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Series / Hallo Spencer

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A German puppet show that aired from 1979 to 2001, and was heavily inspired by The Muppet Show. This show stars Spencer in the fictional town of Spencerdorf (the Real Life Spencerville, Ohio in the English-dubbed version). Spencer introduces the viewers and the theme of the episode, with the villagers later contributing something to the theme. Sometimes, there would be special episodes in which the characters would re-tell nursery rhymes or fairy tales or, in one case, the Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart opera The Magic Flute.

Translations into other languages were short lived and didn't always translate well, but regardless, Hallo Spencer is still beloved to this day in its home country. It even received its own section in a theme park.


This show contains examples of:

  • Alliterative Name: The city-dwelling Zacharias Zuckerguß and Susanne Sonnenschein.
  • Always Identical Twins: Mona and Lisa are no exception.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population
  • An Aesop: Happens from time to time.
  • Arboreal Abode: Kasi lives in a treehouse on a chestnut tree, but it can only be accessed via an elevator built into the tree trunk.
  • Art Shift: Intro and outro are made in claymation whereas the show itself is muppet animation.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: Spencer had cameras installed all over the village so that he can see what's going on. Subverted in that the other townspeople don't mind.
  • Big Eater: Poldi.
  • Bigger on the Inside:
    • Nepomuk's castle is way more spacious inside than its rather small outward appearance may suggest.
    • Given how tiny Kasi's treehouse is, the same may apply to it, but we don't know for sure because it is never shown from inside.
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  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Galaktika, the alien fairy, has only legs when she needs to, can change her size and often hasn't even a solid body. Let's not start about her eating and sleeping habits.
  • Bookworm: Lexi. (Literally.)
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: While in the studio, Spencer talks to the audience most of the time, and it's usually only him who is allowed to do so. Elvis may do it when he stands in for Spencer. However, the other characters occasionally break the fourth wall, too.
  • Bumbling Sidekick: Elvis to Spencer. He is neither the smartest nor the quickest thinker, and he's jealous of Spencer's competence and ability to essentially run the village. Nonetheless, he is the only one in the village with a permanent girlfriend.
  • Catchphrase:
    Spencer: "Hello dear folks from A to Z, from 1 to 100, from north to south, from east to west, here I am again, your dear good old (inhales) Spencer!"
    Poldi: "I am Poldi, the world's most beautiful young dragon, and I want to eat you!"
    Karl-Gustav: "Well... on the one hand... (Beat) but... on the other hand..."
  • Character Development: A lot of this happened between the first and the second season, i.e. between episode 5 and 6.
    • Poldi became less of an aggressive jerk.
    • Lulu whose puppet was completely redesigned for season 2 became less naïve, a process that continued throughout the following episodes. The start of season 2 is also when she moves into her decommissioned train car, the Dream Express, and becomes a Fashion Designer.
    • Lexi changes somewhat in episode 53 when he develops a crush on Lisa from a poem that the latter had actually written for her twin sister Mona.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Lulu's sister Peggy was written out of the show with no explanation at all after only five episodes. Hardly anyone remembers her, and so her appearances in the short first season feel more like Early Installment Weirdness.
  • Continuity Nod: Several, but especially "Spencers Flötenzauber", the only two-parter of the show (episodes 80 and 81) where the characters put on The Magic Flute is mentioned in later episodes.
  • Cool Bike: The Quietschbeus have one with a sidecar that all three can ride. It's also the only motorized vehicle in the entire village.
  • Coordinated Clothes: Mona and Lisa make telling them apart more difficult by always wearing the same clothes. Their only difference are their hairstyles and their voices. This doesn't make things easier for the other townspeople, though.
  • Cut-and-Paste Translation: In the early '90s, Saban dubbed the episode into English as The Hallo Spencer Show, but made several more changes, including re-writing the dialogue, changing a few names, changing the theme song, and adding a rap portion at the end of each episode that summarized its events. Needless to say, this version was very short lived.
  • The Ditherer: Karl-Gustav has a hard time choosing between two options. And he doesn't really feel pressured to do so. So he doesn't. No wonder he isn't the Quietschbeus' band leader (Karl-Heinz is). See also his Catchphrase.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: If you've started watching Hallo Spencer at some point during its run, the five episodes that make up season 1 may make you wonder what on Earth you're watching.
    • Spencer doesn't have an assistant yet.
    • Lulu doesn't look like Lulu.
    • And she has a sister.
    • And she lives in a city apartment with her sister and Elvis (at least Elvis is already there and Lulu's boyfriend). Where in the world is the Dream Express?
    • Karl-Heinz doesn't "babbel" Hessian if you're watching the German dub.
    • And who is that mischievous black thing? (He'll be named Nero later on and largely removed again after 25 episodes.)
  • Eccentric Artist: Nepomuk is a sculptor.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Never call Nepomuk "Nepi" (unless you're Kasi). He will have you say his real name.
  • Encyclopaedic Knowledge: Lexi. He is even working on his own encyclopedia on a typewriter, much to his neighbor Nepomuk's dismay.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Poldi. Again.
  • Faceless Masses: The inhabitants of the nearby town all are this.
  • Fantastic Aesop: "Gali und die Katastrophe" tells us: Don't summon an alien fairy if you do not really need her. You might cause her to starve.
  • Fashion Designer: Lulu, especially starting with season 2.
  • First-Name Basis: We don't even know if any of the villagers has more than one name.
  • Fungus Humongous: Lexi's place at least looks like one.
  • Green Aesop: "Der englische Rasen"
  • Grumpy Bear: Nepomuk.
  • Identical Twin ID Tag: The hairstyles for Mona and Lisa. Mona has braids, Lisa has a ponytail.
  • Identical Twin Mistake: Mona and Lisa look all the same except for their hairstyles, they've also got different voices and characters. But even with this difference, most townspeople can't tell off the bat who is who, much to the twins' dismay, unless they have a crush on one of them.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: What Poldi claims to be. He isn't.
  • Large Ham: Poldi. Whenever he introduces himself to someone (which he does even to people who already know him and who just simply walk past his crater), he may not eat them like he threatens to, but he does chew the scenery quite a bit.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Poldi starts as one. Then the gold starts spreading.
  • Muppet: Hallo Spencer was inspired by The Muppet Show.
    • Spencer is a quite elaborate muppet for even Jim Henson's standards because he has always got two functioning hands. He always announces cuts to other locations or videos with a finger click.
    • Lampshaded whenever Elvis has to stand in for Spencer and announce cuts or videos in Spencer's place. With only one puppeteer and rigid hands, Elvis can't click his fingers, no matter how hard he tries. He eventually resigns, slaps his hand on the desk and says, "Finger click!" In a later episode, he is prepared somewhat better: He has got a video of Spencer finger-clicking that he uses for this purpose.
    • Lulu used to have two working hands, too. But since this was rather needless, she was redesigned after the first five episodes for only one puppeteer and got a whole new face with a nose in exchange.
  • Mushroom House: Lexi's homestead, even though it is so open to the sides that there isn't much "house" to it.
  • Negative Continuity: Happens a few times. For example, Kasi can clearly read in early episodes but later being illiterate becomes one of his defining characteristics.
  • Nice Hat: Spencer is never seen without his plaid flat hat.
  • Non-Residential Residence:
    • If you don't know that Spencer actually lives in a city and commutes to his studio, you may have the impression that he lives in it.
      • For a couple of episodes, he is technically homeless, and he does live in the studio.
    • Poldi stretches "residential" by living in a volcanic crater. This idea was probably borrowed from Michael Ende's Jim Button.
  • Odd Friendship: Nepomuk, the constantly grumpy, seemingly unfriendly castle-dweller, and his Extreme Doormat neighbor Kasi who is the only one who can get away with calling Nepomuk "Nepi". What makes this even odder is that both are introverts, albeit of different flavors.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Poldi and Kasi. Leopold and Kasimir, respectively.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Poldi seems to be a more or less typical, albeit young, specimen of a Western dragon. He is green, he is reptiloid, and since he lives in what looks like a very small active volcano, he is at least implied to be fireproof. It is not known, however, if he can breathe fire, and he is wingless. Basically the same applies to the other dragons at Young Dragon School.
  • Put on a Bus: The mischievous devil Nero was used often in early episodes. Than he didn't appear for a while until the episode where he is caught and forced to promise to go and never come back. He kept his promise.
  • Really Royalty Reveal: In one episode, Lexi reveals something about Nepomuk that the latter has always tried to hide from everyone else: He is of royal descendance, and his full name is Nepomuk XXIII. (Explains the castle.) After the reveal, the whole village turns into nobility for the rest of the episode, and even the Quietschbeus suddenly make baroque music.
  • Sampling: When the characters re-enact The Magic Flute, Elvis ends up having to play the Queen of the Night. Needless to say that there's no way he can sing the more difficult parts of the Queen's aria. Karl-Heinz solves this problem by flying this part in as samples while Elvis "lip-syncs" to it.
  • Shout-Out: The Quietschbeus are one to The Beach BoysIn Name Only and not at all in music, but still.
  • Speech Impediment: Karl-Otto of the Quietschbeus has a slight stutter.
  • Teach Him Anger: Nepomuk tries to do this with Kasi to make him somewhat more assertive. He even wants Kasi to curse. It doesn't quite turn out the way he expects.
  • Unnaturally Looping Location: The village is built in a circle. This is unusual enough already, but what makes it unnatural is that there is a crossroad as in two streets crossing. Whichever road crosses the village's main street should be expected to cross it twice, but there is only one crossroad, and it's highly unlikely that the road ends somewhere within the circle that is this small village.
  • Verbal Tic: The somewhat hectic Karl-Otto also sometimes has one of these which can't really be translated.
  • Video Phone: Spencer's Visophon which is installed in episode 69 and has counterparts at all other townspeople's homes. Even video conferences are possible. It's basically a modern video chat with dedicated hardware, several decades early.


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