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Series / The Bugaloos

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"The Bugaloos. The Bugaloos. We're in the air and everywhere."

The Bugaloos was a TV show created by Sid and Marty Krofft Productions. It was about four anthropomorphic British insects: Joy, I.Q., Courage and Harmony, who sang and played instruments. They also flew since they had wings. The Bugaloos were pestered by a rock witch named Benita Bizarre and her flunkies Woofer, Tweeter and Funky Rat, a Nazi rat. The show aired from September 12, 1970, to September 2, 1972, for one season of 17 episodes.

I.Q. was a grasshopper who played guitar, Joy was a butterfly who sang and played the tambourine, Harmony was a bumblebee who played the keyboard and Courage was a ladybug who played the drums. Five thousand kids tried out for this series. Phil Collins and John Reed were two of the three finalists for I.Q. Unfortunately, the role went to John McIndoe, a musician who worked at Apple Records. The four lucky winners were John McIndoe, John Philpott, Caroline Ellis and Wayne Laryea. They flew to Los Angeles, where the show was taped.

This series provides examples of:

  • Amnesia Episode: Practically every single Krofft show had one at one point or another. For this series, it happens to Courage, so Benita uses this to her advantage, by having him believe he is her long-lost nephew, Melvin.
  • Ascended Extra: Later in the series, uptown disc jockey Peter Platter was featured more frequently.
  • The Board Game: Milton Bradley made one in 1971.
  • Bird People: Benita Bizarre is clearly a stylized bird — she has feathers for hair and drapes herself with feather boas, has a beaky long nose, and harrasses a group of human insects. Her inability to sing or to fly make it clear she is also a failed bird.
  • Break the Cutie: Subverted, but Benita does frequently target Joy specifically to lure the other Bugaloos to her power (also, because she doesn't want any other girl singer in her own band).
  • Catchphrase: Benita frequently exclaims, "Holy humperdink!" Peter Platter's microphone has a catch phrase used often in the series Phooey its a bomb
  • Circus Episode: The Bugaloos put on a circus, in one episode.
  • Continuity Reboot: In Comic Con 2015, Sid and Marty Krofft revealed that they were planning on remaking The Bugaloos as a series for preschoolers, It was rumored Cyndi Lauper would be playing Benita Bizarre. During 2017's Comic Con the Kroffts released a teaser for the new Bugaloos series pilot with Lise Simms as Benita Bizarre, However during a May 2018 radio interview with creator and producer Marty Krofft; Marty revealed that the pilot wasn't picked up by Nickelodeon and was scrapped. According to Marty Krofft they are reshooting the pilot and that Randy Jackson would be involved with the music. Marty later reconfirmed at Comic Con 2018 that they are reshooting the Bugaloos pilot and that this time the new Bugaloos series won't be a show for preschoolers.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Benita could be viewed as this to Witchiepoo from H.R. Pufnstuf. Also, later in the series, a female firefly is introduced as a love interest for Sparky.
  • The Eeyore: Sparky the Firefly. The Bugaloos even tell him from the beginning, "If you don't believe in yourself, you can't expect any one else to."
  • Expy: Literally. Funky Rat is entirely recycled from the character Heinrich from the movie adaptation of H.R. Pufnstuf, likewise, one episode features a frog magician, that is basically the same puppet/costume used for Judy the Frog in the former series, just with different hair and wardrobe.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Many fans just can't get enough of Joy, in her extremely short tutu and her pink tights that show off her killer legs.
    • To a lesser extent, the Bugaloo boys. They were certainly attractive guys.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: It varied a little from episode to episode just how bad Benita's singing was, but a number of episode had her as this.
  • Large Ham: Benita Bizarre to a 'T'. Producer Si Rose has even praised Martha Raye for her over-the-top and outlandish performance.
  • Laugh Track
  • Little Bit Beastly: A live-action example. The characters are anthropomorphic insects, but are portrayed basically as humans with wings and antennae.
  • Lovable Coward: Sparky, with traces of Cowardly Lion at times.
  • Mrs. Robinson: About as much as a Saturday morning children's series could allow.
  • Nasal Trauma: Usually, when Woofer and Tweeter fail an assignment or otherwise displease Benita, she will seize the connector cords that each has in the middle of its face, and connect the two together. Judging by Woofer and Tweeter's flailing and yowling, this cross-connection is painful.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Walker Edmiston modeled Sparky's timid and neurotic voice after comedian Buddy Hackett.
  • One-Steve Limit: Not in-universe, but because the cast had two John's, McIndoe (I.Q.) was nicknamed "Big John", while Philpott (Courage) was "Little John".
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Almost on a weekly basis, when Benita captures one or more of the good guys, while the others pose as conveniently needed service workers in order to penetrate her jukebox, and rescue their comrade.
  • Parental Bonus
  • People in Rubber Suits
  • Ray Gun: Benita's Zapper, which she frequently used to zap either the Bugaloos or other hapless victims unconscious. It usually worked as a sort of stun gun which didn't actually harm the ones zapped apart from knocking them out — but it could be used lethally as well, as Benita would frequently warn her cronies not to overdo the zapping since a too-big dose would kill rather than just stun.
  • Short-Runner: Like H.R. Pufnstuf before it, The Bugaloos only lasted for 17 episodes, not only because of financial problems, but also because the actors returned to London, against the Kroffts' wishes.
  • Shout-Out: The concept of The Bugaloos was basically the Kroffts wanting to capitalize on the popularity of The "Beatles".
  • Stop Trick: A staple with many Krofft shows.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Benita Bizarre's flunkies.
  • Those Two Guys / Big Guy, Little Guy: Woofer and Tweeter.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Benita Bizarre and her flunkies, especially her chauffeur, Funky Rat, who essentially wears something similar to a Gestapo uniform.
  • Token Black: Harmony....The black Cockney honeybee.
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: Benita may be hinted to be this (an old-time singing star that has long since lost her looks, popularity and talent). In an early episode, Peter Platter cheerfully asks her, "How's the golden throat?".
  • Wicked Witch: Not entirely clear what Benita is supposed to be, but rest assured, this trope could very well apply to her.
  • Winged Humanoid: The Bugaloos all had insect-like wings enabling them to fly.
  • Wig, Dress, Accent: Occurs in "Courage, Come Home." IQ, Joy, and Harmony sneak into Benita's jukebox by dressing themselves as a British butler, French maid, and Italian chef, respectively.
  • WPUN: Uptown's only radio station is KOOK; disc jockey Peter Platter and his talking microphone often argue over whether or not a new song is a smash hit.
  • You Dirty Rat!: Funky Rat.