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Series / The Adventures of Slim Goodbody

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Slim Goodbody is a character created by and originally played by actor John Burstein. John wore a unitard that was painted with anatomically-correct internal organs, showing the lungs, heart, and digestive system, while even showing muscles on his arms and legs on his right and bones on his left.

He got his start in TV by starring in a segment on the popular Captain Kangaroo show, The Adventure of Slim Goodbody in Nutri City, along with a cast of characters that were mostly puppets. In his Nutri City series, Slim himself was a superhero who worked at Body Control, making sure that good nutrition and health prevailed in the city, foiling the plans of various villains who wanted to wreck these things.

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It was better than it sounded.

It was so good, in fact, that after just a few years, PBS offered Slim his own TV show.


Tropes:

  • Action Girl: Agent B-12 is about as close as a non-violent puppet show can get to this. She's certainly not afraid to get into close quarters with villains to do a Dramatic Unmask on them.
  • Big Eater: The Gobbler, a mafia-esque villain whose sole purpose in life in his introductory episode seemed to be to eat as much as possible.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Stuffin' actually asked The Gobbler once if he'd changed his evil ways, and The Gobbler said that would never happen.
  • Cassette Futurism: Despite taking place in a futuristic setting with Teleporters and Transporters, data is stored on magnetic tape.
  • Clark Kenting: One of the tricks Slim uses to disguise the fact that he and Body Control's captain are the same person: while in his Captain Halen Hearty persona, he wears glasses.
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  • Cleavage Window: How exactly they got a puppet with one of these past the radar, we'll never know, but a princess-puppet named Flora Follicle was wearing a dress with one of these, and yes, she had a noticeable crease in the middle of her chest.
  • Continuity Nod: Villains will talk about previous plans that Slim foiled in previous episodes. On top of this, sometimes, they'll use leftovers from previous plans to hatch new plans!
  • Crazy-Prepared: It seemed like Slim Goodbody had gadgets and tactics to solve nearly every issue that the villains conjured up. Justified in that it's his job, and he's got the government funding needed to make it happen!
  • Dramatic Unmask: Agent B-12 has removed the Paper-Thin Disguise of The Gobbler and Stuffin dramatically on camera, revealing who they really are. And she's done it twice, no less!
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  • Edible Theme Naming: A variation: Agents of Body Control are named after B-vitamins. It's stated in passing that there are other agents of body control who we never see on screen who are named after other vitamins.
  • Evil Duo: The villains are generally puppets, and usually come in pairs. Perhaps so they can discuss their evil plans with each other.
    • The Gobbler is the driving force behind his plans, and while his henchman Stuffin' is no less evil, Stuffin' has a tendency not to get himself immobilized by getting too deep into those plans.
    • Professor Lobe and Sarah Bellum form another duo, with Bellum being considerably more worried about what Slim will do to stop their plans than Lobe is.
    • Mary Pickfood and Phineas Finicky are constantly pursuing Get Rich Quick Schemes, with Finicky coming up with the plans and Mary trying to talk him into taking the money they have and running away with it.
  • Fictional Province: One miniseries implied that the whole production took place in a fictional state called "Nutrition", but used American political terms like Governor and State, implying the series still took place in the USA.
  • Get-Rich-Quick Scheme: Mary Pickfood and Phineas Finicky often are attempting to make money by selling worthless stuff as if it were nutritious food—for that matter, most villains tried that kind of scheme at least once. Despite his Big Eater motivation in his introduction, even The Gobbler gets in on these, as well.
  • Glad I Thought of It: Another Evil Duo, named Sal Soda and Sarah Heartburn, came up with an evil plan that Sal had to explain to Sarah in deep detail—Sarah kept poo-poohing Sal's idea until he was done explaining it, at which point Sarah thought it was brilliant and took credit for it, to Sal's shock.
  • "I Am" Song: The Gobbler's villain song is this, and its lyrics literally say "I'm the Gobbler".
  • Intrepid Reporter: Despite working in law enforcement, Agent B-12 has shades of this, often holding a microphone and explaining the situation to Body Control as if she were a news reporter. Since her main (but not only) role seems to be gathering information for headquarters, this is plausible.
  • Irish Mob: Phineas Finicky, the brains behind the Evil Duo of Mary Pickfood and Finicky, has shades of this, given his accent and his connections. He begins most sentences with either "Saints preserve us" or "Sure an'".
  • Just a Machine: Played with in a very odd way: The resident Robot Buddy, B-1, acknowledged that a robot like him can't Grow Beyond Their Programming, and indeed can't do anything at all unless he's programmed to do it. In fact, he crashes if he doesn't regularly receive new data via a tape drive in his chest. Despite all this, none of the other characters ever treat him with any less respect than they would a human, and in general they treat the emotions of machines with the same validity they would a human's emotions.
  • Leitmotif: An instrumental version of The Gobbler's introductory Villain Song ends up becoming this for The Gobbler.
  • Magic from Technology: Several villains use devices on other characters that have a mental effect on them, e.g. giving them bad habits or making them no longer feel hungry. They refer to these effects as spells, implying their devices are this.
  • Monster Protection Racket: A variation: One of the many Get-Rich-Quick Scheme attempts that Mary Pickfood and Finicky tried was burning some fake-food leftovers of a previous scheme to create a city-sized cloud of green smoke, then selling the gauze wrappers of that fake food as smoke-blocking masks. They make a literal pile of money doing this.
  • Mooks: Slim never directly fights them, but Phineas Finicky has an army of interchangeable green goblins at his disposal who've attacked vegetable trucks and even helped him move a cloud of toxic chemicals through the air!
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: The Gobbler and Stuffin' have used these to try to sneak into Nutri City for a Get-Rich-Quick Scheme. Once they pretended to be selling (unhealthy) food, and another time they were bakers who (deceptively) told the public that their bread had all the nutrients a body needs.
  • Quintessential British Gentleman: Inspector Thiamin qualifies: polite, speaking with a british accent—even his haircut screams "british gentleman".
  • Robot Buddy: B-1, Slim's sidekick, is his right-hand man and is a robot.
  • Science Fantasy: The series overall has a 20 Minutes into the Future aesthetic to it, but mix in some Magic from Technology and the odd evil wizard, and this is what you get.
  • Secret Identity: Slim leads a strange double life, in that both his alter ego (Captain Halen Hearty) and Slim himself work for the same organization. Nevertheless, his co-workers never realize that Slim is the captain—-not even his Robot Buddy B-1, who activates the machine that turns Halen into Slim!!
  • Smooth-Talking Talent Agent: One puppet-villain in this series is Sal Soda, modeled after one of these types of agents, who smooth-talks Slim into making an appearance at an event and schedules a limo to pick him up to take him there. That limo then drives around in circles so Slim is out of communication and nowhere near where he needs to be to foil Sal's plans.
  • Super Strength: The pilot implies that Slim has this, but it never gets shown or addressed in the series proper.
  • Surveillance as the Plot Demands: This is a rare case where the heroes actually have access to this! Body Control has a Surveill-o-scope in it that lets the heroes spy on the villains if they know where the villains are. Justified in that [a] Magic from Technology exists in this setting, and [b] Body Control is heavily implied to be a government-funded operation.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: Body Control has a transportizer that lets Slim quickly get to other areas of the city, or even teleport to his blimp. In later episodes, Slim has a wrist-mounted teleporter that his enemies don't seem to know about, and it gets him out of jams, e.g. being more or less kidnapped or locked into an announcer's booth in a stadium after cutting the wires to the microphones.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Nutri City has a lot of technology that is ahead of the time, but still plausible.
  • Undying Loyalty: It actually seems like Stuffin', the henchman of The Gobbler, has this toward The Gobbler: at one point The Gobbler ate so much, he couldn't get up from his chair—and this happened at the exact moment when his identity and Stuffin's identities were revealed. Instead of leaving his boss to be captured, he slowed himself down by carrying The Gobbler away!
  • Villain Song: There are numerous songs sung throughout the series, many of which the villains sing.
  • Wicked Weasel: Stuffin' qualifies; he's The Gobbler's henchman, and he appears to be some type of weasel.
  • Zeerust: This sci-fi series was produced in the late 1970s, and it shows: B-1 is an advanced robot who could easily pass the Turing test, has the ability to walk around on his own, and can even recognize faces. However, he needs to have floppy media inserted into him regularly, or his programming out-and-out crashes. What floppy media is this? A cassette of magnetic tape.
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