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Recap / The Amazing World of Gumball S3E20 "The Shell"

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Gumball accidentally breaks Penny's shell open during a school play and, despite her father trying to keep her and Gumball apart for what she did (even going as far as to plan on having her transferred to a new school), urges Penny to break from her shell to see what she's like beneath it. When Gumball can't spit out that he likes Penny's new form, she runs away (with her new powers of transformation turning her into the monster she thinks she is) and he starts chasing her across Elmore trying to console her.


This episode won Best Children's Series and Children's Choice Award at the British Animation Awards in 2016.


  • Accidental Misnaming: Gumball calls Mr. Fitzgerald numerous permutations of "Robert" (including "Trebor") before Mr. Fitzgerald reveals (to both Gumball and the audience) that his name is Patrick.
  • Almost Kiss: The episode kicks off when Gumball tries to kiss Penny, but accidentally headbutts her instead.
  • Beast and Beauty: A rare example where the male is the beauty and the female is the beast (but only when she's upset, angry, or distressed).
  • Be Yourself: Penny considers getting out of her shell instead of fixing it as her dad wishes, as she thinks the whole family have just been hiding from themselves. Gumball convinces her to do it using the same reasoning, telling her there's no way he wouldn't like the real her.
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  • Big Damn Kiss: When Gumball kisses Penny in her wolf-like monster form to prove that he doesn't care what she looks like, the universe starts circling around them, the music swells, and she flips through her previous forms until she's in her default form.
  • Bowdlerise:
    • Cartoon Network stations in Asia, Australia, Latin America, and Poland cut the scene of Gumball bursting in on Banana Joe watching an Internet video of a peeled orange slowly being spread apart.
    • The Cartoon Network Arabia broadcats cuts the entire sequence of Penny and Gumball planning to explain to Patrick about the accident (with Patrick banning Gumball from seeing her), Gumball being depressed at dinner over losing Penny then running into his room and crying over it, and as well as the Big Damn Kiss at the end of the episode.
  • Break Her Heart to Save Her: To keep from being hit by a truck, Gumball tells Penny that she's nothing so she'll turn into something small and they'd both slide under it. She says she understood this later, but doesn't seem any less upset about it. Mixed with a touch of Taking The Asphalt as he shields her with his body, just barely rolling under the traffic as he bounced, getting several bruises to show for it.
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  • Catapult to Glory: Penny turns into a dragon and flies away, so Gumball has her dad pop the hood of his car as he stands on it, sending him into the air after her.
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: Gumball accidentally walks in on Banana Joe watching a video of a peeled orange being pulled apart. Considering that he treats taking his peel off like getting naked and has a box of tissues next to get the idea.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Mr. Fitzgerald rams the pest controller's car to distract him, then his airbag deploys several seconds after the impact, just as it did several times in "The Knights".
    • The shampoo and hair dye on Banana Bob's bathtub are from Daniel Lennard, the cosmetics company that Gumball, Darwin, and Anais thought was a man out to steal their mother as seen in "The Plan."
  • Crystal-Ball Scheduling: Penny and Gumball's leading their school's production of Beauty and the Beast reflects the plot of the episode, except with the roles reversed. Gumball even "improvises" a kiss the same way Penny did in the play.
  • Date Peepers: It wasn't a date exactly, but Penny comes to Gumball's room to talk to him and all the other members of the Watterson family eavesdrop from the other side of the door.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After going to extreme lengths to help Penny going through her stress (after coming off her shell), Gumball finally receives the kiss from the girl of his dreams.
  • Exact Words: After Gumball tells his family he doesn't want to talk about why he's depressed, Darwin explains it instead (it's because he might not ever get to see Penny again).
    Gumball: I meant I don't want anybody to talk about it.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
  • Freakiness Shame: Penny thinks her true form is ugly and calls herself a monster. Gumball tries to tell her she's beautiful, but she is too upset to listen (even though when she's finally alone in the woods, she admitted to Gumball that she knew Gumball wasn't trying to hurt her feelings and was more upset of what people would think of her and Gumball together).
  • Furry Confusion: Penny is set after by a pest controller who is himself a giant cockroach.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Invoked when Gumball says Penny's lightning bolt shaped scar/crack over her eye gives her character "like a beautiful warlord or an adorable Frankenstein".
  • Hourglass Plot: In "The Gi", Penny stands up for Gumball and wanted him to be himself. In this episode, Gumball is standing up for Penny and wants her to be herself by coming out of her shell and reveal her true form.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction: Gumball tells his mother he'll be fine seconds before running into his room to cry into his pillow.
  • Instant Sedation: Nicole puts herself in front of the pest controller to keep him from shooting a tranquilizer at Penny, but he accidentally fires anyway. It results in the right side of Nicole's body and face going so limp and loose that her kids pull them out like hoses and use them to slap the man responsible.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifter: Penny's true form. When she's happy, she looks like a non-corporeal version of herself with her shell but with no hands or feet, a larger head, wings, and a glow. If her self-image is negative, she'll transform into a monster (though "The Bros" showed her transforming when she choked on the ring in her drink, implying that her transformations are set off whenever she's distressed).
  • Large Ham: An In-Universe example: Gumball does way too much out of his death scene in the school play.
  • Left the Background Music On: The Ethereal Choir playing while Gumball and Penny kiss turns out to be Richard humming right behind them.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Gumball drops the Idiot Hero act for almost the whole episode, reaching Determinator levels that could rival his own mother.
  • Literal Metaphor:
  • Morphic Resonance: Penny's antlers are present throughout her forms.
  • Mr. Exposition: Richard desperately (and loudly) tries to be this, but he comes across as a Captain Obvious.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Mr. Fitzgerald asks if Gumball was involved with Penny getting a crack on her shell. Darwin clarifies that he wasn't so much involved as directly responsible, then Gumball grab his tongue to shut him up.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Gumball and Penny have an "argument warmup" before confronting Penny's dad where they stick their tongues out and rapidly moved them up and down. Since they face each other while doing this, when Mr. Fitzgerald opens the door and sees them from behind, it looks and sounds like they're French kissing.
  • Overly Long Gag: Gumball's ridiculously drawn out death scene in the play. The audience sigh in relief when they think it's over, only for him to get back up and continue writhing.
  • Overused Running Gag: During the play, Gumball questions why, every time he's about to kiss Penny, the Universe starts circling around them.
  • Playing a Tree: Tobias can been seen walking around backstage, wearing a tower prop as a costume.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Penny panics and flees before Gumball can tell her he likes her true form. Lampshaded by Richard:
    Richard: Nooo! It's a tragic misunderstanding that could have been easily avoided if he just finished his sentence in time!
  • Relationship Upgrade: Penny and Gumball finally get their first kiss. We see in the next episode that they started dating.
  • Running Gag: Richard keeps shouting out the obvious with regards to the plot of the play and the episode itself.
  • Sand In My Eyes: When Penny comes to Gumball's window she notices his eyes are really red.
    Penny: Have you been crying?
    Gumball: No, I just have really sweaty eyes. Wait, that's disgusting. Yeah, I was crying.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When Jackie tells Harold to do something about a minotaur-like creature in front of their car (Penny), he gruffly says he'll "deal with it", gets out of the car, and runs off like the Dirty Coward he is.
  • Shapeshifter Swan Song: Inverted, as Penny goes through all the different forms she'd taken in reverse when she gains control of her transformation.
  • Status Quo Is God: AVERTED for the first time in the series' history. Penny remains out of her shell, and Gumball and Penny are now an Official Couple.
  • Stealth Pun: During the play, Gumball was always overacting and his Beast costume mostly looks like a wild pig. He was being a ham.
  • Stunned Silence What Gumball is reduced to when seeing Penny's true form. Unfortunately, she takes it the wrong way.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Lampshaded when Gumball walks in on Banana Bob taking a bath and his mustache is detached like some sort of costume piece, making him indistinguishable from his wife or son. Banana Bob Screams Like a Little Girl until he puts it on and his voice drops several octaves.
  • Visual Innuendo: Banana Joe is a piece of fruit who treats his peel like clothing. He's shown in this episode watching live-action footage of a peeled orange being slowly spread apart, in private, with a box of tissues next to the laptop, before Gumball walks in on him. Both seem shocked by this and Gumball leaves the room without saying a word.
  • Wham Episode: By the end of the episode, Penny true self is revealed and her and Gumball start dating, easily the biggest change to the status quo so far.
  • Wham Line: What led to the above and is also this for Penny.
    Penny: (in wolf form) Do you think you can love... THIS?! (roars at Gumball)
    Gumball: ...that's not what you are, that's how you feel. And this is how I feel... (cue the Big Damn Kiss)
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Gumball gives Mr. Fitzgerald a mouthful for insulting Penny's appearance and making her flee.
    Gumball: (condescendingly) "Oh, I wonder why my daughter is upset after I called her a freaky pig-monster!" (jumps onto the hood of Mr. Fitzgerald's car) Now with all due respect I'm gonna have to ask you to shut up! Think about what you've done! Do you realize you were wrong?
    (Mr. Fitzgerald nods apologetically)
    Gumball: (still yelling) Good! But don't beat yourself up for it! Parenting is hard! Now, pop the hood.
  • With a Foot on the Bus: After Penny's shell cracks, her dad decides to transfer her to a new school, implicitly being so she wouldn't talk to anyone who knows there's something under it. After Penny breaks the shell and Mr. Fitzgerald makes peace with it, it's pretty clear he changed his mind.


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