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Western Animation / Curious George

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Like curious, like curious... Curious George!

Curious George is an animated preschool Edutainment Show co-produced by Universal Studios and Imagine Entertainment along with PBS affiliate WGBH that debuted on by PBS Kids in 2006 as an adaptation of Curious George books. The show depicts George using science, math, and engineering concepts to solve problems on a level consistent with preschool-age children.

Curious George includes examples of:

  • Aerith and Bob: There are seven baby bunnies that belong to Bill. Their names are Fuzzy, Whitey, Brownie, Spotty, Black Ears, Cotton Tail... and Herbert Menninger.
    • Apparently the last one is named after a great-uncle whos famous in the town.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Bill calls George "city kid".
  • Always Someone Better: Steve is always saying he's some kind of genius and belittling Betsy's age because Betsy is some kind of musical prodigy and he feels the need to compensate for his little sister being better than he at something.
  • Apes in Space: Thanks to Professor Wiseman, George has gone on multiple space missions, one of them involving a spacewalk.
  • Art Evolution: Starting with season 12, the series now resorts to puppet animation by Oasis Animation and Copernicus Studios instead of traditional animation.
  • Baths Are Fun: George generally tries to avoid baths when possible, however, it's shown that he can be lured into the bathtub with his bath toys, which help to make bathing fun for him. He also likes bubbles, but particularly likes his toy frog, Sproingy.
  • Bizarre Beverage Use: In "Skunked", George is sprayed by a skunk, so Ted gives him several baths using tomato juice.
  • Black Bead Eyes: in the Imagine Spots segments.
  • Canon: Depending on how you see it, the show can either be a direct continuation of the books or the movie (despite the man's name isn't Ted, though Word of God seems to heavily imply the books) since Curious George is a simple enough concept that doesn't have much continuity to begin with. "Monkey lives with human, gets into mischief".
  • Caretaker Reversal: Occurs in a few episodes.
  • Catch-22 Dilemma: In "Bee is for Bear," a beekeeper says that she can't remove a beehive from a tree unless the tree branches are trimmed down first. So they call in a tree-trimmer, who would be happy to remove the branches, if something is first done about the bees. It all comes to moot when a baby bear arrives and knocks down the hive.
  • Characterization Marches On: George is consistently shown as being childishly innocent, but his behavior in early episodes is different compared to later episodes. Early episode tend to showcase more of George messing up due to him not being that familiar with city life. While he can still mess up a bit, later episodes tend to have the problems come to him with him being more thoughtful, and his messing up comes from not looking through all his possibilities.
  • Christmas Episode: A Very Monkey Christmas.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Allie to some degree. When George first meets her, he finds her in a bin with several chickens, which she emerges from, saying that now she knows what it's like to be a chicken and she doesn't recommend it because it's very boring. The narrator even states that George had seen a lot of strange things in his life, but this was new to him.
  • Construction Zone Calamity: In "Curious George the Architect," Curious George gets a tour of a construction site. The next day the heads up there to try to get his 10 dollar bill and causes lots of trouble.
  • Don't Try This at Home:
    • "George is a monkey, and he does things we can't do"; used with the twist that the only death-defying stunts George does are his monkey antics in a conscious attempt to discourage preschoolers from causing trouble or endangering themselves by imitating George's monkey shenanigans.
    • The "George can do things you can't do" warning got used less often as the series went on and George's adventures increasingly involved solving problems without his wreaking havoc. It doesn't seem to be at all present on the DVD releases, or the general broadcasts anymore for that matter.
  • Edutainment Show: It's PBS, so there's no surprise. Educational themes include a general focus on science and nature, as well as problem-solving and engineering.
  • Free-Range Children and Monkeys: George often wanders through the city and countryside without the Man in the Yellow Hat's supervision despite the fact that George is a monkey. Not only that, but also all of the recurring children characters (Betsy and Steve in the city, Bill and Allie in the country) are generally left to their own devices without a responsible adult in sight.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: In the episode "Water to Ducks," the Man with the Yellow Hat sees George and Bill's runaway wading pool hurtling towards him and lets fly with an "Oh, my hat!"
  • Firehouse Dalmatian: The episode, "Where's the Firedog?", has a Dalmatian named Blaze who keeps escaping from the fire station, much to the agitation of firefighter Sam and the chagrin of the other firefighters. As it turns out, the reason for Blaze's constant escapes is so he can visit another dog named Sparky at the animal shelter, whom he has made friends with, so Sam decides to adopt Sparky so that Blaze won't run away ever again.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: Averted with George and human characters, who have five fingers. Played straight with Jumpy the squirrel and other animals though.
  • Halloween Episode: A Halloween Boo Fest.
  • Hiccup Hijinks: The episode "Doctor Monkey" saw George dealing with a high class lady who had hiccups for two weeks. At the end of the episode, she seems to get rid of them only to get them back again.
  • Hiroshima as a Unit of Measure: One episode is about George preparing the Man in the Yellow Hat's birthday party, but purchasing the wrong-sized cake, decorations, etc. While trying to prepare this stuff, George ends up taking a nap and has a dream where everybody uses George as their sole unit of measure.
  • Hollywood Darkness: When it is dark in the show, we can see perfectly well and is lit with a blue tint, despite the fact that the characters can't see at all in the dark.
  • Imagine Spot: A frequent occurrence, George's daydreams are usually depicted in thought balloons and involve an Art Shift in which characters are drawn in the style of the Curious George books. This isn't limited to just George - occasionally another character, such as Hundley the dog will have one too, with the accompanying Art Shift.
  • Insufferable Genius:
    • Especially in the earlier seasons, Bill would routinely insist that there is a "proper way" to perform just about anything from sailing toy boats to squeezing water out of mops.
      • He does own up to having holes in his knowledge base, such as when he had to learn how to dance and when he came up with an ill-advised plan to get rid of a beehive (involving mud, a catapult, and a wetsuit) that would have resulted in disaster had he been allowed to go through with it.
      • The biggest gap in Bill's knowledge is that he has yet to realize that George is a monkey and not a typical "city kid," which is how Bill thinks of him.
    • To a lesser degree, George's city friend Steve thinks that all of his own ideas and solutions are genius simply because of what he perceives to be his elevated status as a fifth grader.
  • Kangaroos Represent Australia: In "Monkey Down Under," George and the Man with the Yellow Hat go on an Australian outback safari. Yes, they see wallabies. Yes, they see koalas, emus, and dingoes. The bulk of the episode, however, deals with George's interactions with a kangaroo and her joey.
  • Large Ham: Chef Pisghetti. Not only does he employ an exaggerated Italian accent, but he also copes with most of his restaurant's problems by loudly and melodramatically proclaiming that he will never cook again.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: The typically capable, confident, and uncannily polymathic Man In The Yellow Hat (and George) spends a day with Prof. Wiseman in the park, frantically trying to prevent her from having to lift a finger, because she needs to relax. Due to what many viewers suspect is a serious crush on the Professor, the Man completely bumbles every attempt to pamper her, which she gleefully fixes each time.
  • Meaningful Echo: In "Curious George vs. the Turbo Python 3000," the Man with the Yellow Hat is revealed to have a fear of roller coasters. After overhearing Betsy yell, "My hat! I've lost my hat!" he remembers the last time he rode a roller coaster, in which his hat flew off and got destroyed by a dog, which leads him to realize that he's not afraid of roller coasters at all; he's afraid of losing his hat.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Professor Wiseman, whose scientific area of expertise appears to be everything.
    • George's country neighbor Clint Quint, who is a fishing enthusiast.
    • Also applies to the Quint family name (Mr. Quint and his four siblings are quintuplets) and to the first name of his sisters Sprint (a track runner) and Mint (a US Treasury official).
  • Megaphone Gag: in "Curious George Takes a Vacation", George gets lost in the airport. When he is found by the announcer and they are both waiting for the Man with the Yellow Hat to arrive, the monkey starts mumbling in the megaphone, causing confusion and hilarity among the passengers.
  • Mythology Gag: In one episode, Mr. Glass tells George "don't get into trouble".
  • Narrator: In the show.
  • Named Like My Name: Professor Wiseman's associate Professor Einstein, who noted in his first appearance that he's not that Einstein. Wiseman's other associate, Professor Pizza, likewise felt obligated to clarify that he's not that pizza and was not involved with its invention.
  • Neat Freak: Hundley the lobby dog likes things to be orderly and dignified. He is therefore regularly horrified by George's ability to mess things up without any effort.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: As "Vacuum Monkey," George vacuums up every loose object in sight, including rare stamps, Charkey's dog biscuit, birdseed, and a winning lottery ticket.
  • Ocular Gushers: A Running Gag involves George imagining Bill crying these due to being upset about some mischief that he caused.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: The Man with the Yellow Hat is a scientist in this series (which, considering that he's qualified to own a monkey, makes sense), but different episodes don't seem to agree what kind of scientist he is.
  • Once per Episode: George's curiosity would always get him in trouble. Then he would do something heroic, and all would be forgiven. Well, assuming anyone even finds out what he did to get in trouble before he's able to fix it.
  • Out Of Control Popcorn: In one episode, George makes too much popcorn at the movie theater.
  • Plucky Girl: Allie, who is spirited and almost as inquisitive as George. In her first appearance, Allie remains remarkably upbeat when she winds up stuck in a tree and has to depend on George to get her down.
  • Polar Penguins: In "Ice Station Monkey," George and the Man with the Yellow Hat travel to Antarctica to find an entire colony of chinstrap penguins.
  • Power Outage Plot: An episode is about a hotel switching to solar power after many people using their AC due to the hot weather causes several blackouts in a row.
  • Race Lift: Bill is Caucasian in the books, while in the cartoon he's Ambiguously Brown (possibly African-American).
    • His mother appears to be Caucasian, as does a distant great-uncle shown in the Halloween special, so he's probably mixed-race.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: In the episode, "Bill's Bunnies." Also other various animals like baby ducks and Gnocchi the cat.
  • Rube Goldberg Device: When George unwittingly ends up bidding $100 for a pair of mittens after getting into an auction war, the group begs the event organizers to let them re-auction the items, only to discover the other bidder has left, and the others scramble to find him before The Man gets yanked off stage. Instead, they could have just found the guy first and had him pay the $100 in exchange for them.
  • Russian Reversal: Most mornings, George goes out on the porch to find the paper. In the opening of "Curious George Rides a Bike," "the paper found George," when the paperboy accidentally hits him with it.
  • Scary Shadow Fakeout: George becomes scared of the dark until The Man with the Yellow Hat tells him that the monsters are just the same objects as they are in the light and gives him a nightlight.
  • Shirtless Scene: Only happened once in the episode "Curious George Sees Stars", where the Man in the Yellow Hat is seen in his swim trunks.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the Halloween special the grand prize for "Best Costume" at the Boo-Fest is a big green and purple leaf vacuum named the "Kurtzberg 828" This is a reference to Marvel legend Jack Kirby with the colors of the leaf vacuum being a nod to one of his most iconic creations, The Incredible Hulk .
    • In the same special there's an old fisherman in town named Mr. Quint whose costume is a shark.
  • Smelly Skunk: This happens in the episode "Skunked", where George gets sprayed by a skunk several times he and all the other people get sprayed in the elevator at the end.
  • Sound-Only Death: Toots the germ and his companions the Germettes, in their second and last appearance (Toot Toot Tootsie Goodbye). The last we see of them, they are stuck on Professor Wiseman's hand just as she starts washing with soap. And they're screaming.
  • Space Episode: There are multiple episodes where George and the Man with the Yellow Hat go to space including:
    • In "Curious George's Rocket Ride" George must go to space. This is because The Man with the Yellow Hat cannot go because it was designed for a four-handed pilot. So he must fix the system that releases the goods for the station.
    • In "Grease Monkeys in Space" George must go to space to fix the space telescope.
  • Spoiler Title:
    • In "Curious George Takes a Job", guess what he does. And in "Curious George Takes Another Job", guess what he does again.
    • The title of Toots and the Germettes' second appearance, "Toot Toot Tootsie Goodbye," implies that it would be their last.
  • Stealth Pun: In "Doctor Monkey," the narrator comments that "George learned that the thing you need most in a doctor's waiting room... is patience."
  • Surprise Party: In "Surprise Quints," a surprise party is held for the Quints, who are quintuplets in their own home, and George has to keep them distracted from going there until it's ready.
  • Title Theme Tune: "And that is your reward, you're never bored, when you're curious, like Curious George!"
  • The Unintelligible: George only makes monkey noises rather than spoken language. Other characters usually understand him easily by observing his gestures, the tone of his monkey noises, and the situational context. And for the audience, the Narrator helpfully explains George's thoughts and motivations.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: The Quints seem to really like fish crackers ("Oooh, oooh, oooh!").
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Although one-shot characters sometimes remark, "Hey, it's a monkey!" upon seeing him, George doesn't seem to attract as much attention as one might expect from a freely roaming exotic animal in a Western society. Occasionally lampshaded by the city firefighters, who wonder why they never get any "normal" calls whenever they respond to a call that's George-related.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Mr. Auger the plumber knows the ins and outs of his business like he knows every pipe and valve ever conceived, and his powers of logical deduction are rather impressive. In spite of this, he lacks the foresight to predict the havoc that George would wreak upon learning a plumber's methods. This is lampshaded by Hundley in the same scene.
    Narrator: Hundley wasn't sure George should be taught things like this.
  • You Don't Look Like You: In the books, Prof. Wiseman was an old white guy. In the show, she's a 30-something black woman and very geeky.
  • You Must Be This Tall to Ride: In "Curious George vs. the Turbo Python 3000," both George and a little boy are stymied by this. George tries various tactics such as wearing a tall hat and raising up his arms, but they don't work. Then he tries to get bigger, only for a strong-man to tell him that he'll be as big and strong as him if he follows his routine... in five years. Then he hears that sleeping helps you to grow and so he goes to sleep, and has a dream in which he grows huge, only to be told that he can't ride the Turbo Python 3000 because he's too big to fit in the seat. In the end, George wins because Captain Zany, the head of the park, already had a loophole built in. He knows that monkeys don't grow very big, and so he spins around the sign revealing the "monkey sign," which is how tall monkeys must be to ride.
  • Youthful Freckles: Allie is a spunky girl with red hair in a ponytail and freckles.


Video Example(s):


I'm a Ramblin' Germ

When the man in the yellow hat comes down with the flu, George and Gnocchi shrink themselves to travel inside his stomach and stop the illness from spreading. That's when he finds his old enemy Toots putting on a little show for his fellow germs.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / VillainSong

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