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Western Animation / George Shrinks

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"If It Ain't Broke" DVD Cover

George Shrinks is a Canadian–Chinese animated television series. It is based on the children's book by William Joyce, produced in China by Jade Animation and in Canada by Nelvana, in association with PBS. It tells the story of a ten-year-old boy named George Shrinks who, one night dreams that he is three inches tall, only to wake up and discover that it is true. The show details his adventures with his friends and family going through his adventures on his mini machines that George and his musical father have created.

The series started on September 30, 2000, on PBS Kids as part of 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 Maurice Sendak's Seven Little Monsters.


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.
  • Advertisement:
  • Blush Stickers: A few character, most notably Perdita and Junior, have these.
  • B-Movie: The episode "Monster Mash" is a tribute to 1950s monster movies.
  • Cats Are Mean: Neighborhood stray Sparkle Tangerine is a recurring antagonist.
  • 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.
  • Expository Theme Tune
  • From Bad to Worse: The title and premise of one episode.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Standard '50s Father: Harold Shrinks to a certain extent, though with a Totally Radical habit of talking (or trying to talk) like a Beatnik.
  • Weekend Inventor: 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.

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