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Series / Tweenies

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Hey, hey, are you ready to play? (From left to right: Milo, Fizz, Bella, and Jake.)

Tweenies is a British children's animatronic puppet series which debuted in 1998. Like other children's shows in rotation, it aimed to entertain as well as educate children about various life and social skills using songs, stories and the like. However, unlike some of its contemporaries, the characters spoke in a discernable language and often directly interacted with the "outside world".

The show revolved around the adventures of four young children in a daycare centre, with their two adult guardians and two dogs (who were in care of the centre). It enjoyed phenomenal success both inside and outside the UK, spawning no less than five top-twenty hits from spinoff records and merchandising that sold by the bucketload. In the U.S., it aired for a while on Noggin, before it became Nick Jr.. The series proper ended in 2003, but home video sales, reruns and large-scale live tours helped sustain the series' popularity for the remainder of the Turn of the Millennium. In fact, the show remains popular enough to continue having re-runs, nearly 20 years after its first episode debuted.

The main characters in the series included:

  • Bella - at five years old, she is the oldest in the group and the default leader. However, this also meant she was the one with the biggest sense of entitlement. Bossy and argumentative, she was the series' main source of conflict, though Milo seemed to be her main sparring partner. There were numerous episodes where she learnt a valuable lesson by the end, but this of course was forgotten by the next episode.
  • Milo - despite his purple skin, it would seem that he was written to be the token black kid in the group. He is also the daycare's resident "jokester", often making puns and playing tricks on his friends. He loves football, racecars and magic.
  • Fizz - Bella's best friend, Fizz has an interest in anything related to femininity, including the colour pink. She's something of an introvert who likes her quiet time, and can often be found painting. It was hinted throughout the series that she had a crush on Milo. For some reason, whenever she is scared, shocked, angry or upset, her eyes often spin or shake vigorously.
  • Jake - at three years old, he's the youngest in the group, and sometimes needs one of the other three to explain to him what they were doing. He's the kindest of the Tweenies, but also the most sensitive; he has a tendency to cry a lot, leading to the others having to comfort him every so often. He also sports an interesting-looking hairstyle that resembles a mohawk.
  • Max - the co-owner of the daycare centre and the Tweenies's trusted friend. He accompanies the group whenever they travel "outside", and would frequently join in their activities.
  • Judy - the other co-owner of the centre, and a mother figure to the group.
  • Doodles - the centre's resident dog. He has a positive relationship with everyone in the centre, but Jake is especially attached to him.
  • Izzles - the centre's other dog, who is Doodles' Distaff Counterpart. She was introduced towards the end of the show's run. She was very energetic, and the gang initially had mixed feelings about her behaviour, but persuaded her to behave, so Max and Judy would let her stay.

The centre also has a special "Tweenie Clock" that, when pressed by a character, dictates which segment comes next in each episode. The segments include:

  • Story Time - Max or Judy would read a story to the four children and dogs. To the viewer, this would be an animated interstitial.
  • Messy Time - the four kids would partake in some art or craft activity.
  • Song Time - the characters would sing a song, either relating to the main theme or plot of the episode or a "standard" nursery rhyme.
  • Telly Time - the gang would do something relating to technology.
  • News Time - the gang would report on their experiences gathered from the episode.
  • Surprise Time - occurred when all the buttons glowed, which wasn't very often. Usually a surprise would come of it.

Not to be confused with Tweeny Witches.


  • Aesop Amnesia: Usually concerning the main cast, due to situations calling for some kind of conflict.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population
  • Animated Credits Opening:
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The gang did this on occasion by introducing themselves to camera and the like.
  • Calling Your Nausea: In "Jake's Been Sick":
    Jake: I think I'm going to be... (Vomit Discretion Shot)
  • Catchphrase:
    Jake: Wow-wee!
    Milo: Milo, away!
    All (especially Milo): Fab-a-roonie!
    Any: Tweenie Clock, where will it stop?
  • Christmas Episode: Had one of these per year. They usually attempted to marry the Father Christmas mythos with the Nativity Story.
  • Cultural Translation:
    • When the show was redubbed in America, it removed all references to its British environment and inserted Americanisms instead. Since the show was dubbed into many different languages, this most likely happened with their dubs as well, but the American edition is most egregious due to treating their audience like goldfish.
    • In the US dub, News Time is called "Circle Time", which is the term most often used in American kindergarten classes. Telly Time is also called "Video Time", most likely because it looks more like a computer than it does a TV anyway (especially in the later seasons).
  • Everyone Went to School Together: Bella reveals in Being Really Old that her grandmother and Max went to school together.
  • Eye Pop: When shocked or witnessing something of hers getting damaged, Fizz's eyes have a tendency to spin erratically at high speeds in opposing directions.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The four Tweenies map up to each of the four temperaments rather neatly:
    • Milo is sanguine; he is an upbeat, cheerful Keet with a penchant for jokes.
    • Bella is choleric; she is a bossy, bad-tempered Control Freak who always assumes the role of "leader" in the Tweenies' games.
    • Jake is melancholic; he is the most sensitive and timid of the Tweenies.
    • Fizz is phlegmatic; she usually has a carefree demeanour and often likes to go with the flow.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: The Tweenies consist of two girls (Bella and Fizz) and two boys (Jake and Milo). There is a male and a female member of staff at the playgroup (Max and Judy respectively) and male dog Doodles is eventually joined by the female Izzles.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: In one episode, Bella drives her friends away by getting angry at them for minor occurrences while she is trying to build a tent behind a curtain. A 'shoulder devil' version of herself appears, but then begins to lecture them on why they are not a Tweenie, but rather, a Meanie, complete with a short musical number.
  • Goo Goo Get Up: In the "Caring For a Pet" episode, Doodles is forced to dress as a baby.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: Jake, being the youngest of the bunch, is prone to this.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Bella. She is very bossy and can be pretty mean sometimes but she really cares about her friends.
  • Kawaiiko: Fizz. She is cute and girly.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: In "Crocodile Tears", Max references this trope by quoting it word-for-word, followed by this exchange:
    Bella: Why not?
    Max: Um... I don't know, Bella. It's just a silly saying.
  • Parental Bonus: Quite often:
    • The adventures of the "Starship Tweenie" which turned into a parody of Star Trek.
    • When they were dressed for the Ugly Bug Ball, Judy announced Doodles was dressed as a Beetle, to which Doodles replied Hey, Jude.
    • Milo and Bella made racing cars out of the foam shapes to the tune of The Chain by Fleetwood Mac, long used as the theme tune for Formula One on television.
    • At least once Milo changed his catch phrase from "Fab-a-roonie" to "Mickey-Rooney"
    • In one Christmas special, Fizz meets a doll who sings pop songs, and together they sing a parody of ABBA's "Knowing Me, Knowing You"
  • Nice Mean And In Between: Jake is the nicest of the Tweenies, and Bella is the most prone to mean behaviour. Fizz and Milo are in between.
  • Oop North: Max speaks with a prominent Yorkshire accent.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Fizz loves pink and anything that is feminine.
  • Potty Emergency: There was one episode where the gang unwittingly tied themselves to each other with this being an unfortunate side effect.
    • Jake also had these on occasion.
    • Fizz has one at the beginning of "Hot Air Balloon", kickstarting the main plot, as she is absent from the room when the other Tweenies witness the titular balloon in the window. The other Tweenies have one near the end, allowing Fizz herself to see a bunch of hot air balloons with Doodle.
  • "Psycho" Strings: Heard in "Dirty Hands" when Fizz finds her cushion covered in Milo's dirty handprints, before screaming at the top of her lungs like she saw a hideous monster.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Bella was Red to Fizz's Blue and Milo was Red to Jake's Blue.
  • "Sesame Street" Cred: Inversion: the characters would often appear on Top of the Pops to perform their songs.
  • Theme Tune Roll Call: "I'm Bella!" "I'm Milo!" "I'm Fizz!" "And I'm Jake!" "I'm Doodles!" The American dub adds "And those are Max and Judy!" to this part when they are shown on screen.
  • Title, Please!: The title is announced by one of the characters over an image of the episode rather than it appearing on screen.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Bella and Fizz were best friends. Bella wears overalls, is loud and bossy and likes playing sports with Milo and Jake, being in charge, and arguing when she doesn't agree with something, while Fizz wears a pink dress, is shy and more introverted and likes doing ballet, playing with stuffed animals, and dressing as a princess.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak: Despite her tomboyish traits, Bella also enjoys playing girly games with Fizz and dressing as a queen or a fairy.
  • Unexpectedly Dark Episode: Though the series is normally very upbeat and lighthearted, Why Do People Do Bad Things takes on a more serious tone. It begins with the Tweenies asking the titular question upon learning that someone had kicked Doodles in the park. Later on in the episode, Bella tells the others about racist neighbours, prompting them to sing a song with a heavy anti-racist message (sung in a more solemn tone than usual songs).
    Look at me, look at me
    When you see my colour, what do you see?
    Look at me, look at me
    When you see my colour, do you really see me?
  • Tsundere: Bella. Type A. She is very bossy and sometimes rude to her friends but she has a nice side.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: When the Tweenies went outside, the general British public seemed to be unfazed by coloured foam-rubber people doing completely ordinary things.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Used in "Jake's Been Sick" when the inevitable scene happens. We don't see Jake regurgitating, but we do hear his off-screen retching which is followed by the other Tweenies' reactions. Subverted however as the episode does give us a shot of some of Jake's vomit on Fizz's shoe seconds later.
  • Younger Than They Look: The Tweenies are all supposed to be toddlers aged around 3 to 5. However, they all resemble 10 to 12 year olds. They even sound much older (granted, they're voiced by adults, but still) than their ages.