Follow TV Tropes


Western Animation / Bébé's Kids

Go To

"We don't die... we multiply!"

Based on a comedy sketch made popular by the late stand-up comic Robin Harris, Bébé's Kids was the first animated film to feature an all-black cast.

The comedy follows an animated Robin Harris (voiced by Faizon Love) taking his new girlfriend Jamika (voiced by Vanessa Bell Calloway) and her son Leon (voiced by Wayne Collins Jr) to an Amusement Park called Fun World. This would be all well and good, but when Jamika is asked by her friend Bébé to watch her kids for the day, he's forced to take along Bébé's Kids, who are nothing short of (and quite a bit beyond) obnoxious brats who basically wreak havoc through the whole park. Hilarity Ensues.

Theatrically released in 1992 by Paramount Pictures, the film was a dissapointment at the box office. Despite this, it developed a Cult Classic status over time. However, it also spawned a SNES game so bad Nintendo Power rated it the worst game they've ever reviewed.

Many of the animators went on to work on The Proud Family alongside Bébé director/Proud series creator Bruce W. Smith, who also proceeded to animate the villain for the second animated feature to have an all-black cast, The Princess and the Frog. Reginald Hudlin, who executive produced the movie with his brother, would go on to work on an early pilot for The Boondocks.

This film provides examples of:

  • Accidental Kiss: Between LaShawn and Leon, as Kahlil even shoves the latter towards the former to cause them to kiss each other.
  • Action Girl: Lashawn. She's a good fighter like her brothers, Although she arguably isn't as capable as Khalil in the combat department.
  • Adaptation Distillation: In the original comedy sketches, Bébé's Kids consisted of four children, this was cut down to three in the film with Leon acting as the fourth child. Also, they originally went to Disney World, but got changed to Fun World for legal reasons.
  • Adults Are Useless: And the police aren't any better.
  • Aerith and Bob: Practically everywhere. While there's characters named Robin and Leon, you also have names like Jamika and LaShawn. This trope is discussed by Kahlil and LaShawn when they look for license plates with their names:
    Leon: Found mine!
    Kahlil: How come we can't ever find our names?
    LaShawn: Yeah, I know four girls named LaShawn. How come we don't have a license plate?
    • This also applies to when they're hanging out with the other kids of Fun World, dissatisfied with their boring names like "Winthrop" and "Richie" and giving them "ghetto names".
    LaShawn: Dang, ya'll guys got some corny names.
  • An Aesop: Children need SOMEONE to provide them with guidance, whether it's their parent(s) or not. And if nobody else will, then you need to step up.
  • Almost Kiss: Robin and Jamika early on, though it's understandable given that they just met at the beginning of the film.
  • Amusing Injuries: The ride montage, such as Robin and the kids surviving a parachute drop ride that failed to trigger when the cord broke and a rocketship ride scorching them from within.
  • Angry Guard Dog: Fun World security have Doberman Pinchsers while they're hunting the kids later on in the film.
  • Anti-Role Model: Robin. For example, when he meets Leon, he wants to watch a Blaxploitation video with him someday, to which Jamika objects.
  • Art Shift: The tunnel of love scene is black and white during the music video.
  • Award-Bait Song: "I Want To Thank You For Your Love" by The Emotions.
  • Badass Adorable: The titular kids, with more emphasis on the "badass" part.
  • Badass Creed: "Bébé's Kids! We don't die, we... multiply!"
  • Berserk Button: Bébé's Kids for Robin, and then there's his ex-wife, Dorothea.
    • For LaShawn, kissing boys or even teasing her about it.
    • Don't mess with Kahlil's hat.
    • Leon brings up the fact that their mother doesn't see them often. They don't take it well and threaten him.
  • Big Blackout: When they go to Las Vegas at the film's end, Pee-Wee pulls a cord shutting down all the electricity in the city.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Robin and Jamika near the end.
  • Big Eater: Vivian, to the point where she tries to bring food onto the tunnel of love. Her Establishing Character Moment has her inhaling cotton candy and swallowing it in one gulp.
  • Blatant Lies: Robin claims to be good with kids. While he is good with shy, quiet types like Jamika's son, Leon, Satisfied Street Rats like the titular Kids quickly drive him to neurosis.
  • Butt-Monkey: Leon, who doesn't even like Bébé's Kids and is frequently picked on by them. They do bond near the film's end, though.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Played straight early on when Robin stops the kids (save Leon who got caught in the madness) from misbehaving when they first arrive in Fun World. This is then Averted for the rest of the film.
  • Casting Gag: In the Mexican Spanish dub, Marina Huerta (Kahill) has previously voiced another trouble-making kid, Bart Simpson, while making the life difficult for another fat character voiced by Humberto Vélez (Robin Harris, who previously voiced Homer).
  • Catchphrase: Robin's "Test tube, baby!"
  • The Chew Toy: Robin himself, given what he's had to put up with throughout the film. Besides Bébé's Kids, he comes across his ex-wife Dorothea who tries to break up him and Jamika.
  • Children Are Innocent: Averted. Leon is like this early on until later on in the film. And then there's the kids who join in their antics...
  • Crapsack World: The setting is pretty bleak and the neighborhood of Bebe's kids is even worse. It's an utter rathole and a Freudian Excuse for their awful behavior.
    Robin Harris: I can see why they spend so much time over Jamika's house. Look like they live next to a crackhouse! Try to phone Hell from there, it'd be a local call!
  • Creator Cameo: In a Shout-Out to their appearance in House Party (1990), the Hudlin brothers appear as a pair of house robbers who just ran out of the kids' apartment complex; and get chased by a dog as they escape.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Robin, oh so much. He often makes a bunch of wise-cracking comments on the behavior of the titular children and states how they should be punished and disciplined in the most snide manner.
  • Disappeared Dad: No mention is made whether or not Bébé's living as a single parent, widowed or divorced. A throwaway line by Jamika toward the end of the film has her stating that they SHOT their father when he tried to leave. It's not said if he survived or what but, either way, he's not there. There's a reason the kids are so hostile. No Dad, and Bébé a nasty piece of work.
    • Jamika is the single mother of Leon. Earlier in the film, it is stated that she and Leon's father are divorced.
  • Dish Dash: One scene of saw Robin find out that baby Pee-Wee had entered the "House of Glass" in Fun World. He had stacked literally hundreds of dishes and glasses into a massive single stack tower by the time Robin found him. On being interrupted, the whole pile fell over and Robin raced to catch and then put away every single dish and glass before catching Pee-Wee himself. Then as he was walking out one last dish he missed hit the floor. Robin ran for it.
  • The Dreaded: A stranger who sees Bébé's Kids in Vegas starts a panic when he sees them, and they're so feared throughout the neighborhood, the police can't deal with them. This is noticeable on the drive home when a police officer tries to pull Robin over for speeding, but upon seeing Bébé's Kids, he speeds off in terror, leaving Robin and Jamika wide-eyed.note 
  • Dumb Blonde: Tying into Fat Idiot, Vivian, who seems to have more appetite than brains.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Bébé's Kids each injure Robin in their own way when introduced to him:
    • LaShawn is combing her black Barbie doll's hair when it gets stuck in a knot; she yanks the comb loose and it goes straight into Robin's eye.
    • Kahlil mangles Robin's hand in some hip ghetto handshake.
    • Pee-Wee runs his Big Wheel over Robin's foot.
  • Fat and Skinny: Dorothea (Skinny) and Vivian (Fat).
  • Foreshadowing: Bébé's Kids didn't like it when Leon pointed out their mother hardly sees them, near the end of the film Robin finds out this is true.
  • Free-Range Children: Throughout most of the film, Robin and Jamika let the kids go off on their own while they try to spend some time together.
  • Freudian Excuse: With no father and Bébé not really being the most attentive mother (even if she spends time with them, which is hardly), on top of not living in the best neighborhood in perpetual poverty, it's not hard to see why her kids are the way they are.
  • The Ghost: Bébé herself is never seen.
  • Girlish Pigtails: LaShawn, who has her hair tied in braids.
  • Hartman Hips: Jamika, and to a lesser extent, Dorothea have noticeable hips and derrières.
  • Hero Antagonist: The Fun World security, despite how rough and bureaucratic they come across as, are only trying to keep the amusement park under control.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: The film opens with Robin at a bar, talking about his problems to the (blind) bartender.
  • Intro-Only Point of View: During the opening credits, we get first person perspectives from each of the three kids in order:
    • LaShawn punching out two boys when they write "LaShawn kisses boys" on a school chalkboard.
    • Kahill kicking a bully in the nuts for stealing his hat.
    • Pee-Wee driving around on his Big Wheel towards the supermarket to get a bottle of milk, causing a car to crash and run over someone's foot in the process.
  • Jerkass: Dorothea, and to a lesser extent, Bebe's kids. Robin also shows small shades of this.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite all he went through, Robin gives the kids $10 for pizza when they arrive home.
  • Jive Turkey: Lots of ghetto slang coming from both Robin and Bébé's Kids.
  • Kangaroo Court: The kids find themselves in one with Kahlil on trial, with the judge eager to eager to electrocute him. Leon bails him out, though, by rapping about freedom.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Bébé's kids, obviously.
  • Larynx Dissonance: Pee-Wee, who has the deep baritone of Tone Lōc.
  • Last Disrespects: Robin meets Jamika at a funeral, where "everyone was there, 'cause everyone was glad he was dead." People are seen drinking, laughing and playing dominoes, while the only one grieving was the widow.
  • The Leader: Khalil acts the de facto leader of the titular kids, and he's also implied to be the oldest.
  • Little Miss Badass: LaShawn, the only female of Bébé's children, with a lot of emphasis on "badass."
  • Long List: The rules of Fun World...
    • Though the video game cuts it down to "No Vibes, No Bevis, No Vibes..." How come only Butt-head is allowed in, then?
  • Male Gaze: Jamika gets plenty of close-up shots on her big, round backside, with the most notable one being during the Art Shift of her and Robin dancing together after they ride through the Tunnel of Love.
  • Mocky Mouse: Fun World is a stand-in for Disneyland, with one of the mascots being Rodney Rodent. Robin Harris' original comedy routine the movie is based on did mention Disneyland, but had to change it to Fun World for copyright reasons.
  • Moment Killer: When Robin and Jamika finally have The Big Damn Kiss towards the end, the kids are watching and enjoying the good vibes... except Kahlil, who's disgusted and whines about cooties. This leads to a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from LaShawn.
  • Parental Neglect: Bébé. From what we do know about her, she's this trope since her kids hardly spend time with her and Leon points out that they hardly ever hang out with her, who basically threaten him for bringing it up. It doesn't help that Bébé herself isn't seen in the film since she went downtown, leaving Jamika to look after the kids for the day. What really nails it, at the end, Robin sees that their mother still isn't home and that they don't have anything in their fridge (with a note on it, asking Jamika to feed them)
  • Parental Substitute: Robin is the closest thing Bébé's Kids have ever had to any sort of parental authority. Though he is able to intimidate Kahlil to point out Pee-Wee's antics during his music number "I Ain't Having It".
    Robin: If you don't tell me where your little brother is, I'm gonna beat the BLACK off you, and you're gonna look lighter than Michael Jackson.
  • Perpetual Poverty: Bébé's Kids basically live like this. They barely have anything in their fridge. Also their Freudian Excuse.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Actually varies from scene to scene, usually encouraging viewers to side with or against the Kids depending on whether or not Robin is onscreen — and even then, viewers are often encouraged to side with the Kids whenever it would be funnier.
  • Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: Dorothea, Robin's ex wife, who isn't over their divorce. Later, with the help of Vivian, she tries to break up Robin and Jamika.
    Vivian: You know he still loves you.
  • Sassy Black Woman:
  • Ship Tease: There are some minor moments between LaShawn and Leon, no matter how much the former tries to deny it.
  • Shot in the Ass: Kahlil does this to LaShawn with a slingshot during a riot in a shack at Fun World.
  • Spit-Trail Kiss: From LaShawn and Leon, as each of them are clearly seen with drool hanging from their lips after their kiss.
  • The Cat Came Back/Offscreen Teleportation: Robin drags away Jamika away from Fun World and almost gets away from the kids, only to find that they're are already at the car ready to go home.
  • Toilet Humor: Pee-Wee's diaper. He even says in the impromptu rap song called "Straight Jackin'": "Taking a dump feels so relaxing."
  • Toy Ship: Invoked. Kahlil and Pee-Wee get a cheap laugh when they trip LaShawn into an Accidental Kiss with Leon — quite likely the shy boy's Sacred First Kiss. The laugh gets genuinely sweet for a second because both of them get Post-Kiss Catatonia. Which is then escalated when LaShawn goes textbook Type A Tsundere; she storms off in a tiff and returns swinging the mallet from a high-striker game they tried earlier. She's hitting a lot harder now.
  • Villain Protagonist: Bebe's kids come of this due to their Jerkass behavior.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Baby Pee-Wee's voice actor is Tone Lōc.note 
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Leon throws up at the end of the ride montage... much to the chagrin to Jamika and Robin.
  • We Are Song: "Straight Jackin'", performed by the kids themselves.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After the yo' mama exchange Dorothea and Vivian disappear entirely.
    • Subverted. If you look closely, they're part of the passengers that are terrorized and made to walk the plank by Bébé's Kids after they attack the cruise yacht.
  • Wrong Side of the Tracks: The ghetto that Bébé's Kids live in.
  • Your Mom: Robin and Dorothea do "The Dozens" (which of course feature tons of yo' mama jokes) in the ladies room.

Alternative Title(s): Bebes Kids