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Western Animation / George Shrinks

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George Shrinks is a Canadian animated television series based on the children's book of the same name written in 1985 by American author William Joyce and produced by the world-famous Nelvana studio (with China's Jade Animation helping out as well) in association with PBS Kids. This series was the second collaboration between Joyce and Nelvana, as the author had previously done Rolie Polie Olie with the studio. Also like Rolie Polie Olie, Joyce was heavily involved in the production of the show and served as an executive producer.

The show tells the story of a ten-year-old boy named George Shrinks who is only three inches tall. George lives with his musician father Harold, his artist mother Perdita, and his baby brother Harold Jr. ("Junior" for short), finding adventure with them and his friends (primarily his best bud and neighbor Becky Lopez) in mundane situations - something that comes naturally as a result of his diminutive size. But through a mixture of his own ingenuity and imagination, as well as a variety of highly adaptable mini machines built by him and his dad, George proves that being tiny is no obstacle to solving problems and having fun.

The series started on September 30, 2000, on PBS Kids as part of the PBS Kids Bookworm Bunch. The Bookworm Bunch disbanded in 2004, but George Shrinks was given an individual PBS debut on January 6, 2003, along with The Berenstain Bears and Seven Little Monsters. It also aired on YTV (and later Treehouse TV) in its native Canada. The series ran for 3 seasons with a grand total of 40 episodes.

George Shrinks provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: In the book, George is a normal-sized kid who is only temporarily miniaturized. The animated adaptation never provides an explanation as to why he is so small but implies him to have been tiny since birth.
  • Always Identical Twins: Played straight with Jimmy and Timmy Fortevoce. Averted with fraternal twins Hilda and Henry and the unnamed Cadwell twins.
  • Big Little Brother: Due to George being shrunken to three inches, his toddler brother Junior is much bigger than him.
  • Bizarre Instrument: George's father, Harold Shrinks, has invented many of these. One noteworthy example is the "Harmonican" Convergence, which appears to consist of two sets of bagpipes with several harmonicas affixed to them.
  • Black Bead Eyes: Everyone has black dots for eyes with no visible irises or scleras.
  • Blush Stickers: A few characters have these, such as Perdita, Junior, Becky, and George himself.
  • B-Movie: The episode "Monster Mash" is a tribute to 1950s monster movies and the tropes associated with them.
  • Cats Are Mean: Neighborhood stray Sparkle Tangerine is a recurring antagonist.
  • Character in the Logo: George is the "I" in the word "Shrinks" in the series logo.
  • Chickenpox Episode: In "If I Ran the Circus", Junior gets chickenpox on the day the family is supposed to go to the circus. Mr. Shrinks agrees to stay behind with Junior and spends the rest of the episode trying to entertain him while George goes instead. Things get better for Junior once George comes home and makes a circus of his own (he even gets performers from the circus itself to have a parade for him).
  • Cool Old Lady: George and Junior’s great Aunt Eunice is well traveled and dotes on her great nephews. Also overlaps with Maiden Aunt because there’s no mention of her ever marrying or starting a family.
  • From Bad to Worse: The title and premise of one episode.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: George's father Harold, along with George himself, build a number of pint-sized contraptions to aide George in his day-to-day. The tube network in the house and George’s signature vehicle the Zoopercar are the most prominent examples.
  • Giant Food: In the episode "Ants in the Pantry", tiny George is on a picnic spread and goes by huge food such as salad, and runs up a stack of cupcakes.
  • Girl Next Door: Becky is a platonic example. She lives next door to the Shrinks family and is George’s best friend.
  • Green Thumb: Aunt Eunice is botanically inclined. She even keeps a bonsai tree who she named Maurice.
  • Happily Married: Mr. and Mrs. Shrinks are shown to be happy together.
  • Hollywood Genetics: Harold, Perdita, and George all have black hair, but Junior has a darker brown.
  • Homemade Inventions: Anything Harold builds .
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: George. In fact, it's pretty much the premise of both the show and the books.
  • Lilliputians: George is this, even though there are no other characters that stand as high as he does.
  • Losing a Shoe in the Struggle: In the episode "Ghost of Shrinks Manor" Junior is caught by the Ghost Grabber machine by his diaper, as he tries to crawl off, the machine sucks it off.
  • Mistaken for Exhibit: In the episode "Round Up the Usual Insects" spiderwebs are mistaken to be part of Perdita's sculpture by the Ladies' arts council.
  • On the Next: Had two variants. When shown as part of the Bookworm Bunch, a screen saying "Coming up next on George Shrinks!" with kids' voices reading the text would appear, followed by a short clip of the show. When shown as an individual program, a bumper would play at the beginning where George explains to the viewer what will happen on that day's episode.
  • Physical Attribute Swap: In the episode "George Un-Shrinks", the three-inch-tall ten-year-old and his normally-sized father Harold switch sizes. George becomes a normal-sized kid and Mr. Shrinks becomes three inches tall, and the conflict of the episode comes from both George and his dad having to get used to their new sizes in order to keep house while Mrs. Shrinks is away, something that's made even more complicated when toddler Junior Shrinks also suddenly becomes the size of a small elephant. In the end, it turns out that it was All Just a Dream George, Harold, and Junior had while watching B-movies on TV (though all three vividly remember the events of the episode happening).
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Perdita Shrinks's various gowns.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: George and Becky are best friends and are often doing adventures together.
  • Portmanteau: The "Zooper" car. So named because "it's a Super little unit," and has "plenty of Zipp,".
  • The Prankster: George and Becky’s mutual friend, Ellen, is this. Her pranks are all in good fun though.
  • Quirky Household: The Shrinks family counts as this what with their artsy sensibilities and the hijinks George and Junior get themselves into.
  • Retro Universe: The show's visual aesthetic and characters are very 50's. It's made clear on a few occasions, however, that the show is set during modern times, such as when George's elderly neighbor Russell is firmly established to have been a child in the 30s.
  • The Real Spoofbusters: "Ghost of Shrinks Manor," naturally. He builds a makeshift ghost-catching tool and even wears a miniature flightsuit with a "no" symbol on it.
  • Rule of Cool: In one episode, Becky asks George why his ghost-catching machine requires bells and horns. His answer: "they're cool!".
  • Shouldn't We Be in School Right Now?: George and Becky are seen working on a science project (presumably for school) but not once are they or their neighborhood friends seen in class.
  • Squirrels in My Pants: Happens twice in the episode "Can We Keep Him?"
    • First scene is when Junior accidentally throws the mouse and it lands on Perdita's shoulder and crawls down her shirt.
    • At the end of the episode when George apologizes to Junior for yelling at him about messing with the mouse, George and the mouse crawl down Junior's overalls tickling him.
  • Standard '50s Father: Harold Shrinks to a certain extent, though with a Totally Radical habit of talking (or trying to talk) like a Beatnik.


George Shrinks

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