Shari Lewis: If you're into fun, and you love to play...
Lamb Chop: If you like funny jokes that put you away...
Hush Puppy: If you like to dance to a slammin' sound, and you like havin' lots of friends around...
Lamb Chop: And if you're one of those kids who lives by the rule that sad is bad and happy is cool...
Shari: Ooh, little buddy, you're about to see you're in the very best place that you could be!Lamb Chop's Play-Along is a children's television series that was shown on PBS in the United States from January 13, 1992 until September 22, 1995 (with reruns airing until August 29, 1997), as well as on YTV in Canada. It was created and hosted by puppeteer Shari Lewis, and featured her puppet character Lamb Chop. Appropriately, Lamb Chop was a sheep; other characters were puppets of other farm animals, including Charlie Horse and Hush Puppy. The series was followed by a short-lived spinoff, The Charlie Horse Music Pizza.
The dialogue before the theme song begins.
This series provides examples of:
- Affectionate Nickname: Hush Puppy is more affectionate to Lamb Chop than Charlie Horse is and usually calls her "Lamb Choppy" or "Lamb Chopper."
- All Just a Dream:
- In "Bigger is Better," after being teased about her small size, Lamb Chop dreams that she meets her fairy godmother and wishes to be big. It's fun at first, but then she wishes to be even bigger and turns into a giant parade balloon.
- At the end of "The Planet Yzarc," the whole visit from the alien Zarc seems to have just been Hush Puppy's dream... except at the last minute, Zarc turns out to be Real After All. The episode even got a sequel.
- Ambiguously Jewish: Lamb Chop has a distinct "Fanny Brice" quality to her voice. (Might be Fridge Brilliance, since lamb is perfectly kosher, and the meat that was traditionally eaten for the Passover seder, or meal, in ancient Israel.) There was eventually a Hanukkah special on video confirming that Shari (who was Jewish in real life) and the puppets all celebrate the holiday.
- An Aesop: After telling a story, Shari often encourages the puppets to tell her what they think is the moral of the story. Their answers always Comically Miss the Point: for example, "Don't talk with your mouth full" for The Crow, the Fox and the Cheese. Subverted with Jack and the Beanstalk, for which not even Shari can think of a moral.
- Big Brother Bully: Charlie Horse can be a mild Jerk with a Heart of Gold version of this to Lamb Chop and Hush Puppy.
- Bowdlerize: Whenever "Little Red Riding Hood" was told on the show, the wolf only locked the grandma in the closet instead of swallowing her and was only chased away by the hunter instead of killed, and in "The Gingerbread Man," the fox sneezed before he could eat the gingerbread man and blew him all the way home to the old couple who baked him.
- Comically Small Demand: One episode had Lamb Chop upset about her miniscule allowance: one cent a week ("Sometimes I save it up for twelve weeks and I blow it all on a pack of gum!"). She starts out demanding a fortune, but is overjoyed when Shari offers her seven cents a week.
- Continuity Nod: In the episode in which Lamb Chop wants to become a ballerina, Shari points out that every time Lamb has taken up a hobby in past episodes, she's quickly given it up. (For a change, Lamb Chop sticks with ballet.)
- Edutainment Show
- Every Episode Ending: "This is the song that doesn't end...yes it goes on and on my friend. Some people started singing it not knowing what it was, and they'll continue singing it forever just because" (repeat!)
- Fake Interactivity: This is what the "Play-Along" title signifies. The show constantly Breaks The Fourth Wall, encourages Audience Participation from the kids at home, and teaches plenty of arts, crafts and activities for kids to do when they're not watching. Shari Lewis's goal was to create an "anti-couch potato" show that would encourage kids to play and be active, not just stare at the screen.
- Fractured Fairy Tale: Most of the Funny Little Poem segments are fractured nursery rhymes.
- Friendly Tickle Torture: One song is about how, while you can't tickle yourself (which is true), it is very possible for others to tickle you, as is demonstrated.
- Furry Confusion: Shari has a pet dog, Huxley, yet one of her "kids," Hush Puppy, is also a dog.
- "Knock Knock" Joke: Regularly featured as a segment, and honored with a song to boot.Give me a Knock Knock JokeDon't knock a Knock Knock JokeThey're always dumbSo tell me how comeAfter one I laugh and bubble upAfter four I always double up?Don't be an old slowpokeGive me a Knock Knock JokePlease!*knock knock jokes ensue*That was a Knock Knock JokeI love a Knock Knock Joke!They can be awful, it's trueStill I'm telling youI love a Knock Knock JokeYeah!
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Every now and then the show made jokey allusions to the fact that Lamb Chop was a puppet on Shari's hand, which would have gone over the heads of preschooler viewers. Examples:Shari: (to Lamb Chop) "You're rarely more than an arm's length away from me."Lamb Chop: (to Shari, when the latter mentions a character in a story clapping his hands) "Don't clap your hands! Whenever you clap your hands, I black out!"
- Little Miss Snarker: Lamb Chop, when she's not being a Genki Girl.
- Looped Lyrics:This is the song that doesn't end,yes it goes on and on, my friend.Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was,and they'll continue singing it forever just because...This is the song that doesn't end,yes it goes on and on, my friend.Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was,and they'll continue singing it forever just because...This is the song that doesn't end,yes it goes on and on, my friend.Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was,
- Made Myself Sad: One vignette has Hush Puppy reciting a limerick about a lady who was so skinny "that when she essayed, to drink lemonade, she slipped through the straw and fell in." He then laughs his head off at the poem....until he realizes that the character probably drowned, and he reflects: "Hey, that's not funny; that's tragic!"
- Malaproper: Lamb Chop sometimes scrambles long words in a typical little-kid way.
- Middle Child Syndrome: Hush Puppy bemoaned being a middle child in one segment. of course this requires wrapping your head around the fact that Hush Puppy, Lamb Chop, and Charlie Horse are siblings.
- Not-So-Forgotten Birthday: "Charlie Horse's Birthday" has the standard surprise party ending, while in "I'm Back!" Lamb Chop thinks her birthday is a day earlier than it really is.
- Oh, Crap!: When Zarc announces he'll be staying with the puppets for some time, he's asked how long a Yzarckian's life span is. They're obviously distressed when Zarc tells them: "We don't know. Nobody's died yet."Charley Horse: He might be staying here forever!Hush Puppy: Yeah...or even longer!
- A similar moment happens in a skit where Lamb Chop, Charlie Horse, and Hush Puppy are riding Buster (an anthropomorphized bus) to go on a picnic and Hush Puppy realizes he left the picnic basket in the kitchen at home.
- Once an Episode: Besides the main "At Home With Lamb Chop" story and the songs and stories that varied, each episodes always had regular segments:
- "Tell Yourself a Joke"
- A Riddle
- A Knock Knock Joke
- "Betcha Time" (jokes and activities to share with friends, i.e. "Betcha can't do this")
- Other recurring segments were "Sing a Little Sing-Along Song," "Alpha Toons," "A Funny Little Poem," "A Teddy Bear Tale," flashbacks to Baby Lamb Chop, and scenes of Lamb Chop, Charlie Horse and Hush Puppy riding on Buster the Bus.
- Playground Song: This show was the origin of "The Song That Doesn't End".
- Playing Sick: In "Too Sick to Go to the Circus," Charlie Horse and Hush Puppy take inspiration from Lamb Chop's real cold and pretend to be sick to get out of school. Unfortunately, they miss a field trip to the circus.
- Porky Pig Pronunciation: Lamb Chop was tripped up by the phrase "the San Diego Zoo", for some reason, and after two tries said, "You know, the zoo in San Diego."
- Punny Name / Theme Naming: Food, in this case. Lamb Chop is, of course, named after lamb chops, and Hush Puppy is named after a cornmeal-and-catfish snack made to keep dogs happy and quiet. However, Charlie Horse is the odd man out—a "charley horse" is a slang term for a pulled muscle.
- Puppy Love: A more literal example than usual: Lamb Chop's best friend Lolly Pincus develops a crush on Hush Puppy in the episode "Have I Got a Girl for You."
- The Runaway:
- In the episode "Runaway", Lamb Chop plans to run away from home after Shari scolds her for breaking her favorite bottle of perfume. Shari takes a cue from The Runaway Bunny and sings a song about turning into all kinds of things so she can follow her.
- Lamb Chop does it again in the episode "I'm Back!" because she thinks everyone forgot her birthday, but quickly comes back on her own.
- Sdrawkcab Name: Zarc (a space alien) tells the kids that he's from the planet Yzarc, which is "crazy" backwards. When they ask him why that is so, he says it's because "people on Yzarc have so much fun!" They then ask him why the planet isn't called "funny" backwards, and his answer is that "funny" backwards would be "Ynnuf" ("enough").
- Which wasn't the problem; the problem was that there was already a planet with that name.
- "Shaggy Dog" Story: During the "It's Not Fair!" segment created for the Kids For Character video, Shari buys a bag of jellybeans for Lamb Chop and Charlie Horse, divides the jellybeans so the two of them get the exact same number, then (at Lamb Chop's request) makes sure they also have the same number of red jellybeans. Near the end of the song, Lamb Chop and Charlie admit to Shari that they don't even like eating jellybeans.
- Shout-Out: The Knock Knock Joke and Funny Little Poem segments had the puppet characters opening a door in a prop wall in an obvious Shout-Out to Laugh In.
- Sick Episode: "Lamb Chop's Cold," "Too Sick To Go To The Circus" and "Chicken Pox."
- Totally Radical: Charlie Horse is regularly dressed in a colorful 1990s "hip-hop" outfit. For that matter, the show's theme song always begins with the main characters essaying a rap.
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: According to Mallory Lewis, Shari's daughter who has been similarly trained in ventriloquism and followed in her mother's footsteps, Hush Puppy was "born" in Arkansas. However, his accent seems to be a near-incomprehensible mix of various Southern dialects, including Cajun.
- What Do You Mean, It's Phlebotinum?: In one episode, the alien Zarc needs "zappelmeis" to fuel his rocketship and get back home to Yzarc. As it turns out, "zappelmeis" is apple juice.