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Western Animation / Josie and the Pussycats

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Left to right: Alexander, Valerie, Melody, Josie, Alan, Alexandra. Foreground: Sebastian.

Although based on an Archie Comics publication, this series was produced by Hanna-Barbera rather than Filmation and aired from 1970 to 1971. The all-female rock trio comprised guitarist Josie McCoy, tambourinist Valerie Brown, and drummer Melody Valentine. Valerie is Black and Nerdy, Melody is a Dumb Blonde and Josie is of average intellect.

Supporting characters were Alan Mayberry, an ex-country singer who became the Pussycats' roadie and Josie's love interest; Alexander Cabot III, the Pussycats' cowardly manager; Alexandra Cabot, Alexander's twin who continually tried to steal Alan away from Josie and/or replace Josie as leader of the band; and Sebastian, Alexandra's snickering cat.

Each episode usually had the group traveling to their next gig or recording session, only to stumble upon criminals, mad scientists, or terrorists and foil their plot.


It had a successor series, Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space that aired in 1972. While posing for a photo shoot in front of a space ship, Alexandra accidentally makes the group stumble into the ship and it blasts off. By the time they get the ship under control, they are hopelessly lost in space. A woolly creature named Bleep joined the cast, whom Melody could communicate with. Each episode had the group fly the space ship, trying to find Earth, only to stumble upon a planet with some kind of problem, usually a dictator or invaders, and fix it. The series was cancelled without the group making it home.

Voice talent included Janet Waldo, Casey Kasem and Don Messick, enabling Josie and friends to cross over to The New Scooby-Doo Movies.

It was adapted into a live-action film in 2001. For information on that, click here.


This series provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptational Intelligence: In the comic strip, Alan was portrayed to be, at best, an average guy with muscles or, at worst, a bit of Dumb Muscle, but in the cartoon, he is made out to be just as intelligent as Valerie, turning him into a Genius Bruiser.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: Like most Hanna-Barbera shows of the period, the Japanese dub came with its own customized opening.
  • Animated Adaptation: It started in Archie Comics, after all.
  • Artsy Beret: Exploited by Alexander while Josie and the Pussycats are hiding from two mooks in a fashion studio by posing as the couturier (fashion designer) Charles of the Bowery. Alex's wardrobe is already eclectic, but gets pushed to absurdity with a huge bow tie and an oversized beret. The mooks are skeptical but withhold their aggression. Then the real couturier appears: a middle-aged, balding man dressed like a proper banker.
  • Ascended Extra: Similar to Hot Dog in The Archie Show, Sebastian has a much larger role in the cartoon than he did in the comics.
  • Aside Comment/Cats Are Snarkers: Sebastian's snickering.
  • Bag of Kidnapping: An apeman nabs Josie, Melody, and Valerie with this method in "Plateau of the Apes Plot".
  • Belly Dancer: In an episode called "Swap Plot Flop".
  • Betty and Veronica: Averted, because Alan is unwaveringly involved with Josie and has no interest in the scheming Alexandra.
  • The Blank: Mastermind from "Never Mind a Master Mind".
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Drummer Melody is the Blonde, Valerie has tambourines as the Brunette, and Josie on electric guitar is the Redhead.
  • Botanical Abomination: The villain Doctor Greenthumb plans to cultivate and loose an army of eight-foot tall aggressive plant-monsters in battalion strength, unless he's paid richly to keep them bottled.
  • Captain Nemo Copy: Josie and Company are captured by Captain Nemo and taken aboard his submarine. The captain claims that his great-grandfather helmed a sub exactly like his. The mad captain is using a huge drill bit on the ship's prow to puncture the hulls of merchant ships, sinking them, then looting them safely underwater. The vessel even includes a pipe organ on the bridge.
  • Cats Are Mean: Sebastian was a nasty prankster in the main show. He bedeviled Scooby when there was a Crossover, and he and Bleep were in a constant state of war when the show ended up Recycled IN SPACE!.
  • Cat Girl: The theme of the band.
    -"...long tails, and ears for hats."
  • Cat Stereotype: Sebastian the cat is their Team Pet. He has mostly black fur, with white paws, muzzle, cheeks, and a Skunk Stripe running along the crest of his head. Sebastian is often in the care of Alexandra, the troupe's Token Evil Teammate, who has a Skunk Stripe herself, and like Alexandra, Sebastian is guileful and subversive. Fortunately, Sebastian never slips into evil territory, remaining a Lawful Neutral by using his guile to subvert villains.
  • Chase Scene: A staple of each episode accompanied by a song from the 'Cats.
  • Classical Anti-Hero: Alexander, the self-described "chicken."
    • Can also be interpreted as Adaptational Wimp; in the comics, though Alex is far from being a heroic and noble character, he isn't nearly as cowardly as his animated version.
  • Crossover: Particularly noticeable is the one with Scooby Doo.
  • The Ditz/Dumb Blonde: Melody, to the point she could be the poster child of both tropes!
  • Darker and Edgier: Subverted with respect to the kind of villains that Josie and the gang faced in comparison to the "Scooby-Doo" Hoax involving villains that were not professional criminals and were easily foiled by Those Meddling Kids. On the other hand, villains that menaced the Pussycats were truly dangerous and potentially murderous criminals who had henchmen that sometimes used guns and other lethal force. Though nobody ever got hurt and the villains eventually succumbed to Bond Villain Stupidity.
  • Dumb and Drummer: It likely isn't a coincidence that Melody is the drummer.
  • Dumb Is Good: Melody. Besides being uber-nice:
    • She had a preternatural power to understand the speech of alien animals.
    • She wept when upon hearing Alexandra's voice (she was hiding in a plant - see Shout-Out below), she thought Alexandra was eaten by one of Greenthumb's plant-monsters!
  • "Everybody Laughs" Ending: Usually because of some tragedy befalling Alexandra.
  • Expy: The show being heavily inspired by Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, Alan and Alexander have been retooled into fairly obvious expies for Fred and Shaggy. The change is most noticeable with Alexander, whose comic-book counterpart is an Expy of Reggie Mantle.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Once the series was recycled in Space, this became the only option for our heroes finding their way home. Even if some benevolent aliens pointed them in the right direction, Alexandra would inevitably accidentally bump into something, throwing them off course (which is how they got lost in space in the first place).
  • Faint in Shock: The episode "The Secret Six Secret" has the villains loose a Bengal tiger in the girls' hotel room, because they know too much. Alan manages to trap the tiger in a Murphy bed. Upon hearing what the girls endured, Alexander faints. When his sister, Alexandra, tries to give Alan a Smooch of Victory, she trips over Alex's inert form.
    Alexandra: The next time you decide to faint, do it by an open window.
  • Fainting: Alexander is prone to this, whether out of fright or by Foreign Queasine.
  • Fake Defector: On a few occasions, Sebastian fakes buddying up to a given villain in order to help the group later (like deactivating a death trap or swiping keys to handcuffs).
  • Female Fighter, Male Handler: Alexander is the band's manager, and Josie's sort of boyfriend Alan is their roadie.
  • Fishbowl Helmet: Sebastian the cat plunks an actual fishbowl over his head in order to rescue Josie and the Pussycats from prison capsules on the ocean floor. Thanks to Cartoon Physics, this works.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Friendly Enemies: Alexandra may hate the band and especially Josie, but she occasionally helps them defeat the villains and defends them when the chips are down.
  • Fun with Acronyms: In "Spy School Spoof", the gang enters Laser's lair claiming to be from QUACK (Quality Undercover Agents Checking Kooks).
  • Genius Ditz: As dumb as Melody is, she plays the drums professionally.
    Melody: Eat your heart out, Ringo!
  • Harmless Electrocution: This has been featured in a few episodes:
    • In "The Nemo's A No No Affair", Alexander gets shocked when he plugs a cord in a port to start up the motor of a motorboat and as this happens, his entire body flashes in various, neon colors.
    • In "X Marks The Spot", Alexandra, jealous as usual of Josie and her band, decides to switch out the speaker wires to make Josie sound terrible. This unfortunately backfires on her when she gets zapped and engulfed in sparks causing her to bounce around the venue the band is performing at.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Though he's not The Hero (he fits as a sort-of Lancer), Alan would rather have Josie than Alexandra.
  • Human Popsicle: The Scorpion captures Alexander, Melody and Alexandra, and traps them in transparent tubes that he fills with "freeze gas." The three are frozen in place in those tubes until Alan, Josie and Valerie sneak into the control room and open the tubes. The three prisoners topple forward, and shatter the ice around them upon impact. Somehow, they're none the worse for this ordeal.
  • Insult Backfire: Laser-Guided Karma aimed at Alexandra, especially when she calls anyone "dum-dum".
  • Iron Butt Monkey: Alexandra, for all of her Amusing Injuries.
  • Ironic Echo Cut: In "The Jumpin' Jupiter Affair":
    Alexandra: (after blowing one of the gang's plans - again): Thanks to me, I'll bet the rest of the gang is heading this way with help.
    (cut to Alexander, running for his life as a result of his sister's bumbling)
    Alexander: HELP!
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sebastian. He's an often mean-spirited prankster who finds other people's pain and humiliation hilariously funny, but he does care about his humans, particularly Alexandra, and will provide aid and support when needed.
  • Jerkass: Alexandra's arrogance, impatience and pomposity make her very difficult to like.
  • Just Eat Gilligan: You really do have to wonder why they even put up with Alexandra, who is nothing more than The Load and The Millstone to the group. In the outer space series, they could have gotten home if they had just pushed her out the airlock or left her on the next planet they landed (this would've been wildly out of character for the main trio, but still).
  • Karmic Butt-Monkey: Alexandra Cabot is often a subversive glory-hog in the cartoons. Her efforts to displace or humilliate Josie always backfire. However, though Alexandra dislikes Josie, she abhors villains.
  • Large Ham: Alexander in the comics, Alexandra in the cartoon.
  • Leotard of Power: Their feline stage outfits.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: Lampshaded by Alexandra in the final episode, having been sent off with Sebastian, Alexander, and Melody:
    Oooh, why do I always get stuck with a cat, a chicken, and a giggling blonde?
  • The Load: Alexandra, who stoops to subversion to undermine Josie, and insists upon being the Designated Hero, which often sunders the effort to thwart the villain, though there were times when she actually managed to thwart the villain of the episode, mainly by accident.
  • Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard: If you're gonna kidnap Valerie, you'd better be damn sure she can't move or speak.
  • Lovable Coward: Alexander, who talks a big game, but has no spine to back up his boasting.
  • Love Triangle: Josie, Alan, Alexandra. In the comics, Alexander is less cowardly and more devious, and has a crush on Josie, creating a Love Quadrangle.
  • Loves Only Gold: The episode "The Midas Mix-Up" has Josie and the Pussycats encounter a reclusive Mad Scientist who would threaten, "Unless I am paid half the gold in the world, I shall destroy all the gold in the world!" Midas has perfected a microbe mist that can dissolve gold, and plans to export the stuff disguised as spray cologne.
  • Luminescent Blush: "In Chili Today And Hot Tamale", Alexandra's face turns raspberry red and smoke comes out of her ears, and mouth, as a result of eating a taco with hot sauce, which was poured on by Sebastian.
  • MacGyvering: Valerie was the champion of this, making solutions and springing traps with guitar strings, bubble gum and hairspray.
  • Mad Scientist: SEVERAL.
  • Marilyn Maneuver: In the episode, "A Thumb Is Not A Goldfinger", Valerie's dress floats slightly in the breeze, as she and the others cling onto one another and parachute to the ground.
    • Alexandra in "The Jumping' Jupiter Affair". Her skirt gets lifted from behind, as she hangs on tightly to a kite and the gust carries them idly. In a possible animation goof, she seems to be commando.
    • Melody in "Never Mind A Master Mind". Her skirt flies up as she and the others drop to the ground after being suspended in the air by a ray gun used to cause levitation, and the effect wears off. As a possible animation goof, she doesn't seem to wear undies in this.
    • In "All Wong In Hong Kong", Valerie's dress flows lightly or slightly as she hangs onto a flying rocket and grabs, and carries Alexandra. But the former isn't seen from behind when this happens.
  • Meteor-Summoning Attack: The main characters encounter the villain Doctor Strangemoon, whose Evil Plan is to launch a satellite that will attract fiery comets to Earth, raining havoc upon civilization. He launches the vehicle with three of those meddling kids (Alexander, Alexandra and Melody) aboard. Fortunately, Alexandra pulls the capsule off course somehow, so the satellite never pulls a comet to Earth as intended.
  • Miles Gloriosus: Alexander will gladly take credit for foiling the villain. However, in "Plateau of the Apes Plot", he has this to say at the end - this was after he had been transformed into a gorilla and had to be rescued from the pound:
    Alexander: "There never was any doubt that we could handle the situation. After all, under my skillful and fearless leadership, mmph ..."
  • The Millstone: Whenever the gang has some kind of plan, Alexandra, in an attempt to show everyone else up, will inadvertently ruin it.
  • Mind Control: Melody gets hypnotized, brainwashed and mind-controlled by the villains a lot. In every single instance they end up wishing they hadn't, because her ditzy nature is only exaggerated when she's hypnotized, and she will screw up the simplest of tasks. Sometimes it's hinted she isn't mind-controlled and only pretending to thwart the villains.
    Villain: I am your Master!
    Melody: Yes, Mustard! (giggle)
    (Cue Villain getting increasingly annoyed)
  • Mind-Control Eyes: Again, Melody gets them when under the influence of the villains.
  • Ms. Fanservice: All the female, main characters. Whether they're wearing miniskirts/minidresses, leopard skin leotards, or babydoll dresses as seen in "The Secret Six Secret", they provide this.
  • Nearly Normal Animal/Speech-Impaired Animal: Sebastian falls in between.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Sebastian, and Bleep in outer space.
  • Pain to the Ass: As the Chew Toy of the group, Alexandra receives a lot of ass-based slapstick, including landing butt-first on a cactus, getting it hit by a door, pinched by a crab, and too many others to count. She really is the Butt Monkey of the group.
  • Panty Shot: Melody and Alexandra in "Swap Plot Flot". In this moment that can only be caught as a still, before they and most of the others can stop a large pot from falling off the top of a building, they and the others end up falling over with it anyway, and there are rear views of their undies. Melody's undies match her mint green vest and Alexandra's match the red portions of her dress.
    • All the girls in "The Secret Six Secret", when they're wearing their babydoll dresses and they're bouncing from bed to bed to escape a tiger.
  • Plant Mooks: Mad Scientist Doctor Greenthumb sought to create an army of plant-creatures in the episode "A Greenthumb Is Not A Goldfinger." His Evil Plan never made it out of beta.
  • Pokémon Speak: Bleep
  • Power Trio: Josie, Melody, Valerie.
  • Prince and Pauper: Melody was more than once mistaken for somebody of elevated status, including one Outer Space episode where the residents of a planet mistook her for their goddess.
    • For that matter, a pair of shoes was accidentally mixed up for another pair of shoes that were intelligence-gathering devices.
    • Valerie turned out to be a dead ringer for a princess from India, and agreed to act as a decoy to catch a villain who was after her.
  • Rapid Aging: The plot of "Don't Count on a Countess". Affects both the cast (sans Valerie) and the villains of the episode
  • Recognizable by Sound: While sneaking around the mansion of Mad Scientist Doctor Greenthumb in the episode "A Greenthumb Is Not a Goldfinger," the three band members encounter a walking pile of leaves. They presume that this is one of the mad doctor's plant creatures, and attack it. While Josie and Valerie are pummeling the creature, it cries in pain from the blows. Melody recognizes the voice, and begins sobbing, "That sounds like Alexandra. The creature-plant must have eaten her!" Immediately, Josie and Valerie realize that Dumbass Has a Point, and it's revealed that the creature was Alexandra disguised as a creature plant.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: Their outer space adventures are the Trope Codifier, possibly the Trope Namer.
  • Replaced with Replica:
    • "Never Mind a Mastermind" has the Pussycats attempt to safeguard an anti-gravity ray gun by posing as scientists at a symposium, and swapping out the device with a non-functioning replica. Alas, Mastermind deduced this plan, and used a Batman Gambit to seize the device from the Pussycats.
    • "Spy School Spoof" has technical plans to a ray gun erroneously delivered to the Pussycats. When the villain's mooks try to wrest the plans from the 'Cats, Valerie draws up a close but non-working copy. The villain succeeds in capturing the Pussycats and attaining the plans, but the weapon behaves very differently than anticipated.
  • Rich Bitch: Alexandra, the sarcastic and selfish twin sister of the Pussycats' manager, Alexander.
  • Rock Trio: A pop version that swapped the bass guitar with a tambourine.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: The plot of "The Jumpin' Jupiter Affair," subverted in that the villains were revealed to the audience in the middle of the episode.
  • She's Got Legs: All the girls often have their legs bared, for one reason or another, especially in the first series.
  • Shipping Torpedo: Alexandra routinely tries to sabotage the Josie + Alan pair, never making a dent, and always suffering a Backstab Backfire for her efforts.
  • Shout-Out: From the debut episode, "Greenthumb Is Not a Goldfinger", after the others find Alexandra, Alexander and Sebastian hiding in plants:
    Josie: Alexandra, it's you!
    Alexandra: Of course it's me! Who were you expecting? Scooby-Doo?
  • Shrunk in the Wash: Subverted in the episode '"A Greenthumb Is Not a Goldfinger." All six protagonists have been captured by Amazon basin natives, who plan to shrink the Pussycats' heads in their potion cauldron. To prove that Pussy Cat magic is stronger than the natives' magic, Alexandra dunks her brother's shirt into the potion, which has no effect. Alexander's shirt was the only one guaranteed not to shrink.
  • Shrunken Head: Having fled the mansion of the Mad Scientist, The Pussycats are soon captured by a tribe of Amazon natives. Alex wonders what the natives will do with their captives. Valerie shows him some shrunken heads, and replies, "Do these answer your question?" Fortunately, the Pussycats are able to use the natives' superstition to effect an escape.
  • Skintone Sclerae: Only the upper lid of the characters' eyes are drawn, reflective of Archie Comics' house style as defined by Bob Montana and Dan DeCarlo. Colorists simply filled in the sclera rather than guess where the separation should be, as part of Hanna-Barbera's speed-the-plow animation.
  • Skunk Stripe: Alexandra has this to denote her Token Evil Teammate role.
  • Sky Heist: "Chili Today, Hot Tamale" has The Scorpion's mooks succeed in lowering a large horseshoe magnet to capture the Pussycats' dune buggy. Their boss wants the uranium pellets hidden within Melody's big bass drum. Josie, Alan and Alexandra get dumped out of the vehicle in the process.
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender: Alexandra suffered by far the most comic mishaps on the show, with Alexander coming in a distant second.
  • Spy Speak: In the episode "Never Mind a Master Mind".
  • Strictly Formula: Similar to a lot of Hanna-Barbera mystery shows. The gang shows up in a new town, stumbles onto some great crime or mad plot, solves the mystery, and then everyone laughs as Alexandra's attempt to steal Alan screws up.
  • Stylistic Suck: Results whenever Alexandra actually gets to perform.
  • Suddenly Fluent in Gibberish: A second-season episode has the team flying into outer space and encountering a dog-bird alien named Bleep, who communicates as follows: "Bleep bleep bleep." Melody, the Ditz, says, "Bleep bleep bleep, bleep bleep?" Bleep responds, "Bleep bleep bleep, bleep." Melody then gives an English translation.
  • Sunglasses at Night: Alexander, who's seldom seen without his sunglasses.
  • Through the Ceiling, Stealthily: Sneaky escape due to a lack of watchers, not from any attempt at stealth. The titular group get captured by the Secret Six, and are tied to stone pillars in an old temple. They're told by the villains that death by neglect will be their fate. Alexandra sneers. "These chintzy ropes won't hold us. I happen to be an expert at untying knots." This results in Alexandra, Josie and Alan being imprisoned in a secret compartment in one wall. The three prisoners discover water leaking from the compartment's ceiling, and chisel an exit using a nail file.
  • Token Minority: Valerie, but this was the late 1960s and early 1970s. Pretty progressive for the times, really, especially considering her TV Genius and MacGyvering talents.
  • TV Genius: Valerie could often hold her own, understanding what the Mad Scientist was talking about.
  • Villain Ball: In many episodes, the villains would have gotten away if they didn't kidnap those meddling kids!
  • Walking the Earth: The band was always getting into trouble in a city or town they'd visit as part of a gig for their tour.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Wherever they tour, one or more supervillains will always be around.
  • With Friends Like These...: Alexandra and Alexander (sometimes Alan as well) got the Pussycats more often in trouble than aided them.
  • X-Ray Sparks: Alexander in one episode experiences this, complete with his shades being visible over his skull eyes!
  • You Meddling Kids: Very rarely were those words used verbatim, but the sentiment was there when the gang solved the mystery. This was true for the majority of Hanna-Barbera's Animated Series in the 1970s.


Video Example(s):



Melody proves herself to be the most incompetent minion there is after Evil Eye hypnotizes her.

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