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Western Animation / Ask the StoryBots

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Outer World, here we come!note 
Ask the StoryBots is a Netflix-original series and adaptation of the StoryBots brand released in 2016.

The show is set inside a computer and features StoryBot Answer Team 341-B, made up of Beep, Bing, Bang, Boop, and Bo. Their job is to answer questions for children about various topics. Given the stumper questions, Team 341-B head out to the “Outer World”, meeting others to help answer the question.

The series features guest appearances by various celebrities, such as "Weird Al" Yankovic, Garfunkel and Oates, and Snoop Dogg.

2017 saw the release of a standalone Christmas special, “A StoryBots Christmas”. In 2018, the series was renewed for a second season. A third season released for August 2019, and the show was fully acquired by Netflix in May 2019 as its own property. 2021 had another standalone special, "A StoryBots Space Adventure".

Spin-off series include StoryBots Super Songs, which focuses on songs about a single topic, and StoryBots Answer Time.

Ask the StoryBots provides examples of:

  • Art Shift:
    • Heading to the Outer World turns the traditionally animated StoryBots into CGI-animated ones.
    • The songs that are included from the original website have wildly varying art styles from the show itself.
  • Animation Evolution: Their CGI models in Season One were a lot more stiff and off-model compared to later seasons, which had their movements being more expressive and a slightly more noticeable paint texture.
    • Bo's CGI model has a more vibrant purple and her shape is a little trimmed down.
  • Anchovies Are Abhorrent: In "What Happens When You Flush The Toilet?", Team 341-B is trying to make the best, most delicious pizza and then Boop decides to toss in his favourite ingredient.
    Bing: Anchovies? Boop, nobody likes anchovies.
  • Big Ol' Unibrow:
    • Boop is the only member of the team to have a unibrow instead of two separate eyebrows, to heighten his grumpy nature.
    • Hap also has a thick black unibrow, also to heighten his grumpiness. He’s one of the few characters to have eyebrows that aren’t the same color as he is, which makes his stand out more.
  • Brick Joke: In the episode "Why Can't I Eat Dessert All The Time?", Bang throws a boomerang which hits through the ceiling and doesn't come back until the end of "How Do You Catch A Cold?".
  • Blue Is Calm: Bang is a very relaxed and laid-back StoryBot that happens to be blue.
  • Christmas Episode: “A StoryBots Christmas”, which was released as a separate episode from the show in itself.
  • Company Cameo: The JibJab name brand can be seen on a chocolate bar in "Where Does Chocolate Come From?".
  • Different in Every Episode:
    • The material that falls out with Answer Team 341B to mess up Hap’s office is different every episode.
    • The hat that Bo wears before being sucked up the transport tube is a different one each time.
    • The Storybot fun fact number and the fun fact itself are different each time.
  • Driving Question: Each episode is themed around a specific question that needs to be answered, such as “why is the sky blue?” or “how does night happen?”. The episode then finds the elements to answer that question, and recaps it in the end with a song.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Earlier episodes of the show had the main characters fumble simple words to which guest stars would later correct them while giant animated letters appear on screen. (For example, in the episode "Where Does Rain Come From?", the StoryBots confuse the word rain for 'rein' in reindeer.)
  • Edutainment Show:
    • The show’s main purpose is to help kids learn and discover new things by watching the main StoryBots go into the Outer World while also being enjoyable/entertaining and comical for both kids and adults.
  • Fourth-Wall Mail Slot: The series takes questions from real children as the subjects of the episodes.
  • Failure Montage: In the episode "Where Does Rain Come From?", the StoryBots try figuring out how to cross a river. Beep finds a leaf they can use as a boat but the others choose to find alternative solutions which all backfire. Then they go back to Beep's initial idea and sail along the leaf.
  • Gender Flip: Beep was originally a male StoryBot in the “Beep & Boop” app, but was made female in the show.
  • Help, I'm Stuck!: In "How Do Flowers Grow?", Bang gets caught in a spider web after falling off a leaf. Bing swings over to try and save him but he ends up stuck too.
    • Near the end of the episode, the whole gang get stuck in a transfer tube and Hap has to call someone to help get them out.
  • Inside a Computer System: The show has the StoryBots living inside a computer, using their abilities to answer questions, with the exception being Team 341B, who leave the computer to head to the Outer World. The episode "How Do Computers Work?" has Team 341B travelling into another computer to figure out computers themselves actually work.
  • Medium Blending: The show uses a variety of animation styles, from traditional to CGI to stop motion, depending on the character. This often leads to the StoryBots interacting with characters in a different art style than they are.
  • Noodle Implements: We never learn the questions that Hap’s answers are for.
  • Pie-Eyed: StoryBots in their “in computer” designs have pupils with a slice cut out for highlights. Their designs in the “Outer World” change them into standard pupils with light highlights instead.
  • Refugee from TV Land: StoryBots live inside computers, and heading to the Outer World brings them into reality.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: Going to the Outer World has the StoryBots interacting with live action humans.
  • Shifted to CGI: This happens in-show. The traditionally animated characters turn into CGI ones when they leave the computer.
  • Spin-Off: The StoryBots have a spin-off show called StoryBots Super Songs, which focuses on specific topics and is very vast from Ask the StoryBots, with episodes that are named Colors, Animals, Shapes, Body Parts, and etc.
  • Space Episode: "A StoryBots Space Adventure", released as a separate episode from the show.
  • Stock Footage: The sequence of the StoryBots screaming as they're going to the Outer World via transfer tubes as their Once per Episode moment.
    • "A StoryBots Space Adventure" reuses the clip of Hap getting pizza on his face from the Season 3 episode "What Happens When You Flush The Toilet?"
  • Two Girls to a Team: Beep and Bo are the only girls in Team 341-B.
  • Unfortunate Item Swap: In "Where Does Chocolate Come From?", Bang accidentally gives Hap a chocolate bar instead of the video tape.
    Bang, with the video tape in his mouth: Huh? Oh yeah. I thought this was a bit bland. Here you go!
  • Unicorn: Bo has a stuffed unicorn and her room as posters and stuff in them.


Stinky Bart

"I thought your middle name was Alphonse."

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

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Main / MetaphorIsMyMiddleName

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