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Series / The Big Garage

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At the top: Scrap. At the bottom, from left to right: London, Zigzag, Yorky, Pump, and Mimi

The Big Garage is a Canadian puppet show aimed at preschoolers, which aired from 1995 to 1996 on Family Channel and Global Television Network in Canada and TLC's "Ready Set Learn" block in the United States.

The setting of this show is Taxitown, where the eponymous Big Garage is. Said garage is home to four taxi cabs, London, Yorky, Zigzag, and Mimi, who are always under the watchful eye of Pump, a gas pump who serves as their mentor. Close to the Big Garage is Scrapland, a scrapyard serving as the home of an anthropomorphic trash compactor named Scrap who wants to destroy the taxis. Scrap's helper, a tow truck named Rusty, alternates back and forth between being an enemy of the taxis and a friend.


Provides examples of the following tropes:

  • An Aesop: There's an Aesop in every episode. It is a preschooler-aimed show, after all.
  • All the Other Reindeer: The other taxis mock London for his silly-sounding horn in "Sounds Funny to Me", with their go-to insult being "taxi clown." Even Flash laughs at him.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: Of course, there are the Sentient Vehicles, but the show also features an anthropomorphic gas pump (Pump), trash compactor (Scrap), toolbox (Tooly), traffic light (Flash), stop sign (Stop), and tools (the Spanners, Saw, Hammer, Ruler, Oil Can, and Nuts & Bolts).
  • The Baby of the Bunch: Mimi, who even has a pacifier.
  • Bad Boss: Scrap is not particularly kind to Rusty.
  • Berserk Button: Scrap hates singing, begging the taxis (and Rusty) to not sing in every episode right before the reprise.
  • Big Applesauce: Yorky, who looks like a New York taxicab, speaks with a New York accent, and is even named after New York City.
  • Catchphrase: Zigzag’s “Zip, zap, zoom! Zigzag’s away!” and Mimi's "Meep meep! Mimi's here!"
  • Chained Heat: Rusty spends his time in "First Things First" towing a magnet that can be activated with the press of a button on his bumper. Unfortunately, the button gets stuck after London presses it, with the magnetism chaining the taxi and tow truck together.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Flash, a traffic light that forces other characters to stop for random reasons, and only allows them to go past her once they say or do something ridiculous for her.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Applies to the vehicles. London is blue, Zigzag is purple, Yorky is yellow, Mimi is red and Rusty is green.
  • Comically Missing the Point: In the episode "Welcome to the Big Garage", Rusty tries to teach Scrap how to make friends, and he pretends to be a stranger so that Scrap can have someone to practice with. After Rusty tells him that saying "Go away, I'm busy!" in a mean tone is not a good way to make friends, Scrap proceeds to try again... by saying "Go away, I'm busy!" in a nice tone.
  • The Comically Serious: Tooly is by far the least goofy character, but still finds himself in rather humorous situations despite that.
  • Cool Car: Yorky certainly believes he's one.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": A gas pump named Pump. A stop sign named Stop. A set of tools (Spanners, Hammer, Saw, Oil Can, Ruler, Nuts & Bolts) named after what they are.
  • Dramatic Irony: In "Welcome to the Big Garage", the other taxis watch for Mimi and are convinced that they'll recognize her the moment they see her. They don't, causing them to ignore her when she does pass by them. It isn't until after she's made it to the Big Garage that the other taxis realize their mistake.
  • Edutainment Show: The standard type that teaches pro-social morals.
  • Every Episode Ending: Every episode ended with Pump saying that things should quiet down now that the taxis are done with their adventure, followed by Scrap calling for Rusty to come home to Scrapland.
  • Floating Limbs: Stop the stop sign has hands that are not connected to her body in any way.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: The four taxis, consisting of two males (London and Yorky) and two females (Zigzag and Mimi).
  • Foil: Two examples:
    • Pump and Scrap. Both are stationary objects that give jobs to vehicle characters (the taxis and Rusty, respectively) in distinct areas of Taxitown (The Big Garage and Scrapland). The difference is that Pump is a benevolent mentor that represents the taxis' livelihoods as their gas provider, and Scrap is an alienating Bad Boss that represents the taxis' expiration dates as a trash compactor.
    • Zigzag and Yorky. They have completely different personalities and approaches to life, with Zigzag being impuslve and known for her speed and Yorky being a Mellow Fellow that drives at a casual pace and enjoys "cool" things over anything else.
  • The Ghost: "Number 5", the unnamed fifth taxi that Tooly is supposed to build but never gets to.
  • The Great Whodini: In the animated mechanic tools segment of "You Better Believe It", the saw does some magic tricks using the ruler as a volunteer, and Pump refers to the saw by the name "The Great Sawdini".
  • Green and Mean: Subverted with Rusty. He's green and technically an antagonist by association, but he's too meek to actually pose a threat, even implying quite a few times that he prefers hanging out at the Big Garage over staying at Scrapland. He considers Pump and the taxis his friends, and the feeling is mutual.
  • Informed Species: Scrap is a garbage crusher, but looks like an orange humanoid monster.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: In the episode "An Eensy Weensy Lie", London lies about having a flat tire to enter Scrapland and find a taxi sign to give Rusty. Scrap, who believes the lie, asks for help from the other taxis to aid London despite usually not liking them.
  • Just the Way You Are: In an example where getting a new horn is like plastic surgery, "Sounds Funny to Me" has Yorky reiterate that he and the other taxis like London "just the way he is", regardless of what horn he has.
  • Meaningful Name: All of the non-vehicle characters qualify. As for the vehicles themselves, London and Yorky are respectively based on British and New York taxis, and have the appropriate accents to boot.
  • Medium Blending: A minor example. There are two 2D animated segments (the Stop the Stop Sign segments and the segments featuring the tools) in what is otherwise a puppet show.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Rusty is supposed to be Scrap's minion, but he tends to visit the Big Garage anyway and acts completely friendly towards the taxis, much to Scrap's dismay.
  • No Mouth: Stop does not have a visible mouth. Neither do the animated tools.
  • No Song for the Wicked: Scrap is the only character who doesn't get a song number. Justified as he hates singing.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: In "An Eensy Weensy Lie", Scrap not only asks the other taxis to help London, but he also doesn't mind London singing in his presence as he waits for them, despite his hatred of singing. Lampshaded by Yorky.
    Yorky: Huh? You're not gonna stop us?
  • Once per Episode: Every episode has a song in it, which gets a reprise near the end of the episode.
  • The Place: Named after the main setting, the Big Garage.
  • Premiseville: Taxitown is so named because it's populated by Sentient Vehicles.
  • The Reliable One: London is described as such a few times, most notably when his personality changes in "Lickety-Split."
  • Sentient Vehicle: The show's main characters are taxis. There's also Rusty, who's a tow truck.
  • Signing-Off Catchphrase: Pump ends every episode with one.
    Pump: Well, that's it for another busy day at the Big Garage. I'm sure things will quiet down now.
    Scrap: RUSTYYYYY!!!
    Pump: ...but not too quiet.
  • Super-Speed: This one of Zigzag's most notable traits, which London briefly assimilates into his own character in "Lickety Split."
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Zigzag and Stop are easily identifiable as girls. The former is purple, has visible lips, and wears a "bow", while the latter has eyelashes. However, this trope is averted with Mimi and Flash.
  • Title Theme Tune: "Time to get those wheels a-rollin'! Big, Big, Big Garage! Time to get those horns a-blowin'! Big, Big, Big Garage!"
  • Verbal Tic: London’s “I say."
  • Welcome Episode: "Welcome to the Big Garage", the very first episode, is about Mimi moving to the Big Garage and meeting the other taxis. By the end of the episode, she is firmly established as a member of the community.
  • Word, Schmord!: In "You Better Believe It", Scrap retorts with "Fairy schmairy!" and "Zigzag Schmigschmag!" when he tells Rusty that there's no such thing as the Tire Fairy, whom Zigzag believes is real.
  • Wrap-Up Song: Every episode ends with a reprise of the song unique to it.
  • You Look Like You've Seen a Ghost: Said word-for-word by Yorky in "Boo! Who?" when he notices the other taxis look scared (which actually is because they saw what they assumed to be a ghost).

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