Bananas in Pyjamas
"Bananas in pyjamas are coming down the stairs..."
is a beloved Australian children's television series that originally ran on The ABC
in its suitmation
incarnation from 1992 to 2002, before undergoing an extensive Re Tool
when it was revived
in 2011 as an All-CGI Cartoon
Like the other breakout Australian children's franchise of the 1990's,
you would be incredibly
hard pressed to find an Australian child of Generation Y or later who's never even seen
the show let alone one who didn't love it as a child, based on the the ubiquitous merchandising
and instantly recognisable Theme Song
. All this for a show where the episodes originally only ran for five minutes each.
The idea for the show came from the song of the same name, which later became the show's Title Theme Tune
. The song was written in 1967 by British composer Carey Blyton (nephew of author Enid Blyton
) who included it in a picture book of humorous verse,
also with the same name, which was first published in 1972. The Australian version of Play School
soon incorporated the song into its catalogue, and in 1979 an animated short film of the song
was created to be screened during the show. This film and a banana toy that subsequently joined the show's "toy cast" formed the physical basis of B1 and B2.
The show made its debut in July 1992, featuring a cast of two bananas in pyjamas
(B1 and B2), three teddies (Amy, Morgan, and Lulu) and a sometimes conniving if actually rather nice
corner shop owner in Rat in the Hat, who all lived in the cul-de-sac of Cuddles Avenue. The show soon proved to be immensely
popular among the toddler crowd and the show was exported to many overseas territories including The United States
, where three episodes would often be broadcast together in a fifteen minute block.
In the original incarnation's last season broadcast in 2002, some new barnyard characters were added,
including two chickens called "Gregory" and "Peck," Dolly the sheep, Camembert the cow, Pedro the pig, and Flash the fish.
The series then went on an indefinite hiatus
before it was announced in 2009 that a new CGI version of the show was in the works. The CGI version premiered in 2011 to at best mixed reviews
and vocal disappointment from the show's former fanbase
. However, the episodes from the original incarnation are freely available to watch on YouTube
and purchase on DVD.
- Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable: Lulu often pronunces "Bananas" as "BA-na-nas."
- Adaptation Distillation: The song doesn't specify how many bananas and teddies there are, but the 1979 short film and the series of picture books published in The '80s make it clear that there's a whole army of both species. The 90s live-action series whittles the cast down to a few key members, possibly due to The ABC's notoriously small budget.
- Adaptation Expansion: The new series introduces new locations and new characters, including Topsy the kangaroo, Charlie the monkey, and Bernard the dog.
- Art Shift: The pre-2011 versions has a very well (for Adobe Flash standards) animated opening sequence and closing. The rest of the episodes are live-action with actors in full body suits.
- All-CGI Cartoon: The original series was transformed into one of these in 2011, with mixed results.
- Always Identical Twins: B1 and B2 are canonically twin brothers.
- Amazing Technicolor Population: Applies to both incarnations of the series.
- Ambiguously Jewish: The Rat in the Hat.
- Animated Adaptation
- Animated Credits Opening: Possibly a nod to the 1979 film.
- Anthropomorphic Food: The Bananas, of course.
- Art Evolution: The main characters' appearaces (particularly the Bananas') changed practically every season.
- The Artifact: The Bananas' teddy chasing was the main point of the song it was based on, but in the series (the live-action one at least) teddy chasing is rare, and is mainly confined to the early episodes of the series.
- Artistic License – Film Production: In the episode "Video Clip" (at the end of a 1993 Story Arc), the Bananas and Teddies film a video and then watch it back to themselves immediately afterwards. The fact that it's a show for young children aside, some of the clips in the video feature the characters when they weren't filming, and there's no character in the episodes depicted who is a functioning camera person apart from Lulu (who was in the footage). And then there's the fact that Lulu managed to edit the video, set up the recorder and get the tape in play in less than ten seconds...
B1: I think I am, B2!
Rat in a Hat: CHEESE AND WHISKERS!
- Clothes Make the Legend: Seriously, could you imagine the Bananas wearing anything but their blue-and-white striped pyjamas?
- Cool Car: Not in the straight sense (the only thing going for it is the fact it's the only car in Cuddles Avenue) but Rat's Ratmobile does certainly look pretty cool.
- Cultural Translation: When the series was exported to the US, the show's title card had to be spelt as "Bananas in Pajamas."
- Deadpan Snarker: Morgan displayed this trait at times, most notably in "Lulu's Magic."
- Early Installment Weirdness: Early in the show's first season, B1 and Amy had different voice actors, and in the case of the Bananas the voice actors were also inside the suits (though this practice was changed by the next season). The boing sound used when the Bananas get an idea was also completely different, there was no Rat, and Amy was missing her now trademark bow as well as wearing the tutu that would eventually become a trademark of Lulu's.
- In the picture books made before the original animated short and the show, the Bananas wore red striped pyjamas. The books were later reissued with illustrations that matched the show.
- Everybody Laughs Ending
- Fan Fics: The notorious Banana Splits fanfic series and its spinoff Rat in the Hat Chronicles definitely expand upon the classic characters that Australian children all know and love, but they are NOT for children.
- Final Season Casting: The barnyard animals in the live-action show's final season.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The Rat in the Hat, originally. The 2011 incarnation makes him out to be more of a jerkass.
- The Kiddie Ride: Yes, there was one made by a company called Fun2Learn.
- Limited Wardrobe: Save for a couple of slight modifications here and there, all the characters on the show wore the same clothes in every episode.
- Long Runner: The show has now been running for a total of twelve years, not counting the hiatus or its earlier incarnations as a song or thirty second animated interstitial. It has been around for twenty years.
- Massive Multiplayer Crossover: Appeared with Barney the Dinosaur in PBS interstitals! Also, they were featured in a Freeview ad around 2010-2012 with many personalities from every channel on free to air television in Australia. Also it's a given that they will feature on ABC video compilations or at children's events where presenters from Play School or The Wiggles will appear.
- Naked Bananas Are Funny: The episode "Bananas Without Pyjamas." Oh yes, the ABC let that one through.
- Also note use of Scenery Censor.
- Never Trust a Trailer: Back in the mid 2000's, ABC1 transmitted a trailer for the show which featured footage hinting at a possible shipping between one of the Bananas and Lulu. Suffice to say, apart from the Romance Arc between the turtles Tolstoy and Thomasina (who ended up getting married in the 1999 season), there's no shipping between the main characters in the show. (Well, no intentional shipping on the creators' part anyway.)
- Nice Hat: The rat's hat (of course), the Bananas' Beach Patrol visors, and Morgan's legionnaire hat. The characters also wear many other nice hats which depend upon the context of the story.
- No Antagonist: Subjectively Subverted. Though the Bananas and Teddies considered Rat in a Hat to be their friend, he often cheated them whenever he found a chance to, at least until one of the protagonists called him out on it. On the other hand, Rat in a Hat's status as antagonist is debatable as he never hurts any of the other characters, he just cheats or play pranks on them.
- Pajama-Clad Hero
- Parental Bonus: The parental bonuses abound, resulting in the Periphery Demographic that watched the show in the Nineties. A good half of the names of all the barnyard animals count (here's the reason why Dolly the Sheep may have tickled some parent's funny bones) and there's also a turtle called... Wait for it... Tolstoy.
- Pilot: "Pink Mug."
- Rearrange the Song: The theme song was given an oh so '90s dance makeover and its very own music video.
- Re Tool: The 2011 series changes a lot, and it's not just the CGI rendering. For one, the slew of new characters means the gang live in Cuddlestown instead of just Cuddles Avenue, many characters speak perfectly, the characters have new voice actors, Rat in a Hat Took a Level in Jerkass and there's even a new song: "Banana Time,"
that's being eased into the series as a possible replacement
for the trademark theme song.
- Sick Episode: "Atchoo!" (where Morgan falls ill and the Bananas tend to him), "Sniffles" (where Rat has the sniffles), and "Lost Voice" (where Amy has a sore throat and cannot talk).
- Single-Episode Handicap: Amy's lost voice in "Lost Voice."
- Slapstick: Inherent in the show's humour.
- Slice of Life
- Story Arc: Sometimes the live-action series would feature five day long story arcs which, when put together, would make a 25 minute episode. These include "Banana's Birthday" in 1992 and the five episodes chronicling the creation of a song and video ("Getting Rhythm,"
"Musical Stairs," "Swamp Lake," "Take One," and "Video Clip") in 1993.