Peppermint Park was an educational home video series that was produced in The '80s by Televidics Productions and Mark V Productions. This series, described as being, "Straight-to-video and straight-from-Hell," features a cast of puppet characters who get together to teach children various different educational lessons, ranging from letters, numbers, colors, animals, and other similar topics through a series of stale lectures and poorly-written songs.
The characters featured on this show have been a source of nightmares for many, almost resembling characters from The Garbage Pail Kids Movie with almost-eerily-realistic-looking heads, and almost all characters having gardening gloves for hands. Some of these characters include Ernie (no, not that Ernie), who sings a song about the letter 'M'; Little Bit, a little girl with braided hair and a very muscular body who gives lectures about numbers; Piggle, an anthropomorphic ballcap-wearing pig with the voice of a frog, and the insatiable appetite of a certain blue monster, who often screws up the lectures and demonstrations being made; and Maynard, and elderly man who is so depressed about being blue that all he eats is bleu cheese.
If you haven't already gathered from this description, in addition to featuring scary puppets and poorly-written songs, this series is also known for being a near blatant rip-off of Sesame Street, from its opening title sequence of candid film footage of children playing, to puppets giving educational lectures, singing songs about letters, and even filmed inserts of animals - even the alliterative title is a give-away! The fact that the series has a character who shares Cookie Monster's definitive characteristic, and another shares his moniker with Ernie, doesn't help matters much.
The series itself is really obscure, having only been released on VHS and apparently limited to just six half-hour episodes. You'd be hard-pressed to find any actual copies of the tapes, but clips and full episodes from the series have unfortunately been preserved for viewing on YouTube, where almost all of them are bashed out the wazoo in the comment sections. It has also been mercilessly mocked in this YouTube Poop.
How could you order Tropes without the letter T?
- Alliterative Title: Peppermint Park.
- Big Eater: Piggle. He once ruined one of Little Bit's lectures by devouring the plate of crackers she was using to demonstrate the number 4.
- Cartoon Creature: Two of the recurring puppets are Snorkee, a yellow dinosaur-looking creature, and Knurkel, a green dragon-looking creature.
- Clock Tampering: Snorkee attempts to slow down a clock, "That way, we can have more time for the show!" Knurkel tries to explain that slowing down a clock won't affect time in any way.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: As mentioned above, it doesn't take a genius watching clips to figure out this thing was obviously a very low-budget ripoff of Sesame Street.
- Edutainment Show: Though the educational level is rather shallow and the entertainment level is up for dispute.
- The Eeyore: Maynard. "I'm So Blue" is his theme song, in which he sings about how blue he is. He used to be "red hot" when he was younger, but now he's so blue all he eats is bleu cheese.
- Everyone Loves Blondes: The main recurring non-puppet characters, The Story Lady and Magic Megan, are both blonde women.
- Fake Shemp: The Magic Megan segment in Volume 6 doesn't even have video; it's just stills of Megan with balloons while the (male) announcer describes the trick. Except, an On the Next at the end of an earlier episode actually shows a video clip of Megan doing the balloon trick, leading you to wonder if there was some kind of technical glitch that precluded them from showing the whole video.
- Genki Girl: Magic Megan is quite bubbly, putting a great deal of enthusiasm into explaining "magic tricks" like folding up pieces of paper or writing things on rubber bands.
- Herr Doktor: Professor Goodstuff, note some sort of dog/wolf puppet with a German accent who gives instructions on how to make simple toys. However, with his pointy ears and white lab coat, he looks more like a Yoda knockoff.
- In the Style of...: "I'm So Blue" kind of sounds like something Randy Newman might come up with on a bad day.
- Leave the Camera Running: A number of moments like this, with the dancing marionette scenes being the biggest offenders. The "show footage of animals while a wacky song about the animals plays" sequences also just meander on forever without much regard for editing or pacing.
- The Mockbuster: Of Sesame Street, down to having characters copy the mannerisms of certain Muppets like Kermit and Cookie Monster.
- Non-Ironic Clown: Sparky, a fireman-clown who gives fire safety tips and comes off as gruff, irritable and a bit bossy. He also seems to view fire safety as a basis for some sort of pyramid scheme.Sparky: At the end of our message we have to take the Sparky Pledge...Repeat after me: "I promise Sparky when I go home today, I will tell two people what Sparky had to say".
- One-Book Author: This series is Copiously Credited Creator John Horton's only IMDb credit. In fact, the whole show is shrouded in mystery, with hardly any solid info about it or any of its participants on the Web. About all that can be stated for certain is that it was produced in Southern California in 1987, released direct to VHS, and offered up in syndication to low-power UHF TV stations shortly afterwards (whether any of them were desperate enough to air this show is unknown).
- On the Next: Each episode ends with this, and with the lack of quality control throughout the production, it should be no surprise that the previews often don't jibe with what actually happens in the next volume. Volume 6 has a generic one, which probably means that they knew it was going to be the last episode.
- Puppet Shows: Of the educational variety.
- Short-Runners: Apparently only six half-hour episodes were ever made.
- Shout-Out: The Manhattan Ts (a bunch of T-shaped puppets who sing a jazzy a cappella song) are one to the veteran vocal group The Manhattan Transfer.
- Vocal Evolution:
- About midway through the series, Piggle suddenly loses his Kermit-esque voice and gets a sped-up Chipmunk-like voice instead.
- The blonde puppet has a male voice in the "bubble liquid" sketch, but a female voice when it introduces the magician along with Little Bit.