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Series / Lamb Chop's Play-Along

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Shari Lewis: If you're into fun, and you love to play...
Lamb Chop: If you like funny jokes that put you away...
Charlie Horse: If you like to dance to a slammin' sound...
Hush Puppy: And you like havin' lots of friends around...
Lamb Chop: And if you're one of those kids who lives by the rule that sad is bad and happy is cool...
Shari: Ooh, little buddy, you're about to see you're in the very best place that you could be!
The dialogue before the theme song begins.
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Lamb Chop's Play-Along is a children's television series that aired on PBS in the United States from January 13, 1992 until September 22, 1995 (with reruns airing until August 29, 1997), as well as on YTV in Canada. It was produced by Paragon Entertainment Corporation in association with WTTW Chicago, the show's presenting station. It was created and hosted by puppeteer and ventriloquist Shari Lewis, and featured her signature puppet character Lamb Chop. Appropriately, Lamb Chop was a sheep; other characters were puppets of other farm animals, including Charlie Horse and Hush Puppy.

The show won a total of six Daytime Emmys out of total of 12 nominations, and Shari Lewis won five consecutive Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series (1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996). It was followed by a short-lived spinoff, The Charlie Horse Music Pizza.

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This series (and its derivative specials) provide examples of:

  • 555: The phone number for the owner of the titular object in the episode "The Wallet" starts with that area code.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Hush Puppy is more affectionate to Lamb Chop than Charlie Horse is and usually calls her "Lamb Choppy" or "Lamb Chopper."
  • All Just a Dream:
    • In "Bigger is Better," after being teased about her small size, Lamb Chop dreams that she meets her fairy godmother and wishes to be big. It's fun at first, but then she wishes to be even bigger and turns into a giant parade balloon.
    • At the end of "The Planet Yzarc," the whole visit from the alien Zarc seems to have just been Hush Puppy's dream... except at the last minute, Zarc turns out to be Real After All. The episode even got a sequel.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: Lamb Chop has a distinct "Fanny Brice" quality to her voice. (It might be Fridge Brilliance, since lamb is perfectly kosher, and the meat that was traditionally eaten for the Passover seder, or meal, in ancient Israel.) There were eventually Hanukkah and Passover specials on video confirming that Shari (who was Jewish in real life) and the puppets all celebrate both holidays.
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  • An Aesop: After telling a story, Shari often encourages the puppets to tell her what they think is the moral of the story. Their answers always miss the point: for example, "Don't talk with your mouth full" for The Crow, the Fox and the Cheese. Subverted with Jack and the Beanstalk, for which not even Shari can think of a moral.
  • Big Brother Bully: Charlie Horse can be a mild Jerk with a Heart of Gold version of this to Lamb Chop and Hush Puppy.
  • Bowdlerize: Whenever "Little Red Riding Hood" was told on the show, the wolf only locked the grandma in the closet instead of swallowing her, and he was only chased away by the hunter instead of killed; in "The Gingerbread Man," the fox sneezed before he could eat the gingerbread man and blew him all the way home to the old couple who baked him.
  • Close on Title: The first thing we see during the end credits is the title card for the show appearing beneath Charlie Horse as he leads off "The Song That Doesn't End".
  • Cold Open: done in the episode "The Lamb Chop Show" as we are treated to a scene of Shari helping Lamb Chop do the latter's hair and make-up before the theme song.
  • Comically Small Demand: One episode had Lamb Chop upset about her miniscule allowance: one cent a week ("Sometimes I save it up for twelve weeks and I blow it all on a pack of gum!"). She starts out demanding a fortune, but is overjoyed when Shari offers her seven cents a week.
  • Continuity Nod: In the episode in which Lamb Chop wants to become a ballerina, Shari points out that every time Lamb has taken up a hobby in past episodes, she's quickly given it up. For a change, Lamb Chop sticks with ballet.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: In "The Ring," Lamb Chop plays dress-up with some of Shari's clothes, including a veiled hat, a pair of gloves, and the titular jewelry. She then goes off to bake some cookies, only to discover that ring has vanished. She, Hush Puppy, and Charlie Horse deduce that it must have fallen into the cookie dough, and the boys "generously" offer to eat all of the sweets to find it. A few minutes and two large tummyaches later, they still haven't found the ring, making Lamb Chop panic...and that's when Shari enters wearing it. It turns out that the jewel had slipped into the finger of one of the gloves, which Lamb Chop never bothered to check.
  • Edutainment Show: Every episode featured Shari teaching the viewers magic tricks, fun facts, and games to play. Lewis herself stated that she wanted to create a show that would keep kids active, rather than simply staring at the screen.
  • Every Episode Ending: "This is the song that doesn't end...yes it goes on and on my friend. Some people started singing it not knowing what it was, and they'll continue singing it forever just because-" (repeat!)
    "And don't slam the—" *SLAM!* "—door."
  • Fake Interactivity: This is what the "Play-Along" title signifies. The show constantly Breaks The Fourth Wall, encourages Audience Participation from the kids at home, and teaches plenty of arts, crafts and activities for kids to do when they're not watching. Shari Lewis's goal was to create an "anti-couch potato" show that would encourage kids to play and be active, not just stare at the screen.
  • Feed by Example: In one episode, Shari does this to encourage Baby Lamb Chop to eat her vegetables. Lamb Chop keeps saying "Show me more!" until Shari unwittingly eats all the veggies, then claims that since Shari said she could have dessert when the plate of veggies was empty, she can have dessert now. Shari tries to turn the tables by saying that since she ate the veggies, she gets the ice cream, but when she lets Lamb Chop have one lick, Lamb Chop uses that one lick to slurp up the whole scoop.
  • Fractured Fairy Tale: Most of the Funny Little Poem segments are fractured nursery rhymes.
  • Friendly Tickle Torture: One song is about how, while you can't tickle yourself (which is true), it is very possible for others to tickle you, as is demonstrated.
  • Fully Dressed Cartoon Animal: A puppetry example, Charlie Horse.
  • Furry Confusion: Shari has a pet dog, Huxley, yet one of her "kids," Hush Puppy, is also a dog.
  • Go to Your Room!: This is the way Shari most often disciplines her puppet "kids" when they misbehave. Lamb Chop also says this to Shari, Charlie Horse, and Hush Puppy when she gets to pretend to be an adult for a day in one episode.
    • In the Passover special, Charlie Horse sends Shari to her room so she can finish the book she's been writing while he works on the seder.
    Shari: I think I've been grounded.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Or, rather, Half Dressed Puppet Animal in the case of Hush Puppy, who only wears a shirt.
  • Hypno Fool: In "Stop Biting Your Nails", Charlie Horse hypnotizes Lamb Chop to cure her of her nail-biting habit. It works, but Hush Puppy is accidentally hypnotized too, and when he wakes up, he starts biting his nails.
  • Incessant Music Madness: Shari's reaction to the puppets singing "The Song that Doesn't End". She tells them to stop, before telling them to go away, and also grabs Charlie Horse by the mouth to forcibly stop him.
  • Karma Houdini: In the episode 'So Mad' Shari has Lamb Chop vent on a clay figure when she thinks she wasn't invited to her friend Courtney's birthday party. It later turns out that Courtney had invited her, and had given Hush Puppy the invitation to give to her, but Hush Puppy instead used the invitation himself. When Shari finds out, she simply has the two girls vent on a pillow, while Hush Puppy goes completely unpunished (Although she does briefly give him a look that implies she will deal with him later).
  • "Knock Knock" Joke: Regularly featured as a segment, and honored with a song to boot.
    Give me a Knock Knock Joke
    Don't knock a Knock Knock Joke
    They're always dumb
    So tell me how come
    After one I laugh and bubble up
    After four I always double up?
    Don't be an old slowpoke
    Give me a Knock Knock Joke
    Please!
    *knock knock jokes ensue*
    That was a Knock Knock Joke
    I love a Knock Knock Joke!
    They can be awful, it's true
    Still I'm telling you
    I love a Knock Knock Joke
    Yeah!
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Every now and then the show made jokey allusions to the fact that Lamb Chop was a puppet on Shari's hand, which would have gone over the heads of preschooler viewers. Examples:
    Shari: (to Lamb Chop) "You're seldom more than an arm's length away from me."
    Lamb Chop: (to Shari, when the latter mentions a character in a story clapping his hands) "Don't clap your hands! Whenever you clap your hands, I black out!"
    • In another episode, Lamb Chop offers to teach Shari how to suck her thumb, and starts by telling her to make a fist. There's a pause as Shari says she has...then Lamb Chop starts letting out muffled cries. Turns out Shari made a fist with the hand she uses for Lamb Chop!
    • The Hanukkah and Passover specials picture Shari in the kids making remarks about certain things happening every year during said holidays, apparently in expression of the hope that viewers watch the specials every year.
  • Little Miss Snarker: Lamb Chop, when she's not being a Genki Girl. Charlie Horse is a male example.
  • Looped Lyrics:
    This is the song that doesn't end,
    yes it goes on and on, my friend.
    Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was,
    and they'll continue singing it forever just because...
    This is the song that doesn't end,
    yes it goes on and on, my friend.
    Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was,
    and they'll continue singing it forever just because...
    This is the song that doesn't end,
    yes it goes on and on, my friend.
    Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was,
    and they'll continue singing it forever just because...
  • Made Myself Sad: One vignette has Hush Puppy reciting a limerick about a lady who was so skinny "that when she essayed, to drink lemonade, she slipped through the straw and fell in." He then laughs his head off at the poem....until he realizes that the character probably drowned, and he reflects: "Hey, that's not funny; that's tragic!"
  • Malaproper: Lamb Chop sometimes scrambles long words in a typical little-kid way. Now and then she gets Shari doing it too.
  • Middle Child Syndrome: Hush Puppy bemoaned being a middle child in one segment. Of course this requires wrapping your head around the fact that Hush Puppy, Lamb Chop, and Charlie Horse are siblings.
  • Mood Whiplash: The last act of the "At Home with Lamb Chop" story with the song Shari sings about going after Lamb Chop if the latter runs away ends with both cuddling each other, then suddenly the "Tell yourself a joke" segment starts.
  • Nice, Mean, and In-Between: The three puppet characters fall under this. Hush Puppy, who's the politest and kindest (not to mention the one most easily confused) is the Nice; Charlie Horse, who's a Jerk with a Heart of Gold at his best and a Big Brother Bully at his worst, is the Mean; and Lamb Chop, who is usually sweet but has a sarcastic and tricky side, is the In-Between.
  • Not-So-Forgotten Birthday: "Charlie Horse's Birthday" has the standard surprise party ending, while in "I'm Back!" Lamb Chop thinks her birthday is a day earlier than it really is.
  • Oh, Crap!: When Zarc announces he'll be staying with the puppets for some time, he's asked how long a Yzarckian's life span is. They're obviously distressed when Zarc tells them: "We don't know. Nobody's died yet."
    Charley Horse: He might be staying here forever!
    Hush Puppy: Yeah...or even longer!
    • A similar moment happens in a skit where Lamb Chop, Charlie Horse, and Hush Puppy are riding Buster (an anthropomorphized bus) to go on a picnic and Hush Puppy realizes he left the picnic basket in the kitchen at home.
  • Once an Episode: Besides the main "At Home With Lamb Chop" story and the songs and stories that varied, each episodes always had regular segments:
    • "Tell Yourself a Joke"
    • A Riddle
    • A Knock Knock Joke
    • "Betcha Time" (jokes and activities to share with friends, i.e. "Betcha can't do this")
    • Other recurring segments were "Sing a Little Sing-Along Song," "Alpha Toons," "A Funny Little Poem," "A Teddy Bear Tale," flashbacks to Baby Lamb Chop, and scenes of Lamb Chop, Charlie Horse and Hush Puppy riding on Buster the Bus.
  • A Pig Named "Porkchop": The lamb is named Lamb Chop.
  • Playground Song: This show was the origin of "The Song That Doesn't End".
  • Playing Sick: In "Too Sick to Go to the Circus," Charlie Horse and Hush Puppy take inspiration from Lamb Chop's real cold and pretend to be sick to get out of school. Unfortunately, they miss a field trip to the circus.
  • Porky Pig Pronunciation: Lamb Chop was tripped up by the phrase "the San Diego Zoo", for some reason, and after two tries said, "You know, the zoo in San Diego."
  • Punny Name / Theme Naming: Food, in this case. Lamb Chop is, of course, named after lamb chops, and Hush Puppy is named after a cornmeal-and-catfish snack made to keep dogs happy and quiet. However, Charlie Horse is the odd man out—a "charley horse" is a slang term for a pulled muscle.
  • Puppy Love: A more literal example than usual: Lamb Chop's best friend Lolly Pincus develops a crush on Hush Puppy in the episode "Have I Got a Girl for You."
  • The Runaway:
    • In the episode "Runaway", Lamb Chop plans to run away from home after Shari scolds her for breaking her favorite bottle of perfume. Shari takes a cue from The Runaway Bunny and sings a song about turning into all kinds of things so she can follow her.
    • Lamb Chop does it again in the episode "I'm Back!" because she thinks everyone forgot her birthday, but quickly comes back on her own. To make her feel better, Shari asks Charlie Horse to be extra nice to her. Later, she reveals that Hush Puppy ran away with her, and is in hiding because of his own issues. Much to Charlie Horse's dismay, Shari asks him to be extra nice to Hush Puppy as well. Charlie Horse grudgingly agrees on one condition: Tomorrow, it will be his turn to run away. After he leaves, Shari simply suggests to the audience that maybe the day after that, it will be her turn.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: Zarc (a space alien) tells the kids that he's from the planet Yzarc, which is "crazy" backwards. When they ask him why that is so, he says it's because "people on Yzarc have so much fun!" They then ask him why the planet isn't called "funny" backwards, and his answer is that "funny" backwards would be "Ynnuf" ("enough").
    • Which wasn't the problem; the problem was that there was already a planet with that name.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: During the "It's Not Fair!" song on the episode "Fighting Fair" (also seen on the Kids For Character video), Shari buys a bag of jellybeans for Lamb Chop and Charlie Horse, divides the jellybeans so the two of them get the exact same number, then (at Lamb Chop's request) makes sure they also have the same number of red jellybeans. Near the end of the song, Lamb Chop and Charlie admit to Shari that they don't even like eating jellybeans.
  • Shout-Out: The Knock Knock Joke and Funny Little Poem segments had the puppet characters opening a door in a prop wall in an obvious Shout-Out to Laugh-In.
  • Sick Episode: "Lamb Chop's Cold," "Too Sick To Go To The Circus" and "Chicken Pox."
  • Swapped Roles: In one episode, Lamb Chop gets upset when Shari gives her chores and claims that she'd be a much better grown-up. Shari suggests that they trade places the next day, with Lamb Chop being the mother to the group and Shari one of her children. Lamb Chop quickly learns that parents can't do whatever they want, and that being an adult means having responsibilities.
  • The One Who Wears Shoes: Charlie Horse wears sneakers; Hush Puppy and Lamb Chop normally don't wear any shoes at all.
  • Tongue Twister: there is a recurring segment in which one is demonstrated, and like the knock-knock joke segment, it has its own song.
  • Totally Radical: Charlie Horse is regularly dressed in a colorful 1990s "hip-hop" outfit. For that matter, the show's theme song always begins with the main characters essaying a rap.
  • Unseen Character: Lolly Pincus was this in previous media but is finally seen in the episode "Have I Got a Girl For You", averting the trope.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Shari will do this to her puppet "kids" when they do something wrong, particularly to Charlie Horse whenever he is mean to Lamb Chop or Hush Puppy.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: According to Mallory Lewis, Shari's daughter who has been similarly trained in ventriloquism and followed in her mother's footsteps, Hush Puppy was "born" in Arkansas. However, his accent seems to be a near-incomprehensible mix of various Southern dialects, including Cajun.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Phlebotinum?: In one episode, the alien Zarc needs "zappelmeis" to fuel his rocketship and get back home to Yzarc. As it turns out, "zappelmeis" is apple juice.
  • Whole Plot Reference: "The Ring" has the same plot as the children's book Too Many Tamales, but with cookies instead of tamales.

Yes it goes on and on my friend.
Some people started reading it not knowing what it was,

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