- "Something sets her apart, she will capture your heart! She's got a twinkle in her eye that you can't ignore! She'll be the one that you adore, and that's for sure! You've never met another girl like this before! She's got a twinkle her eye that you can't ignore!"—From the theme song
Holly Hobbie and Friends was a series of direct-to-DVD releases focused on a young girl named Holly Hobbie, a girl from the city who visits the town of Clover, to stay with her Aunt Jessie. Holly is accompanied by her two friends, Amy Morris and Carrie Baker, together known as the "Hey Girls." In each installment, they would have adventures with their friends and family and do their best to help others, from trying to restore the joy of life to a widow and her twin boys after the death of the father, to helping a shunned new girl at school find acceptance.
The title of the series was based on the popular author and illustrator Holly Hobbie, though she was only loosely connected to the franchise at best, and most well-known for the picture book series Toot & Puddle and the associated television series and DVD release. It was also based on much earlier toy and doll releases using the Holly Hobbie name, and it was said within the specials that the Holly Hobbie seen in these releases was the great-granddaughter of the original Holly Hobbie. The series had a total of six different releases over four years, as well as a single limited-release music album featuring the songs of Christmas Wishes, and numerous picture books, both ones based directly on the direct-to-DVD specials and unique releases such as Holly's Halloween Adventure and Let's Have a Tea Party!: A Scratch and Sniff Storybook.
The initial releases in the series featured a single story on one disc, while the remainder featured two 22-minute stories and the last DVD featuring Holly's family moving back to Clover permanently, almost as if the franchise was being groomed to be made into an episodic television series, though this never materialized. The specials were, however, presented on Nickelodeon/Nick Jr. and to this day, Nick Jr. maintains two different games for the franchise on its Web site: a dress-up game and a muffin maker. The show theme song was performed by popular country artist LeAnn Rimes, who also provided the voice of the widow, Kelly Deegan, in Christmas Wishes.
The video releases in the series were:
- Holly Hobbie and Friends: Surprise Party (2005)
- Holly Hobbie and Friends: Christmas Wishes (2006)
- Holly Hobbie and Friends: Secret Adventures (2007)
- Holly Hobbie and Friends: Best Friends Forever (2007)
- Holly Hobbie and Friends: Fabulous Fashion Show - "Inside Out" and "Hats Off" (2008)
- Holly Hobbie and Friends: Marvelous Makeover - "Cover Girl" and "Reboot" (2009)
The releases remain generally available on DVD and have also been made available on certain download services, such as Amazon Instant Video and the Play Station Network.
Holly Hobbie and Friends includes examples of the following:
- Adaptation Distillation: A number of picture book releases that were somewhat distilled versions of the DVD specials, though they tried their best to pack as much of the plot as possible into the limit of 24 pages.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Robbie to Holly at times, though his subplots often involve him having entirely separate adventures with his best friend Kyle.
- An Aesop:
- "Surprise Party": You dont have to agree with your friends, but you shouldnt stomp on their beliefs.
- "Christmas Wishes": It's important to celebrate the holidays, especially in tough times.
- "Secret Adventures": Its important to know the difference between secrets that should and shouldnt be kept.
- "Best Friends Forever": When fighting for a cause, do what you can do to help.
- Be Yourself: This is a key theme running through most of the franchise, but it shows up most particularly in Marvelous Makeover.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Amy gives Holly a "Reason You Suck" Speech after the latter makes fun of her for believing in space aliens. Later, when Holly comes over to apologize, Amy glares at her and coldly says, "Oh, its you."
- Bizarre Taste in Food: Amy likes peanut butter and tuna fish sandwiches.
- Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Holly, Carrie, Amy (in that order).
- Broken Bird: Kelly Deegan, until Holly helps restore her happiness by contriving to give her the solo at the Christmas pageant in Christmas Wishes.
- But Now I Must Go: Surprise Party ends with Holly and her mother leaving Clover and driving back to the city.
- Cheerful Child: The Deegan twins have managed to remain largely cheerful and innocent, despite their mother's desire to shun Christmas and things related to it following the death of her husband/their father. Also, Holly and her friends to some degree.
- Christmas Special: Christmas Wishes. And, rather unusually, a more traditional one for today's time, in a series that otherwise isn't overtly Christian. While it doesn't overtly peddle Christian themes, it does include a fully traditional Christian pageant, with an original manger song called "There's No Room at the Inn", and both Christian and secular Christmas songs, such as "Jingle Bells" and "O Holy Night".
- Cloudcuckoolander: Amy can come across as being in Cloudcuckooland at times.
- Disney Acid Sequence: "Just Like You" from Surprise Party, "Quelle Surprise" from Best Friends Forever.
- Edutainment Show: Of the "pro-social values"/An Aesop type
- Facepalm: This is Carrie's reaction in Christmas Wishes when the Hey Girls are coming up with ideas to help the Deegans have some Christmas cheer and Amy suggests that they could organize their sock drawer.
- The Glasses Gotta Go: Played with in Marvelous Makeover - "Cover Girl," in which K.T., the new girl, is given a makeover, but the story is ultimately about accepting her for who she is.
- Hey, You!: The Hey Girls named themselves after once being addressed in this way.
- Hypno Pendulum: In Secret Adventures, Holly tries to hypnotize Carrie with a locket to try and cure her fear of the dark. She ends up hypnotizing Amy instead.
- Iconic Outfit: Classic Holly has her bonnet while modern Holly has her Nice Hat.
- Identical Granddaughter: In Surprise Party, Holly is said to be a splitting image of Great Grandma Holly.
- Idiot Ball: One of the main issues critics had with Fabulous Fashion Show was that Holly was passed the idiot ball and as a result was acting out of character and like a complete Yes-Man to Portia. The ball was then passed over to Amy and Carrie in Marvelous Makeover for most of the first story before it was finally threw away, but by then it was too late.
- "I Want" Song: "No Problem Bigger than Me" from Best Friends Forever.
- Licensed Game: There was one decent licensed game for the Nintendo DS.
- Literal-Minded: When Holly says that old man Scranton's "bark is worse than his bite," Amy thinks that Scranton bit Holly.
- Mythology Gag: Holly's great-grandmother is a Shout-Out to her classic design, down to the bonnet.
- New York Is Only Manhattan: One episode has the characters going to New York City, in particular Manhattan. One of the characters is terrified of the stereotypical New York things like heavy traffic or the skyscrapers and had to learn to deal with it.
- No Antagonist: The series lacks any type of villain whatsoever.
- Pep-Talk Song: "Think Of Something Nice" from Secret Adventures; "Together" from Best Friends Forever.
- Playing Sick: In Christmas Wishes, Holly is said to have lost her voice due to a "freak scarf accident" and this is the reason why she has to give up her solo to the widow Kelly Deegan. In reality, it's just a scheme to restore happiness to this Broken Bird, and it works.
- Poor Communication Kills: In "Surprise Party", Holly has Amy and Carrie help her with Aunt Jessies party and makes all of the decisions, not letting them have a say in the matter.
- Protagonist and Friends
- Remember The New Girl: Portia in Fabulous Fashion Show. The entire group, including Holly, acted like they have always knew Portia despite there being no prior reference or appearance.
- Santa Claus: Christmas Wishes includes a subplot in which Holly's brother, Robby Hobbie, and his friend Kyle Morris try to convince everyone that Robby is Santa Claus when he takes a job as mall Santa. He has trouble getting it to work, due to his small stature and his use of the family pig, Cheddar, as his reindeer, despite his best attempt at a booming "ho ho ho" voice. One girl tells him that he can't be Santa because he's not fat and doesn't have any reindeer, and he tries to convince her that the pig is really is reindeer and that he's skinny because he's gone on a low-carb diet. "Fine! I won't leave you any cookies! I'll eat them all myself!" Despite this, he gets the Deegan twins (the sons of the widow in the film) to tell him their true Christmas wish, which, in a twist, isn't something like wanting their father back or seeing their mother happy (though they would like this), but rather to have an earwig farm.
- Sequel Goes Foreign: "Fabulous Fashion Show" generally takes place in the big city, where Holly lives.
- "Shaggy Dog" Story: Best Friends Forever, natch. The girls spent a lot of energy to prevent the house of a widow from being torn down. Only for Diabolus ex Machina to destroy the house anyway.
- Shout-Out: In Christmas Wishes, Amy describes Mr. Beech's display of little drummer boy dwarfs as "Attack of the Little Drummer Clones."
- Slice of Life: Yeah, the stories are of this type.
- Speech Impediment: Amy has a slight but noticeable lisp when she speaks.
- Surprise Party: The entire promise of the first release in the series, Surprise Party, is about the Hey Girls and their families working together to plan and throw one for Holly's Aunt Jessie.
- True Blue Femininity: Holly predominantly wears blue.
- Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Where the heck is Clover? Though it's implied that it may be somewhere in New England, as they travel to New York City by train in Fabulous Fashion Show.
- Zany Scheme: Holly and her friends get up to a number of them, though they actually often turn out to be rather inspired, and sometimes not so zany after all.