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Animation / Tinga Tinga Tales

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Tinga Tinga Tales is a 2010 Kenyan/British 52-episode children's series based on African folk tales and aimed at the preschool demographic. It was commissioned by The BBC for its CBeebies channel, and by Disney Channel for its Disney Junior block. Named after the Tingatinga art from Tanzania, it was made in Kenya by a studio of about 50 people.

Tropes include:

  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Almost none of the animals are their natural colour: Lion is blue, Elephant is purple, the monkeys are red, orange and yellow, Hippo is black, Giraffe is black with white spots, Warthog is green, etc.
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  • Ambiguously Gay: Zebra, Peacock and Chameleon.
  • An Aesop
  • Animal Stereotypes
  • Bat Out of Hell: Like all the animals, Bat is very cute, but he originally acted as this for the other animals as he would scare them for fun.
  • Beauty to Beast: The fate of Warthog at the end of his episode, after accidentally getting his face prickled by Porcupine.
  • Big Good: Lion.
  • Book-Ends: Each episode ends with Monkey Red saying "And [event that was pivotal to episode but not the main focus of it]? Well, that's a whole other story!".
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Monkey talks to the audience in the beginning of the end of every episode. Also, Guinea Fowl does this at the end of the meerkat episode.
  • Bowdlerise: The story of "Why Mosquito Buzzes in People's Ears" traditionally has mosquito start a riot that causes owl to quit her job of raising the sun. In the original folktale, it is because the riot killed one of her babies and she wants revenge. Here, the owl herself is simply knocked unconscious.
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  • Butt-Monkey: Tortoise is always getting stepped on and mistaken for a rock by Elephant and Hippo.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Lion: "It is Nature's way".
    • Elephant: "Sorry. Big head, (see,) tiny brain."
  • Censored for Comedy: The monkeys and Tortoise play with this when they're forbidden to say "run".
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Jackal, after the whole moon honey incident.
  • Cute Mute: Woodpecker and Parrot, until they learned how to speak.
  • Double Take: The monkeys in the Tortoise episode.
  • The Ditz: The wildebeest and, to a lesser extent, Elephant.
  • Diurnal Nocturnal Animal: Bushbaby.
  • Dumb Muscle: Elephant. Majitu the giant doesn't sound all that intelligent either.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Smelly fruit.
  • Gentle Giant:
    • Elephant.
    • Hippo could certainly qualify too.
    • Majitu the giant is implied to be this.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Hippo & Tickbird, Crocodile & Lizard and Tortoise & Elephant.
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  • The Hyena: Hyena, obviously.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All of the episodes follow the pattern "Why [Animal] [Action]" or "Why [Animal] Is [Adjective]".
  • Insistent Terminology: "I'm not a monkey. I'm a baboon!"
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": Elephant at the end of the camel episode.
  • Jerkass: Many animals fit the bill: Hyena, Jackal, Crocodile, Vulture, Lizard, and even Lion can be a real Jerkass like in the Hippo episode, but Warthog is by far the worst offender. He threw mud at the monkeys, Owl and Lion, insulted Hippo, Hyena and Tortoise and questioned Lion's authority as "king of Tinga Tinga". Lion was NOT pleased at all.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Crocodile in "Why Cheetah Has Tears".
  • "Just So" Story: The show quite literally thrives on these.
  • Keet: Chameleon, The Monkeys and Hare.
  • King of Beasts: Lion, of course.
  • The Klutz: Ostrich was this before she lost her feathers.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: 52 of them receive episode focus.
  • Mischief-Making Monkey: Baboon is quite a prankster. The other Monkeys not so much, although they also have their moments.
  • Negative Continuity: Every episode portrays the animal of whom the episode is A Day in the Limelight to be the last to have their problems fixed. For example, tick bird is not friends with hippo in her own episode, despite already being friends with her back when hippo had fur.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: Crocodile, obviously. But since this is a show for little children, he is portrayed as The Bully rather than an actual killer.
  • Once an Episode: Monkey talking with Lion at the end of the episode.
  • Ostrich Head Hiding: The "Ostrich" episode is all about this.
  • Pungeon Master: The monkeys at the end of that episode.
  • Real After All: Majitu the giant in the bushbaby episode.
  • Running Gag:
    • Elephant's brain.
    • Tortoise getting stepped on.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Hippo and Eagle.
  • Sea Monster: Whale
  • Ship Tease: Lion and Leopard. And it has been proven that Lions and leopards can have cubs.
  • Snakes Are Sinister: Averted with Snake and Puff Adder.
  • Somewhere, a Herpetologist Is Crying: Crocodile swims with motions of his feet, while Real Life crocodiles use their tails.
  • Somewhere, a Mammalogist Is Crying: It's odd that an elephant was given the role as Dumb Muscle (claiming to have a "tiny brain") given they're among the most intelligent animals.
  • Space Whale Aesop
  • Those Two Bad Guys: Lizard & Crocodile.
  • Toilet Humor: A few times. In the "Giraffe" episode, Giraffe has "tummy trouble" and has to eat some honey to stop her runny stomach. In the "Skunk" episode, Baboon gives some "smelly fruit" to Skunk as a prank, which gives him a stinky fart.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Vulture tries to fly as high as the sun, gets burnt and then angers a bunch of bees to make her feathers pretty.
  • Toothy Bird: Tortoise has teeth for some reason.
  • Villain Has a Point: In the Monkey episode, Crocodile notes that none of the other animals seem to care that the monkeys are constantly harassing him, which is entirely true.


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