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Series / Zoobilee Zoo

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Zoobilee Zoo is a 1986 live-action show for children produced by DIC Entertainment as one of their few live-action productions. It was set in a land called Zoobilee Zoo, and followed the adventures of the inhabitants of said... Zoo? The show is based on characters created by Hallmark Cards (of Rainbow Brite and Shirt Tales fame), who also co-produced and co-funded, along with WQED in Pittsburgh, a PBS affiliate.

The cast consisted of anthropomorphic animals ("Zoobles") played by actors in elaborate make-up and costumes. The main cast included:

  • Mayor Ben (Ben Vereen): A leopard who serves as the mayor of the Zoobles, though he barely ever interacts with them. He watches out for them and serves as the series narrator.
  • Van Go Lion (Forrest Gardner): A lion who loves painting and art.
  • Talkatoo Cockatoo (Karen Hartman): A parrot who enjoys talkingnote  and passing herself as a know-it-all. Is the Zoo's resident newswoman. Can sing in an opera-style voice.
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  • Bill Der Beaver (Sandey Grinn): A Bob Vila-esque handyman beaver. He also likes to invent things, as well.
  • Whazzat Kangaroo (Louise Vallance): A pink kangaroo who loved to sing, dance and play music.
  • Bravo Fox (Gary Schwartz): A flamboyant vulpine showman actornote .
  • Lookout Bear (Michael B. Moynahan): The explorer/boy scout type who loves adventure and traveling.


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Zoobilee Zoo provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Alliterative Title: Zoobilee Zoo
  • Animal Stereotypes: The personalities of the various characters, though the artistic lion is different. Also, Whazzat is noticeably lacking an Australian accent.
  • The Baby of the Bunch: Whazzat was implied to be the youngest of the Zoobles, being viewed as a child at times. In fact, at least one episode dealt with Whazzat wanting to be a grown-up.
  • Band Episode: The episode “The Zoobadoobas” involves Lookout, Van Go, and Whazzat forming the titular band. However, Van Go is the only member of the band to be invited to appear on ZOOBC TV, effectively forcing him to become a solo act.
  • Be Yourself: The episode "Lady Whazzat".
  • Bungling Inventor: Bill Der Beaver.
  • Busy Beaver: Bill Der Beaver.
  • Catchphrase: Whazzat Kangaroo was named after the way she asks, "Whazzat?" every so often.
  • Cinderella Plot: The episode “Talkerella,” in which Talkatoo falls asleep and dreams that she’s Cinderella, with the other characters cast accordingly.
  • Curse Cut Short: In the episode “The Cockatoo/Fox Report,” Lookout accidentally startles Bill, who hits his head on the table he was working underneath, leading to this exchange:
    Lookout: Hi, Bill!
    Bill: Ow! Ouch! Oh, holy-…oh, hi, Lookout.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: One of the "Tunnel of Surprise" episodes involved a land that was completely in greyscale. There was even a colored border to indicate that this trope was in effect.
  • Diet Episode: The episode “Fox In Wolf’s Clothing,” which involves Bravo going on a diet after realizing that he can’t fit into his wolf costume for his production of Little Red Riding Hood.
  • Drunk with Power: The episode "Bear Behind the Badge" followed this trope when Lookout was chosen to be the Zoo's first policebear. His personality changes so much that his friends become police officers themselves in order to teach him the ultimate lesson.
  • Furry Confusion: And how! It rivals Arthur! There are parts of the show that only make sense if you imagine it taking place in an Anthrocon that can never end, and where nobody can remove their costumes.
  • Horrible Camping Trip: Talkatoo and Whazzat go on one of these in the episode “A-Camping We Will Go.” Because neither one of them have any experience camping, they have no idea how to set up their tent, what to do when their food goes missing, or how to handle the gorilla that finds their campsite.
  • Kangaroos Represent Australia: Averted with Whazzat Kangaroo, who lacks an Australian accent; and there's actually no reference made to Australia in the show.
  • Ladyella: Talkatoo as Talkerella in the episode of the same name.
  • Lovely Assistant: Whazzat serves as this twice, once as Bravo’s assistant for his new play in “Lookout, Super Zooble,” and another time as the Laugh Judge/Meter Reader in “A Time For Laughs.”
  • Meaningful Name: Much of the cast. Bravo Fox's thing is theater, for example, and Bill Der Beaver is the Mr. Fixit of the show.
  • Playing Pictionary: In the episode “Trading Places,” Bill attempts to paint a picture of the ocean. Whazzat mistakes the Sun for a cloud, and Lookout mistakes the entire thing for a painting of flowers.
  • Pygmalion Plot: The episode “One Touch Of Van Go” is about Van Go building and falling in love with his statue, who he literally names Galatea.
  • Shout-Out: Van Go Lion, the artist, is named after Vincent van Gogh. (Sadly, not a Shout-Out to Voltron.)
  • Snarky Inanimate Object:
    • In the episode “Mystery In Zoobilee Zoo,” Lookout’s automated detective partner, C.L.I.N.T, is an example of this, doing things such as telling Bravo that he “sounds like [he] has a screw loose.”
    • In the episode “The Cockatoo/Fox Report,” Bill shows off his talking bathroom scale, only for it to immediately tell him that he needs to lose weight.
  • Theme Naming: Some of the character's names are a pun on their occupation.
  • Two Girls to a Team: Talkatoo and Whazzat are the only female regulars on the show, the other five being male.
  • Variety Show: At least two episodes were dedicated to these being performed on Bravo's stage.
  • Very Special Episode: One episode dealt with a visiting Zooble who had to use a wheelchair. Moreover, the girl who played her really was disabled. The episode is even dedicated to her, and anyone and everyone who has to use a wheelchair. Another, the final episode "Without a Sound", featured a deaf Zooble named Vince.
  • World of Ham: It's a scenery-chewing festival for basically everyone involved. Special mention goes to Bravo Fox, being the resident theater nerd, and Talkatoo Cockatoo, in all her squawking, chatty glory.

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