[[quoteright:331:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/321_Penguins_9161.jpg]]

--> ''"Let's sing a little song''
--> ''With eight little words''
--> '''Bout a rocket ship''
--> ''And flightless birds''
--> ''Zidgel! Midgel! Fidgel! Kevin!''
--> ''Three! Two! One! Penguins!"''
--> --''3-2-1 Penguins!'' ThemeSong

Produced by Big Idea Productions (the guys who made ''WesternAnimation/VeggieTales''), ''3-2-1 Penguins!'' stars twin siblings Michelle Frances Conrad (who is older by five minutes) and Jason T. Conrad. Both have been shipped off to stay with their very British "[[InsistentTerminology grandmum]]" for the summer, while their parents go...[[CanonFodder someplace else]].

In the PilotEpisode, Jason mopes around because he would much rather be at Space Camp, and as evening falls on their first day at the cottage, he is bored out of his skull after their television blows a fuse. Michelle, on the other hand, has found a set of porcelain penguins and is rather enjoying herself when Jason happens upon the [[MissingFloor hidden attic]]. Upon investigation, the twins find a bunch of old toys and games, as well as a large telescope. When Michelle hogs the telescope, Jason stuffs her penguins into a toy spaceship and accidentally drops them both. Rather than breaking, the ship bounces around before springing to life. The now living and sentient penguins "galeezil" Jason into the toy ship and whisk off into space to deal with a distress call.

In Episode 2, it's Michelle's turn to take a ride with the penguins, and from then on, one or both of the twins would join the penguins as they traveled through the stars, helping various [[AmusingAlien Amusing]] (and less-than-amusing) [[AmusingAlien Aliens]] with whatever the universe decided to throw at them. [[SarcasmMode Astonishingly]], the solution to each location's problem usually hinges on [[AnAesop something Grandmum tried to teach the kids earlier]].

Since the show is targeted at a slightly older demographic than that of ''WesternAnimation/VeggieTales'', there's a distinct lack of musical numbers in each episode (but not Big Idea's trademark humor). However, at the end of most episodes, the Penguins attend Amateur Night at the Comet Lounge where they sing a song related to the episode's moral lesson.

The series was initially a set of six direct-to-video episodes, released between 2000 and 2003, but after a four-year hiatus, the show was picked up by Creator/{{NBC}}'s {{Qubo}} block and has since gained two additional seasons.

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!!''3-2-1 Penguins!'' provides examples of:

* {{Adorkable}}: In "The Amazing Carnival of Complaining", Dr. Fidgel says the following line in one of the most adorkable ways possible.
-->'''Fidgel:''' Sensors indicate fun!
* AerithAndBob: The Penguins' names are Zidgel, Midgel, Fidgel... and Kevin.
* AlienSky: The planets Wait-Your-Turn, Tell-a-Lie, Rigel 13, and Cross-Your-Heart have this. [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] in ''Lazy Daze''
-->'''Midgel:''' Blue grass, green skies, and no ants.
-->'''Michelle:''' Don't you mean green grass and blue skies?
* AliensSpeakingEnglish: Played straight with most of the aliens, averted with the light-bulb aliens in "Runaway Pride at Lightstation Kilowatt" who speak in R2-D2-ish gibberish and the ear-like lobes in ''Compassion Crashin'' who communicate with "Budda, budda, budda."
* AllAnimalsAreDomesticated: In ''The Doom Funnel Rescue'', Jason finds a mouse and names him Preston. Preston [[AllAnimalsAreDogs still acts like a mouse]], but doesn't seem to mind being handled at all. Later on, Michelle even dresses him up in a bridal gown.
* AllCGICartoon: Everything is CGI.
* AllPlanetsAreEarthlike: Played straight with planets Sharalike from ''Give and Let Give'', which has a Sahara Desert-like surface and Picket from ''The Green-Eyed Monster'', which has a pasture-like surface, averted with Wait-Your-Turn, Tell-a-Lie, Rigel 13, and Cross-Your-Heart.
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking: In the Planet Tell-a-Lie music video, "The Legend of Galaxy Gus", there is a wanted poster with this on it: "Wanted, Honcho Villa, fer bank robbery, cattle rustlin', and not makin' his bed.
* AsTheGoodBookSays: Grandmum and occasionally Sol quotes from the Good Book.
* BarefootCartoonAnimals: The Penguins and some other characters.
* BigCreepyCrawlies: The giant ants in ''Lazy Daze''.
* BigNo: In the episode ''Wise Guys'', Jason does this twice, and both times coupled with a SkywardScream: the first when he discovers that the batteries are not included with the time machine, and another when he is told [[spoiler: that he and his sister are stuck in the future forever]].
* BilingualBonus: In ''Wiki Tiki'', the tiki king says, "Mahalo nui" to Zidgel. ''Mahalo nui'' is Hawaiian for "thank you very much."
* BreadEggsBreadedEggs: In ''Trouble on Planet Wait-Your-Turn'', how the Penguins describe how hot it is on the planet.
-->'''Fidgel:''' Like a sauna.
-->'''Midgel:''' Like a barbecue.
-->'''Zidgel:''' Like someone's barbecuing in a sauna.
* BreakingTheFourthWall: In ''Invasion of the Body Swappers'', part of Zidgel's song lyrics are, "I make them swoon, even for a cartoon!"
* BrickJoke: President No-I'm-the-President's cameo in ''The Cheating Scales of Bullamanka'' and ''The Amazing Carnival of Complaining''.
* CallBack: ''Cheating Scales of Bullamanka'' features many call backs to ''Trouble on Planet Wait your Turn''. This one in particular gets [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]]:
--> '''Michelle:''' Jason was right! You guys ''are'' real!\\
'''Midgel:''' Either that or you're daydreaming.\\
'''Kevin:''' Whoa! Deja vu!\\
''(guitar riff from Series/TheTwilightZone plays)''
* [[CircusOfFear Carnival Of Fear]]: Uncle Blobb's Amazing Carnival. Well, the carnival is actually fun; it's what happens to most of the customers that's freaky.
* CatchPhrase: The Penguins all have one.
** Zidgel: "Doctor Fidgel, Galeezle him/her."
** Midgel: "BAN-ZAAAAAAAAAAI!"
** Fidgel: "Sensors indicate..."
** Kevin: "Helloooooo!"
* [[ChubbyMamaSkinnyPapa Chubby Grandma Skinny Grandpa]]: In photos from ''Trouble on Planet Wait-Your-Turn'', the twins' grandfather looks tiny in comparison to their grandmother.
* CuteIsEvil: [[spoiler:Bert the Hamster inside the Cavitus Suit.]]
* DistressedDude: In ''Do Unto Brothers'', Zidgel, Midgel, and Fidgel get captured by Cavitus.
* EverythingsBetterWithPenguins: This T.V. show is about penguins, in space!
* ExcitedShowTitle
* TheFaceless: Grandmum always has something covering her face. [[spoiler:However, her face has finally briefly appeared fully in "Moon Menace On Planet Tell-A-Lie" without anything covering it up.]]
* [[FurryReminder Feathery Reminder]]: In the commentary for ''Trouble on Planet Wait-Your-Turn'', Midgel mentions that he was up for hours, preening himself all morning.
* TheFederation: Who the Penguins work for.
* FiveManBand
** Zidgel is TheHero
** Midgel is TheLancer
** Fidgel is TheSmartGuy
** Kevin is TheBigGuy with traits of TheChick
** Jason and Michelle are [[TagalongKid Tagalong Kids]] with traits of TheHeart
* FountainOfYouth: In ''Wise Guys'', the time machine causes [[spoiler: Kevin to revert to a younger penguin and eventually an egg. He reverts back to his regular age in the end.]]
* FourFingeredHands: Most of the characters have either three or four fingers on each hand, including the human characters. Jason even [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] this in ''Trouble on Planet Wait-Your-Turn'' when he holds up all his fingers on one hand and a finger on his other hand to indicate "5".
* FreakyFridayFlip: In ''Invasion of the Body Swappers'', Zidgel and Kevin switch bodies.
* FreudianExcuse: Cavitus is mean because of how he was treated at [[spoiler: The Academy]].
* FunnyBackgroundEvent: In ''Runaway Pride at Lightstation Kilowatt'', Captain Zidgel points a laser beam at his hair, causing it to catch on fire, which causes him to run around like crazy until Kevin uses a fire extinguisher to put it out.
* FunWithAcronyms: "B, I, N, G. Beneficial Imprinting Neuromatic Gizmo." "BING!"
* GeniusDitz: Kevin. He had low scores at the Academy and was apparently was placed on the ship by mistake. However, he can understand the R2-D2-ish language of the light bulbs.
* GentleGiant: Kevin, of course!
* GreenEyedMonster: An episode is actually titled ''The Green Eyed Monster'', and it involves a planet where a pack of sheep is jealous at another because of their pastures.
* HalfIdenticalTwins: Jason and Michelle.
* InCharacterCommentaries: ''Trouble on Planet Wait-Your-Turn'', ''The Cheating Scales of Bullamanka'', and ''The Amazing Carnival of Complaining'' have commentaries by Ron Smith, Zidgel, Midgel, Fidgel, and Kevin.
* IntergenerationalFriendship: Jason and Michelle, two eight-year-old kids, are friends with Zidgel, Midgel, Fidgel, and Kevin, who all look like they are in their thirties.
* InterspeciesFriendship: Jason and Michelle, two humans, are friends with Zidgel, Midgel, Fidgel, and Kevin, four penguins.
* ItRunsOnNonsensoleum: A ''lot'' of stuff.
** The Cutting-In-Line bug moved Planet Wait-Your-Turn in front of the other planets in its solar system.
** Lying causes the moon of Planet Tell-A-Lie to move closer
* LandDownunder: Space Base Bullamanka, along with the Frilled Lizard and Bandicoot Kings
* MathematiciansAnswer: In the first episode, when Jason asks where they're going, Kevin ponders briefly before answering "Up."
* [[MaybeMagicMaybeMundane Maybe High Tech, Maybe Mundane]]: It's never really specified if the kids' adventures are just daydreams or are actually happening. Both are hinted at.
* {{Meganekko}}: Michelle, though she hates to wear her glasses.
* MobileSuitHuman: The recurring villain in the T.V. version Baron von Cavitus is actually a hamster in a mechanical suit named Bert Bertman.
* MohsScaleOfScienceFictionHardness: For starters, the Penguins' spaceship takes only a few hours to travel from planet to planet.
* TheNapoleon: Midgel, obviously. Heck, if you change the L to a T, it would be spelled "midget".
* NegativeSpaceWedgie: The Doom Funnels of Space Colony Double-Wide.
* NeverBareheaded: Midgel is never seen without some sort of headgear.
* NeverSayDie: Averted twice.
** In ''Trouble on Planet Wait-Your-Turn'', when Jason accidentally pulls down the stairs to the attic and nearly hits Michelle, she tells him, "You almost killed me!"
** In ''The Doom Funnel Rescue'' Zidgel exclaims that they're all gonna die.
* NoHuggingNoKissing: None of the main characters have any onscreen romantic relationships.
* NobodyTouchesTheHair: In ''Lazy Daze'', Zidgel tells Midgel, "I don't touch your buttons, you don't touch my 'dos'."
* OddNameOut: Zidgel, Midgel, Fidgel, "keh-VEEN".
* [[BatmanCanBreatheInSpace Penguins Can Breath In Space]]: Most of the characters, including the human kids.
* TheQuietOne: Kevin doesn't really speak much.
* ReverseTelescopicVision: This happens in ''The Doom Funnel Rescue'' to Captain Zidgel, when Fidgel tries warning the rest of the crew about a highly combustible gas tank at the gas station. Zidgel looks through the wrong end of Fidgel's binoculars and thinks that the tank is miles away, until Fidgel turns them around to which Zidgel then starts freaking out about it.
* RunningGag: Increasingly bizarre forms of landing gear.
** "BANZAI!!!"
** "Either that or you're daydreaming."
** The Galeezil's exaggerated kick-back
** "*gasp!*" "*Gasp!*" "*''Gasp!''*"
* ScaryFlashlightFace: In ''Wise Guys'', Kevin does this when Jason starts the time machine and the lights go out.
* ScreamsLikeALittleGirl: In ''Lazy Daze'', Captain Zidgel screams like a little girl when [[BigCreepyCrawlies giant ants]] ruin a picnic.
* ShapedLikeItself: In ''Trouble on Planet Wait-Your-Turn'', Jason asks how he's supposed to fit in their space ship when he's so much taller than they are. Zidgel answers: "Hey, when I was your size, I was twice your size!" Cue Jason's AsideGlance.
* ShoutOut: Since this was made by the same studio that made VeggieTales, expect some shout outs to it.
** In ''Trouble on Planet Wait-Your-Turn'', Michelle says that she and Jason stopped at Burger Bell on their way to the cottage. Burger Bell first appeared in "Love Songs with Mr Lunt, His Cheeseburger."
** And in the same episode, Larry the Cucumber appears as a vacuum cleaner.
** In ''More is More'', Fidgel states that there seems to be some disturbance in [[Franchise/StarWars the force]] [[spoiler: of gravity.]]
* SiblingSenioritySquabble: Jason notes that Michelle is only 5 minutes older and holds out his hand to indicate "5" only to [[LampshadeHanging realize that as a cartoon]] he only has [[FourFingeredHands four digits per hand.]]
* TheSmurfettePrinciple: Michelle is the only main female character. She even lampshades it in ''Compassion Crashin''.
-->'''Michelle:''' And since I'm the only girl around.
* SpaceIsAnOcean: Taken to the extreme in ''Runaway Pride at Lightstation Kilowatt''
** It's got Planetary Riptides, the Asteroid Reef, and the Vrrmeze Waves.
* SpaceWhaleAesop: In ''Trouble on Planet Wait-Your-Turn''.
-->'''Jason:''' Having to go first all the time only leads to trouble! Like getting burned up by the sun! [[LampshadeHanging Now, the consequences are not always so extreme,]] [[AnAesop but good things come to those who wait.]]
** Remember, kids, it's wrong to lie. Because if you do, the moon will flatten you and your planet.
* StarfishAliens: Some of the aliens encountered include sentient vacuum cleaners and pumpkin-headed children.
* ThemeNaming: The Penguins, except for Kevin.
* ThemeTuneCameo: In ''Practical Hoax'', Zidgel hums the theme song when doing his hair.
* [[ToothyBird Toothy Penguin]]: All the penguins are shown to have teeth.
* VillainSong: "Uncle Blobb's Amazing Carnival" from ''The Amazing Carnival of Complaining''.
* UncannyFamilyResemblance: Fidgel looks a lot like the twins' grandpa.

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