Presented in a two shorts format, Hello Kitty and her friends run a playhouse that performs quirky retellings of classic fairy talesnote , storybooksnote , and even various films.note as shows within a show.
This is the only Hello Kitty animated series that is an International Coproduction intended for a non-Japanese market, originally airing on CBS in the United States; the animation was produced in Japan (by Toei Animation, with assistance from Korean studio Big Star) but all scripts and voice acting are in English. Two later anime series, Hello Kitty and Friends and Hello Kitty's Animation Theater, also plug her and other Sanrio characters into fairy tale retellings, though those adaptations are much more straightforward and faithful (especially Animation Theater) and lack a Framing Device.
U.S. viewers can watch the whole series on digital retailers. VUDUnote is also streaming the show for free in the U.S. (until 2019)
Furry Tale Theater contains examples of:
- Adaptational Nice Girl: The mother duck in The Ugly Duckling was neglectful if not outright abusive toward the eponymous Ugly Duckling. Fangola meanwhile portrays the mother duck in "The Ugly Quackling" as at worst somewhat exasperated toward "Ugly" (portrayed by My Melody) for her clumsiness, but otherwise treats her with mostly the same love and attention as her other hatchlings.
- Adaptational Villainy: In "Kitty and the Beast" Sam is transformed into a beast by an evil witch rather than a fairy to teach him a lesson, however this leans more towards Truer to the Text than Adaptational Villainy when reading the original tale.
- Adult Fear: "K. T., the Kitty Terrestrial" puts a particular emphasis on this, as the titular alien feline is separated from her parents and hunted by opportunistic researchers while on Earth.
- Anachronism Stew: A regular feature of the stories involves a dose of this. Such as the curse in "Sleeping Kitty" being brought upon by watching television. Or the evil fairy of the same segment using a moped in her attempt to foil the heroes.
- And Now For Something Completely Different: "Phantom of the Theater", the Series Finale, deals with the cast's investigation of strange happenings in the theater, rather than a performance.
- Androcles' Lion: "Paws", the Hello Kitty retelling of Jaws, features the revelation that the shark's aggression was prompted by a fish hook caught in his fin. He befriends the protagonists after they pull it out.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In "Grinder Genie and the Magic Lamp," Sultana Catnip says the penalty for Grandpa Kitty not paying his taxes would be the taking away of his houseboat, the taking of his children to be her slaves, and having to do homework every night.
- Big Bad: Catnip often portrays these roles in the performances.
- Big Bad Duumvirate: With Grinder or Fangora, in other performances
- Bubblegum Popping: The episode "Robin Hood Penguin" based on Robin Hood involves My Melody, Chip and Grandpa Kitty blowing up giant size bubbles that allow them to fly and then are burst against their enemies, leaving them Covered in Gunge.
- Canon Foreigner: Catnip, Fangora and Grinder.
- Composite Character: In "Cat Wars", Grandpa Kitty's role is a mix of Obi-Wan and Yoda.
- Dumb Jock: Grinder's not the sharpest knife by a long shot, and he usually wears a number 0 jersey which implies this.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: While not an evil character, per se, Catnip is generally antagonistic and snide. Cue her surprise as to why Hello Kitty would prepare her a sandwich with her favorite ingredients, and then commenting that the suggestion to be nice like her is a "strange idea".
- Green-Eyed Monster: Catnip.
- How Scrinchenip Stole Christmas
- Interspecies Romance: A few of the stories involve Hello Kitty and Tuxedo Sam (a penguin) as love interests to one another.
- Lighter and Softer: Done quite a lot even if it does avert the Tastes Like Diabetes flavoring Sanrio is known for. Particularly a parody of Jaws where nobody dies (unless you count some poor people on a carousel).
- Lovable Alpha Bitch: Catnip's offstage personality. She's self-involved, snide, and sometimes antagonistic, but she has moments that show she cares for the others, and she's not all bad.
- Mismatched Eyes: Grinder has one eye that's black bead and one detailed eye.
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: Grinder normally acts as The Dragon to Catnip whenever she is the main antagonist of plays, but when he' not acting he's a sweet-natured Gentle Giant.
- Off-Model: While the animation is incredibly smooth for an eighties cartoon, there are some moments where certain parts of a character look kinda off. (eg. Catnip's eyes, miscolored arms)
- Off to See the Wizard: The show did this with the story "Wizard of Paws."
- Punny Name: Besides the names of each individual storynote , the show's name seems to be a pun on the then-recent Showtime series Faerie Tale Theatre. (It helps its case that the prior show was sometimes referred to as Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre, after its creator/presenter/sometimes actress.)
- Setting Update: Sometimes employed, such as "Little Red Riding Hood" reimagined as a western.
- Short-Runner: Ran for one 13-episode season.
- Shout-Out: "Paws of the Round Table" features a scene where Grinder's Black Knightcharacter must answer three questions.
- Show Within a Show: The "furry tales" are pitched as stage plays in-universe.
- Spared by the Adaptation: The ending of "Kitty and the Kong."
- Stage Mom: Catnip's mom Fangora is implied to be one of these, but it's never really confirmed outright.
- The Teaser: The show has these before the opening sequence.note Additionally, in most episodes, there's a prologue of what the characters are doing before the show starts. These actions will be used or mentioned in the play. For example, in "KT", some of the cast members were eating cookies that were meant for the show. Grandpa Kitty had to replace them with wooden replacements, but Sam later spit them out, saying they taste like wood.
- Typecasting: Catnip lampshades her In-Universe typecasting when she complains about how she's always a villainess like a witch and would just like to be the lead for once.
- Yet Another Christmas Carol: Played with. The Christmas Episode of the series starts out as A Christmas Carol, but then becomes a parody of The Grinch.
- You Don't Look Like You: Chip is from Tuxedo Sam's line, but in this show he looks fairly different than he does in most merch (he's blue in most merchandise, grey in this cartoon, among other traits). In the series, he's the same size as Tuxedo Sam, Hello Kitty, and My Melody compared to his official design where he's notably shorter then Tuxedo Sam.◊