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Western Animation / A Little Curious

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Today, we're a little curious about tropes, idioms and TV!

A Little Curious is an animated edutainment show running from 1999 to 2000 on HBO Family. The series centers on a group of household objects discovering and exploring all the amazing aspects of the world around them.

Episodes usually focused on three simple subjects that interweave with each other. Our cast of colorful characters includes:

  • Mop: An artistic teenaged… mop. She's usually obsessed with changing her “hairstyle”.
  • Mr. String: An intelligent yet high-strung piece of string that can turn himself into any form reflecting what's on his mind.
  • The Shoe Family: A family of shoes. Comprised of Mr. and Mrs. Shoe and their children, Lacey and Mary Jane.
  • Doris the Door: A wise ol' door that swings from being energetic to tired. She fancies herself in knock-knock jokes and memories of her bygone childhood.
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  • Little Cup: An adorable small glass of punch who's possibly the most curious out of all the group.
  • Plush: A stuffed dog that behaves like anything but the normal pet.
  • Pad and Pencil: A presumably French couple consisting of a drawing pad and a #2 pencil.
  • Bob the Ball: A lively bouncy ball that serves as our host.

The show is unique in that it boasts a wide variety of animation styles. Stop-motion, claymation, hand drawn, CGI. You name it, A Little Curious did it. Live-action is also utilized, whether with or without the characters.

While only two seasons were produced, the show has been airing reruns non-stop for over a decade (though this can be attributed to HBO's general neglect of their family-oriented programming). Not bad for a preschool show of this scope.


A Little Curious features examples of:

  • Camera Abuse: The very first segment of "Hit, Miss, Bump" shows Plush playing a game of golf. He hits the ball hard enough that it crashes into the screen and breaks it.
  • Catchphrase:
    • For Doris, she has “Oy! My achin' hinges!”
    • Mr. String would usually end his paranoid observations by stating they “would be terrible, terrible, TERRIBLE!
  • Cool Big Sis: Mop acts as this to the younger characters, particularly Bob, Little Cup, and the Shoe children.
  • Cover Version: While having a slew of original songs, the show sometimes did its own versions of retro hits like “We Got the Beat”, “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head”, and “TURN TURN TURN!”.
  • Clip Show: Some of the episodes that focus on certain characters are often segments from previous episodes.
  • A Day in the Limelight: A lot of the shorts focus on a certain character's interaction with the given subject.
  • Dance Sensation: One of the "Bump" segments and the subsequent live-action segment focuses on the Bump dance.
    • Season 2's "I Am" Song for Plush has a dance based off of him, performed twice in the song—once so the viewers can learn it, and again so they can perform it.
  • Dog Stereotype: Plush is a happy, kid-friendly Beagle plushie.
  • Everything Sounds Sexier in French: Pad and Pencil are two love-struck lovers with French accents.
  • Grand Finale: Most episodes are about simple concepts like up and down, but the last episode, "A Little Curious About Life", touches on existentialism, childbirth, death, and other concepts not normal for the series.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Bob and Little Cup.
  • "I Am" Song: Each character has songs about themselves that would play regularly. The second season had a different set of character songs.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Mr. String's fears can dip into this at times. For example, eating a bowl of oatmeal would somehow result in the world not having any more beans.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Plush is one, apparently, or rather, his attributes. According to Pad and Pencil in Plush's first "I Am" Song, "he's got eyes like an eagle and a nose like a hog; he's shaped like a beagle but he roars like a frog".
  • Nervous Wreck: Mr. String's shtick is that he's a ball of nerves. His character song in Season 2 even states that he's jumpy.
  • Nice Hat: One of the "Top" segments, and the live-action segment shown afterwards, focuses on everyone wearing top hats.
  • Nuclear Family: The shoe family fits this trope quite nicely.
  • Shout-Out: In the "Back at Mop's Mirror" segment, Mop looks in a puddle and changes her hairstyle. One of them is based on Leia from Star Wars, with Mop even mentioning it's based on a "space princess".
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: When it comes to the Shoe Family's daughters, Lacey is the tomboy and Mary Jane is the girly-girl.
  • The Unintelligible: Plush doesn't speak, at least not in coherent sentences.


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