JoJo's Circus was a stop-motion animated series that aired in its original run on Playhouse Disney from 2003-2007. The series was created and otherwise worked on by many of the same people who created shows like Doug and PB&J Otter, including Jim Jinkins and Eric Weiner.
The series revolved around a young clown girl named JoJo Tickle who attended clown school with her pet lion Goliath. In each episode, she learned various aesops that might be of interest to children while also learning how to be a good clown. The show had a heavy focus on promoting exercise and physical activity. This focus was further emphasized in the briefly-lived spin-off short-form series Feelin' Good with JoJo.
The show was popular enough to spawn two music albums and some of the other songs were released on a Playhouse Disney music album. There were only two DVD releases, but repeats of the program aired daily at launch on Disney Junior, the 24/7 network that replaced Playhouse Disney.
The main character's name is officially spelled in CamelCase. Which, yes, requires extra formatting to display properly on this wiki, but it's important to be correct.
JoJo's Circus provides examples of these tropes:
- An Aesop: In each episode, and at the end, JoJo is pulled in the "Spotlight Moment" and asked to say what she learned.
- All Animals Are Dogs: Goliath is a lion and even has some degree of sentience, despite being JoJo's pet. Despite this, he sometimes makes barking or yipping noises and does other dog-like things.
- Anthropomorphic Food: The Spudinskis, who are sentient potatoes
- Argument of Contradictions: In "Hop Hooey," Trina and Croaky have a rapid-fire series of these over a trivial problem in a game before doing the "infinity times a kazillion and one" thing and then squaring off against each other and not talking to each other. JoJo, however, solves things by teaching them a trick she learned from her parents to calm herself down when she's angry.
- Banana Peel: JoJo's parents attend a club in which one of the things they do for fun is slipping on banana peels. They are clowns, after all.
- Baths Are Fun: In one installment, there was a song called "Bathtime" (also released on one of the show's soundtrack albums) in which the star character and her pet lion Goliath sing about how much fun bathtime is.
- Cartoon Juggling: Skeebo is shown juggling in the show's opening sequence.
- Cheerful Child: JoJo herself. It's not that she's never sad or angry, but it rarely lasts long and she tends to default towards cheerful.
- Christmas Episode and Halloween Episode: Both of these were done - "A Circus Town Christmas" and "The Legend of Clownfoot".
- Circus Brat: JoJo is the daughter of two famous clowns, and is a clown herself.
- Clown School: The basic premise is JoJo and her classmates all attending kiddie clown school. Their parents are graduates.
- Duck!: One episode has JoJo shout this, which Goliath confused for the bird, prompting JoJo to explain the verb version of the word. Then a pie-fighting game used on the website played the trope straight by having the player hit a button of a duck to duck.
- Edutainment Show: With a focus on promoting exercise and physical activity, but also including aesops, pro-social values and general learning.
- Everything's Better with Rainbows: One of the show's stories had the characters chasing a rainbow and dancing a rainbow dance.
- "Everybody Laughs" Ending: Quite commonplace with this show.
- Expressive Ears: Dinky the elephant has these.
- Fake Interactivity: One of the show's main thrusts is trying to get kids up and moving, and this is done by having JoJo and sometimes Goliath as the designated Fourth Wall Observers directly encourage the viewers to move along with the exercises or dances the characters were doing. This was continued in the short series follow-up Feelin' Good with JoJo.
- Fantastic Flora: The itchy ootchy scratch plants are basically a fast-acting fantastic flora version of poison ivy. When JoJo and Skeebo fall into a patch of these, they start itching all over.
- First Day of School Episode: "Easy as Pie". It's also the series' first episode all together.
- Forbidden Fruit: In "Easy as Pie", Mrs. Kersplatski shows Jojo an elite robot she made and warns her not to honk its nose; once she steps away, Jojo is so interested in the robot she cannot help herself and thus, honks its nose, causing it to come to life and reveal itself as a pie throwing machine which nearly messes up the school.
- Friendly Tickle Torture
- JoJo's family's surname is "Tickle," this is played with in one episode when she's trying to get Goliath to go to bed and she sings "Little Goliath's going to sleep / Let's tickle his ears and the tops of feet..." In fact, this is actually part of both JoJo and Goliath's normal bedtime routine, except that it's Mr. Tickle who normally sings it to them while doing the tickling.
- In another episode, JoJo's teacher, Mrs. Kersplatski, decides to roll call everyone by saying their last names first. Of course, this leads to JoJo's best friend Skeebo tickling her, since her name "Tickle, JoJo" sounded like an instruction.
- Friend-or-Idol Decision: In "A Circus Town Christmas", JoJo can only choose to spend her popcorn ball on the replacement Santa Clown for her parents, or the basket she used to put the shivering bird's nest in. She chose the latter.
- "Getting Ready for Bed" Plot: JoJo and Goliath have a bedtime routine with JoJo's father, which includes him singing them a special song, "Tickle Goodnight." In "Nighty Night," when Mr. Tickle has to be away for the Big Top Clown convention, JoJo takes care of things by herself, including singing Goliath a specialized version of the song. The story ends with Mrs. Tickle asking her what she learned and she says that she can do her bedtime routine all by herself "and I bet you can, too. Nighty night!"
- Hiccup Hijinks: This was done with Skeebo in "Hiccup Helpers."
- Inelegant Blubbering: In "A New Twist", Babalulu the pretzel vendor is reduced to a sobbing and nose-blowing mess after giving straight pretzels to JoJo and her friends, and the reason why she's crying is because she doesn't know how to twist pretzels correctly. Fortunately, the kids are able to cheer her up by teaching her to come up with some twists by using Boa as an inspiration.
- Ink-Suit Actor: JoJo's design is notably similar to that of her voice actress, Madeleine Martin, particularly the hairstyle, which matches the hairstyle she sported when appearing on Out of the Box around the same time she voiced JoJo.
- Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!: With various types of anthro characters - see Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism below.
- The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: In "A Circus Town Christmas," the Christmas Episode, the Circus Town Perfect Present Store appears in Circus Town. As the teacher Mrs. Kersplatski explains, "The wind blows it in, then blows it away again!"
- Non-Ironic Clown: JoJo,her family, and some of the other characters.
- Plot Allergy: JoJo has a plot allergy to merryberries, a type of berry found only within the show's setting of Circus Town. In "Tickled Pink," JoJo eats some merryberries, which causes her nose to swell and honk and her skin to turn pink and tingly. Fortunately, she visits her friendly family doctor, Skeebo's mother Dr. Seltzer, who gives her an easy cure - to pat her tummy and rub her nose, then rub her tummy and give her nose a pat. The moral of the story is "So if you feel low / If you feel sad / If allergies make you feel real bad / For upset tummies or aching heads / Listen to your doctor and do what she says / If you wanna get better / Listen to your doctor and do what she says." Also "If you are allergic to a food, never eat it because it can make you really, really sick, and don't be afraid to tell someone if you have an allergy."
- Polka-Dot Disease: In "Pop-Up!", Skeebo gets the polka dot spots and is upset when he has to stay home from school from two weeks and they even start appear on his feet. JoJo and her pet lion Goliath have already had them, so they come over to his place to make him feel better and entertain him with a jack-in-the-box.
- Running Gag: At the end of each installment, JoJo is asked what she learned and starts to reply, only be literally dragged off to be placed on stage as the "Spotlight Moment Song" plays to relate what she learned there on-stage. You'd think she'd get used to it.
- Sleepyhead: Tater can nod off at a moment's notice and his bedtime routine involves a count to three. He never makes it past three.
- Slice of Life: Generally slice of life, though with some attempt to work in a theme or morals
- Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism: Most of the animal characters seem to fall somewhere between Funny Animal and Civilized Animal. Goliath the lion is more-or-less a Talking Animal and is even referred to by JoJo as her "pet lion," but he goes to clown school with her and seems to be generally sentient, even able to talk to a limited degree.
- Standard Snippet: The "Snake Dance" song sung by JoJo and Bal Boa uses the melody of "The Streets of Cairo," also known as the Arabian riff.
- Title Theme Tune: "JoJo, JoJo's Circus..."
- A Weighty Aesop: A big part of the show, but in one case the Spudinskis become literal couch potatoes (as in, rooted to their couches), and have to be encouraged to exercise.