean and grumpy to Chavo but then sharing what little food he had with Chavo or lending him a hand when everything seemed lost for the kid. In one episode Chavo wondered who was leaving empty plates on his barrel, until a night he discovered that Don Ramón was sleepwalking and leaving (what he believed on his dreams) a feast for Chavo to eat.
  • The Klutz: El Chavo
  • Kung Foley: With bell sounds.
  • Lamarck Was Right: Chilindrina's nervous laugh when she's embarrassed is exactly the same as her dad's.
    • The first time Doña Florinda is seen crying, it is the exact same style of Quico's cry. Even after she develops her unique style, her gestures remain the same.
    • Doña Nieves also cries in the exact same manner as her great granddaughter.
  • Large Ham: QUICO.
  • Last-Second Word Swap
  • Late to the Punchline: Quico, so much that Chilindrina told him that if he's told a joke during a funeral, he'd laugh the next day during the burial.
  • Laugh Track: El Chavo went through phases of laugh tracks, the two major ones being when it had an old and very unconvincing sounding laugh track, and the later years when the laugh track was eliminated at the beginning of the 80's "out of respect for the audience".
    • There's also an unofficial laugh track provided by the crew, who occasionally cracked up at the antics of the cast, especially after an ad lib or a blooper. This unfortunately disappeared in later years as the series became more polished and very repetitive.
    • The removal of the Laugh Track is also considered by some an unfortunate moment. Specially because the laugh track was not really removed but basically replaced by some music track that served the same exact purpose as the laugh track to remind you when to laugh, so long for the respect for the audience.
  • Law of Disproportionate Response: the base of many a joke.
  • Limited Wardrobe: coupled with Costume Inertia above.
  • Loud Gulp: Done several times by Don Ramón, always while looking at the camera.
  • Maiden Aunt: Doña Clotilde
  • Malaproper: most of the characters, but El Chavo is the most notorious of the bunch.
  • Mathematician's Answer: One of the punchlines in this show.
  • Meaningful Name: Señor Barriga (y Pesado) = Mr Belly (and Heavy), to a very fat man.
  • Mickey Mousing: Used sparingly.
  • Minor Injury Overreaction: Plastic balls can make people faint.
  • Missing Episode: some of the original early sketches. And depending on what country you're in, many episodes can be missing from syndication. Brazil's SBT TV network annouced recently that it will be airing some "missing episodes" never seen before (or which haven't been shown in a very long time) in the country.
  • Mistaken for Gay / Mistaken for Cheating: In an episode, the kids see Don Ramón teaching Jirafales how to recite poems to Doña Florinda. The kids misinterpret it as their teacher cheating on Doña Florinda with Don Ramón, and things didn't turn out pretty.
  • Musical Episode
  • My Friends and Zoidberg: From an episode where El Chavo and Quico were receiving guitar lessons from Don Ramón and Jirafales respectively:

Jirafales: I've met good students, regular, bad, awful... and Quico.

  • Napoleon Delusion: Don Ramón once faked this to avoid paying the rent.
    • And Doña Neves on a remake of that episode -- except she was Jeanne D'Arc.
  • No Name Given: El Chavo and La Chilindrina. It's implied that they have real names, but we never hear them.
    • Actually, Chilindrina happened to be her real name. Don Ramón called her that after her freckles, which happen to be similar to sugar sprinkles in Mexican confectionery buns called chilindrinas.
    • Word of God says that El Chavo's real name is Chente (short for Vicente).
    • There's an episode where Chavo says he has a friend who looks just like him and makes up names until he firmly comes to Chente. It's never clear if he's talking about an imaginary friend, a street pet or himself.
  • Nonverbal Miscommunication
  • Not Important to This Episode Camp: The vencidad tenants went to Acapulco for a vacation. When The Landlord, Señor Barriga, learned this from El Chavo, he decided to go there as well and, taking pity from El Chavo, takes him as well. Señor Barriga's son, Ñoño, was at a boy scout camp at the moment and, aside from when his Dad mentioned this as an explanation not to take him to Acapulco, wasn't mentioned in the whole story arc.
  • Not That There's Anything Wrong with That: played both straight and in a non homosexual version.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Every time Don Ramón tries to stop the kids from doing something dangerous or annoying (especially Quico), it would always be at the worst possible time: Doña Florinda would arrive at the last second, and Quico would come crying to her and blame it on him. When Don Ramón tries to explain the situation, Doña Florinda doesn't believe it anyway (or care to listen) and slaps him.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Played for Laughs sometimes with El Chavo.
  • Only Sane Man: Señor Barriga and Profesor Jirafales.
  • Parental Abandonment: Kiko and La Chilindrina are orphaned of one of their parents (Kiko's dad died when the ship that he was captain of sunk; Chilindrinas's mom has a classic Death by Childbirth). Unfortunately for Chilindrina, Don Ramón eventually just disappears as well. El Chavo has never met his parents, and (according to a suplementary novel) the only person who raised him is already dead; while he is rarely prone to remind people of his orphanhood, it becomes a harsh remark when he does.
    • In one episode Doña Florinda asks Chilindrina why her father disappeared, and she answers he went off to look for a job and promised to never return until he gets one. He never returned.
  • Parents as People: all the parents who appear in the show. They love their kids, but both their poverty and their deeply flawed personalities cause a lot of hidden harm in them. All of that played for laughs.
  • Perpetual Poverty
  • Pie in the Face: Subverted. The pies were made with shaving cream.
  • Playing Sick: La Chilindrina often attempts this to avoid school.
  • Plot Tumor
  • Pluralses: "Momses and dadses", as Don Ramón would say.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Source of much of the humor. Just ask poor Don Ramón: more often than not he is beaten up without being allowed any explanation.
  • Princess in Rags: Doña Florinda, and since she more often that not acts like a grown-up Alpha Bitch, this is played for laughs.
  • Product Placement: their spinoff products.
  • Punny Name: Profesor Jirafales (Jirafa being the Spanish word for Giraffe).
  • Put on a Bus: La Chilindrina, Don Ramón and Kiko. Chilindrina managed to return (María Antonieta de las Nieves had been given a show for herself in another network, but it was shortly cancelled). Carlos Villagrán departed over creative differences, and was explained away as having been sent to live with wealthy relatives[4]. Ramón Valdés left to work with Villagrán; within the show, he was supposed to have left to look for work abroad. Given Don Ramón's work-shy disposition, it was to be understood that he was being Put on a Bus forever. And then, the actor died of lung cancer (lampshaded in a late episode when Chilindrina, after seeing Chavo get special treatment, remarks that she is also an orphan.)
  • Reality Subtext: many of the cast departures were for internal personality clashes.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: The show uses Jean Jacques Perrey's "The Elephant Never Forgets" as its theme tune, which in turn is an arrangement of Beethoven's Turkish March (aka Marcia Alla Turca).
  • Redundant Romance Attempt
  • Reset Button: Underlines the Negative Continuity.
  • Retcon
  • Retool: A shift in focus during the last season, after Quico, and then Don Ramón, leave. Doña Florinda opens a restaurant and Chavo starts to work there, resulting in a large number of episodes that take place away from the neighborhood. Even many episodes that aren't set in the restaurant take place at the school.
  • Right Behind Me
  • Rule 34: Yes, it exists.
  • Running Gag: By the bushel. Half of the episodes are based on them.
  • Scooby Stack
  • Seinfeldian Conversation
  • Self-Offense
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Professor Jirafales.
  • Seven Minute Lull: The Running Gag was everytime a Lull happened it would be when Chavo was refering to Professor Jirafales as 'Maestro Longaniza'. Subverted in one episode: many Lulls happen, always with Chavo being heard saying something embarassing once the noise stops. The last time it happens, what he says is "And now I'm not saying anything!"
  • Sick Episode
  • Slapstick
  • Snap Back: A couple of episodes end with a character getting killed, in a slapstick sort of way. Once, Señor Barriga snaps and tackles Don Ramón, leaving Ramón literally as flat as a pancake. Chilidrina cries over his lifeless "body" (a cardboard cutout) during the credits. (Played for Laughs, by the way!) In another, Chavo pricks Ñoño with a needle, and Ñoño pops like a balloon, and the episode ends with Ñoño´s clothes in a pile on the ground. Both characters return unharmed in subsequent episodes.
  • Spoof Aesop: A gem by Don Ramón: "There's no bad job; the bad thing is having to work."
  • Spoonerism: Sometimes, when talking to Sr. Barriga, Don Ramón would misplace Sr. Barriga's name and one other word of his phrase, driving Sr. Barriga mad since it makes it look like Don Ramón is insulting him for being fat. An example:

Don Ramón: Fíjese como ha acumulado barriga el Sr. Fortuna. (Look how much belly Mr. Fortune has)

  • Springtime for Hitler: one script has El Chavo trying to catch a contagious disease Chilindrina is faking, with the hope that he'll end up in the hospital (where he could have a nice bed and three meals a day). Eventually, everybody contracts the disease... except for El Chavo, who is the most unhappy of them all.
  • Status Quo Is God
  • Stealth Insult: Always followed by "What did (s)he mean by that?"
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Jaimito (replacing Don Ramón) and Ñoño (replacing Quico) were the main ones, although they were already established characters. However there were a couple of occasions very early on where characters were replaced for an episode or two by characters who were their exact copies, but had different names and were played by different actors. For instance, in just one episode, Don Ramón is nowhere to be found but his "cousin, Don Roman" takes his role, right down to "living" in Ramón's apartment.
  • Talking to Himself : In the later seasons, (after the departure of Ramón and Quico) most of the cast actually played two characters. And they were needed to interact each other using split image. In the Crossover with El Chapulin Colorado, even the titular character needed to do it.
  • Temporary Substitute: Whenever Chespirito restaged a script and one of the major actors had left the show, he simply subbed in one of the other characters, even if it resulted in some unusual personality shifts. Some of the characters basically become permanent substitutes, like Ñoño and Popiz.
  • Throw It In: Many bloopers made it to the final edit. Sometimes this was because they were funny or the cast used them to their advantage. In one episode, after a typical confrontation with Dona Florinda, Don Ramón angrily throws his hat, and it accidentally goes through Dona Florinda's door just as it closes. Don Ramón continues his snit fit but briefly pauses to knock on the door until one of the other actors lets him in to retrieve it. (See it here.) No one breaks character, which makes the scene funnier than if it had gone as planned. Other times, production problems that should have caused a stopdown didn't. There is one early show where a loud thunderstorm is obviously going on outside the studio, and yet no one mentions the frequent thunderclaps that can be heard over the dialogue.
  • Tie In Novels: Many comics, photo-novels, and recently a full novel written by the original creator.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Tomboy Chilindrina and Girly Girl Popis. Tough Dona Florinda and mushy Dona Clotilde.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: tortas de jamón (ham sanwiches) for El Chavo (despite him being a Big Eater in general), gigantic lollipops for La Chilindrina and Kiko.
  • The Smart Guy: Profesor Jirafales
  • Transplant: Profesor Jirafales originated in an early Chespirito sketch, "Los supergenios de la mesa cuadrada".
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible: In-universe exapmle with El Chavo's Ximporinfora. However you spell it.
  • Tsundere: Chilindrina, type B.
    • Doña Florinda, Type A. She's harsh and outspoken, but adores Kiko and the mere sight of Jirafales makes her go all mushy.
  • Uncanceled
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: A major Chavo trope. Almost all the characters have a relative played by the same actor. There was even an attempt to have Chilindrina play her own guardian, Doña Nieves, after Don Ramón left.
  • The Un-Reveal: El Chavo's real name, whenever he'd say it (or anything explicit about his background by the way) someone else would enter the scene and either interrupt him or cause an uproar so noisy the audience is unable to hear. The subject on Chavo is then left not to be brought up again (at least for the next slew of episodes).
    • Also, who he lives with at apartment #8 (the barrel is just his "secret hideout").
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Usually it's between Profesor Jirafales and Doña Florinda; however, on a few occasions, they've shown that Don Ramón would be all too ready to let Florinda have her way with him, if she were willing.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Half of the cast.
  • We Named the Monkey "Jack": The kids once named a dog "Ramón". The original namesake is not pleased.
  • What Could Have Been: In 2008, Chespirito revealed that there was to be a series finale where Chavo saves the life of a child about to be hit by a car, but at the cost of his own life. His daughter, who worked as a psychologist, talked him out of it because she felt that showing the series finale would cause the audience to be HORRIBLY traumatized.
    • Also, famous soccer player Pelé once phoned in Chespirito to ask him to make a movie of the show and even offered himself to appear in it, but Chespirito desisted as he didn't support the idea of having movies of shows you can see for free on TV.
  • Wicked Witch: Save the obvious usage of magic, Doña Clotilde has most of the points of this archetype which is why the kids (and some of the adults) call her "The Witch of number 71". One episode even involves the kids having to enter her house just to deliver a newspaper, and they find out it's like a haunted dungeon. Complete with Clotilde the witch brewing a potion inside, and using a Don Ramón doll in it (maybe to represent the real one), much to Chilindrina's horror. Turns out it was All Just a Dream, and they hadn't even entered Doña Clotilde's house yet.
  • Widow Witch: Averted. The one who looks like a witch is a spinster, and the actual widow is young (well, kinda) and just ill tempered.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: The reason Don Ramón doesn't fight back when Doña Florinda slaps him. That and, good luck trying to explain to Profesor Jirafales she's not defenceless. Don Ramón once put a bucket over his head to protect himself from being slapped by Doña Florinda and Professor Jirafales punched him in the gut for this.
  • You Called Me "X" - It Must Be Serious: Whenever Doña Florinda calls Quico "Federico" (his actual name, as "Quico" is a shorthand), he knows she's angry at her.
  • You Look Familiar: Godines was technically a recurring character, but still unimportant enough that actor Horacio Gomez appeared as other characters once or twice.
  • Your Mom: Doña Florinda to Don Ramón after slapping him for doing X to Quico: "Next time, go X your grandma!"
    • It occasionally became a rather humorous Insult Backfire when it happened said lady had actually done something to do with X.
  1. What does "E.M.P.L" stands for?
  2. We Demand Rights In favor of Freedom
  3. I Thought It Meant The Prof looks like Longsausage.
  4. Because he couldn't stand "la chusma" any longer.