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Western Animation / Bubble Guppies

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Clockwise from the top: Nonny, Oona, Gil, Molly, Deema, and Goby.

"Hi! I'm Molly, and it's time for..."

It's time to Describe Bubble Guppies Here!

Bubble Guppies is an Animated Show created by Jonny Belt and Robert Scull, who previously worked on The Backyardigans. The series premiered on Nick Jr. on January 24, 2011.

Each episode follows the adventures of a group of mer-children and the lessons they learn in preschool. Along the way, they sing, dance, and have imaginary adventures while exploring concepts of the episode's theme, such as pet care, the solar system, or how to run a restaurant.

After a 3-year hiatus, in February 2019, it was revealed that the show has been renewed for a fifth season.


Let's think about what tropes are used on the show:

  • Actor Allusion: In one episode, a female character voiced by RuPaul says something along the lines of "it's a drag", with emphasis on the word "drag".
  • Adorkable: Nonny
  • Aerith and Bob
  • Aesop Amnesia: Mr. Grumpfish has a bad case of it in "Happy Holidays, Mr. Grumpfish!". Justified in that it's a story being told by Mr. Grouper to Bubble Puppy.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Molly
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Nonny
  • And That's Terrible: When Deema and Oona first see Mr. Grumpfish at a restaurant, they immediately point out that he didn't say please.
    Deema: Rude.
  • Ancient Egypt: Guess what's the focus of "Only the Sphinx Nose!"?
  • Art Evolution: The CGI became a bit smoother and more shaded after the Halloween Episode. The Adobe Flash facial features also became more expressive.
  • Advertisement:
  • Audience Participation: Constantly asking the audience for help and hints.
  • Big Shadow, Little Creature: The mouse from the Recess scene of "Haunted House Party!".
  • Bizarrchitecture: The guppies' school.
  • Blind Without 'Em: The scuba mask Nonny wears is the underwater equivalent of glasses. When he breaks them in "Come To Your Senses", it causes his vision to be blurry and spends the majority of the episode without them until they're fixed in the end.
  • Bond One-Liner: Nonny, of all people, delivers one in "The Grumpfish Special!".
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: In "Fishketball!" the characters list an assortment of balls, such as baseballs, soccer balls, and eyeballs.
  • Broken Record: Bub-bub-bubble, gup-gup-guppies, bubble bubble bubble, guppy guppy guppies...
  • Butt-Monkey: Everything that happens to Gil during his and Molly's sketches. Everything.
  • Catch-Phrase: "Let's think about it!"
  • Christmas Episode: "Happy Holidays, Mr. Grumpfish!"
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Bubble Puppy, bar the intro and related routine sequences, is noticeably absent from nearly every subsequent episode. He's still still shown in group shots, though.
    • Slowly being averted in the more recent episodes.
  • Cool Shades: The spring chicken.
  • Cool Teacher: Mr. Grouper buys his students their dog, and lets them build a badass doghouse for it by themselves. He also takes them to a hospital, lets them start a band, and open a restaurant.
  • Couch Gag: Molly trying to say the show title, and Gil interrupting her in some way.
  • Cowardly Lion: Gil. He's scared of planes, chickens, ducks, T. rexes, tubas, ghosts, caterpillars, gorillas, the planet Jupiter...
  • Cowgirl: "The Cowgirl Parade!"
  • Curtains Match the Window: Gil
  • Darker and Edgier: "Haunted House Party!", mainly in the toned-down color scheme - very accurately giving it it a creepy, Halloween-y feel. Although, all the characters do wear Excessive Evil Eyeshadow...
  • Defeat Means Friendship / Well-Intentioned Extremist: Occurs very often in the recess segments.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: Every episode has at least one.
  • Dramatic Thunder: Playfully mocked in the recess segment of "The Grumpfish Special!"
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • In the first season, the dance song comes before the story segment; in later seasons, these were switched around.
    • Season 1 was the only season where multiple Guppies each took turns as the shop owners and giving the food jokes. Starting in Season 2, Deema is the usual shop owner (with Goby sometimes filling in), while Nonny is the usual food joke giver.
  • Edutainment Show
  • Emotionless Boy: Nonny. He rarely emotes, having a straight face most often, and even speaks this way as well. The others don't mind though.
  • Everything's Better with Cows: The focus of one of the episodes is farm life, most specifically focusing on a cow and the birth of her calf.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: "Can You Dig It?"
  • Everything's Better with Rainbows: The recess sketch in "The Color Prix!" Not to mention the song, which definitely applies.
  • Excited Episode Title!: Every episode has this title, with a few exceptions.
  • Fairy Tale Tropes used in "Bubble Puppy's Fin-Tastic Fairy Tale Adventure":
  • Fake Interactivity: Like many preschool shows, the characters ask the viewer questions and pause for an answer.
    • This is averted in "The Puppy and the Ring"
  • Fantasy Helmet Enforcement: A rather humorous example - even though Avi was wearing his helmet, he still broke his tail.
  • Six Token Band: Molly is Hispanic, Deema is blonde, Oona is Asian, Goby is African-American, Nonny is ginger, and Gil is Caucasian.
  • Four-Fingered Hands
  • Fractured Fairy Tale: "Bubble Puppy's Fin-tastic Fairy Tale Adventure!"
  • Free-Range Children: Never addressed directly, but the guppies walk to school by themselves, although sometimes another guppy may join them. They also tend to go on very improbable field trips for preschoolers, including some random kid's house for a sleepover, camping in the woods, and the mall. Who's signing these permission slips?
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: During the "Big Warm Friendly Smile" song in "A Tooth On The Looth", you can see Molly react with worry whenever she sees Nonny's usual straight face.
  • Furry Confusion: During "I Want a Pet Today", while Molly is singing about pets Nonny is seen with a pet fish in a bowl. This being a Disney Acid Sequence, no one notices.
  • Genki Girl: Deema
  • Green Aesop: The episode "Boy Meets Squirrel!", which deals with Nonny and a squirrel.
  • Guyliner: Used rather hilariously and in conjunction with Darker and Edgier in the Halloween episode.
  • Hair Decorations: Oona
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Deema
  • Halloween Episode: "Haunted House Party!" and "Trick or Treat, Mr. Grumpfish!"
  • Heel–Face Turn: The mean witch, after she enjoyed being transformed into a frog.
  • Clam Mail (Or, at least he attempted to)
  • Improbable Hairstyle: Deema, whose giant blonde hair resembles cinnamon buns.
  • Instant Awesome: Just Add Mecha!: Humunga Truck appears for one episode, and at the end it turns into a Transforming Mecha.
  • Introdump
  • Meaningful Name: Molly and Goby are named for small fish similar to guppies, while Gil is named for an imporant part of fish anatomy.
  • Medium Blending: The characters themselves have CGI bodies and Flash animated facial features. The show also has segments with Flash characters and backdrops.
  • Mind Screw: The characters are all either mermaids or aquatic life, implying that the series would take place underwater. However, the majority of the settings consist of above-water like aspects such as trees and grass. It could be Justified by the fact that bubbles are often seen rising around them, however in some of the Story sketches the characters are blatantly above water (etc. there is running water in the background, or on the moon) and there are still bubbles rising. Added to this that in the episode "The Moon Rocks!", the spaceship they travel in appears to be rising out of somewhere in Canada.
    • In the camping episode, they build a bonfire. Underwater.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: The Gorilla-Gator.
  • The Narrator: Whichever character happens to be presiding over the recess sketch of a particular episode.
  • Never Say "Die": In "Haunted House Party", they constantly dance around just what a zombie is, calling them 'spooky monsters' whose breath is the worst, yet their very best feature.
  • Nice Person: The Bubble Guppies are all very nice and friendly. So nice and friendly that they are able to make friends with just about anyone, even a squirrel.
  • No Cartoon Fish: Averted.
  • No Flow in CGI: Since they're underwater, the limitations of that format really show.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: The guppies themselves are typical mermaids, but we also have mer-dogs, mer-cows, mer-horses... basically all land animals are mer-creatures in this show.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Nonny
  • Pirate: "X Marks the Spot"
  • Pokémon Speak: The Ball Hog in "Fishketball!"
  • Potty Emergency: A croc wasn't chasing anyone to hurt them. He needed directions to the bathroom.
  • Precious Puppy: Bubble Puppy.
  • Pun: The lunch jokes. There's a lot more than that. Many episode titles fit this trope.
  • Puppy Love: All the characters, notably Molly/Gil, Goby/Deema and Nonny/Oona.
  • Rule of Cool: In "Have a Cow!", Goby and Gil are having their carrots stolen by a giant robot rabbit. To get it to leave, they use a giant, rocket, robot carrot. This is lampshaded by Oona; "Makes sense to me!"
  • Rule of Funny: The outside sketches run on this.
  • Rule of Three: In the opening sketch, Molly tries to say the show title twice before it's finally said.
    • The lunch gags have three of them show their lunches, ending on a pun-based lunch.
  • Running Gag: Gil getting snow dropped on his head every time Mr. Grumpfish slams the door in "Happy Holidays, Mr. Grumpfish!".
    • "SUPPLIES!"
  • Same Language Dub: The cast is completely revoiced in the UK dub.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Averted for a gag, where Gil says that Mercury is the biggest planet, and a small ball, looking like Mercury, bounces past him and Molly. Then he says it's Mars, and a slightly bigger Mars ball bounces by. Next he says Jupiter is the biggest planet... and has to run from a Jupiter boulder.
  • Separate Scene Storytelling: Done Once an Episode when the kids go outside and do a story.
  • Shout-Out / Reference Overdosed
  • Six Student Clique: An interesting preschool variation:
    • The Head — Gil
    • The Muscle — Goby
    • The Quirk — Nonny
    • The Pretty One — Oona
    • The Smart One — Molly
    • The Wild One — Deema
  • Sketch Comedy: For kids!
  • Sky Pirate: The pirate who pilots a wooden plane in "Gup, Gup, and Away!"
  • Sneeze of Doom: Played with: Nonny's sneeze shakes enough dirt loose to reveal an entire dinosaur skeleton.
  • Stock Dinosaurs: ''T. rex, Apatosaur, and Triceratops were the only dinosaurs mentioned in "Can You Dig It?"
  • The Stoic: Nonny, who smiles noticeably less than the others.
  • Strictly Formula
    • Subverted in "Build Me a Building!", in which the sketches were out of order.
    • Double Subverted in "Happy Holidays, Mr. Grumpfish!", where the formula is still there, but the setting is completely different and almost everything is connected to the main story.
    • Averted in and "Bubble Puppy's Fin-tastic Fairy Tale Adventure!" and "The Puppy and the Ring".
  • Super-Deformed: All chibi all the time, just like Handy Manny and Super Why.
  • Talk Like a Pirate: Almost every stock pirate phrase is used in X Marks the Spot.
  • Team Pet: Bubble Puppy as a mascot of sorts.
  • Tempting Fate: "Hey, Molly, have you ever wondered why they call it the rainforest?"
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Averted with the snails, lobsters, crabs, and fish, where there's no physical way to differentiate between the males and females (some females will have hair, however.)
  • Title Theme Tune
  • Theme Tune Roll Call: "I'm Molly!" "I'm Gil!" "I'm Goby!" "I'm Deema!" "I'm Oona!" "I'm Nonny!"
  • Token Human: The six Bubble Guppies are the only mer-people seen on the show thus far, the rest of the population consisting of entirelly sea creatures. It's subverted in the fourth and final season when we see Molly's sister and a pop star named Stylee, both mer-people.
  • True Companions: The Guppies all care for each other and like to help each other out.
  • The Unpronounceable: The Weather Weasel Wizard... in universe, at least. Mostly Played for Laughs.
  • Vague Age: The guppies attend some sort of preschool or kindergarten, which puts them somewhere from 5 to 7.
  • Villain Song: The mean witch gets one in "Bubble Puppy's Fin-tastic Fairy Tale Adventure!"
    • The Night Wizard also sings a song about . The song is shared along with the Sun King, Molly, and Gil.
  • Visual Pun: The mailperson from "Happy Clam Day!" is, of course, a snail.
  • Voluntary Shape Shifting: The Flutter Guppies and the Snowy Guppy in "The Puppy and the Ring"can become swarms of butterflies and a polar bear respectively.
    • This leads to a hilarious moment where The Snowy Guppy in his polar bear form answers his phone just as is about to attack Molly, Gil, and the Flutter Guppies.
  • Wacky Homeroom
  • Water Is Air: Hoo boy. There are cars and trucks that make normal engine sounds. There are trees. There are things in the "air" that pretty much stand in for clouds (very non-puffy, but easily mistaken for being clouds that look this way due to the animation style, and if not clouds, what the halibut are they? The background turns colors the sky can be but water should never be. Characters do swim, but mostly hovering over the ground at the exact height they'd be standing if they had legs. It's to the point that when you see someone swim upward or otherwise move as if they are under water, you will say "wait, what?!" Amusingly, though, the Disney Acid Sequences do have them more believably underwater.
  • Welcome to the Big Bubble City
  • Weird Moon: Though slightly subjective, in several shots featuring the moon it appears to be hovering in the water. This is most evident in the beginning of "The Moon Rocks!"
  • When He Smiles: Although Nonny is rarely expressive and doesn't smile so much, when he does, it's pretty adorable.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Gil and Goby. Oona has purple hair and Molly's hair is pink.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: At the end of the movie, Bubble Puppy has been changed back. The end, right? Turns out the witch escaped at the last minute. When Gil and Molly point out that she can't change anyone into frogs, the witch says she still has her original Mean Green Bubble Potion. Cue Oh, Crap! from the main cast.
    Crab: Awww.


Example of: