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Series / Oobi

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"OOBI was inspired by watching puppeteers without puppets. I was struck by the amount of feeling and articulation they could get without a piece of cloth on."

Oobi is a puppet show made by Nickelodeon for Noggin, a channel that Nick controlled along with Sesame Workshop at the time. As a result, Oobi is unlike anything else Nickelodeon has aired and contains countless shout-outs to Sesame Street. The characters are all literal bare-hand puppets, billed as "furless" Muppets on promotional material. The concept is based on a technique used by Muppeteers learning the basics of lip-syncing and eye focus, in which they use their hands and a pair of ping-pong balls instead of an actual puppet. The program thankfully avoids the world of not-so-handy puns it could potentially make; rather, this show of hands uses the kind of sight gags and physical humor that can be expected from Muppets.

Oobi was created by former Sesame writer Josh Selig, also known for creating Wonder Pets!. He came up with the idea while watching bare-handed puppeteers audition for the Polish version of Sesame Street. All of the characters are third-person people with a simple manner of speaking, meant to mimic how kids talk in very early childhood. The show won multiple Parents' Choice Awards. Its first season was a series of two-minute interstitials that ran on Noggin in 2000. It was later picked up for two more seasons, both made up of longer half-hour episodes, which finished airing in 2005.


While this series is notable for its connections to Sesame Street and for being downright bizarre, it's perhaps best remembered for launching "Oobi eyes" finger rings. The quirkiness of the concept has inspired an onslaught of other works—ranging from a music video featuring Nate Ruess as an Oobi puppet to a Durex condom commercial based on Oobi. A full-fledged foreign remake called Oobi: Dasdasi premiered in 2012 and ran for 78 episodes in Asia and the Middle East.

The Trope Codifier for Bare-Handed Puppetry.


This series contains examples of:

  • Adaptation Distillation: Dasdasi gets rid of all the supporting characters and only focuses on the main family (which is increased to include two parents and a baby).
  • Advertising by Association: Tom Ascheim, former EVP of Sesame Workshop, promoted the official debut of Oobi in April 2003 by highlighting its connections to the Muppets and Sesame Street.
  • Aerith and Bob: Most of the hand puppets have made-up names like Maestru and Mamu or other thematic names with O's or U's in them, except for Bella the greengrocer.
  • Ageless Birthday Episode: "Uma's Birthday!" is this, since her new age is never mentioned. Official descriptions of the show, from both before and after the episode aired, say she is three.
  • Alliterative Name: Frieda the Foot.
  • All Musicals Are Adaptations: "Theater!" features a musical version of Little Red Riding Hood.
  • All Work vs. All Play: Maestru, the boys' singing instructor, is all work while Oobi and Kako are all play.
  • All Just a Dream: Played with in "Uma Dreams!" where Grampu has to convince Uma that her dreams aren't real.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: Oobi from Oobi to Mano from Lejo. They are both bare hand puppets with googly eyes whose main personality traits are their curiosity. Both are CTW-related characters, though, and Lejo was literally advertised as an equivalent to the former series, so they're technically not an alternate company example.
  • Amateur Film-Making Plot: The episode "Video!" is about the kids making a home movie, then screening it in the living room with popcorn. When Oobi and Kako do their "secret handshake" in the movie, they realize it's not a secret anymore and call it their "famous handshake."
  • Ambiguously Brown: Kako. His parents are definitely African-Americans, but his frequent use of Spanish phrases seems to imply he has Spanish heritage. It's not very easy to tell because...well, they're hands.
  • Amusing Injuries: The show employs this trope quite often, with Oobi getting knocked down by Uma on more than one occasion.
  • Ambiguously Gay:
    • Oobi and Kako have a habit of hugging and touching whenever possible. In the words of The Stir's Andrew Dalton, "When Oobi and Kako 'wash their hands' by rubbing against each other in a dance of soapy ecstasy, it may be the most homoerotic moment in TV history, unless you count Ultimate Fighting."
    • Their sexuality was even questioned by Joel McHale on a 2007 episode of his talk show The Soup. In it, he watched a clip from "Showtime!" that depicted their mouths glued together and compared it to an orgy.
  • Art Evolution: The sets of acrylic eyes used for each of the three kids were updated for each season. Oobi's eyes in the shorts were dark brown at first and got progressively lighter.
  • Artistic License – Economics: "Shopping!" shows the kids paying for an entire cart of groceries with four quarters.
  • Audience Participation: Every episode from season two includes an interactive game segment. The other episodes feature similar interactions but not as part of a special segment.
  • Author Appeal: Josh Selig spent most of his life working on Sesame Street, so Oobi is very much like watching Muppets without fur or feathers.
  • Ascended Extra: Inka appeared in only one episode of season two. By the third season, she became the most important side character, with a total of eight appearances.
  • Aside Glance: Oobi does this quite a lot, usually when Uma or Kako causes trouble.
  • Babysitting Episode: The appropriately-titled "Babysitter!" is exactly this. It features Kevin Clash, the original performer of Elmo, as Oobi and Uma's new babysitter Randy. Uma despises Randy at first since he is nothing like Grampu, but she starts to warm up to him after he shows her how silly he is.
  • Bald Woman: Uma. Being a hand, she has no hair. She is shown to be very proud of her baldness in the "Video!" episode, where she introduces herself as bald and turns around to show her bald head (wrist) to the camera.
    • However, all of the other female puppets have hair.
  • Baths Are Fun: The outcome of the rather amusing "Uma Bathroom!" episode.
  • Bare-Handed Puppetry: The trope codifier.
  • Beach Episode: The "Prince Oobi!" short, which is about Uma naming Oobi the prince of her sand castle.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: In a particularly memetic scene, Oobi goes berserk when Uma breaks his toy car after promising to be careful with it.
  • Be Yourself: The ending of "Grown-Up!" has this as an Aesop.
  • Big Applesauce: The show is filmed at Kaufman Astoria Studios in New York.
  • Big Budget Beef-Up: The transition from two-minute shorts to 22-minute episodes brought improved eye pieces for the characters, much more expansive sets (including a large number of one-off locations like the Chinese restaurant and the dance studio), and a larger ensemble cast of Muppeteers.
  • Big Eater: Kako loves cake and immediately volunteers when Uma wants to play a cake-counting game with him. Of course, he gets sick of it after eating three slices.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: "Grampu Day!" has all of the kids using Grampu's signature "Lovely!"
    • Randy does it while performing an impression of Grampu for Uma.
  • A Boy, a Girl, and a Baby Family: The family in Dasdasi, the Iranian version.
  • Butt-Monkey: Grampu. This is most obvious in the "Make Pizza!" episode, where the kids accidentally cover him in pizza dough, as well as "Make Art!", where Uma sticks a paper circle onto his face, and Kako inadvertently covers him in paint.
  • Bumbling Dad: Grampu, although he's a grandfather.
  • The Cameo: Kevin Clash, aka the performer of Elmo, makes a guest appearance as Randy the babysitter. He also plays a number of background characters who don't have any lines.
  • Camping Episode: "Camp Out!", which was the first full-length episode.
  • Canon Discontinuity: The shorts aren't really considered canon in the full episodes, so many concepts that were first featured in a short ended up being reused.
  • Catchphrase: Most of the regular characters have one.
    • Uma: "Nice!" and "Pretty."
    • Kako: "Perfecto!"
    • Grampu: "Lovely!"
    • Inka: "Beautiful!" (a Self-Parody of Grampu's catchphrase)
  • Cartoon Creature: While the show isn't a cartoon, Word of God states that the characters are their own unique species of furless Muppets.
  • Character Focus: While Oobi is undoubtedly the central character, the rest of the main cast members get a few days in the limelight.
  • Characterization Marches On: Uma. She started out as a fairly generic baby in the shorts, but Stephanie D'Abruzzo played the role in an unexpectedly goofy and melodramatic way (relatable, too, for anyone with younger siblings) that she became a very frequent spotlight stealer.
  • Charlie Brown Baldness: Sophie the baby, who only has a single strand of blonde hair.
  • Christmas Episode: Surprisingly, a Christmas special was never made. The show covered other holidays, with both a Halloween and a Valentine's Day episode under its belt. The production team most likely wanted to avoid either skating around the subject of Christmas or having to make sure it wasn't the only winter holiday they covered.
    • This didn't stop, a former online catalogue of unofficial Oobi puppets and accessories, from selling Santa Claus Oobis.
  • Circus Episode: "Pretend Circus!"
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Uma and, to a lesser extent, Kako.
  • Comical Overreacting: Uma, to pretty much everything.
    Stephanie D'Abruzzo, about Uma: "I wish I had the rights to the character, as I would love to do little videos with her where she gets frustrated by the world around her. I want to see her just try to open a sugar packet for two minutes, then end with her in a spotlight singing Sondheim's Losing My Mind."
  • Companion Cube: Uma's doll.
  • Constantly Curious: Oobi.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • "Chez Oobi!", one of the last two episodes to air in America, features Oobi and Kako playing the "Itsy Bitsy Spider" song that was first used in one of the early shorts.
    • Mrs. Johnson's cat first appears in "Camp Out!", the first full-length episode. She shows up again in "Superheroes!", the final episode of the series.
  • Cool Old Guy: Grampu to the kids.
  • Costume Evolution: The eye pieces and accessories for Oobi, Uma, and Kako were updated for every season.
  • Crossdressing Voices: Frankie Cordero played both Papu and Mamu, although he never really spoke as the latter.
  • Depending on the Writer: Averted. Every episode was penned by the same team of seven writers, effectively avoiding this.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Oobi and Kako try to figure out what occupation would be best for them in "Grown-Up!"
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Oobi, Uma, and Kako are out trick-or-treating with Grampu when they run into their buddy Angus. "Mrs. Johnson house," he declares. "Good stuff!" Right...
  • A Dog Named "Dog": Maestru the maestro.
  • Disappeared Dad: See Invisible Parents below.
  • Disguised in Drag: Kako's postal worker costume/persona in "Neighborhood!"
  • The Ditz: Uma.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Maestru makes an appearance in "Theater!" before being officially introduced in "Sing!" four episodes later.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The original shorts used completely different sets of eyes for the characters (save for Grampu, whose eyes were the same throughout the entire series) and didn't feature any supporting characters. Also, none of the characters wore accessories, making it difficult to distinguish Oobi from Uma.
  • The Eeyore: Angus.
  • Every Episode Ending: Episodes always end with the line "Oobi, you, friends," coupled with a wave goodbye from every character on screen.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Grampu.
  • Excited Show Title!: While the show title doesn't, every episode title (except for "Uma Sick") ends with an exclamation mark.
  • Expository Theme Tune: The intro introduces all of the main characters and their purposes.
  • Eye Glasses: A few background puppets wear miniature glasses on the fronts of their fingers, giving the impression they are wearing them.
  • Family Theme Naming: Oobi, Uma, and their aunt Oota.
  • Fantasy Sequence: Quite a few happen throughout the series, most notably the kids' imaginary circus in "Pretend Circus!"
  • Five-Man Band: If you add Angus to the principal four.
  • Funny Foreigner: Inka, who loves everything about her home country of France, and Bella, who speaks with an exaggerated Italian accent.
  • Gag Haircut: "Haircut!" features Oobi dancing with a wig. He accidentally flings it across the room and onto Grampu's head.
  • Gag Series: Anyone familiar with the show's history knows that Oobi was meant to be a tribute to Sesame Street and to puppetry as an art form, but it is very often mistaken for a gag series. This is due to the sheer bizarreness of the premise alone. Talking hands communicating in broken English are one thing, but the talking feet are on a whole new level of odd.
  • Gasp!: Kako in "Build Fort!" when Oobi angrily tells him his fort is better than his.
    • He does it again in "Recital!" when Oobi accidentally plays the last note of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" wrong.
    • Oobi in "Oobi's Car!" when he finds his car broken.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Since the characters are all hand puppets rather than humanoids, the writers are able to get away with much more than they would on your typical Nick Jr. program.
    • In "Uma's Birthday!", Uma wanders around the house while playing "Tail-Pin-Donkey" (the show's equivalent of "pin the tail on the donkey"). She walks into the bathroom while Kako is on the toilet, and Kako is shocked. Luckily for him, though, Uma is blindfolded the entire time.
    • In "Parade!", Uma wears the hand puppet equivalent of a sequin dress. Kako is in awe until Uma remarks, "Stare, don't."
    • Any scene involving Grampu and Inka. Their "flirting" is hysterical and totally unexpected.
    • Also, at one point in "Baby!", the titular baby, Sophie, soils her diaper, and her mother Sheila and Oobi explicitly say "poop".
    Sophie: Baby, poop.
    Oobi: Poop?! Really?!
    • Also, in the same episode, as well as "Petting Zoo!", Oobi supposes the bad smell is Grampu being a Gasshole, to which Grampu says "Not Grampu".
  • Grandparental Obliviousness: Averted with Grampu, who is very much involved in the kids' lives.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: Kako uses a lot of well-known Spanish phrases, the most notable one being his catchphrase "Perfecto!"
  • Growing Up Sucks: "Grown-Up!" features Uma convinced that kids are much cooler than adults.
  • Growling Gut: Happens to Uma at the beginning of "Make Pizza!"
  • Halloween Episode: "Halloween!"
  • Hand Puppet: And how.
  • Hammerspace: Because the puppeteers were able to easily reach below the sets and hold/throw whatever prop was necessary for a scene, this trope was employed quite a few times.
  • Happily Married: Kako's parents, Mamu and Papu.
  • His Name Really Is "Barkeep": Grampu. Everyone—even his girlfriend Inka and other adults like Maestru—calls him that, leading the viewer to believe that it must be his real name.
    • "Grampu Day!" has a scene where Oobi calls him the "best Grampu ever," opening up the possibility that Grampu is just the show's version of the word "grampa." That doesn't explain why everyone calls him by that name, though.
    • However, in "Uma Preschool" Grampu introduces himself to Uma's teacher by saying his name is Grampu and is Uma's grandfather which means that they do use the word "grandfather"
  • Iconic Outfit: Uma's barrette and Kako's hat. Oddly enough, these accessories weren't part of either character's design when the show first began.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every episode title ends with an exclamation mark, with the sole exception being "Uma Sick" (because, frankly, there's nothing exciting about being sick).
  • Inspirationally Disadvantaged: Angus has eyes below his fingers rather than on top, giving the impression that he's supposed to have some sort of hand puppet disability. Of course, he is a fantastic pianist and singer.
  • Interactive Narrator: Oobi.
  • Invisible Parents: Oobi and Uma's parents are never mentioned and they clearly only live with Grampu. The existence of their parents is very rarely hinted at.
    • A particularly odd exchange about parents occurs between Oobi and Kako in "Kako Dinner!" when they are looking at photos of Kako's family. Oobi notices that Kako's normally-unseen mother Mamu is in the pictures, so he asks him where she is. Kako explains that she spends much of her time working at an office. Not once does Kako ask about the whereabouts of Oobi's parents, and Oobi never asks Grampu where his mom and dad are. Given that Oobi knows about nuclear families like Kako's, shouldn't he be wondering?
  • Joins to Fit In: Oobi in "Frieda Friend!"
  • Lampshade Hanging: Almost a running gag. There are a few episodes that specifically call attention to the characters being hands rather than people. The most obvious is "Chopsticks!", which centers around Uma trying (and failing countless times) to use chopsticks with her...face?
  • Large Ham: Uma.
  • Later Installment Weirdness: The third season increases the prominence of the supporting cast and features far more vibrant sets than the early episodes. If it weren't for the instant recognizability of the characters, the original shorts and the latest episodes would look like different shows.
  • Left the Background Music On: Played with. Oobi and Kako take out a radio to play "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" in two episodes.
  • Limited Social Circle: The shorts (season one) and most episodes in season two only feature the four main characters.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Played straight with the main characters, who only dress up when the plot demands it. Averted with Inka, who changes outfits regularly.
  • Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!: Humans exist in the Oobi universe, but only show up in interview segments and briefly in "Chopsticks!" as part of a photo. This raises the question: if the hand puppets coexist with humans, who have non-anthropomorphic hands, how in the world are the hand puppets sentient? (See Rule of Funny below.)
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: The show has a countless number of one-off characters.
  • Long-Runners: The franchise as a whole. The shorts debuted in 2000 and the full-length episodes finished airing in 2005, but the Iranian adaptation Dasdasi concluded in 2013, giving the franchise a thirteen-year run. This is far longer than any other Noggin production, but still relatively short when compared to Sesame Street and the Muppets.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: The aforementioned "Itsy Bitsy Spider" song is played for at least a minute in the short of the same name. It's only played for a few seconds in "Chez Oobi!" as a gag.
  • Man of a Thousand Voices: As with nearly every other CTW or Muppet production, most of the 15 regular puppeteers on Oobi performed at least two different characters. The only exception is Tyler Bunch, whose only role was Grampu.
  • Meaningful Name: Maestru, who is a maestro.
  • Merchandise-Driven: Averted to hell and back. Selig specifically made the show as simple and old-fashioned as possible because he was convinced that the kids' TV industry had gotten too commercial.
    • On top of that, authentic Oobi eyes and accessories were only sold at a couple of promotional events. The demand for actual merchandise was so high that an entire online catalogue of unofficial Oobi puppets was created in 2006 and operated until 2014.
  • Minimalist Cast: The first season of shorts only featured the four main characters.
    • The second season was also this, because whenever a minor character appeared, they were a one-off. Even Inka only made one appearance in the second season before becoming a secondary cast member in season three.
  • Missing Mom: In addition to their Invisible Parents, Oobi and Uma's grandmother is never seen or mentioned. It's very clear that Grampu is single and even dating Inka, but since he has grandkids, he must have had other family members at some point.
  • Mistakes Are Not the End of the World: In one episode, the title character has a piano recital and when he makes a mistake, he gets scared and runs off the stage. Kako reassures him that mistakes are no big deal and Oobi comes back and does it again, this time perfectly.
  • Muppet: In addition to being created by Noggin while both the Jim Henson Company and Sesame Workshop had creative control over all the channel's programming, the show's characters were even billed as "furless" Muppets in promotional statements.
  • My Nayme Is: Grampu, Maestru, Mamu, Papu…actually, the entire cast is made up of bizarrely-spelled names.
  • Mythology Gag: Photos of the main characters' designs from the original shorts can be seen throughout Oobi's house.
  • Name's the Same: El Compayito, a hand puppet who showed up from time to time on Televisa in the mid-2000s, was named after the American Oobi when he first debuted. He was later renamed when Televisa wanted to continue using the character.
    • In an unintentional example, "Oobi" was also the name of a failed Parker Brothers toy from the 1970s. It was a red/orange message carrier that looked like an ovaloid with a big pair of eyes on the front. Like TV's Oobi, it was named for its googly eyes (the O's are meant to mirror the two circular eyes).
  • The Nicknamer: Randy the babysitter. To him, Oobi is "Oobi-Dude" and Uma is "Uma-Zooma."
  • Never Say "Die": Considering all of the possibilities, it would make sense if the kids' grandmother and Grampu's former wife (Grammu?) passed away before the events of the series. This is never actually stated outright.
  • Neat Freak: Angus.
  • Nice Hat: Kako sports a red cap.
  • No Antagonist
  • No Fourth Wall
  • Nobody Poops: Averted in episodes such as "Baby!".
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Tyler Bunch, who plays Grampu, never shaved his arm so that Grampu would have arm hair and resemble a grandfather hand. This decision was made during production of the original shorts, which only featured the four main characters. More adult characters were added in the full-length episodes, but none of them have arm hair, making Grampu stand out.
  • No Peripheral Vision: Grampu never thinks to look upwards in "Make Pizza!" when the pizza dough clings to the ceiling and later falls down, covering him.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: Averted with Uma, who is a baby in the shorts and three years old in the full-length episodes.
  • Object Ceiling Cling: The pizza dough in, "Make Pizza!" True to the gag, it falls on Grampu when it comes by.
  • Once an Episode: Every episode of the second season featured interviews with real kids and a game segment. The games were dropped for season three.
  • Once a Season: There are two episodes focusing on Frieda the Foot, one in season two and one in season three.
  • One Mario Limit: It'd be pretty difficult to find any other characters named "Oobi" or "Grampu".
  • One-Shot Character: Most season two episodes that aren't set at Oobi's house feature at least one guest character. Some of these one-offs, like Inka and Frieda, were brought back for the third season and became supporting characters.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Mamu and Papu.
  • Only Six Faces: Since all of the characters are hands, the crew had to find creative ways to make sure the characters didn't all have the same face. This led to some characters having their fingers extended, some having them curled, and others having a fist-like appearance.
    • The cast of the Iranian adaptation Dasdasi also includes fingers with faces.
  • Only Shop in Town: Bella's supermarket is the only store that the characters actually visit.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Oobi's freakout in "Oobi's Car!" is totally out of character for him, although that was the point.
  • Out of Focus: Many later episodes place Uma in the starring role rather than Oobi. The most prominent examples are "Uma Dreams!" and "Uma Preschool!" from season three. In both episodes, Oobi only shows up briefly at the beginning and at the end to give his signature "Oobi, you, friends!"
  • The Outside World: The interviews with real families/kids featured in every episode take place in the real world where humans are present. The actual stories take place in the show's fictional universe and never feature humans, with the exception of a photo in "Chopsticks!" that shows people in Tokyo.
  • Parental Bonus: While nowhere near as chock-full of it as Sesame Street, the show loves making nods to the parents watching along with their kids. Grampu and Inka's romantic relationship is a good example of this.
  • Parental Neglect: Since it's never actually revealed where they are, it's technically possible that Oobi and Uma's parents are around but never take the time to...well, raise their kids.
    • However, the intention was to have the main family represent a nontraditional family unit. In almost all real-life families consisting only of grandparents and grandkids (as rare as they are), the parents are no longer alive.
  • Parental Substitute: Grampu.
  • Parrot Exposition: Whenever Oobi teaches Uma a new word, she tends to repeat it. A lot.
  • Parody: Although all pop-culture parodies within the show are kept to minor references, a Durex commercial from 2014 was an all-out parody of the series. (With Oobi puppets being a metaphor for masturbation, no less!)
  • Power Trio: The three kids.
  • Precocious Crush: Uma, on Kako. She even kisses him in "Neighborhood!" three times.
  • Product Placement: Averted; real-world products are never featured. "Halloween!" does, however, feature parody Sun-Maid raisin boxes with a hand puppet instead of the Sun-Maid Girl on the front.
  • Protagonist Title
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: In "Oobi's Car!":
    Oobi: Red... Car... OOBI'S?!?!note 
  • Ratings Stunt: Never employed. The crew was starkly against commercializing the show.
  • Rearrange the Song: The theme song was extended when the show became a full-length series.
  • Recurring Extra: There are a couple of unnamed puppets who make occasional appearances in the background.
  • Restaurant-Owning Episode: "Chez Oobi!" Is about Oobi and Kako turning the house into a fancy restaurant for Grampu and Inka, it surprisingly goes well, they even made fruit tarts for desert!
  • Retcon: Uma is a baby in the shorts, which take place before the full-length series, and she doesn't wear any accessories in them. However, the full-length episode "Grampu Day!" shows a baby photo of her wearing a bib and her barrette (which was introduced after the shorts), retconning her previous appearance as an infant
  • Retraux: One of the creators' goals was to make Oobi as simple and old-fashioned as possible while still making it charming and relatable for the kids of the mid-2000s. Below is a quote from Josh Selig on why he thinks the show was so successful:
    Josh Selig: "I think that the simplicity allows young children to enjoy the characters and storylines. It's a show entirely without clutter. Kids' television is like a big soda machine, and watching Oobi is like drinking pure rainwater."
  • Riddle for the Ages: The show never tries to explain how talking hands exist in-universe. Thankfully so, since it would ruin the charm.
    • Of course, Josh Selig did jokingly describe Oobi as "kind of his own species" in an interview. The easy explanation to this question? They're puppets and it's not meant to be taken seriously.
  • Rule of Funny: The entire premise, which makes absolutely no sense when you start to think about it (do the hand puppets have feet? how do they eat? how do they use the bathroom?), can be summed up by the rule.
  • Running Gag: Uma's love of chickens (the animal, not food).
  • Salt and Pepper: Oobi and Kako.
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: Employed often, usually when a character is talking to the audience and asking them to imitate something. For example, "Uma Bathroom!" has Uma asking the viewers to 'splash' along with her as she takes a mudbath.
  • Self-Abuse: Having been made for a very young audience, the hand puppets on Oobi never bring up any intentional references to masturbation. However, Durex Condoms' infamous Oobi parody is an anti-masturbation advert that uses Oobi as a metaphor for it.
  • Series Fauxnale / Grand Finale: When you think about it, the actual series finale "Superheroes!" seems to have been written like a fauxnale. It is about as heroic and high-stakes as a preschool-oriented program can go, it features all of the main characters plus a good deal of the supporting players, and it ends with the entire cast waving goodbye to the viewer. Because the crew wasn't sure whether or not the series would be renewed after this episode, it's a fauxnale, but since the show wasn't* renewed afterwards, it could also be considered a grand finale.
    • *The franchise continued with Dasdasi in 2012, so it best fits under fauxnale.
  • Sequel Episode: "Recital!" from season three, which continues the "Piano Lesson!" story from season two.
    • Technically, every episode with Inka is a continuation of this plotline.
  • Shared Universe: Given that the characters are supposed to be some kind of Muppets, the show presumably takes place in the same universe as Sesame Street and The Muppet Show (and by extension everything else featuring puppets from the Jim Henson Company).
  • Shave And A Haircut: Used in "Playdate!", "Build Fort!", and "Kako Dinner!".
  • Shout-Out: The amount of references to Sesame Street is off the charts. Even the production company (Little Airplane) is named after a Sesame sketch. Every episode closes with the Little Airplane logo, which uses a scene from Sesame Street.
  • Signature Laugh: Grampu has a distinct chuckle.
  • Singing in the Shower: "Uma Bathroom!" has Uma singing and dancing in the tub.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Among the main cast, Uma is the only female, but the supporting cast is almost all female (save for Angus, Papu, and Maestru).
  • Something Completely Different: The "Theater!" episode is an all-out musical.
  • Spin-Off: While there was never a continuation of the show in the United States, an Iranian version titled "Dasdasi" was created without the original puppeteers in 2012. It was shown throughout Asia until 2013, more than a decade after the original show began.
  • Sick Episode: "Uma Sick," which is notable for being the only episode without an Excited Title.
  • Species Surname: Frieda the Foot, although it's not clear whether that's really her name or not.
  • Status Quo Is God: Played straight. Plots rarely involve the principal characters changing at all, but when they do, it's never mentioned again.
  • Stealth Insult: Happens in the short "Animal Cookies!". After Oobi finds a pig cookie, Kako starts oinking and greedily eats all of the animal cookies, leaving none for Oobi. Annoyed, Oobi states "pig", both referring to what animal cookie he had, and as an insult for Kako.
  • Surprise Party: The appropriately-titled "Uma's Birthday!" features Uma's surprise party becoming too much about the pizzazz and less about her.
  • Talking in Bed: In the episode, "Uma Dreams!", Oobi is heard doing this, with his Catchphrase, "Oobi, you, friends", no less.
  • Team Chef: Grampu.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Uma wears a barrette to differentiate her from Oobi.
  • Theme Naming: Almost all of the characters have O's or U's in their names: Oobi, Uma, Grampu, Mamu, Papu, Maestru, etc.
  • Third-Person Person: Every single character, due to the somewhat controversial decision to make all of the puppets speak in uber-simplified sentences. For example, "Uma, school, first day" is said in place of "It's my first day of school."
  • Title Drop: Happens often.
  • Title, Please!: None of the shorts have title cards.
  • Title Theme Tune: "Oh, Oobi! Oobi, Oobi, Oobi, Oobi, Oobi! He's got a lot to see, he's got a lot to do."
  • Toilet Humor: Sophie poops her diaper in "Baby!"
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Uma and her best friend Moppie. "Uma Preschool!" even features Moppie pretending to be a princess and Uma pretending to be a king.
  • Trademark Favorite Food:
    • Oobi apparently loves "Toasty Chunks".
    • Kako notes that he loves hot sacue in, "Grampu Day!"
    • Kako also notes that Grampu loves tuna and jam when making Grampu special food for the occasion in the same episode.
  • Two Shorts: The full-length episodes, spanning about ten minutes each, are always paired with another when being broadcast.
  • Uncanceled: The final episodes of the original series aired in February 2005; Dasdasi premiered in December 2012 and wrapped up the following year.
  • Universal-Adaptor Cast: "Theater!" has the puppets playing characters from Little Red Riding Hood.
  • Unnamed Parent: Grampu, if you don't believe it's his real name.
  • Vague Age: Inka. She could be middle-aged or a senior citizen.
    • Also Oobi and Kako, to anyone who has never read an official plot summary for the show (most of them describe Oobi as a four-year-old). Word of God says they are both four, but they act a little older and sure as hell don't sound that young.
  • Valentine's Day Episode: "Valentine!"
  • Vocal Evolution: In the early shorts, Oobi's voice is quieter and somewhat raspy compared to his more energetic voice in the later episodes.
  • Watch It Stoned: Due to the bizarre concept of hands as characters, the show has picked up somewhat of a reputation for being trippy, and thus a favorite of stoned college students. While it was airing, at least. This was even brought up in a 2004 interview with Josh Selig (excerpt below).
    Nicki Gostin: I imagined you being really stoned in college with some buddies [while making the show]...
    Josh Selig: No, sorry to disappoint you.
  • Widget Series: Quite possibly the strangest show ever to air regularly on Nickelodeon, given the unique form of puppetry, the characters' simplified speech patterns, and the seemingly limitless amount of connections to Sesame Street (which is no longer a Nickelodeon-related property). It even stands out against other intentionally bizarre shows like Mr. Meaty.
  • White Void Room: Oobi and Grampu visit one in "Dance Class!" when Oobi needs to concentrate on perfecting his dance moves.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Inka has purple hair.
  • Younger Than They Look: As described in Vague Age above, Oobi and Kako sound and act much older than they supposedly are.


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