• Before making a single edit, Tropedia EXPECTS our site policy and manual of style to be followed. Failure to do so may result in deletion of contributions and blocks of users who refuse to learn to do so. Our policies can be reviewed here.
  • All images MUST now have proper attribution, those who neglect to assign at least the "fair use" licensing to an image may have it deleted. All new pages should use the preloadable templates feature on the edit page to add the appropriate basic page markup. Pages that don't do this will be subject to deletion, with or without explanation.
  • All new trope pages will be made with the "Trope Workshop" found on the "Troper Tools" menu and worked on until they have at least three examples. The Trope workshop specific templates can then be removed and it will be regarded as a regular trope page after being moved to the Main namespace. THIS SHOULD BE WORKING NOW, REPORT ANY ISSUES TO Janna2000, SelfCloak or RRabbit42. DON'T MAKE PAGES MANUALLY UNLESS A TEMPLATE IS BROKEN, AND REPORT IT THAT IS THE CASE. PAGES WILL BE DELETED OTHERWISE IF THEY ARE MISSING BASIC MARKUP.


Farm-Fresh balance.pngYMMVTransmit blue.pngRadarWikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotes • (Emoticon happy.pngFunnyHeart.pngHeartwarmingSilk award star gold 3.pngAwesome) • Refridgerator.pngFridgeGroup.pngCharactersScript edit.pngFanfic RecsSkull0.pngNightmare FuelRsz 1rsz 2rsz 1shout-out icon.pngShout OutMagnifier.pngPlotGota icono.pngTear JerkerBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersHelp.pngTriviaWMGFilmRoll-small.pngRecapRainbow.pngHo YayPhoto link.pngImage LinksNyan-Cat-Original.pngMemesHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconicLibrary science symbol .svg SourceSetting

The Tribe ran five seasons (1999-2003). It was a New Zealand-produced Cozy Catastrophe/Teen Soap Opera set Twenty Minutes Into the Future, after an apocalyptic virus that wipes out the world's adult population, leaving the kids and teens to inherit an unnamed city that is rapidly degenerating into a post-apocalyptic urban wasteland.

The main characters are the Mall Rats, a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits who took up residence in an abandoned shopping mall. Over the series, the Mall Rats attempt to restore order to a chaotic world by reintroducing civilized functions like money and democratic elections. The Mall Rats face external and internal conflict with other tribes and between their own members, who don't always see eye to eye.

The first series was notably darker in tone than later series, and more survivalist-oriented. The first season also had very few of the "fantastic" elements that came to dominate later seasons, such as virtual reality, religious cults, insanely well-disciplined and organized antagonist tribes, and mysticism. The show dealt with many of the typical elements of both a Teen Drama with a setting that was part Scavenger World and part Cozy Catastrophe, including problems like pregnancy and bulimia. It also mostly averted Dawson Casting.

Tropes used in The Tribe include:
  • Abusive Parents: Lex's father beat both him and his mother.
  • After the End
  • Anti-Hero: Lex, kinda, well he's more than willing to take the role of The Big Guy it's only when he'd get something out of it.
  • Anyone Can Die: At least, anyone over 12.
    • Though the final episodes of season five reveal a bunch of the people who were thought to have died were really alive, and Word of God revealed at least one more who survived.
      • True, but certain other characters (like Zoot and Dal, Java and Siva) die on-screen. Most deaths are off-screen though, to allow for the possibility of a return at a later point.
  • The Apunkalypse: Mainly the Locos.
  • Badass Bookworm: Dal proves to be this during the tribe circus invasion of the mall in what qualifies as a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
  • Badass Longcoat: Lex.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Ryan is one of the nicest people, ever, yet if you get him angry he will beat the crap out of you.
  • Big Bad: In the beginning, it was the Locos led by Zoot, then the same tribe led by Ebony, then the Chosen led by the Guardian, then the Technos led first by Ram and later by Mega, and later the Zootists in the final season.
  • The Big Guy: Lex and Ryan are treated as such during the first season, Lex is a class one and Ryan a class two. Season two gives us Alice.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Cloe, Patsy and KC.
  • Burn, Baby, Burn: Zoot gets sent off like this.
  • Cain and Abel: Java shoots at Ebony, but Siva Takes The Laser for her, then Ebony kills Java.
  • Canada Does Not Exist: Made in New Zealand, and starring an all-New Zealand cast with distinctive New Zealand accents ... but set in "The City", with absolutely no obvious landmarks anywhere. Not only that, but on the rare occasions early on in the show when old money from before the apocalypse was shown, it seemed to be British coinage.
    • Zoot's Police Car was a New Zealand/Australian model, but with blue insignia more typical of American police cars. They really went out of their way to avoid setting that show in a specific country.
    • Also, in one episode, Jack finds a tape with footage of the President (presumably of the United States, given his American accent and other clues in the footage); later, he simply refers to the character on that tape as "The President" (not "The American President" as we would expect a non-US native to call him). This actually implies that The City is in American territory, despite the kids' mostly New Zealand accents and speech idioms.
  • Cartwright Curse: A variant on it - Lex's partners are fine unless they say "I do."
  • The City
  • Child Soldiers: Lex and Ryan went through a Boot Camp Training From Hell before the last of the adults were wiped out in order to toughen them up so they could survive. This actually explains a lot of their behavior in Season 1.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Tai-San, especially in the first season.
  • Cosy Catastrophe: Well, it was made in New Zealand.
  • Dark Action Girl: Ebony.
  • Dawson Casting: Notably Averted: The character's stated and implied ages were reflected by the actors who played them, bar some exceptions: the actors who played Alice and the Guardian were in their late 20's.
  • The Danza: Ryan, though as it's most likely just a coincidence seeing how he's no more prominent than most of the characters.
  • Dead Little Sister: Every character has lost their family to the Virus, and several more lose siblings during the series, eg Bray's little brother, the disturbed, war-mongering Zoot dies early on.
  • Deadly Euphemism: Subverted. When the Technos say they're going to "delete" someone, they're not being euphemistic; they're reinforcing the fact that they don't see non-Technos as real.
    • Before "Delete," it was played straight with "waste."
  • Depopulation Bomb: The Virus. Highly selective.
  • Disaster Democracy (The city holds a vote for leader, Ebony wins.)
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Major Brown, Lex and Ryan's boot camp instructor.
  • Eat the Rich: The Locos under the Zoot regime wear jackets with EAT THE RICH emblazoned on the back of them.
  • Enemy Mine: Due to the break up of the Loco's Ebony is forced to work with the mallrats for most of season two, though neither side likes this arrangement.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Lex. Later also Pride.
  • Executive Meddling: The executives refused to allow smoking to be shown. This was the only thing that wasn't allowed. This includes prostitution, slavery, underage drinking and attempted rape.
  • Face Heel Turn: Trudy in Series 2 after returning from the Chosen.
  • Fake Defector: Tai-San and Pride in Series 3.
    • Jack in Series 5.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: The Technos' Zappers had stun settings.
  • Freudian Excuse: Zoot, Ebony, Mega.
  • The Fundamentalist: Tai-San started out as an extreme Granola Girl Fundamentalist (refusing even to help Amber and the other girls teach the young children science, though she compromised and help to teach them math, even though she believed math and science to be part of "the old ways"- SEE Science Is Bad below), but thankfully grew out of it and became a more benign sort of mystic.
  • Future Slang: see Unusual Euphemism below.
  • Gang of Hats: Taken to extremes almost as ridiculous as The Warriors.
  • Gentle Giant: The slow-witted, but kind and compassionate Ryan. He started out much more thug-like, as he came to the mall with Lex originally, and was Lex's "muscle" for the first few episodes, but as he started associating more with the other Mallrats, he grew into this kind of character.
  • Government Conspiracy: The truth of the Virus's origins is covered up.
  • Heel Face Turn: Trudy after visiting the Nomads.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Siva taking a laser for Ebony.
    • Mega sacrificing his life to Logic Bomb Ram's Zoot program before it can complete the Virus Mark II.
    • While not resulting in death, Trudy allows herself to be taken away by the Chosen to save Lex's life.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Three Power Rangers pop up in this: Conner, Tyzonn and Flynn.
    • Also many many other actors from various series of Power Rangers, Hercules and/or Xena. Mostly because all of them were filmed in New Zealand and there's a limited pool of actors.
  • Jerkass: Lex.
  • Limited Wardrobe: During the first season only five people actually change their outfit, and of those only Zandra changes it more than once. The younger kids change their clothes in the second season but that's probably because the old ones didn't fit them. This is particularly Egregious because in one episode we see Lex and Ryan have a wardrobe full of clothes and they live in a mall.
  • Love Triangle: Salene, Bray and Trudy. Though it's a twist on it as the guy isn't interested in a relationship.
    • Also Jack, Ellie and Luke.
    • Jay, Trudy and Amber.
    • Amber, Pride and Bray.
    • Salene, Pride and May.
  • Mama Bear: Trudy.
  • Manchurian Agent
  • Manipulative Bastard: Ebony again.
  • The Mole: May for the Guardian in Series 3 and for Mega in Series 5.
  • My Friends and Zoidberg: Jack jokingly invokes this.

 Sasha "Gentlemen."

Jack "And KC."

  • Nerf Arm: Baseball bats, chair legs, blunted staffs and occasionally crossbows were the weapons of choice until the Technos arrived with their zappers with stun settings. Due to the target demographic, on-screen deaths were usually "accidental," even those resulting from fights, such as Zoot's fall after his scuffle with Lex and the similar fate of several other characters.
  • Neutral Female: Zandra.
  • Noodle Incident: We never did see what happened at Lex and Zandra's wedding.
  • Off the Wagon: Lex became an alcoholic early in the series, and later on, Salene.
  • Only Fatal to Adults: The Virus, also see Anyone Can Die.
  • Parental Abandonment: Via highly selective Depopulation Bomb.
  • Promotion to Parent: Some fared better than others.
  • Punk Punk: The fashions.
  • Rape Is Love: Lex tries to rape Zandra early in the first series, about ten episodes later they're getting married.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Almost all of the mallrats deaths and disappearances were done because the cast members quit.
  • The Rival: Lex, rival to Bray and pretty much any other post pubescent male.
    • And Ebony to Amber.
  • Scavenger World: Especially in the first and second series.
  • Schizo-Tech: The show became this when the Technos arrived with their zap guns and Virtual Reality games.
  • Science Is Bad: Tai-Sain believes this, at least, initially. She may have grown out of it by the second series though, when she is the only person entrusted with the formula for the Antidote to the Virus.
  • She Is All Grown Up: Cloe's return.
  • Shout-Out: Several, including one to Orwell's 1984.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Bray and Zoot, Jay and Ved, Slade and Mega.
  • Slap Slap Kiss: Lex and Major Brown, it's even in their foreplay.
  • The Smart Guy: Both Jack and Dal.
  • Street Urchin: KC.
  • Still Wearing the Old Colors: After joining the Mallrats, Ebony still wears the red and black clothing associated with the Locos, her old tribe.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Series 1 avoided this. Series 2 - 5, it became a regular occurrence, most notably Danni replacing Amber, Amber then replacing Danni, and Jay replacing Bray.
  • Team Mom: Amber.
  • Team Spirit
  • Technology Marches On: Clearly the Virus struck in 1998, what with all the CD players instead of iPods being used and traded. Notably, the survival machines made by Jack and Dal in the first series were plausible.
  • Teenage Wasteland: Type 2.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Trudy in Series 1, Salene and Amber in Series 3.
  • Teens Are Monsters
  • Tribal Face Paint: The kids sure do love their face paint.
  • Turncoat: Multiple characters on different occasions.
  • Twenty Minutes Into the Future
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Waste" and later, "Delete" for killing someone or making them disappear.
    • To "waste" someone was fairly common slang during the time of the show's run (it's still well-understood, just not as popular in 2010 as it was in the '90s).
    • Also "Virt" (how the Technos referred to other tribes, derived from "Virtual") ... as opposed to the Technos, who are "real" people, the "Virts" are considered second-class, as though they merely appear to be living.
  • Viewers are Morons: Particularly egregious at times.
  • What Could Have Been: One has to wonder how the series would have gone if the producers didn't have to deal with the actors leaving so often.
  • What Do You Mean It's for Kids?: Some themes over the course of the series clearly went beyond the usual parameters of a pre-teen show, like alcoholism, prostitution, rape, starvation, bulimia, or the clash between different political systems like democracy, dictatorships and anarchy.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The Demon Dogs seemed to disappear after the Locos do.
    • Though they never were as large or as organized.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Lex calls Tai-San out about her treatment of him during early season one when she begins going off at him about his treatment of Alice.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: Trudy in Series 3 when she has the Mallrats at her mercy:

 Trudy: "Do you remember Jack? When I was just a scared pregnant Girl begging to be allowed to stay here?"

Salene: "We took you in Trudy!"

Trudy: "I was never welcome here! Do you have any idea how that felt?"