George and Martha is an animated Slice of Life Preschool Show from the world-famous Canadian animation studio Nelvana based on the book series by popular children's author and self-taught illustrator James Marshall originally written between 1972 and 1988.
The show describes the activities and adventures of best friends George and Martha, two hippos voiced by Nathan Lane and Andrea Martin respectively. These activities include taking dance classes, going to the beach and the amusement park, and playing pranks on each other. The series teaches us about friendship in a humorous way; George and Martha sometimes fight but always make up.
The show ran for 26 episodes over 2 seasons on HBO Family and YTV between 1999 and 2000. While Marshall had no involvement in the show due to his passing in 1992, Maurice Sendak (who also did Little Bear, and later Seven Little Monsters, with Nelvana) worked on the series as an executive producer.
Nelvana has made every episode available on Youtube through Treehouse Direct.
This show provides examples of:
- Adaptation Expansion: Naturally, as the stories the episodes are based off of had a maximum of five pages and four lines of dialogue per page. Sometimes it was even necessary to merge two or three stories together to fill the time up.
- Ambiguously Gay: Oscar and Wilde. Apparently in the short lived cartoon series, there is a pair of alligator characters who give off so many clear signs that there is definitely something more to their relationship. They live together, they go on vacation together, one is never seen without the other, and there's even a scene in one episode where the two are dressed up in outfits straight out of the Village People. The kicker? Their names are Oscar and Wilde. It's like they were trying to see how far they could go in a children's cartoon without outright stating the fact.
- Animal Gender-Bender: Averted with the ostrich bride in "The Picnic", who has brown feathers like a real-life female ostrich.
- Butt-Monkey: A lot of bad stuff happens to George. If not, then it's usually Ivan.
- Clothing Switch: In "The Costumed Duo" George and Martha spend the entire episode trying to pick a pair of matching costumes. In the end they decide to dress as each other.
- Feud Episode: One episode has Oscar and Wilde vowing to not speak to each other after having a falling out during their barbecue party over a plate of swordfish that Wilde cooked. George and Martha try to get them back together but their plans backfire and result in George and Martha having a feud of their own, resulting in Oscar and Wilde blaming themselves for the feud and they end up being friends again when they try to get George and Martha back together, which they succeed in.
- Funny Background Event: Happens Once an Episode involving background characters.
- Furry Confusion:
- Green Gators: Oscar and Wilde are green alligators.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Oscar and Wilde can qualify for this even though they are named after a British author who had a questionable orientation, have never flirted with anyone, and there was some Ho Yay going on towards them. However, the show never goes into detail on the nature of their relationship.
- Hide Your Lesbians: Oscar and Wilde are never seen without the other, act like a couple, have spats similar to a couple, live together, and go on vacations together. One of them also has a lisp. They're never confirmed as a couple though.
- High-Dive Hijinks: Applied in the episode "The Triple Dare".
- The Hyena: Bud and Valerie Chuckles, which isn't surprising since they're literally hyenas.
- In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: The Season 1 opening sequence bears the credit "Maurice Sendak Presents".
- Interspecies Romance: "The Picnic" has a penguin and an ostrich about to get married.
- Never Smile at a Crocodile: Oscar and Wilde are aversions, being friends of the titular characters.
- New Job as the Plot Demands: One running gag was Eton always showing up as an employee of whatever franchise the titular hippos were frequenting. Usually right behind George.
- Platonic Life-Partners: The show is about two hippos who are extremely close best friends. They seem like a married couple, but it's never implied they're anything but best friends.
- Sick Episode: The episode "The Cold", in which George catches a cold, and Martha volunteers to help take care of him until he's better, but soon starts to severely take advanage of her hospitality and continues to feign illness after the symptoms are gone.
- Shout-Out: Eton's voice is an impression of Boris Karloff (which his voice actor Seán Cullen would later use in Seven Little Monsters).
- The Show of the Books: This series is based off the books by James Marshall.
- Sssssnake Talk: Eton, the creepy monitor lizard guy, speaks like this.
- Status Quo Is God: Mostly played straight with one mild but notable aversion — the gold front tooth that George gets is a permanent change, even carrying over into the show’s opening thereafter.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Despite being best friends, the two hippos have some sort of quarrel almost Once per Episode. Fortunately, they always manage to work it out.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: George does this a couple times, a notable example being to get into a female-only Spa that Martha is visiting for the day.
- World of Funny Animals: All the characters are anthropomorphic animals.