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Series / ZZ Zap

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ZZZap! (1993-2001) is a bit of an oddity where television is concerned. The premise of it was a selection of various segments detailing the comedic misadventures of its characters, or showing off something cool. But the real oddity comes in its presentation.

The show presented itself as a comic that you could watch, with each segment of the show corresponding with a frame in the comic. But it didn't end there. Onomatopoeia would accompany the characters' actions, text boxes would appear in the corner and transitions would take place by the panels moving. The show is fairly obscure, but it's remembered fondly by those who did watch it. The show was primarily aimed at deaf children.


Segments included

  • Cuthbert Lily - Arguably the series' most well-known character and one of only two who survived the entire way through the series. A laughably-inept character who would encounter various situations such as working at a barber's or playing in a golf tournament, and would invariably get into all kinds of problems along the way (sometimes, but not always caused by him).
  • Smart Arty - A French painter played by Art Attack's Neil Buchanan. In the first series, his segment would involve him putting together a giant portrait out of something unusual (for example, a picture of Laurel and Hardy out of black sellotape). For the rest of the show's run, however, he'd use a magic marker that converted whatever he drew into a real life object to try and solve a problem that he'd encounter (with varying degrees of success).
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  • The Handymen - The only other "character" who would survive the entire length of the series. Going against convention, the Handymen were a pair of faceless, silent gloved hands. Instead of a slapstick comedy sketch like everyone else, the Handymen served as an arts and craft segment that showed the audience how to make something.
  • Daisy Dares You - Supposedly a young schoolgirl (who was actually played by an adult). Like the name implies, Daisy would set a task for a group of children to perform that seems simple at first, only for her to reveal a twist that would make the task much more difficult. Examples included hula-hooping on a pontoon... while Daisy attempted to knock the hooper off with a boxing glove on a stick. But she wasn't present for the first series, instead she served as the replacement for...
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  • Tricky Dicky's Mission Impossible - A very similar concept to Daisy Dares You, but with a different character. Tricky Dicky was a spy-like character with no visible face and no speech (aside from giggling on occasion) who would set a "mission" with a twist that made it far more difficult. The mission would be judged "Mission possible" if the children succeeded at the task, or "Mission impossible" if they were not. He only lasted the first series before being replaced by Daisy, though.
  • Minnie the Mini Magician - The replacement for Smart Arty in the show's last three seasons. A novice magician who would attempt to solve her problems by casting spells. But due to her inexperience, more often than not, these spells would go wrong or backfire. Played by former Doctor Who companion Sophie Aldred.

This show provides examples of:

  • Amusing Injuries: Very frequently, considering the slapstick nature of the show.
  • Art Initiates Life: Smart Arty's drawings from his magic marker could be pulled off the wall to be used normally.
  • Butt-Monkey: Most characters tend to get this treatment from time to time, but Cuthbert Lily seems to have this constantly, where virtually nothing goes right for him.
  • Conspicuous Trenchcoat: Tricky Dicky's costume is a trenchcoat, black gloves, broad-brimmed hat and face-concealing mask.
  • Covered in Gunge: Frequently! But it's most prominent in Daisy Dares You, where someone who failed in a challenge would end up getting slimed.
  • The Faceless: Tricky Dicky and the Handymen (assuming the latter even have a face). The former we only briefly get to see the eyes of. For the latter, it would ruined the purpose if the face of the person who played them were to be seen.
  • Inept Mage: Poor Minnie... the L-platenote  she wears ain't just for show.
  • Sore Loser: Daisy would cry and throw tantrums if her challenges were beaten by the children. Tricky Dicky, by contrast, simply showed disappointment.
  • Slapstick: Generally the bread and butter of the show. The lone exception being the Handymen.
  • Speaking Simlish: The times where a character would speak intelligibly were uncommon compared to the times they would babble in a way that corresponded with how they were feeling.
  • Standard Snippet: "Devil's Gallop" accompanies the Tricky Dicky challenges.
  • Symbol Swearing: A frustrated character may have an assortment of symbols appear on the screen as they "talk".
  • Unsound Effect: Sometimes the onomatopoeia would display "sound effects" such as "OOPS" and "STUCK".