[[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 "galeezel" 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:

* AccessoryWearingCartoonAnimal:
** The Lizard King wears nothing more than a hat, gloves, and a belt.
** The only articles of clothing the Bandicoot King wears are a crown and a cape.
* AdaptationExpansion: ''Oh, Mercy'' is adapted loosely from Jesus' parable of the unforgiving servant. One of things added to it is what happened after the first servant gets imprisoned a second time.
* AerithAndBob: The Penguins' names are Zidgel, Midgel, Fidgel... and Kevin.
* AffectionateParody: This is some sort of subtle parody of ''Franchise/StarTrek'' to some degree.
* 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: Averted, as all of the planets differ greatly from Earth.
* 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."
* ArtificialGravity: Even though it's never explicitly stated whether the Rockhopper has it, the characters not floating around in it is evidence enough of its existence.
* AsteroidMiners: The Lobes from ''Compassion Crashin''' work in the baking soda mines of an asteroid belt.
* AsteroidThicket: The Rockhopper crew encounters one of these in ''Compassion Crashin'''.
* AsTheGoodBookSays: Grandmum and occasionally Sol quotes from the Good Book.
* BaddieFlattery: Cavitus compliments Jason in ''Hogs and Kisses''.
* BaldOfEvil: The Lizard King.
* BarefootCartoonAnimals: The Penguins and some other characters.
* BigCreepyCrawlies: The giant ants in ''Lazy Daze''.
* BigNo: In ''Comedy of Errors'', Michelle does this when [[spoiler: Jason sings the song she sings when she's scared at the Comet Lounge.]]
** In ''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]].
** In ''Oh, Mercy!'', Zidgel, Jason and the Gator King yell this in slo-mo when the emerald falls out of its case and smashes into many pieces.
* BigOlEyebrows: Zidgel, Midgel, and Fidgel have these.
* BilingualBonus: In ''Wiki Tiki'', the tiki king says, "Mahalo nui" to Zidgel. ''Mahalo nui'' is Hawaiian for "thank you very much."
* BlackBeadEyes: The human characters as well as a few aliens have these.
* 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 ''The Cheating Scales of Bullamanka'', after Fidgel says "ombudsmen", the episode pauses with a voiceover defining the word. Since Kevin is not affected by the paused screen, he uses a marker to scribble out "men" and replace it with "penguins".
** In the same episode, the Penguins mention that it was the Lizard King who cheated in the show.
** In ''Invasion of the Body Swappers'', part of Zidgel's song lyrics are, "I make them swoon, even for a cartoon!"
** In ''Git Along Little Doggies'', while Fidgel was correcting Jason and Michelle's behavior, Kevin passes by in the background twice and waves at the viewers his second time around.
** In ''Oh, Mercy'', the Gator King asks the audience if he knows his Bible.
* BrickJoke: President No-I'm-the-President's cameo in ''The Cheating Scales of Bullamanka'' and ''The Amazing Carnival of Complaining''.
* TheBridge: No spaceship is complete without this, not even the Rockhopper.
* CallBack: ''The Cheating Scales of Bullamanka'' features many call backs to ''Trouble on Planet Wait your Turn''. One of them is Midgel trying out the new landing gear after hearing Jason's advice and echoing his statement, "No job's too hard when you use your head."
** 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)''
** In ''The Amazing Carnival of Complaining'', the call backs to the first episode are Jason wanting to go to Space Camp and the Turbo 3000 being busted.
* CaptainObvious: Future Zidgel pretty much points out why the wrecked Rockhopper is unable to fly.
* CaptainsLog: In the direct-to-video episodes, Captain Zidgel does this at the end of the episode. In the T.V. version, he does so at the beginning of the episode.
* [[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.
* ContinuityNod: In ''The Doom Funnel Rescue'', the crew gasps towards the horror music in a similar way in which they did when they found out what would happen to Planet Wait-Your-Turn.
** In ''Oh, Mercy'', Zidgel screams like a little girl just like how he did in ''Lazy Daze''.
** In ''Promises, Promises'', the comic book Grandmum reads at the beginning shows pictures from previous episodes, like ''Lazy Daze'', ''Give and Let Give'', ''Wiki Tiki'', ''Invasion of the Body Swappers'', and ''Git Along Little Doggies''.
* CourtroomEpisode: ''12 Angry Hens''.
* CowboyEpisode: ''Git Along, Little Doggies'' is basically a SpaceWestern.
* CreepyLongFingers: The Lizard King reveals his to Michelle to show her that he has a good chance of winning the game of Squid-Tac-Toad.
* CuteIsEvil: [[spoiler:Bert the Hamster inside the Cavitus Suit.]]
* DistressedDude: In ''Do Unto Brothers'', Zidgel, Midgel, and Fidgel get captured by Cavitus.
* DuelToTheDeath: The large version of Squid-Tac-Toad in ''The Cheating Scales of Bullamanka'' is heavily implied to be this.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: Meta example. In an early version of the Big Idea website (by early, we mean in 2000), Fidgel's bio states that his favorite color is orange. In ''Runaway Pride at Lightstation Kilowatt'', it's established that he's red-green colorblind, meaning that he isn't able to see the color orange.
* EveryEpisodeEnding: Most of the episodes ended with the Rockhopper flying off into the night after Jason and Michelle finished praying.
* EverythingsBetterWithPenguins: This T.V. show is about penguins, in space!
* EvilGloating: Baron von Cavitus has a habit of doing this often.
* ExcitedShowTitle
* {{Facepalm}}: In ''More is More'', Zidgel does this when Fidgel keeps saying "Yes, captain."
* {{Fainting}}: Zidgel does this in ''The Green-Eyed Monster'' when he discovers just how big this grass-eating monster is.
* FasterThanLightTravel: The Rockhopper can travel places really fast.
* [[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. The Federation League of Planets, to be exact.
* 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".
* FourTemperamentEnsemble:
** Zidgel: Sanguine.
** Midgel: Choleric.
** Fidgel: Melancholic.
** Kevin: Phlegmatic.
* FreakyFridayFlip: In ''Invasion of the Body Swappers'', Zidgel and Kevin switch bodies.
* FreeRangeChildren: Averted, Jason and Michelle do have adult supervision, namely the Penguins.
* FreezeFrameBonus: When Fidgel galeezels Jason and Michelle in ''Comedy of Errors'', he can be seen briefly with his eyebrows and his glasses missing.
* 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!"
* FutureMeScaresMe: In ''Wise Guys'', future Zidgel scares Zidgel due to him being fat, bald, and toothless.
* GetBackToTheFuture: Inverted in ''Wise Guys'', where Jason, Michelle, and the Penguins end up in the future and try to find a way to travel back to their own time.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: In the commentary for ''The Amazing Carnival of Complaining'', when Uncle Blobb [[spoiler: escapes in an outhouse rocket]], Midgel says that you can tell a lot about a man by the car he drives. Considering what an outhouse is used for, and who Uncle Blobb is, one just needs to put two and two together in order to know what that comment meant. [[DontExplainTheJoke If you don't get it,]] [[spoiler: he's saying that Uncle Blobb is full of shit.]]
* 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.
* GreenSkinnedSpaceBabe: A ''yellow-skinned'' space babe appears in ''Invasion of the Body Swappers''. Although she wasn't designed to be attractive.
* GrowlingGut: This happens to Kevin in ''More is More''.
* HalfIdenticalTwins: Jason and Michelle.
* HarmlessVillain: Baron von Cavitus.
* HeelFaceTurn: The Lizard King reforms after hearing Michelle's speech on playing by the rules.
* HeyThatsMyLine: Midgel actually says this verbatim when the other members of the Rockhopper crew yell out his catchphrase in ''In the Big House''.
* HumanAliens: The garden gnomes from Planet Sharalike are the closest things the show has to these.
* HumanlikeAnimalAging: The aging process is zig-zagged with Zidgel's, Midgel's, and Fidgel's future selves from ''Wise Guys''. They have gray hair (In Future Zidgel's case, he's gone bald), but lack wrinkles. Instead, their feathers are grayer.
* HumanoidAliens: The Penguins themselves are these.
* 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.
* InformedSpecies: The Bandicoot King looks less like a bandicoot and more like a cross between a dog and a kangaroo.
* IntergenerationalFriendship: Jason and Michelle, two seven-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.
* JesusTaboo: Averted, as the Bible is mentioned, albeit nicknamed "The Good Book".
* KarmaHoudini: Uncle Blobb manages to get away with nearly destroying a bunch of pumpkin-headed kids in seed form by escaping in a rocket disguised as an outhouse.
* LandDownunder: Space Base Bullamanka, where the Lizard and Bandicoot Kings live.
* LeanAndMean: The Lizard King.
* LizardFolk: The Lizard King and Wild Bill Quasar.
* 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.
* 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.
* MoralityBallad: The songs the Penguins sing at the Comet Lounge.
* MotorMouth: The Lizard King, although this trait disappears in his second appearance in which he speaks.
* NamedAfterTheirPlanet: Planet Tell-a-Lie has its Tell-a-Liars.
* NegativeSpaceWedgie: The Doom Funnels of Space Colony Double-Wide.
* 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.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: Zidgel's messing around with the equipment in ''Runaway Pride at Lightstation Kilowatt'' in order to create a light show causes the equipment to break.
* NoHuggingNoKissing: None of the main characters have any onscreen romantic relationships.
* NotHimself: Jason and the Penguins start acting like jerks to one another and Michelle when the Behavior Modifier is used on them in ''Compassion Crashin''.
* NoSeatBelts: Averted, the Rockhopper crew always buckles up for landing.
* NumberedHomeworld: Rigel 13.
* OddNameOut: Zidgel, Midgel, Fidgel, "keh-VEEN".
* OneGenderRace: The Lobes are all female.
* OnlyOneName: None of the Penguins' last names or even middle names, save for Zidgel's middle name, are ever revealed.
* PaperThinDisguise: In ''Practical Hoax'', Cavitus' and his minions' disguises consist only of Groucho Marx glasses.
* [[BatmanCanBreatheInSpace Penguins Can Breath In Space]]: Most of the characters, including the human kids.
* PicnicEpisode: ''Lazy Daze'', ants ruining it included. And the ants are giant.
* {{Pilot}}: ''Trouble on Planet Wait-Your-Turn''.
* 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.
* RevisitingTheRoots: ''12 Angry Hens'', ''Kennel Club Blues'', ''Oh, Mercy'', and ''Promises, Promises'' had only one of the twins going on the mission like they did in the direct-to-video episodes instead of both of them.
* 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.
* SciFiWritersHaveNoSenseOfScale: In ''Trouble on Planet Wait-Your-Turn'', Michelle was able [[spoiler: to see the inhabitants of Planet Wait-Your-Turn clearly despite the fact that the planet is light years away from Earth.]]
* ScreamsLikeALittleGirl: In ''Lazy Daze'', Captain Zidgel screams like a little girl when [[BigCreepyCrawlies giant ants]] ruin a picnic.
* SecurityCling: In ''Compassion Crashin'', Zidgel and Midgel grab onto each other when they accidentally break off the steering wheel.
* 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: [[ShoutOut/ThreeTwoOnePenguins See here.]]
* ShrinkRay: The galeezel, which is used to bring the kids aboard the toy-sized Rockhopper.
* 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.]]
* SingleBiomePlanet: The biomes shown on the planets include all-desert, all-pasture, and all-purple ground.
* SpaceCadet: Jason and Michelle Conrad.
* SpaceCadetAcademy: The Federation Academy is implied to be this.
* SpaceIsAnOcean: Taken to the extreme in ''Runaway Pride at Lightstation Kilowatt''
** It's got Planetary Riptides, the Asteroid Reef, and the Vrrmeze Waves.
* SpaceSailing: The episode ''Runaway Pride at Lightstation Kilowatt'' featured an entire setup of this, with a giant cargo spaceship and a lighthouse-like beacon that was set up on a beach-like asteroid with energy waves floating off of it.
* 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.]]
** If you ever complain, you'll literally turn into a seed of discontent.
** Remember, kids, it's wrong to lie. Because if you do, the moon will flatten you and your planet.
** Don't ever feel envious, or else green eyed monsters will appear and start eating all of your shit.
* SpitTake: In ''Comedy of Errors'', Midgel spits out his drink when Jason reveals his embarrassing secret just to make people laugh.
* StarfishAliens: Some of the aliens encountered include sentient vacuum cleaners, pumpkin-headed children, light bulbs with arms and legs who communicate with clicking and beeping sounds, darts who constantly lie, spring necked lawn flamingos, and ear lobes with arms and legs whose vocabulary consists of one word.
* StealthPun: In ''Runaway Pride at Lightstation Kilowatt'', after he shoves Kevin aside so that he can activate the equipment, he says, "All it needed was one big jerk!". Basically, [[spoiler: he's saying he's a JerkAss.]]
* ThemeNaming: The Penguins, except for Kevin.
* ThemeTwinNaming: Averted with Jason and Michelle, as their names don't have a lot in common with one another.
* ThemeTuneCameo: In ''Practical Hoax'', Zidgel hums the theme song when doing his hair.
* TimeTravelEpisode: ''Wise Guys''.
* TractorBeam: Baron von Cavitus uses this.
* TokenHuman: Jason, Michelle, and Grandmum are the only humans seen in the entire series.
* [[ToothyBird Toothy Penguin]]: All the penguins are shown to have teeth.
* UncannyFamilyResemblance: Fidgel looks a lot like the twins' grandpa.
* UnnamedParent: Jason and Michelle's parents are never referred to by their first names.
* VagueAge: It's never explicitly stated or even implied how old the Penguins are. Since they're penguins, their ages can't be determined by their appearances alone. If their ages are determined by their voices and how long it's been since Bert Bertman graduated from the Federation Academy, their ages would be from late twenties to early thirties.
* VictoriasSecretCompartment: A male version is implied in ''Invasion of the Body Swappers'' when Kevin-In-Zidgel's-Body talks about the time he lost his wallet between his pectorals.
* VillainSong: "Uncle Blobb's Amazing Carnival" from ''The Amazing Carnival of Complaining''.
* VisualPun: Midgel holds a picture of ham when Zidgel sings his second solo in "Fair and Square". Ergo, he's saying that Zidgel is a LargeHam.
** In ''12 Angry Hens'', Midgel stops the ship due a fork in the road. Technically speaking, it's a fork floating in outer space, but it still applies.
* VoicesAreMental: In ''Invasion of the Body Swappers'', Zidgel's and Kevin's voices don't switch when they switch bodies.
* VulcanHasNoMoon: Some of the planets the Rockhopper crew visits have visible planets in their skies.
* WeirdMoon: Tell-a-Lie's moon is controlled by the planet itself instead of its own. When it is on its own, it'll crashed down if anyone lies.

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