Western Animation / Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood

"Hi! I'm Daniel Tiger! (Grr.)"

Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood is an animated children's series that began airing on September 3, 2012, on the PBS Kids block of most PBS stations in the United States. The program is an animated Spin-Off of the beloved Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and features the little 5 year old son of the Daniel Tiger character first seen on that series, as well as some other familiar characters like Prince Tuesday. Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood was created by several of the creators of Blue's Clues and is a production of their production company, Out of the Blue Enterprises. The series is animated in CGI, but uses Adobe Flash for its song segments and also features interstitials and songs with real kids.

Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood is targeted at young audiences around the age of 2-4, rather than the wider target audience of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and carries a focus on social development and emotions. Each installment features Daniel either at home, at one of his friend's houses, or at school with his friends. The show was made with the direct involvement of the Fred Rogers Company and had been in development for six years after the company realized it could not survive without making a new show. Fred Rogers had considered grooming a replacement before his death, but could never find someone suitable, and the creators decided not to include any character intended to represent a form of Rogers in the series for this reason. Despite this, the program contains many nods to the original show. In 2013, the program won the Parents Choice Award.

The program airs weekdays and is presented in widescreen HD where available. Episodes were once available on Netflix and Hulu. Following an exclusivity deal, the series is now available on Amazon Prime.

Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood features examples of the following:

  • Aesop Amnesia: While lessons generally seem to stick from episode-to-episode, they often seem to take a while to sink in within a particular episode. For example, in "You Are Special," O has to hear several times "I like you / I like you / I like you / Just the way you are" before he stops trying to do stuff to be like the other characters to be special.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: O the Owl shows several signs of high functioning autism. For example, when Elaina wants him to play backwards in the Backwards Day episode, he becomes more and more upset, almost to the point of becoming panicky. Also, he is very insistent about a box that Teacher Harriet wants everyone to play pretend with being just a box, at least at first, and mostly just ignores the whole situation in favor of his reading, at least until he finally decides to play racecar. He also sometimes is particularly upset by loud noises that don't really bother others, another trait of high functioning autism.
  • An Aesop: Often delivered in song. Curiously, all of the adults seem to know these songs. It's almost as if they're teaching them to one another. This is directly Lampshaded in "Something Special for Dad" when Mr. McFeeley sings one of the songs that Daniel's mom sung and then flashes a wink at her.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: Many of Daniel's fantasy songs involve inanimate objects coming to life.
  • Art Shift: From CGI to Flash animation for the song numbers.
  • Aside Glance: It's very subtle, but in "Good Morning Daniel," when Daniel does a juggling act with his shoes instead of putting them on like he's supposed to, Mr. Tiger seems to give a glance at the screen.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: Averted, likely because it would feel dumb to have the Funny Animals barefoot, but the humans in shoes. Inverted with the owl as he is wearing nothing but shoes. And, of course, if Daniel didn't wear shoes, then they wouldn't be able to reference Mister Rogers putting on his shoes by having Daniel do it in the show opening. Or having him take them off in the "It's You I Like" song.
  • Be Yourself: This is the aesop of "You Are Special / Daniel is Special." For example, O wants to do a magic trick because he thinks it'll make him special like Prince Wednesday, even though he doesn't really know how to do magic. Teacher Harriet tells him he doesn't have to do a magic trick to be special.
    Teacher Harriet: I like you / I like you / I like you / Just the way you are.
  • Big Storm Episode: "A Storm in the Neighborhood / After the Storm" is all about this - a big storm comes through the neighborhood in which the characters live. The episode is all about storm preparation before the storm, how to stay safe and keep calm during the storm, and helping out with cleaning up afterwards.
  • Birthday Episode: Four.
    • It's Daniel's birthday in "Daniel's Birthday".
    • It's Prince Wednesday's birthday in "Daniel Gets a Cold"
    • Margaret gets born in "The New Big Brother".
    • It's Prince Wednesday's birthday again in "Prince Wednesday's Happy Birthday."
  • Black Best Friend: Miss Elania.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Averted with Prince Wednesday in "No Red Sweater for Daniel." He accidentally broke his glasses and has to go out for a while without wearing them while they're getting repaired. He, however, has no problem going out in the town and immediately recognizes Daniel and the fact that he's not wearing his red sweater. It becomes more clear exactly how his vision is being affected only when Daniel plays dress-up with a brown hat, which Wednesday describes as a "fuzzy brown blob."
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": Prince Tuesday and Prince Wednesday have monogrammed belt buckles.
  • Buffy Speak: "Medium-est tower in the world!"
  • But Not Too Black: Averted with Miss Elaina, who has a white mother and black father, but has a reasonably dark skin tone.
  • Calling Your Bathroom Breaks: All characters who need to go to the bathroom do this in the 'Potty' episodes.
  • Caretaker Reversal: This line in the song during the Sick Episode.
    "Someone might help take care of you, they might tuck you in or make you soup, and if they get sick one day you can take care of them in the same special way."
  • Carnivore Confusion: Of the type that completely ignores the issue, of course. If Katerina was really a cat and Daniel was really a tiger, O the Owl would be a meal to the former and a light snack to the latter.
  • Carrying a Cake: Daniel carries his birthday cake in "Daniel's Birthday". It doesn't get ruined as it's still edible but it does get a bit "smushed" as Daniel puts it.
  • Catch Phrase: Each of the children has one.
    • For Daniel, "Grr-iffic!"
    • Katerina Kittycat has, "Meow Meow, Yes!"
    • Miss Elaina says "Okay, toots" just like her mother.
    • O the Owl's is "There's a book for that." It may be a Shout-Out to Apple's "There's an app for that."
    • Prince Wednesday has, "Boopshie boo!"
  • Character Tic: Katerina Kittycat pirouettes frequently and randomly.
  • Chroma Key: This technique is used with real kids against a backdrop of clouds in the "When You Pretend" song. Possibly with other segments featuring real kids as well.
  • Closed Door Rapport: In one episode, Daniel Jr. sings through the bathroom door, as he changes clothes and relieves himself.
  • Companion Cube: Daniel has a stuffed tiger named Tigey. He can bring him to school, but he can't sleep without him.
  • Cute Kitten: Admit it. Katarina Kittycat had you going "dawwwwww!" the first time you saw her.
    • Same goes for Daniel Tiger himself. Who is a very cute and friendly tiger cub.
      • And Margaret Tiger, his sister.
  • Daddy's Girl: Miss Elaina.
  • Day of the Week Name: Prince Tuesday, Daniel's classmate Prince Wednesday, and King Friday.
  • Decided By One Vote: The outcomes of two episodes about voting. Since the kids vote, the result is 3-2.
    • When they choose their class pet, they choose it in an open vote in which Daniel is the last to vote... after the result is already 3-1! Poor kid may as well not even have voted.
  • The Diaper Change: Margaret in the first episode.
  • Diurnal Nocturnal Animal: O the Owl and his family, Katerina the cat and her family (though there is apparently some debate about whether cats are nocturnal or crepuscular), Daniel Tiger and his family (tigers in areas without humans have been observed to hunt by day)
  • Edutainment Show: Focused on social issues and emotional understanding, with general learning thrown in as well.
  • Ending Theme: "It's You I Like (Instrumental)"
  • Every Episode Ending: "Good Feeling", with lyrics refitted to suit the show's concept.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: There is a dinosaur song that has been used at least twice, even though the show has nothing to do with dinosaurs.
  • Everything Talks: Daniel often slips into fantasy song numbers in which everything talks, even all of the objects in the bathroom, but this doesn't happen in his actual world.
  • Fake Interactivity: The opening on each episode has Daniel asking the viewers if they'd join him at the end of the teaser. Daniel will also sometimes ask questions of the viewers and wait for an answer.
  • Fantasy Helmet Enforcement: Everyone buckles up in the trolley.
  • First-Name Basis: The kids are on this with Teacher Harriet, though she does at least get the title of "Teacher."
  • Flanderization: Miss Elaina originally was just really amused by a "Backwards" themed party. Now she delights in doing anything backwards that she can, and her outfit's been retconned to be on backwards (with the tag peeking out the front).
  • Fourth-Wall Observer: Daniel, and occasionally the other characters as well. Particularly the real-kids segments, which are often narrated by characters other than Daniel.
  • Full-Name Basis: Daniel is often referred to fully as Daniel Tiger, rather than just Daniel.
  • Furry Reminder: The animal characters seem to fall somewhere between being Civilized Animals and Funny Animals, but sometimes display animal-like tendencies like making the noises that an animal of their species would normally make ("meow meow"), or displaying other animal behaviors.
  • Generation Xerox: Katerina Kittycat turned out a lot like her mother. Also, apart from being more outgoing, Daniel Jr. is his father in miniature.
  • Genki Girl: Miss Elaina.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: Surprisingly, but we get one of Miss Elaina's scraped elbow in "Miss Elaina Gets Hurt".
  • Happily Married: Daniel Sr. and his wife. Also Lady Elaine and Music Man Stan.
  • Happy Place: When Daniel has to get a shot, he's told to "close your eyes and think of something happy".
  • Inspired by...: "Based on the work of Fred Rogers".
  • Is This Thing On?: Miss Elaina in "Daniel Shares His Tigertastic Car".
  • Imagine Spot: In every episode.
  • Last-Minute Baby Naming: In "The Baby is Here," Daniel's baby sister is just "the baby" up until she's brought home and a brief bit afterwards. She is named Margaret on-the-spot when Daniel mentions his favorite picture book, Margaret's Music, and Mr. Tiger recalls a Grandma Margaret that was very dear to him.
  • Leitmotif: King Friday has a sort of little fanfare thing that tends to play when he shows up on the scene.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Most of the characters always wear the same set of clothes; Daniel has three sets of pajamas, though it feels a bit odd if the show opens with them wearing pajamas, given that he was just shown putting his shirt and shoes in the show intro. No Red Sweater for Daniel shows that Daniel actually has sweaters in blue, purple and green as well as his trademark red sweater; it's just that the red sweater is his favorite and so he always wears it. At Mom Tiger's urging, he wears the blue one because You can change your hair, or what you wear, but no matter what you do, you're still you. This doesn't explain, though, how he can normally be wearing a red sweater every day if he has to wear a different sweater just because ol' red got thrown in the wash. Additionally, while all the characters have standard clothes, they also tend to dress for the weather or specific situations, such as bathing suits, snow-clothes, a painting smock, etc. There's even a song about this too: "Think about what you're gonna do / Then pick the clothes that are right for you."
  • Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!: Daniel Tiger, his various animal friends and parents, human friends and their parents and a human teacher. Bonus points for Daniel being an actual tiger. The whole thing is pretty much Lamp Shaded in the story "Same and Different." Daniel feels he's different from his friends because he has a tail, at least until he realizes Katerina has one too. The human characters all end up together in a photo, with the animal characters characters lined up together also. And Miss Elaina points out quite candidly that her skin color is different from Prince Wednesday's, though Teacher Harriet notes it's the same as hers.
  • "Metaphor" Is My Middle Name: According the "Tigey the Adventure Tiger"'s theme song, Adventure is Tigey's middle name.
  • Mythology Gag: Ubiquitous.
    • For starters, Daniel sleeps in a trolley bed, and has models of his classmates' homes.
    • Miss Elaina calls people "toots," which is very out-of-date-slang, but her mother was known to do this.
  • Nephewism: O the Owl's only visible family is his uncle X.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted. Since the target audience is very young children who might still need to learn the finer points of potty training, the show makes sure to tackle the issue directly. They even have a song about the matter:
    If you have to go potty, stop! And go right away. / Flush and wash and be on your way!
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: Used somewhat oddly. We're given regular indicators that the characters are becoming older and more mature, such as them being told that they're older and big enough to think of what to do. Daniel also has a sister that is born during the series and now is supposed be 14 months old according Word of God and also showing signs growing, such as taking her first steps. Yet, we see no physical signs of growth in most of the characters and everyone is still attending class together with the same teacher.
  • One Steve Limit: With two Daniel Striped Tigers, things can get very confusing very quickly.note 
  • Pantsless Males, Fully-Dressed Females
  • Parent Ex Machina: Subverted. The kids are left alone to play, but the adults will say something like "call me if you need anything". The adults are usually in earshot, and will interject if needed.
  • Plot Allergy: Daniel is revealed to be allergic to peaches in the aptly-named episode "Daniel's Allergy".
  • Potty Dance: All characters experiencing their Potty Emergencies do this except for Music Man Stan.
  • Potty Emergency: Prince Wednesday gets one in "Prince Wednesday Goes to the Potty" and Daniel gets one in the aforementioned episode and in "Daniel Goes to the Potty", during which episode Music Man Stan has one too.
  • Potty Failure: Defied when they go to the bathroom specifically so they don't have accidents.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: In "The Neighborhood Votes".
    Mom Tiger: It's hard when you don't get what you want.
    Daniel and Katerina: Yes! It! Is!
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Daniel Jr. Takes after his daddy, also ridiculously cute as a cub. He's joined later by his little sister, Margaret, and Katerina Kittycat. Awww...
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: King Friday and Prince Wednesday. Prince Tuesday seems particularly fond of doing low-level work as a hobby (babysitter, waiter, grocery clerk, etc.).
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • One episode has Daniel Sr. getting a letter from his own father, Grandpere...but in Mister Rogers' Neighborhood it was established Grandpere is NOT his father, there was an entire arc dedicated to the fact that Daniel was an orphan, he did not have a father growing up and was jealous of his friends for having one! Grandpere isn't even his Grandfather cause there was another arc depicting how Daniel did not have a Grandfather either and wished for one. It was even the basis for an opera!note 
    • Also, on this show, Prince Tuesday is a teenager while Daniel Sr. is a full-grown adult. But in the 1979-2001 run of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, Daniel Striped Tiger and Prince Tuesday were the same age and went to school together. In the earlier 70's episodes, Daniel was older than Tuesday, but not by that much.
    • Lady Elaine seems to be... much younger-looking, prettier and with a more feminine, far less gravely voice than she was before, along with a much lighter attitude. Getting married and having a daughter may explain her lightened attitude, no idea on her appearance shy of retconning. Although a previous Mister Rogers episode did establish that she was destined to live to be 250 years old, so perhaps she manages that by finding ways to become young again every so often?
    • And also King Friday XIII. On the original show he was pompus, self-centered, loved to give speeches so he could hear himself talk, and had that 'I am the king, what I say goes' attitude. In this version he's much more cheerful, the speeches are much shorter,he sounds more jolly, and in one episode he even danced out of a room while singing and doing 'jazz hands'! In the original show that would be beneath him!
  • Shout-Out:
    • When cooking soup for Mom Tiger in "Mom Tiger is Sick," Mr. Daniel Tiger adds "Just a little Mrs. Salt and some Mr. Pepper." While it was Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper on Blue's Clues, it still seems very close, especially when consider that Angela C. Santomero has a story credit on the episode.
    • Daniel Tiger's fantasy sequence in "Mom Tiger is Sick" in which he imagines himself as a superhero fighting germs features the same style and general appearance as Super Mario Bros..
    • In a tribute to Fred Rogers, "After the Storm" features a song that includes the phrase "Look to the helpers," which was a phrase that Mister Rogers became known for.
    • Another installment features the characters singing to each other "I like you / I like you / I like you just the way you are." Fred Rogers would end his program by telling viewers "You've made this day a special day by just your being you. There's no person in the whole world like you. And I like you just the way you are," inspired by his grandfather who once told him "Fred, you made this day a special day, just by being yourself. Always remember there's just one person in this whole world like you — and I like you just the way you are."
  • Sick Episode: "Daniel Gets a Cold / Mom Tiger is Sick". Mom Tiger and Daniel also both get a cold in "Daniel's Neighbors Help."
  • Signing Off Catchphrase: Daniel likes to nuzzle your screen and say "ugga-mugga!" That was what his father would say when parting with Lady Aberlin.
  • Slice of Life: Imagination sequences? Check. Mundane daily conflicts? Check. Characters going about their daily life? Check. Yep, one of them shows.
  • Soup Is Medicine: When Daniel and Mrs Tiger are sick, they are fed vegetable soup. Also there's this line during the song o' the day.
    Someone might help take care of you, they might tuck you in or make you soup
    • In a later episode "Daniel's Neighbours Help", Daniel and Mrs Tiger both get colds and are served "get-well-in-a-jiffy" chicken soup. However, Mr Tiger (who's completely healthy) also eats some.
  • Species Surname: Daniel and most of the other animal characters.
  • Spin-Off: Of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.
  • Spin-Offspring: A variation: Most of the families are straight examples, but X the Owl becomes an uncle, and King Friday and Queen Sarah have another son.
  • Stealth Pun: Mom Tiger is only off-screen for about 10 minutes between leaving to give birth to Baby Margaret and Mr. McFeely showing up to announce the news to Daniel (and the audience) that the baby has arrived. McFeely naturally precedes the announcement with "Speedy Delivery!"
  • Surprise Party: Daniel and his friends / classmates work together to make one for Teacher Harriet's birthday in "Teacher Harriet's Birthday".
    If you can't do it alone, work together!
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: A main thrust of the program is to teach children how to handle their emotions, so this is heavily, heavily employed. Expect the characters to talk regularly about how they are feeling, the adults to praise them for doing so, and to encourage them to do so if they don't. There's even an episode called "Daniel Uses his Words / All Aboard!" which specifically deals with this; it also reveals that when Daniel doesn't use his words, he gets growly instead.
  • Third-Person Person: Prince Wednesday does this sometimes.
  • Three-Month-Old Newborn: Daniel's baby sister Margaret is introduced in the second season; she is essentially this, if not exaggerated. She is soon shown crawling, even doing a bit of walking, and wanting to play with her big brother.note 
    • According to this article, she's officially 14-months old once she's aged up from newborn.
  • Time Skip: The whole point of the show actually is to show the characters from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, now grown up, married, and with children of their own.
  • Title Theme Tune: Set partially to the tune of the original Mister Rogers' Neighborhood theme song. "Would you be mine? Could you be mine?"
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Mrs. Tiger loves her some banana bread.
  • Verbal Tic: Most of the kids inherited them from their parents.
  • You Mean "Xmas": Major holiday names are changed to generic counterparts for the show's many different holiday specials. Valentine's Day is called "Love Day", Halloween is called "Dress Up Day" and Thanksgiving is called "Thank You Day." There's also "Snowflake Day," but in addition to that, there's a Merry Christmas, Daniel Tiger! book release, so it seems with that one, they celebrate both Snowflake Day and Christmas.
  • Youthful Freckles: Prince Wednesday's cousin, Chrissie, has these.