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"I started looking back at the characters that I created for commercials. It was a big mash-up of 2D, stylized 3D, realistic 3D and even stop motion. I lined them up and the result looked varied and unusual. I really liked the idea of a show without graphic unity. All these characters had been rejected; they served no purpose. I found that quite endearing. I integrated them in the photo of a schoolyard and was quite excited with the outcome."
—Creator Ben Bocquelet
Created by Ben Bocquelet, the series is the first commission from Turner Broadcasting's Cartoon Network Development Studio Europe. Combining a mixture of several animation techniques with live-action backgrounds, the series follows the misadventures of a twelve year old cat named Gumball, who lives in the quaint little town of Elmore - where nearly everything has the power to come to life! Joining him is his best friend Darwin, the one-time pet fish who grew legs and joined the family. The two of them go to Elmore Junior High where all sorts of strange characters roam the halls.
The series received a twenty-episode second season before the eighteen-episode first season even premiered, bringing its total to 19 hours worth of episodes. It premiered May 2nd in the United Kingdom and got a "sneak peek" (i.e., the first of two episodes) in the US on May 3. The official US premiere was May 9.
You can check out the show's Recap page here.
It also has its own wiki.
The Amazing World of Gumball provides examples of:
- Abuse Mistake: In "The Fight", Gumball gets a black eye from running into a door, which Anais assumes is from Tina Rex bullying him.
- Accidental Kiss:
- Gumball and Darwin in "The Pressure".
- And Gumball again with Granny Jojo in "The Kiss".
- Adults Are Useless: Some episodes have it stronger than others. Nicole is pretty much the only consistently competent adult in the show, though she does have her wild moments.
- Aerith and Bob: Most of the cast have normal given names, albeit Anais and Masami are French and Japanese ones respectively, except Darwin (which is normally a family name), Ocho, Juke, and Gumball.
- Air Vent Passageway: Parodied in "The Prank" when Gumball tries to pull this trope off, but neglects to take the cover off, leaving an air vent-shaped imprint on his face.
- Almost Kiss:
- Between Gumball and Penny in "The Party" and "The Pressure". Principal Brown and Miss Simian have one in "The Party" as well.
- Principal Brown and Miss Simian have one of these again in "The Sock" before being interrupted by Gumball.
- Alternative Foreign Theme Song:
- Always a Bigger Fish: See Overly Long Gag below.
- Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Gumball and Nicole are blue cats, and Anais and Richard are pink rabbits.
- Animate Inanimate Object: Anything in Elmore can come to life. Lampshaded in "The Spoon" when the giant, living fingerprint who's robbing a convenience store is able to hide from the police by dropping onto the floor and pretending he's just a regular giant fingerprint.
- Animesque: The Wattersons' facial expressions seem to invoke this.
- Art Evolution: The authors confirmed that the character design of the 2D characters will be streamlined in the 2nd season, an early look is visible on Elmore Stream.
- Attractive Bent Gender: Gumball, when he's forced into a dress.
- Badass Boast: "If you throw that doll out the window then you'll unleash the full fury of my terrifying anger. Moutains will shake! Cities will crumble! The skies will be ripped apart and the meteor of my wrath will grind you to dust!" Didn't work.
- Badass Family: In "The Club", the family uses their own odd traits to impressively take out some nerds. Nicole used her anger to take out a locked door, Richard managed to stall another nerd in a board game, Anais used static electricity to short circuit a robot and hacked a computer to intercept Gumball's embarrassing video, and Darwin's dance skills distracted the other nerd into dancing with him.
- Badass Mustache: Richard instantly grows one in "The Refund" after offering help to Gumball and Darwin to get a refund. After the store alarm goes on, he instantly loses it.
- Bad Bad Acting: Seen when Darwin and Gumball produce their own version of "Alligators on a Train" to try and fool the DVD store owner. It doesn't work, because not only are they bad actors, the "movie" only lasts about 5 seconds, they're filming it with one camera while fighting cardboard alligators, and only put their own names in the credits.
Darwin: I TOLD you we should have put some other people's names in there!
- Barefoot Cartoon Animals: Gumball, Nicole, and Richard. Anais (Who, oddly, wears socks with no shoes) and Darwin have footwear.
- Barehanded Blade Block: Darwin does this with a spoon full of cereal.
- Be Yourself: The moral of "The Gi". Nicole becomes concerned when Gumball and Darwin want to wear their karate outfits to school, oblivious to the teasing of their peers, but she decides to let them do it after Penny sticks up for Gumball and praises him for being himself.
- Big Bad: Rob becomes Gumball’s arch nemesis after he escapes from the Void and is disfigured because Gumball and Darwin didn’t hear his pleas for help.
- Bigger on the Inside: In "The Spoon" the gas station has the interior of a supermarket.
- Big No:
- Richard does one after dropping a piece of toast.
- Darwin after Gumballoopseggwobbleunderpant from Gumballnowigbattle-axeninja's head pops.
- When her doll is thrown off the bus, Anais gives a big no and several smaller 'no's.
- Richard (again) in "The Painting", after being told to get a job. Doesn't even finish before the scene transition. You think he's going to stop after awhile because his voice starts to trail off, but then he just goes back into it.
- In "The Wand", Richard said that when he found out a wishbone isn't actually magic when he was a kid he spent the next fifteen years yelling, despite other scenes from back then showing he wasn't.
- Bland-Name Product: Averted by the photographic backgrounds in "The Spoon". Though the logos on the brand name products are obscured, British viewers should recognise some of the brands.
- Bond One-Liner: Richard gives three at the end of "The Ape", each time followed by a short laugh by the family and Nicole admonishing him because Ms. Simian could be seriously hurt.
- Brain Bleach: In "The Kiss", Gumball experiences this when Grandma Jojo kisses him on the lips. He spends the rest of the episode trying to force himself to forget, which he succeeds at, leading to it happening again.
- Bros Before Hoes: "Pals Before Gals" is used in the episode "The Pressure."
- Brutal Honesty: When Mr. Small convinces Gumball and Darwin "honesty is the best policy," they immediately start insulting or otherwise upsetting everyone they run into with brutally honest truths, including Tina Rex, their teacher, and their principal.
- Bumbling Dad: Richard, Gumball's dad.
- Calvin Ball: "Dodge or Dare", a board game that Gumball and Darwin created, which involves taking a card and doing whatever is says on it. The trope applies in that, while the concept is (very loosely) structured with a set of "rules", the "rules" themselves are only there to ensure that sheer chaos results from playing it.
- In "The Car", Gumball is told to build a Rube Goldberg Device in order to launch a projectile into the air using anything found in the trash. The projectile in question is a bowling ball, and when it finally fires off, it malfunctions and launches right at Gumball's face. Right before it hits him, Darwin pauses the moment like a VCR to point out that the card says that Gumball can't use his hands to block, leading to him getting his face smashed in.
- Carnivore Confusion: Despite being a piece of toast, Anton still eats sandwiches. Perhaps the birds devouring him in that same scene was meant to be a Karmic Death for cannibalism.
- And yet despite that, he's can be seen in the background perfectly fine a few scenes later.
- And the donut cop in "The Spoon" tries to eat a donut, and in "The Ghost" a Carrie-possessed Gumball tries to eat him.
- When Gumball tries to pass an "I love you" to Penny off as "I love peanuts" in "The Meddler", she says that's like if she said she likes to eat cats.
- Cast of Snowflakes: Most of the characters don't even share the same art style.
- Catch Phrase: Gumball- *sigh* (aggravated) Fine... and “What the what?”
- Cats Are Mean: Naturally not the case, since Gumball and his mother are cats.
- Though she does have quite a temper.
- Justified considering the personalities of her husband and sons.
- Though she does have quite a temper.
- Character Blog: Richard's Twitter account, and Anais' Flickr account.
- The Cynic: Gumball expects the least out of people, including himself.
- Chekhov's Gun: Lampshaded in "The Robot", when Gumball hopes out loud for something that previously seemed insignificant to come save him. Cue Darwin running into the scene to help, only to get swept to the side by Bobert ("OK, some other insignificant thing!") followed by the sprinklers that splashed Gumball when he tried to sleep on the lawn earlier turning on, temporarily shorting Bobert out.
- City of Weirdos: Elmore is basically a city where some completely useless thing like a paper hat, is alive and can have children with Mount Rushmore and everything will be okay. It's just Tuesday for Elmore.
- Comically Missing the Point: Subverted in "The Spoon", with Gumball and Darwin in front of a safe:
Gumball: What do bald people need more of?
- Played straight in that same episode when Richard needs to buy Nicole a birthday present but he has to stay home and watch the kids and decides that since his kids don't have to watch the kids they can go and buy something on their own instead.
- Conspicuous CG: The CG itself isn't any more out of place than anything else, but occasionally it will be out of sync with the 2D objects or characters. For instance, in "The Poltergeist" Mrs. Robinson put something in the mailbox and while her hands moved and a sound was made the mailbox stayed closed.
- Convenience Store Gift Shopping: Richard sends Gumball and Darwin to do this for Nicole's birthday in "The Spoon".
- Defictionalization: Elmore Stream is now real... sorta.
- Deranged Animation: Anything in Elmore can come to life and conventional wisdom has been thrown out the window.
- Despair Event Horizon: Thoroughly crossed after Anais spends all weekend trying to get her grandmother's luggage up the stairs. When she finally shouts that she did it, Granny Jojo tells her to bring it back down since the bus is about to arrive soon. The look on her face shows that she has than
- Deadpan Snarker: Gumball, Darwin, Anais, Nicole, and several other character.
- Digital Piracy Is Evil: Invoked in "The DVD", with Darwin giving the whole "You wouldn't steal a car/purse/cell phone" speech.
- Dissonant Serenity: A momentary example combined with Stepford Smiler, being Played for Laughs when Gumball and Darwin are lost in a forest. Gumball suggests they watch the stars to find their way, pointing out that the sun is a star. They both stare at the sun for a moment, before turning around to reveal their eyes are on fire.
Darwin: *Still smiling* "There are no words to express the amount of pain I feel right now."
- The Ditz/Genius Ditz: Both Darwin and Gumball are both fairly dimwitted, but they're very smart about it. Part of the fun of their antics is how much thought put into their idiocy. Subverted in later seasons, where they both take turns as the Only Sane Man and just get roped into adventures
- Diving Save: Double Subverted in "The Debt": we get a Slow No of Gumball trying to push Mr. Robinson out of the way of a falling stage light but Gumball's jump falls short and the light is stopped just above Mr. Robinson by its own power chord, but after he refuses to get out of the way Gumball successfully pushes him out from under the light which does fall.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: One episode opens on Gumball and Darwin watching TV dazed and grazing on junk food while contemplating things like heartbeats and the end of the world in an irrational, paranoid manner. The whites of their eyes are a faded red the ENTIRE sequence.
- At the beginning of "The Third", Gumball and Darwin's discussion about having a 'third best friend' is strongly suggestive of the stereotypical conversation between partners about trying polyamory... a conversation at the end sounds like a couple's rejecting it.
- Don't Go in The Woods: In "The Picnic", Ms. Simian warns the students not to go into the Forest of Doom. Which is exactly what Gumball and Darwin do.
- Epic Fail: After twice demonstrating his inability to catch objects, Gumball fails to not catch one he's getting chased for carrying.
- Richard is able to blow on a piece of paper, moving a series of items that launch a piece of pizza from the kitchen table to his mouth while still on the couch. When Gumball tries to imitate this, he blows a piece of paper off-screen somehow sending a toaster crashing into Darwin that knocks him off the couch.
- Everything's Better with Rainbows: There's one in the show's logo.
- Everyone Went to School Together: In every flashback, even the year book, all the adults in Elmore no matter what age all seemed to have attended Middle School around the same time.
- In "The Wand", Mr. Robinson is at Elmore Jr. High despite begin way older than Richard.
- Even weirder is the old man that's purple and has antlers also was in the same year as Richard.
- In "The Gi" Nicole went to the same school, revealing Mr. Small, Mr. Fitzgerald, and others went to the same school.
- In "The Wand", Mr. Robinson is at Elmore Jr. High despite begin way older than Richard.
- Explosive Instrumentation: When Gumball goes down a hill too fast he catches on fire, and the radar gun a police officer uses on him also catches on fire.
- Eye Scream:
- In "The DVD", Gumball tries to get money by testing cosmetics he has an allergic reaction, wipes his face, and smears his eye across his face.
- In "The Painting", Mr. Small tries to get Gumball and Darwin to "be the brush", which ends with them getting loads of paint in their eyes.
- At one point in "The Picnic", Gumball and Darwin stare at the sun and end up with their eyes lit on fire.
- In "The Microwave", the first thing Kenneth tries to eat is Darwin's eyeball.
- Fictional Counterpart: Elmore Stream
- Fingore: In "The Curse" Gumball gets his finger stuck in the school bus door while on the outside and is then dragged by it all the way to school.
- Fluffy the Terrible: Mr. Cuddles, Penny's pet tarantula.
- Foot Focus: In "The Laziest", when Gumball gets "pins and needles", there's a shot of his feet with his toes wiggling.
- Also, Anais and Darwin "Toe-Wrestling" with Richard in "The Goons", which is so far the only time we've seen Darwin and Anais without shoes.
- For Doom the Bell Tolls: Invoked in "The Helmet". After Nicole, Richard, and Gumball first start arguing over the hat, Anais smells trouble brewing and bangs a pot like a gong saying it was "the sound of doom for the Wattersons".
- Forgot About His Powers: In "The Pressure", Masami keeps chasing after Darwin, who decides to hide from her in the swimming pool... by holding his breath.
- Gang of Bullies: Anton and Jamie are members of Tina's gang, whether they want to be or not.
- Subverted later on, since Anton is no longer seen among them, while Jamie has taken Tina’s role as bully.
- Gender Equals Breed: Inverted. Gumball's parents are a female cat and a male rabbit. He's a male cat, and his sister is a female rabbit.
- Genre Refugee: Carlton, Troy, and Mr. Kreese from “The Sweaters” think they are in an 80s sports movie with them as the villains and Gumball and Darwin as the underdog heroes. Gumball and Darwin couldn’t care less, but everyone else is also convinced by them.
- Genre Savvy: Gumball and Darwin often engage in this, particularly in “The Sweaters”, where Darwin and Gumball take steps to avoid engaging Carlton and Troy and letting them think that they’re hardcore, though it doesn’t work.
Carlton: So you think you’re hardcore, huh?”
- Glass-Shattering Sound/Incredibly Long Note: Done by Mr. Robinson at the end of his musical number in "The Debt".
- Gluttony Montage: Done in first-person in "The Ghost", where Carrie possesses Gumball.
- Gonk: Many of the live-action and CGI characters.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck: Upon seeing that he still has a long way to travel to reach Tobias' house, Gumball yells "Gosh darn it!!!"
- Hat of Power: A tinfoil hat that gives the wearer good luck in "The Helmet".
- Hate Sink: Harold and Felicity.
- Here We Go Again: The endings of "The Refund", "The Robot", and "The Picnic"
- Heroic BSOD: Gumball has one when Grandma Jojo kisses him on the lips by accident.
- Not nearly as bad as Gumball's example, but in the same episode, Anais spends the whole episode (the entire weekend) trying to push Granny Jojo's heavy luggage up the stairs to her room. When she finally makes it, she proudly announces it to Granny Jojo, who tells her "That's nice dear, now bring it back down stairs. The bus will be here soon." The screen turns red and the camera slowly pans in on Anais' shocked face. You could just feel the despair in her eyes bleeding out.
- Hypocritical Humor: In "The Responsible", Gumball and Darwin violently smash the TV (and somehow manage to set it on fire) so that Anais won't be subject to the violence on TV.
- In "The DVD", Darwin keeps telling Gumball he should "tell the truth and face the consequences of [their] actions" when they accidentally break the DVD, but Gumball keeps saying no. However, later in the episode, Gumball tells Darwin the same thing, and Darwin punches him in the arm.
- I Meant to Do That: At the end of "The Microwave" Gumball is knocked into the valve for the hose Kenneth swallowed, and when this saves everyone he pretends it was his idea.
- I Owe You My Life: "The Debt", where Mr. Robinson "saves" Gumball (stops his slow-moving car when Gumball was too busy panicking to get out of its path) and Gumball decides he has to save Mr. Robinson in return, nearly killing him several times. Given Gumball had just shown to be a rather dedicated fan of Mr. Robinson, the whole thing may have just been an excuse to follow him around.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every episode title is "The [noun]".
- Incredibly Lame Pun: Darwin claims to be a "Pacifish" in "The Ghost".
- Insane Troll Logic: This show is riddled with it.
- In "The Picnic" Gumball reasons that, because everything (including food) is made up "circles with circles around them" (atoms), a rock is the same as a chicken nugget.
- In "The Meddler" Gumball reasons that by joining the cheerleading squad, he'll impress Penny with his masculinity and out preform her in the competition to make her love him.
- The doughnut officer looks at something disturbing or a suspected crime scene, then at something else that looks dangerous, then at the only person conscious and treats them with unreasonable hostility. Despite having no knowledge of anything or no evidence.
- In "The Spoon" he looks at a knocked out Darwin and Gumball, then Nicole, then a sausage and assumes she hurt them.
- In "The Sock" he looks at Gumball and Darwin, then the filing cabinet, then a phone, and assumes they're responsible.
- Interspecies Adoption: How Darwin became a member of the Watterson family.
- Interspecies Romance: Mr. and Mrs. Watterson, but considering in the same universe a cactus and a balloon can fall in love with each other, this isn't too unusual.
- It Came From the Fridge: The monster from "The Microwave" originated when a bunch of gross stuff Gumball put in a jar was put in the microwave.
- It's All My Fault: Subverted in "The Responsible". Gumball decides to take the rap for flooding the house, but when he sees the fire in his mom's eyes, he shifts the blame to Darwin. After they quarrel, Richard eventually decides to blame it on the Internet, to which everyone agrees.
- Anais admits to filling in Darwin's aptitude test in "The Genius".
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Played with im “The Prank”. Gumball and Darwin almost get their father killed in the severity of their pranks, who in turn almost kills them.
- Karma Houdini: Richard, in-universe.
Nicole: That wasn't very nice. You two should know better.
- Margaretgets away with most of her evil deeds in “The Wicked”, though at the very end she is injured and caught in an explosion.
- Kill It with Fire: Mr. Small does this to a painting, apparently because he believed it to be a "relic of convention".
- Laborious Laziness: Richard is a master of this.
- Lampshade-Wearing: In "The Party", we see a couple of characters dancing to the music wearing lampshades.
- Limited Wardrobe: Lampshaded, as Gumball is especially distressed to find out his sweater came from a sewage pit because "I wear this all the time."
- Line-of-Sight Name: Gumball tries this in "The Dress". What are the first things he sees? Someone chewing gum, and a ball. Which he quickly amends with "oops—egg—wobble—underpants." And then when he's asked where he's from, he sees gum and a bald head... and then "no, wig, battle-axe ninja!" His classmates ended up interpreting the whole thing as "Gumballoupseggwobbleunderpant from Gumballnowigbattle-axeninja".
- Loads and Loads of Characters: The character page on the official site already lists 30 different named characters. And that's not even the entire cast — there are also a sauropod named Molly and a chin puppet named Sussie, the latter of whom even appears in the intro.
- Major Injury Underreaction: At the end of "The Prank", Richard rather nonchalantly mentions that he broke five ribs pretending to go on a rampage.
- Meaningful Name: Darwin, who started off as an ordinary fish but gained arms and legs. In other words, he evolved.
- Medium Awareness: When Gumball attempts to wipe some makeup off his face, he accidentally smears his left eye.
Gumball: Why am I looking at the floor?
- In "The Mystery", when seeking out whom to accuse of stuffing the principal in his locker, a spotlight shines on whoever is being accused. When he tries to accuse Rocky, the spotlight doesn't come on at first. Gumball then looks offscreen and says "I said him!"
- Medium Blending: Just look at the page image.
- Metal Scream: In the song Gumball and Darwin listen to, often referred to as 'Inner Warrior' has the scream at the end in "The DVD"
- Mistaken for Apocalypse: "The End".
- Mister Seahorse: While disguised in the dress in "The Dress", Gumball has an imagine spot about Darwin marrying him (because Darwin doesn't realize he's just Gumball in a dress). In the Imagine Spot, Gumball is surrounded by cat/fish babies as Darwin comes home and yells "I WANT MORE KIDS!"
- Musical Pastiche: When Carrie possesses Gumball, a pastiche of The Prodigy's "Smack My Bitch Up" plays.
- My Name Is Not Durwood: Despite trying to pretend he was his friend, Gumball always gets Alan's name wrong.
- Naked People Are Funny: Richard after a raft prank in "The Prank". Gumball repeatedly.
- Noble Shoplifter: Convinced that the impending solar eclipse will cause the end of the world, Gumball, Darwin, and Richard raid the local grocery store for supplies...with every intention of paying, of course, but the lines are obscene and the self-checkout refuses to behave. In the end, they charge out the door with a cart full of groceries and throw a fistful of money in the pursuing security guard's face.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Nicole does this to Tina's father at the end of "The Fight". She completely demolished his house in the process.
- Nonhumans Lack Attributes: Averted with Gumball, played straight with a lot of other characters.
- Noodle Incident: In "The Responsible" Gumball and Darwin are mentioned to have somehow set fire to a swimming pool.
- Noodle Implements: In "The Party" Darwin ends his Overly Long Name with "III", suggesting he wasn't the Watterson family's first goldfish.
- Later episodes reveal that Darwin actually wasn’t their first goldfish, and all the other ones wound up dying thanks to Richard’s stupidity.
- Non Standard Character Design: While most characters are drawn with a flat, stylized look, there are also quite a few that run the gamut from paper cutouts to photo-realistic dinosaurs.
- No Theme Tune: It has an Instrumental Theme Tune actually, but in the U.S. it was only aired for the sneak peek.
- Not a Date: Inverted in "The Date". Penny invites Gumball to her house and he thinks it's a date because he was too lovestruck to hear everything she said; it really wasn't one, it was a funeral for her pet tarantula.
- Not Now, Kiddo: Anais spends most of "The Painting" trying to tell everyone that she doesn't think there's anything wrong with her family but Principal Brown and her mother won't let her talk.
- "Not Wearing Pants" Dream: Referenced in "The Responsible". Richard had to go to the parent-teacher conference without pants (because he can't find a pair that fits) and says he feels like he's in "one of those dreams. The ones where you go to school naked."
- Oh Crap: Gumball and Darwin's expression after Anais says Daisy isn't just a toy.
- Also in the same episode when Anais' toy goes off next to a sleeping Tina
- Organ Autonomy: Gumball's brain leaves his head when he tries reading a book in "The Genius."
- Only Sane Man:
- Anais and Nicole are the most likely to express annoyance with their family’s idiocy.
- Gumball shows this frequently following the first season, particularly noticeable in “The Chart”. He even admits to being well aware of how weird Elmore is.
- Darwin also evolved into this, often playing the straight Man to Gumball and his harebrained scheme. In “The Sidekick” Gumball says Darwin’s role in their dynamic is to make sure Gumball doesn’t do something stupid. In other episodes Darwin can be even worse than Gumball, particularly when he kidnaps Jackie so Tobias will give back Gumball’s video game in “The Sidekick”or turned Elmore into a totalitarian state in “The Safety”.
- Orphaned Punchline: At the beginning of "The Date" Richard finishes telling the family a story referencing the urban legend of mixing Pop Rocks and soda. His appearance at that point suggests he attempted it and the mixture blew up in his face.
- Out of Order: Word of God has stated as such, and also said it's while they're not doing any multi-part episodes. It's generally not very noticeable due to the series not having much inter-episode continuity, but ones error does stick out: the end of "The Quest" centers around Anais letting Tina keep her doll, yet several episodes aired later show Anais still has it.
- Overly Long Gag: In "The Picnic", Gumball and Darwin spare a caterpillar only for it to be by a grabbed by a hawk-like monster... which are both eaten by a large monster... which is eaten by a larger monster... which is eaten by an even bigger monster than that.
- Pac-Man Fever: Video games seen at various points all have very 8/16-bit looking graphics. This trope is possibly lampshaded by how "The Refund" has Gumball trying to put what looks like an SNES cartridge into the disc drive of a console that looks like an Xbox 360 before realizing there's something wrong.
- Panty Shot: Anais shows her underwear briefly to her brothers to emphasize she wasn't wearing any diapers in "The Responsible."
- Parental Bonus: An entire episode is dedicated to Darwin and Gumball finding a third best friend. The conversation is funny to children, but absolutely side splitting to adults.
Gumball: It's only awkward if you MAKE it awkward.
- Passing Notes in Class: In "The Party", the kids at school are about to attend Rachel's party, but they all have to bring a date. Gumball gets a mysterious note flown to him while in the cafeteria, saying "Will you be the jelly in my peanut butter sandwich?". It eventually turns out to be from Penny, who is literally a peanut.
- Subverted in "The Mustache", when Gumball and Darwin are passing a drawing of themselves as adults and Miss Simian catches them, but decides since she's talking about puberty they're actually on-topic and continues her lecture.
- Picky Eater: When Carrie takes over Gumball's body and starts binge-eating everything in sight, she takes a moment to remove the pickle slice from a hamburger before devouring the whole combo meal.
- Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Anais and Gumball. Inverted with Richard and Nicole.
- Pixellation: When Gumball is naked, he gets this. What's extra funny is that in some frames they missed applying it, and as you might expect there isn't anything to cover.
- Planet Eris: The town of Elmore, where anything can (and will) come to life or spontaneously evolve from pet to family member. Not to mention the wackiness that happens from day to day.
- The Power of Friendship: Gumball breaks free from a covering of solid concrete using this.
Gumball: By the POWER OF FRIENDSHIP!!
- Prop Recycling: A lot of the characters are rejected advertising mascots.
- Punch a Wall: Nicole does this in "The DVD".
- Puppy Dog Eyes: Both Anais and Gumball use this on each other when she tries to convince him to go over to Tina's house to rescue Anais' doll. Anais wins.
- Tina does it later in the episode. It works.
- Quarter Hour Short/Two Shorts: A somewhat odd case, as while several of the first episodes were aired as Two Shorts, both new, it's since changed to a new Quarter Hour Short and a rerun played subsequently with one opening and ending between them, then close to the end of the the first season they switched the new and old episode around. Or two different quarter-hours rerun. Which now confuses the heck out of most DVRs since it thinks that it's a new episode every time just because those two episodes haven't been paired before.
- Quote Mine: Seen in one of the show's trailers, where Gumball stitches together quotes from several of his friends and family members:
Ms. Simian: GUMBALL!!
- Rags to Riches: In "The DVD", a hobo becomes a millionaire after using Gumball and Darwin's money to buy a scratch-off card.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Erm, does the Silence Snake count?
- Retro Universe: Most of the appliances have a very 70's/80's aesthetic but they're still DVD-players, a Youtube equivalent, and in "The Refund," Darwin says this:
Darwin: Why is it called [the Ripley] 2000 anyway? It's not like it's the future anymore!
- Roger Rabbit Effect: The majority of the show's scenery starts as live-action photograph, but with filters and some objects drawn to make them clash with the characters less.
- Saw Star Wars 27 Times: According to "The DVD", Gumball has seen Alligators on a Train 72 times.
- Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: When nervous, Darwin tends to imitate the sound of footsteps on a creaky floor.
- Serious Business:
Gumball: Relax, sis, it's only a toy!
- She Is Not My Girlfriend: In "The Pressure", Masami decides that Darwin is her boyfriend to impress her own friends. Darwin's attitude throughout the episode is pretty much this, even down to saying the trope name word for word.
- Short Run in Peru: Several episodes have aired first in Brazil (Portuguese dub), France, Central and South America (still in English), and Australia.
- Shout-Out: Rocky is seen in a ABCD shirt with a familiar design.
- Alligators on a Train.
- Darwin quotes the famous Digital Piracy Is Evil line, "You wouldn't steal a car, you wouldn't steal a purse, digital piracy is stealing!"
- The first-person montage when Carrie possesses Gumball is reminiscent to the music video of "Smack My Bitch Up".
- Also in "The Ghost", when Gumball is possessed by Carrie, he crawls along the ceiling and then rotates his head 180 degrees, just like the baby in the detox-hallucination scene in Trainspotting
- In "The Quest," the scene when Gumball accidentally wakes up Tina Rex when he finally retrieves Anais's doll Daisy bears a slight resemblance to the scene from the first The Land Before Time movie when Sharptooth wakes up as Cera charges, scaring her away.
- In "The Refund," the game Gumball is trying to refund looks similar to a Super Famicom cartridge.
- In "The Robot" when Bobert transforms into his Self Defense Mode he brandishes his Dual rotary laser cannons and roars like a certain other killer mecha.
- Gumball's cheerleading audition in "The Meddler" is reminiscent of The Chemical Brothers "Elektrobank" music video.
- The Wattersons' last name is a reference to Bill Watterson.
- Darwin and Richard toe-wrestle and they paint their big toes to look like Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan.
- Show Within a Show: The Daisy the Donkey Show.
- Slapstick Knows No Gender: Nicole suffers some of the most painful looking pratfalls in "The DVD".
- Anais ends up smacking into the ground with Darwin and Gumball in "The Responsible" and run over by an old man's cart in "The Goons".
- Banana Barbara also suffers some slapstick gags.
- Slow No: Gumball in "The Debt" when he finds Mr. Robinson is about to get crushed.
- Soft Water: Inverted: When Gumball jumps off a diving board into the school swimming pool, he belly-flops so hard against the surface of the water that it takes a couple seconds before the surface gives way and he finally sinks.
- Stealth Pun: The solar eclipse in "The End". As the moon passes by the sun, he says, "You just got mooned!"
Sun: What is wrong with that guy?
- Penny is a female peanut with antlers. You know, a doe-nut.
- Darwin is a fish with legs
- Sudden Anatomy: A particularly over-the-top example in "The Robot" has Gumball's regular cat-like ear being replaced by a gigantic human-like ear when trying to listen to something across the room.
- Suspiciously Similar Song: In "The Refund", Gumball and Darwin sing a song that sounds a lot like "We Are The World".
- Temporary Bulk Change:
- "The Ghost": Everytime Carrie possesses Gumball she forces him to overeat, and he wakes up the next morning with a Balloon Belly. He is back to normal by the time he's at school.
- "The Laziest": When Lawrence turns back into Lazy Larry, he suddenly balloons to become as big as his couch.
- "The Mustache:" Gumball, Darwin and Anais become hairy and muscular after eating a muscle-building supplement bought by Richard instead of their morning cereal.
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Generally inverted. Lots of male characters have feminine features (particularly Darwin, who also has a very feminine voice), while lots of female characters don't have any (Nicole is a full-grown woman and has a completely flat chest).
- There Are No Therapists: Double Subverted thanks to adults being useless- the school's counselor Mr. Small is a recurring character, but he almost always makes things much worse.
- The "The" Title: Used to title the episodes.
- Timmy in a Well: When Mr. Small is stuck in his file cabinet, Gumball and Darwin have to get help even though he told them not to speak anymore. They try to non-verbally get help from Principal Brown, who thinks they're saying Ms. Simian is trapped in a well, and jumps out a window to try and rescue her. When they try again with Ms. Simian she ALSO thinks they mean she's trapped in a well and likewise jumps out a window to save herself. When they try to tell Rocky he understands exactly what they mean, gives them some crowbars to help, and then jumps out the window anyway.
- Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Carmen and Alan; she's easily twice his size. To a lesser degree, Gumball and Penny, who's about one and a half times as tall as him.
- Took a Level In Jerkass: In "The Mystery" Miss Simian makes the transition from simple Sadist Teacher to Tyrant Takes the Helm when she destroys evidence that implicates her and tries to have Gumball unjustly expelled. Another episode reveals that she was a complete Jerkass to Nicole for no reason and she pretends to be friends to Gumball and Darwin just to get an award.
- Gumball also went to being a cynical Jerkass, and Darwin went through a similar yet smaller change.
- Training Montage: Gumball gives one to his brain, complete with upbeat training music.
- Translation: "Yes": Gumball, when inquiring about Darwin's job skills, asks if Darwin can speak Chinese. He responds in a long Chinese sentence which is subtitled "No."
- Two-Teacher School: Elmore Junior High only has a principal, one teacher, one guidance councilor, and one guy who does everything else.
- Turn Out Like His Father: The entire thought process with Nicole in the "The Gi" was the possibilities of Gumball and Darwin turning out like Richard. Presumably fat and lazy, without a job and being laughed at by children.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Nicole and Richard.
- Under Crank: When Gumball and Darwin are experiencing a sugar rush in "The Laziest", their voices are sped up.
- Unmoving Plaid: Mr. Small's rainbow-patterned shirt.
- Unnamed Parent: Oddly, Gumball's parents aren't this in the actual show (they're referred to as Nicole and Richard), but both the credits and website only call them Mom/Mum and Dad.
- Visual Pun: "Everybody's bending over backwards for me!" Cue Mr. Small walking by, literally bent over backwards.
- Vocal Tag Team: Gumball and Darwin do this when singing about growing up and impersonating a rap video.
- Voice of Dramatic: Parodied in one of the show's commercials, where Darwin adopts a deep, dramatic voice to narrate the commercial in the style of a movie trailer.
- What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous?: The robber in "The Spoon" holding up the convenience store with… you guessed it… a spoon. Until the end of the cartoon, everyone reacts as though it's a deadly weapon.
- Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: Most of the jobs around Elmore done by one of four people: Larry (cashier or clerk), Rocky (stuff at school), a blue thing named Pantsbully (construction), or a elderly, pink muffin lady (interviews for jobs and product testing).
- Widget Series
- Wingding Eyes: Lampshaded. When Darwin asks Gumball why his eyes just turned into hearts, he says it's allergies.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: In "The Quest", Gumball and Darwin are being chased by an enraged Tina who then plan to stay perfectly still so she doesn't see them. "That only works in movies"
- You Gotta Have Blue Fur: Gumball and Nicole.
- Your Head Asplode: "The Sock" Darwin explodes suddenly when Gumball inflicts a Mind Screw on him.
- It explodes again at the end of "The Meddler" after his face gets stuck with a painful smile on for the third time.
- The store manager has cheated the Waterson's out of a lot of money again, and they're ready to try to get that money back.
- Bobert failed to steal Gumball's identity, so he's just going to try and take Darwin's.
- Gumball and Darwin reach the picnic sight and get something (trash) to eat, but then get left behind by the rest of the class again and still don't know which way to follow.