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Sonny with a Chance (2009-2011) is a Disney Channel show about a girl who joins the cast of a kids' sketch comedy show called So Random!. The show follows the Zany Schemes of the cast members, as well as those of the star of melodramatic Teen Drama Mackenzie Falls, a rival TV show that appears to shoot at the same studio.
Characters include Sonny, the Naive Newcomer and Promoted Fangirl; Tawni, the Alpha Bitch of the cast; Nico, the show's token attractive male star and borderline Kidanova; Grady, Nico's best friend; Zora, miniature Zany Schemester and borderline junior Manic Pixie Dream Girl; and Chad Dylan Cooper, the aforementioned star of Mackenzie Falls and token Jerk with a Heart of Gold who consorts with Sonny and her castmates. Sonny with a Chance is a vehicle for Radio Disney pop-star Demi Lovato, joining other live-action Disney Channel series such as Wizards of Waverly Place, Hannah Montana, and Lizzie McGuire.
Come the third season however, the title of the show adopted its Defictionalized version of the Show Within a Show, So Random, due to the departure of Demi Lovato (i.e. Sonny) from the cast. The format changed a bit as well, changing to a variety comedy akin to All That, though it still featured the same fictional characters (along with new ones).
- Actor Allusion: Selena Gomez's guest star appearance in "Battle of the Network Stars." She even managed to lampshade one of her more, ahem, prominent roles.
- Alpha Bitch: Again, Tawni fits this description to a tee.
- Ascended Extra: The actors who played characters in the Mackenzie Falls webisodes were all given recurring roles in the actual show starting in the second season, replacing the various extras from the first season.
- Penelope evens functions as the villain in "Sonny with a Secret."
- In fact, the entire Show Within a Show became one with the Season 3 spin-off.
- Awesome McCoolname: Real Life example — the actor who plays the snooty character Chad has the far snootier-sounding yet vaguely badass name of Sterling Knight.
- It's like his parents planned on him being a Disney channel teen actor.
- His full name is Sterling Sandmann Knight. His parents clearly thought they were giving birth to a god.
- It's like his parents planned on him being a Disney channel teen actor.
- Aw, Look — They Really Do Love Each Other: Sonny Munroe and Chad Dylan Cooper have at least one Aw Look moment an episode, almost.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Chad and Sonny.
- Betty and Veronica: Sonny and Tawni, respectively.
- Bishie Sparkle: Paradied with the cast of Mackenzie Falls, standing dramtically with rays of light in the background whilst an angelic choir sings.
- Black Best Friend: Nico.
- Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Tawni, Sonny, and Zora.
- Not any more — In Season 2 Sonny has raven-black hair with a glossy shine to it — or at least in the first episode. In the second, somebody re-tuned the colors, and now she's back to being a brunette, albeit a really dark-leaning one.
- Blondes Are Evil: Averted. Tawni's mostly just a drama queen (the Season 1 finale solidified her as a Jerk with a Heart of Gold) and Chad is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who is very, very adorable in many of his moments with Sonny, especially so since Falling For The Falls Part I.
- The Cameo: Raven-Symone though playing as Amber Algoode, a crazy president of Chad's fanclub who tries to split Chad and Sonny up. Oddly many of Raven's quirks from TSR are also some of Amber's.
- The Cast Showoff: In addition to the more obvious example in Demi Lovato, Tiffany Thornton has been getting this treatment as well.
- Catch Phrase: Many, many, many.
- "Fine!" "Good!" "Good!" "Fine!" and variations thereof.
- Chad being the number one actor of his generation. Also using the full Chad Dylan Cooper name.
- Peace out, suckers!
- "EVIL!"(Whenever Dakota shows up where Zora is.)
- Cloudcuckoolander: Zora. Sonny too, but Zora is strange even by her standards. Example from "The Legend of Candy Face":
Sonny: Zora, go get your camera.
- Cool Loser: The 'Randoms', and So Random! itself.
- Custom Uniform: Disney seems to be fond of it lately; they did this in the "Mackenzie Falls" Web shorts tied in with the show. Then again, those are supposed to be Lampshade Hanging schlocky teen drama tropes.
- Cut Short: Due to Demi Lovato leaving the show (and in turn converting the main show to So Random), The series ends as this, with the last episode where Sonny and Chad had a small talk and Sonny singing bits of her last song while walking away.
- Dating Catwoman: The main character dating Chad, the lead character of her show's biggest rival.
- Dawson Casting: Tawni is stated as being 17. Tiffany Thornton (who plays her) is 24.
- Defictionalization: Mackenzie Falls, as a web-based tie-in.
- Depraved Kids' Show Host: Pauly the Polar Bear.
- Disappeared Dad: Neither Sonny nor Tawni (the only cast members whose parents appear on-screen) have had their fathers even so much as mentioned in passing on the show.
- Actually, Sonny's father was mentioned in the pilot episode; apparently, Sonny gets her sense of humor from him.
- Subverted with Chad when Hank insults first Chad's parents, then more directly his father, Chad tells Hank to "leave Dad Dylan Cooper out of this!"
- Disguised in Drag: When Sonny and Tawni can't be on the cast of an episode due to some math test related drama, Nico and Grady fill in during the "Check it Out Girls" sketch, with sexy results.
- The creepy part about that? They're EXCITED ABOUT IT.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Penelope, a member of the Mackenzie Falls cast, actually tried to kill Sonny with a bomb due to her being jealous of Sonny and Chad's relationship.
- The Ditz: Grady.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Dolphin Boy. Hopefully unintentional.
- Not to mention Tawni and Sonny's dressing room, when Tawni uses 'The Clapper'. The Les Yay in that scene throws the needle in the red — and it's implied that if the mail-guy hadn't shown up when he did...
- Do-It-Yourself Theme Tune: Like most Disney shows, Demi Lovato stars in the main role and sings the theme song.
- Eat the Evidence: Played with a little bit.
Sonny: Well, if my plan works, we'll all be failing school in no time. Operation Breakup is now underway. Tawni and I will target Bitterman, you two target Marshall, if anyone gets caught, eat the instructions. Got any questions?
- Everyone Can See It: The UST between Sonny and Chad.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: In the episode 'Poll'd Apart' Tawni shaves her head, symbolically. She actually just wears a bald cap. Also serves as a Shout-Out to Britney Spears during her own perceived breakdown.
- Fawlty Towers Plot: In one episode, Sonny writes a fan letter to herself under the name "Eric", and everyone else starts thinking this Eric is real, until Tawni finds out Sonny's scheme.
- Fish Out of Water: Sonny in the first episode and in some of the later ones too.
- Five-Man Band:
- Foe Yay: The main driving force between Sonny and Chad.
- Sonny also frequently manages this with girls such as Tawni, Selena Gomez, and her neighbor Mel
- Gasshole: Gassie, a parody of America's Favorite Collie, who communicates through her flatulence.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: In the second-season opener, Tawni (wearing a garish pair of large clown pants that rustle) asks where the sound is coming from. In reference to a hula-dancing sketch they rehearsed earlier, Sonny says, "Oh, that's just Grady sanding his nuts."
- Let's not forget this gem:
"Oh, that filthy cahooter!"
- Or this:
Chad: So, which one of you girls is gonna make me a sammich?
- Grady tells Sonny to make him one in one of the newer episodes.
- When Chad tells Nico and Grady that neither of them can ride in his car with him to an awards show because "Just because I'm arriving alone, doesn't mean I'm leaving alone..."
- How about this that even the audience picked up:
Grady: Uranus is mine!
- Then there's this when the cast chained themselves to a gnome.
Sonny: Need... Water.
- In one episode, Sonny has to play her teacher's boyfriend's part for a children's show, then the teacher walks in and does some rather sexy, suggestive moves and her voice getting lower, unaware this is her student...once Sonny's helmet is off, the teacher says "Well, this is weird."
- In the Twilight parody episode, "Well, I hope you like him eating fish sticks!"
- Oh, and "I think your fish sticks look a little dry." No wonder he gave her a strange look.
- In a "So Random" Christmas skit where Joe Jonas is delivered as a life size Ken doll for a little girl played by Zora. This would be enough but then they reveal that he has an alternate outfit
Zora: I want to change him!
- and later
Zora: (holding up batteries) I wonder where the batteries go?
- The leer on her face in both cases alone would qualify this as Getting Crap Past The Radar.
- Sonny, to Chad: "My charity is children's literacy, armadildork!"
- In Grady With A Chance of Sonny, Tawni and Nico hang out and prank Chad by making him think the energy bar he is endorsing has numerous side effects, including intermittent hearing loss. Tawni makes him think this by saying "If you...more than four hours... hospital", to which Chad reacts with terror.
- "Going on a date with Chad is like going to water world. The first four rows get wet."
- When Sonny is getting ready for her date with Chad, she is going over the various things she feels her outfit will need to suggest, including: "I'm interested but not too interested."
- Gilligan Cut: Happens multiple times.
- And more recently here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCoGzIBpknQ&t=0m30s
- Handsome Devil: Chad. Dylan. Cooper.
- Hates Being Touched: Tawni's reaction to Sonny's hugging in the beginning of the series.
- Heterosexual Life Partners: Nico and Grady.
- Humiliation Conga: Sonny of all people undergoes this in one episode, being harassed by the paparazzi constantly because of accusations that she's been stealing and revealing her friend's secrets. It was actually a member of the Mackenzie Falls cast, who was jealous of her relationship with Chad.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Several episodes are named "Sonny With A _____", "_____ With A Chance", or vice versa.
- If I Can't Have You: After the above Humiliation Conga, Penelope has Chad, Grady, Nico, and Zora trapped in an in-flight plane without a pilot and with only two parachutes, one for her and one for Chad. Since she expects Sonny to be killed by a bomb, she tells Chad to jump out of the plane with her and date her. Chad chooses Sonny, and Penelope snarls this trope before taking both parachutes and jumping out of the plane.
- If You Can Read This...: Season 2 Episode 13: Sonny with a Secret has "How to build a cheese ball bomb": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyH6keukJ68&t=11m53s
- Perhaps an even better example is on Season 2 Episode 11. It looks like Demi is reading a geometry textbook, but if you take a look at the text a few seconds later, you can clearly read the words "The feces, which pass through the rectum and out the anus.": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIuSwUW95fU&t=5m0s
- Inexplicably Identical Individuals: Chazz Milton Looper.
- Informed Ability: So Random being funny.
- Your Mileage May Vary.
- Actually barely anyone actually says it is funny. Not even Sonny's mother likes it much.
- The above theory may actually be plausible, as So Random is implied to be hurting in the ratings:
- Your Mileage May Vary.
Sonny: At least our show brings joy to our viewers.
- This counts as a Subverted Trope in that Mackenzie Falls, being a prime-time teen drama, would naturally have better ratings than So Random! — a kid's sketch comedy show. However, in the third episode of the show — 'Sonny At The Falls' — the plot centers around Dylan and his fellow cast members plotting to steal Sonny because her show has gotten more popular since she joined the cast, and they were worried that 'the Randoms' would become more popular than them. Also, (even though there was a miscount), the Randoms did beat Mackenzie Falls for the first time during Sonny's first year, and several shows have made a point of showing that So Random! was pulling in better guest-stars, including Joe Jonas and Chad himself. So Random! may not have been that funny or that popular before Sonny, but it certainly is now.
- Informed Attractiveness: Blake Raddison, and to a lesser extent, Jackson Tyler.
- I Want You to Meet An Old Friend of Mine: Selena Gomez (a good friend of Demi Lovato) appearing on So Random!
- I Was Quite a Looker: An old man in one episode that spoke to Chad, even with a picture of him looking exactly like Chad himself.
- It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": Sharona's assistant "Moan-KAY".
- This is an intriguing variation. The implication is that her assistants name actually is pronounced that way, as opposed to being an attempt by the assistant to make herself sound classy. Sharona simply doesn't care enough to remember her real name.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Chad Dylan Cooper, as mentioned. Tawni falls into this at times.
- Jerkass: Mr. Condor dotes on his horrible daughter but will fire any of the people working at the studio on a whim.
- Dakota herself probably qualifies, doesn't she? Or is there a special trope for bratty children? Looks like it.
- There's also the principal of the school in the All Just a Dream episode, who gives the cast detention after the cast does an improvised musical number, then gives them double detention when he hears better singing.
- Gilroy Smith, the host of Gotcha from the Season 1 finale. His entire goal is to get Sonny and Tawni to spill embarrassing things about themselves and the rest of the cast. When he can't get them to spill anything, he pulls out a video shot from a camera in a gift basket to make them break their pact to each other about having each others' backs. When that still doesn't work, he hones in one Sonny's expression during her flashback to a moment between her and Chad, and then brings Chad out onto the stage. He then says that the entire reason that he brought Chad to the show was to get his and Sonny's reactions to a secretly-shot video of them that he takes out of context. And then, when Sonny and Chad flee to discuss how to handle the on-stage situation, Gilroy reveals another hidden camera, that he plans on using to eavesdrop on their conversation and broadcast whatever admissions they make to each other on air (luckily for Sonny and Chad, Tawni turns the camera off before anything really damaging is said).
- Karma Houdini: In one episode where Sonny was repeatedly harassed by a reporter that kept dumping accusations on her, it seemed like he was this at first when, after spending the entire episode piling lie after lie on Sonny, tries to play it off that he knew she was innocent. He then gets covered in melted cheese when he mistakenly steps in front of a cheese cannon. And then Tawni gets some Camera Time, which she was seeking those two episodes. Although, the screen goes funny right before she says her name, and she shouts "Oh come on!".
- Kidanova: Both Nico and Chad tend to be this at times.
- Large Ham: Chad. Over the seasons he calms down. Also, Grant, Grady's brother, plays this trope to its fullest. He has a nice moment during an episode, but thats pretty much it.
- Latex Perfection: Used twice by Penelope in Sonny with a Secret.
- Medium Awareness: Occurs in one episode where Tawni and Sonny hear a violin variant of a Scare Chord; the first time, it's Zora's doing, the second time, however...
- To clarify: Sonny and Tawni are talking about something involving a Captain Ersatz of Gossip Girl, that is, a very influential blog. When Tawni was the blog's target and was talking about it with Sonny, a Psycho Strings was playing, and turned out to be, as said before, Zora's doing. When asked about the second one heard, Zora said, "It wasn't me this time!"... and that's how that scene ends.
- Nice Character, Mean Actor: Mackenzie/Chad.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Sonny's overly-positive attitude has gotten the cast in trouble on more than one occasion.
- It was even lampshaded in the seventh episode.
Sonny: You know that skit that I thought would make everything better? It actually made it worse.
- And put out into the general public, when the term 'Sonny It Up' becomes a Catch Phrase on Mackenzie Falls. Sonny later calls Chad on it:
Sonny: 'Sonny It Up?' Really, Chad?
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: The Tri-dark series. It also has several Rob Pattisons in the form of Blake Rattison and Jackson Tyler. Team Frederick!
- No Except Yes: Sonny's mother in the pilot.
- One of Us: Doug Brochu (Grady) is a bit on the nerdy side, being both a band geek (he plays flute, bass guitar, and piano) and an avid gamer.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: It's glaringly obvious that Dinka was played by an American who was inexperienced with faking accents: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S Rtao CB Yhb U&t=0m20s. Also, when Grady likes a girl, he randomly goes in and out of a scottish accent.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: In "That's So Sonny", a sort-of Mythology Gag to That's So Raven, features Raven as Amber, president of Chad's Fanclub, trying to pry information out of Nico and Grady in a horrible man disguise, similar to many times on her former show. She also tricks Tawni, by being a facialist known as Mia Babouti, who speaks in a very odd accent.
- Sonny pulls it too, and in one scene Demi Lovato, out does several years of Raven's attempted disguises.
- Playing Cyrano: Sonny for Tawni in "Sonny in the Kitchen with Dinner".
- The Power of Friendship: The Randoms for Sonny, directly after her breakup with Chad.
- Promoted Fangirl: Sonny was a huge fan of So Random before she got cast for the show.
- Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: Penelope. Whether or not she actually dated Chad is unclear though
- Put on a Bus: Sonny temporarily will be for the third season due to Demi Lovato going to a treatment center.
- Jossed. Demi stated she won't be coming back to the show.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: With the absence of series star Demi Lovato due to various personal problems, it was recently announced that the show will be undergoing a temporary revamp with more emphasis on the Show Within a Show "So Random".
- However, the revamp is not temporary anymore. Demi won't be coming back anymore, although some of the cast members said she's welcome to come back anytime, or at least guest As Herself.
- Recycled in Space!: This is essentially a rip-off of 30 Rock WITH KIDS!
- Actually, it's more of an homage to the live variety shows of The Fifties (in fact, Marshall, their producer, makes a comment in the pilot episode on how the Queen Bee sketch 'stinks on ice'. That's straight out of the post-World War Two era, as are all of the characters, except for Nico (the Token Minority role he fills would have been filled by a Latino in his place).
- Relationship Upgrade: FINALLY!
- Make Up or Break Up Eh... not so much.
- The Rival: Mackenzie Falls to So Random.
- Ruritania: Glendovia from Season 2 Episode 2: Sonny Get Your Goat.
- Sadist Teacher: The cast of So Random's teacher, Ms. Bitterman. The woman practices scowling! However, she cheers up for an episode when she dates Marshall.
- Second Episode Introduction: Chad Dylan Cooper.
- Serious Business: How Chad (and everyone else on the show) consider their roles on Mackenzie Falls.
- Ship Tease: Sonny and Chad are shaping up to have classic Belligerent Sexual Tension.
- Taken to epic levels in the Season Finale. TELL ME WHAT THEY SAID NOW!
- Even moreso in the Season 2 opener; when Chad is in the hospital, he calls Sonny over to his bedside and from their dialogue, even Sonny believes that Chad is about to tell her that he loves her.
- And ESPECIALLY in the episode "Falling For The Falls," where Sonny and Chad start dating!
- Taken to epic levels in the Season Finale. TELL ME WHAT THEY SAID NOW!
- Shout-Out: Zora appears to be patterned in part on All That alumna Amanda Bynes' "Ask Ashley" character.
- And oh so very much in the episode where Selena Gomez appeared. Everything from Wizards of Waverly Place to Demi Lovato's and Selena Gomez's real life friendship.
- The "Sicky Vicky" sketch is a more direct reference to the Ask Ashley.
- When Tawni vows not to look in the mirror for two days, she is unable to put makeup on without looking like a clown, which leads to her saying "Why so serious?" to Nico and Grady with Joker-esque makeup on.
- Don't forget the episode where Sonny meets the star of the 'Tri-dark' series, Blake Rattison. She's totally Team Frederick.
- In "Gummy With a Chance", when Sonny tells Tawni about her visions, Tawni mocks her, responding with with "Who are you? Raven?"
- Many sketches seem to be shout outs to All That. The aforementioned Sicky Vicky could be a shout out to Ask Ashley, the Check It Out Girls could be a shout out to the Inconvenience Store (especially when Nico and Grady played them), and Fasty's Really Fast Food could be a shout out to Good Burger.
- One episode of Mackenzie Falls mentions a 'freak ballooning accident', likely a direct reference to the 'Moody's Point' soap sketch from The Amanda Show
- Show Within a Show: Mackenzie Falls & So Random! are the main shows.
- Subverted, now that the show within a show is the show!
- Six-Student Clique: Kind of in the same vein as the Five-Man Band.
- The Head: Sonny
- The Muscle: Chad
- The Quirk: Grady
- The Pretty One: Nico
- The Smart One: Zora
- The Wild One: Tawni
- Soap Within a Show: Mackenzie Falls, also partially defictionalized.
- Spell My Name with an "S": It's Tawni not Tawny.
- Spiritual Successor: Not the actual series so much as the "show within a show" being patterned after All That. In fact, Brian Robbins, creator of All That, is listed as a producer.
- Spit Take: Done with Sonny eating worms, Grady eating worms, and Sonny at the end of a later episode demonstrating specifically how to perform the spit take.
- Stock Footage: Some episodes have flashbacks to past episodes relevant to the subject at hand.
- Strange Girl: Zora.
- Suck E. Cheese's: Arcadia, though it's probably more of a Dave & Buster's pastiche.
- Stealth Pun: The title. At first it simply sounds like it means that Sonny has a chance at X (namely being on the show) and it takes awhile to realize that its about weather forecasting.
- Take That (The whole point of Mackenzie Falls. Take That, Gossip Girl!)
- Token Minority: Nico.
- Although this could be the result of mimicking the actual casts of skit shows like All That! and Saturday Night Live, which both have had token minorities and, interestingly enough, have Kenan Thompson in common. Considering that normal skit shows have larger casts, it's not unrealistic to assume that there is only one minority character because of cast's size. The size is probably due to the fact that Disney shows follow similar formulas, which relatively few characters main characters (usually about six) where All That! had as many as ten people at once. Sonny With A Chance has six main characters, one of whom is not even a So Random! cast member.
- Wouldn't Sonny herself perhaps be this, as a Spanish/Latino type?
- Pretty sure Demi Lovato is Hispanic.
- She has some Mexican in her; she's Mexican, Irish, and Italian.
- Those Two Guys: Nico and Grady.
- Tomboyish Name: Sonny, which is a tomboyish nickname for her real name, Allison.
- Too Dumb to Live: Grady once mistook an acting hopeful for Nico when the real Nico had walked into the room with him.
- Tsundere: Sonny is a Type B toward Chad. She's nice to everyone except her love interest.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Sonny and Tawni.
- Vomiting Cop: A non-cop, non-death-oriented example, with Chad actually getting so nervous over his date with Sonny that he goes 'Dolphin Boy' all over her. Apparently, Chad wasn't Nice to the Waiter, because one turned Paparazzi on him and sold the shot, making for a Tween magazine cover he'll never live down.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Taken to hilariously comic extremes by Chad, when he achieves Epic Fail after takeing Sonny out on a date and has a Can't Hold His Liquor moment (with water!), causing him to spew all over Sonny.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Zora doesn't show up for the first two episode of Season 2. Her disappearance is never commented on or explained.
- Except in the one hour episode where Zora doesn't appear until the second half when she returns from a Sherlock Holmes convention/workshop.
- What Could Have Been: We'll never get to see Sonny and Chad get back together...
- The show was originally going to be called "Welcome to Mollywood" with Demi's character being named Molly and then it was changed to "Welcome to Holliwood" and Holli before they settled on the final title and and name.
- In another Zora example, the second violin being played was never explained...
- Will They or Won't They?: For a long time, Sonny and Chad. Then they get together! And then they break up...and then they get back together! The final resolution will never be seen because Demi had to leave the show...
- With Friends Like These...: Sonny with both Tawni and Chad.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: Chad to Sonny, when he went and asked for a recount over the Tween Choice Awards. As Sonny later told him, "You won the award — but you lost me."
- You Monster!:
Mr. Condor: Now, you go to the limo, tell the driver to take you home, and when you get home, you march right up to your room!
- Zany Schemes: Per Disney Channel practice.