Western Animation: The Mighty B!
Pick it up, turn around, here comes the Mighty B! B! B! B!
What happens when you combine the creative talents of Amy Poehler (of Saturday Night Live
fame), Erik Wiese (SpongeBob SquarePants
storyboarder), and Cynthia True (The Fairly OddParents
writer)? The Mighty B!
, a Nickelodeon
animated series that manages to be completely insane and down-to-earth at the exact same time. It also serves as the 26th cartoon in the Nicktoons
Bessie Higgenbottom (voiced by co-creator Amy Poehler
) is an abnormally eager Honeybee scout determined to collect every single Honeybee scout badge ever, believing that once she does this nigh-impossible task, she'll become a super hero (the titular "Mighty B"). Living with younger brother Ben, pet dog Happy, and mother Hilary in San Francisco
, Bessie ends up going on a multitude of strange adventures. From covering the entire city in wool to getting trapped in Alcatraz
, Bessie does everything either to get a badge or have some fun.
The show debuted in April, 2008. After a rough air schedule, The Mighty B!
was pretty much forgotten halfway through 2010. It took a station change to Nicktoons Network and another year before the final episodes ever got released, eventually ending its run in June 2011.
Please do not confuse
with The Mighty Boosh
The Mighty B! provides examples of:
- Acid Trip Dimension: "O Say Can Bess See" and "Irritable Bowling Syndrome".
- Adorkable: Bessie.
- Alpha Bitch: Portia.
- Always Someone Better: Sissy Sullivan is this for Bessie in "Boston Beean".
- Annoying Laugh: In the episode "Grumpy Old Bees".
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Benjamin Higgenbottom.
- Apathetic Teacher: Mary Gibbons.
- Art Evolution: There's a HUGE leap in quality between the first and second season.
- Ascended Extra
- Millie. The makers of the show loved her voice so much they decided to make her more than just a background character.
- The Doctor returns fairly often in the second season.
- Bank Robbery: Bessie successfully robs a bank in "Higgenbottom'$ 7".
- Beauty, Brains and Brawn: Portia, Gwen, and Penny.
- Big Bad Ensemble: Mary Gibbons and Anton St. Germain.
- Bigger on the Inside: The Hive.
- Blind Without 'Em: Bessie in the episode "Blindsided".
- Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Portia (blonde), Gwen and Penny (brunettes), and Mary Frances (redhead).
- Body Horror: Dear. Lord. "Hen and Bappy". Watch and try to be horrified.
- Boot Camp Episode: "Gorillas in the Midst".
- Butt Monkey: Bessie.
- Catch Phrase: Bessie: "Awwwwwsome!"
- Cloudcuckoolander: Bessie, of course.
- Continuity Nod: The series tends to be fairly comfortable with smaller continuity. Examples include returns of Judge Gibbons, The Doctor, Running With The Rainbow Unicorn, K.G. Bianca, and the switch from the suburban rec-center to the newer, urban one.
- Cool Big Sis: Bessie, even though she's more eccentric than cool.
- Cutaway Gag: Doesn't usually happen, but in "Higgenbottom'$ 7" there's two examples of this trope: When Penny becomes president of Venezuela, and when they stop the story to send a fly back in time, who through the Chaos Theory, affects the current situation.
- The Dark Chick: Gwen.
- Day in the Limelight: "Mr. Turtleton's Wild Ride" for Millie and her pet turtle.
- Derailed for Details: Bessie trying to tell a joke. "A leprechaun walks into a bar. Wait, you're not supposed to know it's a leprechaun yet..."
- Deranged Animation: Of the Ren and Stimpy variety.
- Disappeared Dad: No mention of either Bessie or Portia's fathers have been made.
- The Ditz: Penny.
- Ditzy Genius: Bessie has many talents, including being able to create cold fusion. Also creating a functioning spaceship when she was 5.
- The Eeyore: Penny.
- Embarrassing Middle Name: Bessie Kajolica Higgenbottom. And it's cursed.
- Elephant in the Living Room: Geniva the doll looks like Boxing Betty.
- Evil Is Petty: In "Beenadict Arnold" Portia tried to take Happy away from Bessie just because it would make Bessie feel bad.
- Excited Show Title!: Amy Poehler stated that this is to show how much boundless energy Bessie has.
- Bessie seems to be a version of a character Amy Poehler did for The Upright Citizens Brigade: a hyperactive ten year-old Girl Scout. Saturday Night Live's Kaitlin was a watered down version of the character, making her a spiritual cousin of Bessie. In a way, the freedom of animation makes Bessie a purer version of the character than the original! In fact, you'll notice Poehler performs Kaitlin and Bessie with the same childish, lisping voice.
- She can also pass as a female version of SpongeBob SquarePants. Compare the two, and you'll see why.
- Happy seems a bit similar to Porkchop.
- Fat Bastard: Downplayed with Penny.
- Fat Idiot: Penny.
- Five-Man Band:
- For the Evulz: Often Portia's evil acts against Bessie have no real motivation.
- Freak Out!: Portia in the pilot discovering her dog is actually a rat.
- Fun with Acronyms: Happy used to work as a secret agent for the attack dog organization called S.H.A.D.O.W. or Seriously Hardcore Attack Dog Operation Worldwide.
- Genki Girl: Bessie, so very much.
- Gem-Encrusted: The dog collar Portia put on Happy.
- Girl Posse: Portia and Gwen (and Penny and Bessie on occasion).
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: A couple instances of this...
- In this scene from "Tour D'Alcatraz", Bessie says to Happy: "Sure, today its just joy running, but tomorrow it could be stealing dog collars, or selling catnip...
- In the episode "Sweet Sixteenth", when riding a rollercoaster for the first time she says to the attendant while handing said objects "Hey, can you hold my keys, and my compass, and my popcorn, and my lucky rabbit, and my swiss army knife, and my raisins, and my hand buzzer?" The shot switches to all the objects hitting the floor when she says "raisins" which oddly enough doesn't get handed over. The joy buzzer is. Hmmm. For those that don't get it, raisins are a slang term for a prepubescent girl's breasts.
- Quite literally in a faux "Fantastic Voyage" Plot, where Bessie and a friend get trapped in a giant model of the human body. To get out, they end up in a simulation of the digestive tract, which ends with them coming out a hatch in the model's butt as a massive torrent of chili pours out. Bessie screaming "Chili!" during this seemed like a desperate bid to assure the censors that it wasn't something else.
- Doggy Stylz Groomer? Sheesh, that's not even subtle.
- Happy stumbles upon a gay wedding in Public Enembee. I'm pretty surprised Nick would let that fly.
- In "Boston Beean" one of the coffee flavors at the café is 'Irish'.
- Gonk: Penny and Anton St. Germain, to lesser extents.
- Gross Out Show
- Grumpy Bear: Anton St. Germain.
- Halloween Episode: "Catatonic".
- Hartman Hips: Mary Gibbons (Portia's mom), oddly.
- Heel-Face Revolving Door Penny is Bessie's best friend, and yet she frequently goes behind her back to team up with Portia and Gwen (sometimes to gang up against her, even). What's even more odd is that Bessie never seems to have a problem with this.
- Hook Hand: Daren, the neighbor has hooks for his hands.
- Hypocritical Humor: Subverted. the first part of a segment is Bessie's dog, Happy, getting treatment from a vet for a skinned knee. After the usual kicking and screaming, they head next door for the doctor to treat Bessie's skinned knee. Turns out that she's just in time for a booster shot. After fighting much worse than her dog did, she finally gets the shot while trying to escape through the sink. After the shot, she launches into the usual "See Happy, that didn't hurt a — okay, yeah, that hurts..."
- In-Series Nickname: Portia and Gwen refer to Bessie as "Messy".
- Imaginary Friend: Bessie's "Finger" which she draws a face on, which often appears to be sentient. In fact, at one point of the series she comments on how she can actually hear him breathing!
- Konami Code: Bessie recites it for Ronnie during a game of Raspberry Shortcake Space Attack 6.
- Left Hanging
- We never found out if Bessie was right about the whole super hero thing. Given that it's a Nicktoon, this should be expected. Except for the episodes in which she seemingly turned into The Mighty B without collecting all the badges. (That would be Bessie's overactive imagination at work.)
- There is one honeybee who, if the dialogue proved true, got every badge though she never turned into a superhero. Bessie helped her get her last badge, the Sock Hop Badge, in Grumpy Old Bees.
- Levitating Lotus Position: Bessie into the Zone in "Dang it Feels Good to be a Gamester" and levitates briefly in the Lotus Position.
- Literal-Minded: Never drive through Bessie's neighbourhood with a bumper sticker that says "How's my driving?" and a phone number unless you really want her to call that number and comment on your driving.
- Little Miss Badass: The crew may have gotten bored with the direction of season 1, so most season 2 episodes have some sort of unnecessary action sequences from nowhere, which seem highly out of context compared to season 1. (Water) Gun fights, (multiple) giant monster fights, sword fights, a high speed downhill chase, and piledriving a bear, just a to name a few.
- Meganekko: Bessie. The episode "Blindsided" shows that she does in fact look better with glasses.
- Merit Badges For Everything: And how: there are even merit badges for farting and time travel.
- New-Age Retro Hippie: The Nameless Hippie, as well as Rainbow, the female hippie.
- Non-Human Sidekick: Happy.
- No Name Given: Past Bessie, Portia, Gwen, Millie, and Penny, the rest of the Honeybee Scouts don't speak, nor are their names ever referenced (though some concept drawings prove they DO have names). In "Irritable Bowling Syndrome", Portia picks a player for her team by referring to her as "Not Millie, and not Messy".
- Off Model: Though there's only a few instances of this in the first season, you'll see Bessie off model more often than not in the second. You might notice Bessie drawn somewhat different Depending on the Artist. This is more noticeable in episodes Katie Rice storyboarded.
- Omniglot: Happy is fluent in 12 different languages, including French, German, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Swahili, Pomeranian, and even Pandaren.
- Parental Abandonment
- Bessie, Penny, Portia and Gwen are all in single parent families.
- Unresolved in Gwen's case. Since she has five younger siblings, including one who's still an infant, one suspects that her mom can't be that far away. And we don't know for certain that Mr. Wu, who runs the local Chinese restuarant, is Gwen's dad.
- Oddly enough, MF Gibbons is referred to as "Mrs. Gibbons", and not "Ms. Gibbons".
- Parody Episode: "The Dragonflies", a parody of The Warriors.
- Pet the Dog: Gwen, who's actually willing to hang out with Bessie and Penny when Portia isn't around.
- Pinball Gag: "Bee Patients" and "Gorillas in the Midst".
- Poke the Poodle: In "Bad to the Bee" Bessie decides to become a bad girl and goes around doing very minor things. Subverted in that everyone else treats these things just as seriously as she does. When Portia and Gwen try to get her to do something actually criminal, if somewhat minor (stealing and eating taffy they're supposed to be selling), she can't bring herself to do it.
- Popular Is Dumb: In the pilot episode, "So Happy Together", Portia spent the whole episode carrying around a rat thinking it was a dog, even kissing it. To be fair, everyone else thought so too.
- Pounds Are Animal Prisons: Literally, there is even a state pound!
- Rewind, Replay, Repeat: Miriam Breedlove watches a number of videos from Honeybee scouts all over the country trying to win a contest whose prize is lunch with her. Bessie Higgenbottom's retro-style video indicates Bessie knows the legend of "The Mighty B", which implies the Honeybee who earns every single badge will be endowed with superheroic powers. As Breedlove comes upon this part of the video, she pauses, rewinds, and replays several times so as to rewatch Bessie enthusiastically shouting, "The Mighty B!" over and over.
- Rich Bitch
- Rule of Three: Used in a more literal sense, Bessie only gets three chances at the Standup Comedian Badge. The Comedy Rule of Threes, as Mrs. Gibbons says.
- Running Gag: The game of Pineapple, which can only be assumed works under Calvinball rules.
- Sadist Show
- San Francisco: For an animated series, The Mighty B! has a very specific setting. And yes, they did do a chase down a hillside.
- Sassy Black Woman: The nurse in "Bee Patients".
- Scout Out: The Honeybees are obviously The Girl Scouts.
- The Scottish Trope: Bessie's middle name causes bad things to happen to whoever says it.
- Shaggy Dog Story: Several episodes follow this formula.
- "Hat Trick" subverts it by having the shaggy dog turning point in the middle of the episode, when it turns out Bessie suddenly can do the trick.
- Shout-Out: In "C'mon, Get Happy" they introduce a secret agent dog, Agent Lovecraft. Oddly enough, series co-creator Erik Wiese also goes by the name Erik Eldritch. Technically, you could consider any monster in this show to be an Eldritch Abomination. HAH! Get it?
- Speech Impediment: Bessie; she's missing her front teeth, so she slurs a little. It's cute. Even when she has her teeth back, she still slurs.
- Simpleton Voice: Penny, debatable.
- Special Guest: Suze Orman.
- Spot the Imposter: When Happy's faced with the decision of shooting either Bessie or her evil robot counterpart with a fire hose, he'd rather just blast them both.
- Status Quo Is God: Bessie regains and loses her front teeth in "Irritable Bowling Syndrome".
- Sweet on Polly Oliver: A rare Les Yay example when Portia got a crush on Bessie disguised as Ben.
- Suck E. Cheese's: Jump 'n Joey's.
- Summon Magic: Bessie and Happy summon giant monsters made from their stench to do a Godzilla-esque brawl in "Dirty Happy".
- Super Villain: The Mighty B's first antagonist: Evil Mr. Pants, who controls others to do his bidding. This even spawned another villain, The Ghastly Giraffe (that's pronounced grr-affe, not jir-affe) who is actually Millie under Evil Mr. Pants' control.
- Tasty Gold: Portia's reaction to her gold locket is to bite it to be sure it's real.
- The Unintelligible
- Dogs in general, for that matter, are the "only understood by other characters" version.
- Millie seems to have a talkative relationship with her turtle, Chester. He's written haikus and they've had verbal arguments, though its all happened offscreen, so Millie's strangeness could play a factor here.
- Toilet Water Reflection Monologue: With the subversion into Toilet Water Reflection Arguement.
- Tongue on the Flagpole: Penny once tried to do this on purpose. She failed.
- Too Dumb to Live: Penny, The Honey Bees, Geniva, & Anton in "Ten Little Honey Bees".
- Trade Snark: Pinch! Poke! You owe me a trademark cola!
- Ungrateful Bastard: Anton St. Germain.
- Unstoppable Rage: Happy hulks out in "B-Chip" after his suppressed bad behavior breaks loose.
- Valley Girl: Portia, in a low, scratchy Californian valley girl voice.
- Wedding Day: In the series finale ("C'mon, Get Happy") Bessie and Happy celebrate being BF Fs for 104 weeks (or 2 years, which is about how long the series lasted) by holding a "BFF Ceremony" which is apparently a wedding. Uh... Better yet, at the end of the episode, they decide to do a "quick BFF ceremony" in Vegas. Just so we're clear, Bessie marries her pet dog Happy then the series ends. What.
- You Must Be This Tall To Ride: Bessie is too short to go on the ride, but her dog threatens the operator and he bends the rules so the dog won't rat him out.
- Zettai Ryouiki: Portia, of all people.