Meet Lizzie McGuire, a completely normal 13-year old girl, living a completely normal life. She goes to a completely normal school, with students (The Alpha Bitch Kate Sanders, ditzy hottie Ethan Kraft), and friends (dependable but emotional Miranda Sanchez, Teen Genius David Gordon, aka Gordo). Her home life is completely stereotypical, with a Nuclear Family that consists of her gnome-loving dad, Sam; level-headed mom, Jo, and bratty brother, Matt.
Also, Lizzie has an animated conscience inside her head narrating her every move.
This (and the transformation of Hilary Duff into an Idol Singer) managed to keep this series on Disney Channel for a full 65 episodes. From January, 2001 to February, 2004. It is commonly Misblamed for being the first of Disney's tween sitcoms geared toward a more surburban audience, when the first being That's So Raven...being created by that one company known as Its A Laugh Productions, but not the last Disney Channel shows (not counting cartoons) not made by that company, the last being Phil of the Future.
- Actor Allusion: One is made with David and Robert Carradine in the episode where Gordo and Matt make a kung fu movie.
- An Aesop: Delivered at the end of each episode.
- Alpha Bitch: Played ludicrously straight with evil head cheerleader Kate.
- Animation Bump: Animated Lizzie gets one in the feature film, as compared to her appearance in the series.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Matt.
- Art Evolution: Lizzie's animated alter ego changed a lot as time went on. She started out as a sketch that a first-grader could draw and then evolved into her final form, which while simplistic, is leagues ahead of where she started.
- Black Hole Belly: Toon Lizzie has been seen swallowing some pretty big (to her) food items whole without any change to her size except for maybe a split second of Dinner Deformation on occasion.
- Brainless Beauty: Ethan is the handsome target of affection for every girl in school, and is buffoonish to the point of being a Cloudcuckoolander, complete with "wooshing" sound-effects when he says dumb things.
- Broken Treasure: Subverted in that Mom had broken the treasure years earlier.
- Bumbling Dad: Sam, a lot of the time. He has his moments, and isn't a Jerkass like many sitcom dads are, but he's a gnome-collecting doofus who has no concept of teenage issues.
- The Butler Did It: A Discussed Trope in "Clue-Less", the episode where Lizzie has a Whodunit murder mystery party.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Gordo likes Lizzie. If only he could tell her.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Miranda wasn't in the last few eps...or The Movie.
- She was apparently visiting family in Mexico. For months.
- One fanfic writer came up with the explanation that she was having her quinceanera with her extended family. Some people have taken this as Word of Dante and or Fanon.
- Except she wasn't 15 she was no older than 14 being in 8th grade and all. So so much for that.
- Maybe she was held back a year at some point.
- On the show, Matt's best friend was Lanny while Melina was a minor Recurring Character. In the movie, Lanny is gone and Melina seems to have replaced him.
- Danny Kessler, the original "hottie" character, was in only two episodes after the pilot. He and his replacement, Ethan Craft, even appear in one episode together (in which the latter is introduced for the first time, and his "wannabe gangsta" traits are played up a lot more). He then vanishes without a trace, though he is randomly name-dropped in the movie, two years later.
- She was apparently visiting family in Mexico. For months.
- Comically Missing the Point: (in a later episode than the Funny Aneurysm Moment):
Gordo: Besides, I'm more into those classy European types of girls anyway.
- Compressed Vice: Several, most notably Miranda's eating disorder, which consisted of skipping lunch.
- Cool Loser: Lizzie isn't supposed to be ugly, but she's considered a loser. Roger Ebert laughed at this in his review of the film, wondering how someone with a smile that shines brighter than all the stars in the sky could be unpopular.
- Dark Horse Victory: An election between rivals Lizzie and Claire and icky geek Tudgeman...who do you think wins?
- Dawson Casting:
- 17-year old Adam Lamberg as Gordo; because he hit puberty late, he is actually able to pass as a 12-year old pretty convincingly in the pilot, and he managed to remain shorter than Lizzie and Miranda all the way through to the end.
- 18-year old Kyle Downes as middle schooler Larry Tudgeman. Made more Egregious by the fact that, in the previous series he was in (the Retroactive Recognition-palooza Higher Ground), he was cast as a troubled high schooler.
- Also comes up in Conversational Troping when Miranda acts in a school play:
Animated Lizzie: Wow, Miranda's officially in love with acting. Maybe when she's thirty years old, she can play a teenager on Dawson's Creek.
- A Day at the Bizarro: The Freaky Friday Flip episode.
- Defictionalization: In one episode, Lizzie was inspired to spend more time with her mother after reading a novel titled, The Orchids and Gumbo Poker Club, for a school assignment. Disney later published an actual novel with that title, with notes from Lizzie included in the margins.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Kate in The Movie, in which she was built up to more-or-less replace Miranda.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Gordo's roleplaying game experience.
- Dojikko: Lizzie, strangely enough for a North American series. This was Flanderized in the movie.
- Doomed New Clothes: In one episode where she bought expensive jeans and spilled smoothie all over them, ruining her plans to return them after the "Best Dressed" contest.
- Double Vision: Hilary Duff performs a duet with herself in The Movie, playing both Lizzie and Isabella.
- Dresses the Same: Miranda and Kate where the same outfit in "Picture Day", thus precipitating the Doomed New Clothes above.
- Extroverted Nerd: Lawrence "Larry" Tudgeman III.
- Follow the Leader: Every single Disney Channel original sitcom owes its existence to this show's success.
- Former Friend of Alpha Bitch: Lizzie and Kate. Actually addressed in a late season one episode when the two work together on a school project.
- Actually Lizzie mentions that she used to be friends with Kate in the pilot but "then she grew breasts" and blew her off. This fact is not pointed out very often afterwards.
- Fourth Wall Mail Slot: Utilized in commercials.
- Freaky Friday Flip: Lizzie and Mat switch bodies for a day.
- Freudian Trio: Miranda=Id, Gordo=Superego, and Lizzie=Ego.
- Full Name Ultimatum: During an episode where Lizzie wanted to go to Kate's unsupervised birthday party, Lizzie's mom uses it on her.
Jo: Elizabeth Brooke McGuire!!
- Garage Band: Matt once started one for a subplot.
- Golden Moment: Sometimes occurs in the more Anvilicious episodes.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck: Since it's Disney we're talking.
Miranda: Parker is such a witch...
- Greek Chorus: The Ani-Lizzie.
- Guilty Pleasures: Clover and Daisy is a guilty pleasure to Miranda and Lizzie.
- Hidden Depths: Kate. One episode revolves around her and Lizzie having to work together and it lead to them remembering they used to be good friends. At the end of the episode Kate and Lizzie smile at each other briefly. While Kate doesn't stop being The Alpha Bitch, we do see her have some nice moments with Lizzie over the course of the series and The Movie.
- Hilarious Outtakes: At the end of every episode. Cartoon Lizzie always gets one made too.
- Hong Kong Dub: Parodied when Matt and Gordo make an audition tape for being in the new Jet Li film.
- Hot Mom: Jo. Can also be labeled a Hot Librarian if you wish it so.
- Idol Singer: Hilary Duff. This show started the long trend of the Disney Channel using its live-action shows as vehicles for its Idol Singers.
- Image Song: A Western example being "I Can't Wait".
- Informed Attractiveness: Kate is portrayed as being the Queen Bee of the school, and much is made of her "bustiness". In a show like this, she's not any more attractive than most background girls.
- Instant Web Hit
- Just a Stupid Accent: When Lizzie goes to Rome in The Movie, we learn that Italians all speak English with Italian accents. They even perform pop musical numbers in English. So did the Italian audience spend the whole "What Dreams Are Made Of" number wondering what on earth Lizzie and Isabella were singing about?
- Just Friends: Gordo to Oblivious to Love Lizzie. She's so oblivious it takes The Alpha Bitch informing her before she realises.
- Just as the series as a whole was something of a watershed and lead to multiple new shows that were more serialised and included developing romance arcs, it also paved the way for more Just Friends relationships in the shows that followed: iCarly (Which itself is Nickelodeon's Alternate Company Equivalent), Zoey 101, Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, Phil of the Future, and even Western Animation such as Kim Possible and Danny Phantom all contain such relationships between the main character and a best friend and all came after Lizzie McGuire ended.
- Kids Shouldn't Watch Horror Films: Matt gets scared watching a horror film, though it happens with his parents present. He ends up trying to Feng Shui the house to get rid of evil spirits.
- Last-Minute Hookup: Lizzie and Gordo got to have their kiss in the last scene of The Movie.
- Leitmotif: Whenever Matt is the focus of a scene, the same cheery, bouncy melody can be heard in the background.
- Lighter and Softer: The first season was comparatively edgy for a Disney show, with more cynical humor and a lot of references to puberty and The Alpha Bitch's chest size. Afterwords, it settled into the family-friendlyness Disney Channel is better known for.
- Little Boy Seeks Big Girl: Matt towards Miranda in "Working Girl".
- Love Makes You Dumb: Miranda in "Movin' On Up".
- Manipulative Bastard: Kate can manipulate boys into doing anything.
- The Merch: Fortune magazine estimated in 2003 that Lizzie McGuire merchandise had earned the Walt Disney Co. nearly $100 million! That's from Radio Disney's big CD promotion, books based on the episodes being sold, mystery books starring Lizzie (much in the same vein as the Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen mystery books), Tokyo Pop manga adaptations, bed sheets, Barbie dolls, board games, and The Movie.
- Misblamed: For being the 1st Disney Channel sitcom. It is true that it's the 1st (and the key show that catapulted Disney Channel to overnight success)... only to be lost by That's So Raven, which stole almost all of its thunder.
- Many people like to point to Even Stevens, which started a year before either show, as the transition point from old Disney Channel to new Disney Channel.
- Montages: Once an Episode. Usually a pop song with some relevance to the action at hand would play over the montage.
- The Movie
- Naive Everygirl: Lizzie.
- New Job Episode
- Nice Jewish Boy: Gordo.
- Not Important to This Episode Camp: Miranda gets plenty of excuses for not being in the last few eps...but gets fully Chucked in The Movie.
- She gets an excuse in the movie too. Lizzie says she's off visiting family in Mexico.
- Oblivious to Love: Seriously? Lizzie. It's ridiculous that it takes her until the freaking Whodunit episode to figure out Gordo loves her.
- And she needs to have it spelled out to her by Kate of all people.
- Once an Episode: Subtle, but for whatever reason Miranda wears some article of clothing (usually a shirt) with a British flag on it at some point in every episode.
- Parental Bonus: A surprisingly large number of these.
- The Plan: Lizzie and her friends are actually joined by her mom to pull off a surprisingly masterful one in "Lizzie's Eleven".
- Popular Is Dumb: Ethan, and to a lesser extent Kate. It's revealed in one episode that Kate got held back because she somehow flunked kindergarten.
- Two drones Kate had in one episode left her because they were so stupid they thought Kate had wet herself even when they saw the drink splash on her.
- Put on a Bus: Miranda, after Lalaine left the show for undisclosed reasons.
- The Rashomon: The food fight episode.
- Raw Eggs Make You Stronger: Lizzie's mother serves her glasses of raw eggs as she trains for a rhythmic gymnastics competition, but Lizzie dumps the eggs into a frying pan instead of drinking them.
- Risky Business Dance: In Episode 10 of Season 1.
- Romantic False Lead:
- In the movie, Paolo.
- Also, Ronnie the paperboy. This is before Lizzie and Gordo were an Official Couple.
- Screwed by the Network: This show was very popular in its day, to the point that 65 episodes were produced in two years. But even it couldn't beat the notorious "65 Episode Policy". There were plans to spin off a "Lizzie in high school" sitcom onto ABC, but it didn't pan out.
- Sequel Non Entity: Miranda is missing from several of the last episodes of the series, and is only mentioned in passing as being "in Mexico with her family" during The Movie.
- Series Fauxnale: "Bye Bye Hillridge Junior High" and The Lizzie McGuire Movie showed Lizzie and Gordo graduate middle school and grow closer romantically, but since Disney Channel aired several of their shows' episodes at this time in an order that often differed drastically from the production order, ten more episodes aired afterward. (This was likely done to conceal Miranda being Put on a Bus.)
- Shaking Her Hair Loose: In the murder mystery episode, Larry starts chatting up Veruca, both of them dressed in Edwardian era clothes. Veruca shakes her hair down as some faux-dramatic music plays.
- Shallow Love Interest: Ethan Craft.
- Silent Bob: Lanny. The only times he ever talks are when he's on the phone and even then we never hear his side of the conversation.
- Single Girl Seeks Most Popular Guy
- Snap Back: It seems that every two episodes Lizzie finds out Gordo likes her, but in the next episode she goes back to being completely Oblivious to Love.
- Split-Screen Phone Call: A three-way variant with Lizzie, Miranda and Gordo.
- Straw Loser: One of Lalaine's reasons for leaving the show.
- Suck E. Cheese's: Sort of, a western-themed tourist trap called Grubby Longjohn's Western Emporium.
- Technology Marches On: In an earlier episode, Matt and Lanny try to raise the money to buy ninety-dollar walkie-talkies. A floppy disk and a VHS tape make appearances in the same episode.
- Throughout the series, Lizzie, Miranda, and Gordo have landlines in their bedrooms rather than cell phones.
- Three Amigos
- Totally Radical: Most of the kids indulged in this. Not to mention the veritable deluge of references to early-2000s celebrities and music.
- Trope Maker: For the Disney Channel Kid Com formula.
- Two Girls and a Guy (With Lizzie (Blue Oni) and Gordo ending up together.)
- Two Lines, No Waiting: Matt would always have a sub-plot in every episode that didn't involve him the A-plot; usually he would drag his parents along for the ride.
- Unlimited Wardrobe
- Except Tudgeman.
- Very Special Episode: One dealing with Miranda's weight problem.
- Victorious Childhood Friend: The series finale and The Movie both imply that Gordo does in fact get the girl.
- Walk On the Wild Side Episode
- With a Friend and a Stranger: Lizzie (the main character), Gordo (the childhood friend and Love Interest of Lizzie) and Miranda (the stranger).
- Women Are Wiser: Jo is much more savvy and wise to her kids' games than poor Sam is. Lizzie even says once "Come on- we're just fooling dad here! It's not like we're fooling mom!"
- You Go, Girl!: "One of the Guys", when Lizzie turns out to be really good at flag football.