Strawberry Shortcake started life as a greeting card character in the early 1980s, but soon spawned a line of popular dolls and other merchandise, accompanied by six TV specials released annually from 1980 to 1985. In these specials, she and her friends lived in Strawberryland, raising berries and taking care of the occasional villainy concocted by The Peculiar Purple Pieman of Porcupine Peak.In 2003, she came back again, this time with a series of Direct-to-Video specials, all of which were subsequently split up into a TV series. It also spawned two movies, regular soundtrack releases, and games. In this incarnation, she still lived in Strawberryland, but her friends lived in their own lands, and for a while there were no villains, just life lessons to be learned.The franchise got another reboot in 2009, with Strawberry living in Berry Bitty City, and no villains in sight (at least not at this time...). This franchise has so far spawned a 2010 TV series, Strawberry Shortcake's Berry Bitty Adventures (which is not available in some parts of Asia due to the cable providers not wanting to carry Boomerang, and later, Cartoonito), three movies, and a iPhone game that is only available in the US.The 2003 series is currently being offered on demand on some U.S. cable and satellite services through Kabillion, as part of a feature called "Girls Rule!", as well as being still on sale on Leap Frog's AppCenter (which does not want to sell the episodes in Asia, citing "licensing issues"), while the 2010 TV series is on The Hub in the United States and Boomerang in some non-U.S. markets.
Tropes Found in Two or More Versions:
Adaptation Distillation: A number of the stories from the latter two series were released as picture books or chapter books, other books with original stories have also been released.
Anti-Villain: The Peculiar Purple Pieman of Porcupine Peak in the first '80s television special, Raisin Cane in the 1986 comic book, and every antagonist in the 2003 series. In regards to the latter, Sour Grapes is a prime example of this trope, though this is subverted for her on some rare occasions.
Art Evolution: The characters have undergone four major design revisions since the franchise was launched in the early 80s. Seven if you count the little-seen hybrids and evolutions that popped up between the revisions.
Beauty Equals Goodness: Subverted in the '80s series and in the early seasons of the 2003 series, but started appearing as of episodes created after the 2007 redesign, and played straight in the 2009 series.
Curtains Match the Window: Often. There are plenty of exceptions, such as (most of) the villains and (most) side characters. Averted by many of the 2003 protagonists. Strawberry herself is a subversion: Strawberry wears red and pink clothes while her eyes are brown in the '80s and 2003, and green in 2009. Still, there are many cases of Curtains Match the Window in all versions.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: The second 1980s special somehow manages to get away with an alcohol reference in its theme song ("What a day/Hip Hooray/She's got a special letter and she's on her way/Bouncy as a bubble of champagne...").
The 2003 version is more straight example, in which there is a character named "Watermelon Kiss". A "watermelon kiss" is also an alcoholic drink.
Mint Tulip from the '80s: Her name was partially a pun on mint julep, another alcoholic drink.
1980s specials: The Pieman. He had a Heel-Face Turn at the end of The World of Strawberry Shortcake, but by the following year's Big Apple City, he reverted to his old ways due to his "evil conscience", as he explains to the frustrated Strawberry.
2003/2007 series: Grapes, Grapes, Grapes. Until the last episodes of the series, see below
1980s: Strawberry Shortcake's Musical Match-Ups for the Atari 2600
2003/2007: Tons of them — Four titles (including one GBA Video cartridge and one Europe-exclusive title) for the Game Boy Advance, two titles for the Nintendo DS, and a title for the Playstation2, which was ported over to the PC and then not released outside Europe. And then there's the Plug-and-play dance mat. Also, three PC titles (including said Europe-only port of the PS2 Sweet Dreams Game).
Edutainment Games: Amazing Cookie Party and Berry Best Friends (two of the aforementioned PC titles) are this.
Lilliputians: The 1980s and 2009 Strawberry and friends are tiny people living in a berry patch. Implied in the former, played straight in the latter.
Loads and Loads of Characters: Appears to be averted in the "Berry Bitty Adventures" incarnation (at least for the moment); there are currently seven charactersnote Eight if you count Canon Foreigner Cherry Jam, including Strawberry, and they are all characters that have existed since the 1980s version.
No Antagonist: Much of the 2003 episodes (many viewers just don't see Peppermint Fizz as an antagonist) except The Festival of Fillies, up until the reintroduction of the Pie-Man and Sour Grapes. Played straight again with the 2009 CGI series.
Not Allowed to Grow Up: Used very oddly. The 2003 series played it generally straight, but with some weirdness at times. For example, Apple Dumplin' was a toddler in this series, but the intro sequence depicted her as the same age as the other main characters. There was also an episode in which she was shown having a dream of being older. Despite all of this, the show went on for several seasons without any growing up, so it's fair to say it was almost entirely straight. The 2009 series presents the characters as (slightly) older and more mature. In all three versions, the characters handle their own affairs, including getting ready for bed, harvesting food and in the 2009 series having proper jobs. See There Are No Adults below.
The One Guy: Huckleberry Pie, most of the time. The first two 1980s specials had another male character in Plum Puddin', but he didn't have a corresponding doll. The character was reintroduced as a female in 1984, and finally got represented as a toy this way.
The Power of Friendship: Large portions of the series, particularly the 2003 one, pretty much operate on this. The ultimate expression of it is songs such as "Friendship Grows" from "Meet Strawberry Shortcake", "The Gift of Friendship" from Berry Merry Christmas and "Back Together" from "A Horse of a Different Color." Other candidates include "You're My Berry Best Friend" and "My Friend, Mon Ami."
Sugar Bowl: Only Rainbow Brite and the Care Bears are as known for this, at least in the U.S. (The U.K. theatrical release of The Care Bears Movie ran Strawberry Shortcake Meets the Berrykins as a pre-movie bonus; both were Nelvana productions.)
In the 2009 continuity: The Glimmerberry Ball movie — After her friends have a falling-out, Strawberry has to remind them that First Frost, and the Glimmerberry Gathering both celebrate the community, and friends helping friends.
Sour Grapes: With the world's greatest cookbook, I'll be famous! I can see it now, "Sour Grapes on the Merv Muffin Show!" Then, "Hollywood Pears..."
The Peculiar Purple Pieman: Aren't you forgetting someone?
Sour Grapes: Of course not, Purpy. I could never forget my purple partner in crime. My warm, wonderfully wicked, nasty but charming... pet snake, Dregs.
Big Applesauce: Big Apple City, the eponymous place in the second special, Strawberry Shortcake in Big Apple City, is a transparent N.Y.C. analogue, complete with Greenwich Spinach Village. Moreover, on the album Strawberry Shortcake Live, she sings a cover version of "New York, New York". (As David Letterman joked years later in a "Dave's Record Collection" segment, "I think this is the real reason the city can't sleep.")
Christmas Carolers: Strawberry runs into some while shopping for presents in "Berry Merry Christmas".
Clear My Name: Strawberry is framed for taking a bribe in Pets on Parade.
Cool and Unusual Punishment: Strawberry occasionally threatens the Peculiar Purple Pieman with "berry talk", which he can't stand (this was how she cleared her name in Pets on Parade). In fact, in Housewarming Surprise, Strawberry teaches his pet birds a song full of berry talk, knowing it would annoy him enough to make him return a bunch of recipes he stole from her.
Disney Death: The Berry Princess in Strawberry Shortcake Meets the Berrykins.
The Face of the Sun: Mr. Sun, who serves as the Narrator and interacts with Strawberry and the others. This is especially pronounced in the first special The World of Strawberry Shortcake, in which he provides a Deus ex Machina "magic wish" when the kids need to rescue Apple Dumplin' from the Pieman's palace. It's worth noting that in the first three specials he was voiced by the scriptwriter, Romeo Muller (best known for his work with Rankin/Bass Productions).
A Friend in Need: The new friends Strawberry meets in Big Apple City bend over backwards during the bake-off to counteract everything the Pieman does to sabotage her: T.N. Honey fixes her oven (which he had turned into a refrigerator), everyone makes a lightning-fast run to the supermarket to get the proper ingredients for her shortcake (he had replaced milk with chalk water, etc.), and finally they call the hypnotized judge out for announcing the Pieman had won when he hadn't tasted either of the finished products (especially notable as Strawberry was perfectly willing to accept defeat).
Forgotten Birthday: Strawberry's birthday undergoes the surprise party treatment in the first special, though (unusually for this trope) it isn't the focus of the whole story, but an opportunity for the Pieman to hatch his plot.
Hello, Nurse!: The Berry Princess has this effect on The Peculiar Purple Pieman.
Innocently Insensitive: Strawberry Shortcake's friends always mean well, but throughout the specials they sometimes come off like they don't understand the consequences of their actions and won't think first. In the first special, they have a wonderful plan to hold a "surprise birthday party" for Strawberry Shortcake. Instead of giving Strawberry something to do until surprise party time, however, the manner they chose to keep the secret involved rebuffing and ignoring her. This drove Strawberry to burst into tears thinking no one loved her; she would've missed the party completely if the friggin' Sun Narrator hadn't gotten fed up and spilled the beans that her friends didn't desert her and were in fact waiting for her right then.
As another example, in the third special, the Pieman rigs a contest in his favor...but as a twist, he accuses Strawberry of helping him. Strawberry's friends immediately jump to the conclusion that Strawberry did in fact cheat, and they end up driving Strawberry away (she doesn't come back until a new "skunk" friend convinces her to).
The Berry Princess introducing the title characters in Meets the Berrykins.
Smelly Skunk: The poor little skunk in Pets on Parade who's just arrived in Strawberryland doesn't have any friends, and it's implied that it's because of belief in this trope. But he isn't depicted as actually smelling bad, and at the end of the story he is adopted without hesitation by Strawberry's new friend Angel Cake.
The original male Plum Puddin', T.N. Honey (Big Apple City) and some of the Berrykins.
Raisin Cane, though fans make customs of her with Almond Tea bases.
Villain Decay: The Peculiar Purple Pieman of Porcupine Peak. In the first special, he's a legitimately treacherous villain who's capable of flooding Strawberryland to get what he wants (all of the strawberries). By the third special, he's framing Strawberry Shortcake for bribery.... in order to get a children's tricycle.
Even before that, in the second special, the Pieman goes to great lengths to sabotage Strawberry Shortcake's chances at...winning a friggin' children's gazebo! Really, in most of the specials save the first, instead of "villain", he comes across as an overgrown schoolyard bully who's willing to mess up a little girl's life for idiotic, childish reasons. Which in a way is actually worse, because the Pieman has the mindset of a childish schoolyard bully, but with an adult's resources and physical power.
Tropes Found in the 2003/2007 Version:
Art Shift: Pretty much what people refer to when they mention the 2007 revamp.
The Aloner: Coco Calypso and Banana Candy, both at first.
Beach Episode: Beach DVD, rather: Seaberry Beach Party is two episodes and a bonus video.
Beleaguered Assistant: Cola Chameleon to Peppermint Fizz, Sour Grapes to the Purple Pieman and Raven to Licorice Whip. Custard tends to feel she is in this position for Strawberry Shortcake, and she is right about that at times.
Big Brother Instinct: Sour Grapes wishes that the Peculiar Purple Pieman of Porcupine Peak followed this trope for her. He does, to a small extent, but clearly not as much as she would like for him to.
Cain and Abel: Purple Pieman and Sour Grapes, particularly highlighted in Dancin' in Disguise also known as Let's Dance. Sour Grapes (specifically, Sour Grapes as the Wicked Witch of the West) gets a temporary switch to Cain in the Berry Brick Road episodes. Plum Puddin' (as Glinda the Good Witch) is her Abel.
Canon Foreigner: Ginger Snap, Peppermint Fizz, Rainbow Sherbet, Coco Calypso, and many others. Inverted in that unlike the later Cherry Jam character from the 2009 franchise, these characers had appeared in the 2003/2007 era toyline from the the beginning.
Demoted to Extra: Honey Pie Pony's final appearance was among the audience in It Takes Talent / Playing To Beat The Band, with no lines and no plot. She was then shoved onto the bus.
Dummied Out: The NTSC/UC version of The Sweet Dreams Game for the PS2 has the entire How A Garden Grows song from the movie in the game data, but it was never used in-game for reasons unknown.
Edited for Syndication: Aside from the 45-minute unedited versions licensed to local home video producers, the first four episodes are available from the syndication office in either 22-minute edits (in which they lose half their songs and story content) or split into 2-part episodes (in which a big glaring "To Be Continued" appears at the end of the first part). Additionally, the DVD releases of subsequent episodes include an additional prologue, bridge, epilogue and an additional music video that adds scenes to join two episodes together.
Facepalm: Grown-up Apple Dumplin', after the baby versions of Strawberry and her friends refuse to take a nap in "Baby Takes the Cake."
Four Girl Ensemble: Ever noticed how many episodes star four of the girls? Who the four girls are varies, but Strawberry Shortcake herself is always among the group.
Heel-Face Turn: Licorice Whip's assistant, Raven, in The Festival Of The Fillies. Licorice Whip himself goes through one in the European-release-only Game Boy Advance game Ice Cream Island Riding Camp which seals his transformation. Margalo... Ok, lets just say, that most villains in the series except Pie Man and Sour Grapes. Those two turned in the final episode of Season 4, Lights... Camera..., assuming Playhouse Disney Asia's line-up is canon, thus wrapping up the 2003/2007 series on a high note.
Peppermint Fizz. Then there's Banana Candynote this incarnation's version of Banana Twirl from the previous franchise, although in actual fact she dislikes being one and only does it to keep Strawberry and company stuck in her town so she's not alone. Then Raspberry Torte nearly turned into one in the episode "Mind Your Manners".
Alpha Bitch: Peppermint Fizz in the first seasons, but she outgrows it. Angel Cake develops into this in the final season, and Lime Light is introduced as this. Lemon Meringue is an alpha bitch in one episode of the final season.
Mind Screw: Angel Cake was always dramatic. However, puberty hit her... a little too viciously.
Minion with an F in Evil: In one episode, Strawberry Shortcake and her friends are putting on a play of Cinderella. Strawberry as Cinderella cries when the evil step-relatives say she can't go to the ball. Blueberry Muffin (the stepmother) and Ginger Snap and Orange Blossom (the stepsisters) feel bad and say she can go after all until Angel Cake (the fairy godmother) gets the story back on track.
Non-Lethal Bottomless Pits: In the Sweet Dreams Game for the PS2, accidentally falling into a cliff or river will result in Strawberry saying "Oh, no!" while the screen goes through a wipe. The game then resumes with the player character standing just right next to the point the fall happened.
Not So Different: Raspberry Torte, the young jaded tomboy, and Sour Grapes, a bitter and feminine woman, touched on this in The Sweet Dreams Movie. Both are pessimists by nature, both are quite loyal to one person (Lemon Meringue and Purple Pieman, respectively), and both had the same abandoned dream. The younger established her role as Anti-Hero and the elder as Anti-Villain, roles they continued afterward.
Remember the New Guy: Peppermint Fizz makes her first appearance in "Peppermint's Pet Peeve" (from the "Best Pets Yet" DVD) without any formal introduction, and treats her as though she had always been one of Strawberry's friends.
Rich Bitch: Sea Beast and Lime Light. Margalo borders this. All reform.
Rounded Character: Mainly Sour Grapes. She gets the most screen time for it, although other characters lean into this trope. Come 2007, Angel Cake is sort of a mind screwy subversion of this.
Running Gag: Custard getting continually pounced and surprisingly uninjured by Pupcake throughout the 2003 series and in the movie.
Scare Dare: In "The Berry Beast," Huckleberry Pie issues a scare dare to go into some spooky woods. Strawberry replies that dares are silly, so he makes it a double dare, and Strawberry counters that double dares are double silly. He ups it to a Triple Scoop Dare with a strawberry on top and Strawberry says that he's on.
Show Accuracy/Toy Accuracy: You'd think they'd keep Pupcake's eyepatch location, The characters' hair color, and other noticeable (and less-noticable) details consistent between the merchandise, books and TV series...
Tagalong Kid: Apple Dumplin'. Even though everyone else is a kid, she is a lot younger then they are and often comes along on the adventures.
The Other Darrin: Huckleberry Pie and Custard's voice actors were replaced after the first season; the latter no longer interested in playing the part.
Played straight, then inverted with the former. After the second voice of Huckleberry Pie passed on due to a skateboarding accident, the previous voice actor came back.
There Are No Adults: While the occasional adult shows up (usually as a villain), none of the main characters have parents.
Third-Person Person: Apple Dumplin', sometimes, but it zig-zags quite a bit. And when she sings "I'm Not Too Little," she uses first-person, but when she imagines herself as grown-up, it's "Apple Dumplin'" this and "Apple Dumplin'" that.
Tomboy: While there is a fair helping of tomboys, Raspberry Torte is the biggest example. You wouldn't know it if you were only watching the 2009 version.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Dregs, who was always with Sour Grapes in the '80s, appears in only one episode here never to be seen again. While Honey Pie Pony moved to Ice Cream Island, the disappearance of Dregs is never explained. Fans theorize that he abandoned Grapes out of fear. For that matter, all of the characters pets disappeared, with the exception of Custard and Pupcake after the 2007 redesign.
Most likely, it was the same fate as Honey Pie Pony and the other fillies- they did appear in the same episode where Honey Pie Pony was demoted to extra, and so was shoved onto the bus with the fillies.
Idiot Ball: When Strawberry meets Cherry Jam for the first time, she apparently doesn't recognize her. The problem is that Cherry was wearing the same outfit as in the "music video" seen earlier in the episode. Strawberry even remarks she smells something that smells like cherries. One would think Strawberry would have recognized her "favorite singer" immediately...
Metaphor Is My Middle Name: In "The Berry Best You Can Bee," Sadiebug claims "Nice" is her middle name, but Katiebug interjects that it's really "Ladybird."
Road Sign Reversal: A non-racing version occurs in one episode of Strawberry Shortcake's Berry Bitty Adventures. While trying to deliver a package, Strawberry encounters a sign that tells her the way to go, only for a breeze to flip the markers, knocking off the one she needs.
Sky Surfing: The girls ride the tops of daisies to fly in the air.
Sweet and Sour Grapes: In "Berryfest Princess," Strawberry is rewarded for feeding the wanderberry that she was expected to bring back for the feast to a sick bird by finding a new one growing right outside her own house.
Wasn't That Fun?: In the movie "Sky's the Limit!", the girls survive a crazy ride down a hill on a leaf, whereupon Blueberry Muffin is the first to admit how much fun it was.
We Sell Everything: In "A Berry Grand Opening," the Berrykins ask for something "sparkling" and "orange," and Orange Blossom pulls out everything from a glittery vase to a tablecloth to Orange Brand laundry detergent (to get your clothes sparkly clean).