Peppermint Park was an educational home video series that was produced in The '80s by Televidics Productions and Mark V Productions. It 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 lectures and songs.
The characters featured on this show have almost-eerily-realistic-looking heads, and almost all characters having gardening gloves for hands. Some of these characters include 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 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, 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 been preserved for viewing on YouTube.
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.
- 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.
- 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 an off 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.
- On the Next ______: Each episode ends with this. 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 earlier in the same episode it has a female voice when it introduces the magician along with Little Bit.