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Western Animation / Little Clowns of Happytown

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"Little clowns of Happytown
Spreading happiness around
A little laughter, joy, and fun
Is good for everyone!"
— The first lines of the show's Expository Theme Tune

Little Clowns of Happytown is an American animated children's show that aired on ABC Saturday morning from September 12, 1987 to July 1988. It centers around a group of clowns from Happytown—Big Top, Badum-Bump, Hiccup, Tickles, Pranky, and Blooper, their pet elephant Rover and their mentor, Mr. Pickleherring—who go around spreading happiness and helping others with their problems while dealing with the Obviously Evil Awful B. Bad and his minions, Geek and Whiner, who constantly get in their way with their shenanigans.

The show ran for 18 episodes, and only six episodes were ever released on home media. The show was a co-production of Marvel Productions and Murakami-Wolf-Swenson, though only the former's logo showed at the end; ABC themselves also served as a co-producer, and the show was copyrighted to them (meaning Disney got their hands on it long before their acquisition of the Marvel Productions backlog in 2001 via Saban Entertainment).

This show contains examples of:

  • The '80s: The show aired from 1987-1988.
  • Abusive Parents: Implied with Awful Bebad, Geek, and Whiner. In "New Dad, No Dad" it's implied he adopted his henchmen when they go on a "Father-Kid Campout". However, Awful Bebad yells at them, calls them worthless, and almost let Geek die in "Won't You Please Come Home, Blooper, Geek?"
  • Ambiguously Human: The titular Little Clowns. They might be humans with clown makeup on, but they also seem to be a separate species that comes from a magical land. There's nothing that contradicts this either way.
  • Big Bad: Awful BeBad, the Little Clowns' archenemy who spreads gloom and despair.
  • Big Brother Instinct:
    • Big Top is very protective of his little brother Badum Badum.
    • Geek rushes to save Blooper when he falls out of the train and goes looking for him when he runs away from school.
  • Big, Thin, Short Trio: Awful Bebad is the short Napoleon, Geek is the good natured Big Guy, and Whiner is the moody but harmless thin guy.
  • Black-and-White Morality: The clowns are the good team, Bebad, Whiner and Geek are evil, although to call Geek evil is a bit of a stretch, as he seems to be more of a Minion with an F in Evil than heinous.
  • Break the Cutie: In "Goodbye Grandma", Hiccup and Blooper have to deal with their grandma dying of heart failure.
    Why did you leave me? I hate you grandma, I hate you! I don't really hate you grandma...
  • Broken Aesop: One episode tries to teach what people who can't swim can do to save a drowning person. The last suggestion is to go in the water and save them yourself... which is of course broken by the fact that the person cannot swim.
    • "Please Won't You Come Home Blooper... Geek?" Kind of sends a bad message too. While Blooper shouldn't have run away because his friends and sister really care about him, Geek was more justified since Awful Bebad seems outright abusive and only wanted his gloomer back.
  • Bumbling Henchmen Duo: Awful B. Bad's two henchmen, Geek and Whiner.
  • Clown Species:
    • The titular Little Clowns may or may not be a species separate from humans. Despite looking like little kids in clown suits, they seem to be only ever referred to as "clowns", and they come from a Sugar Bowl land to spread happiness to other parts of the world.
    • A more straight example would be Clownimals, which at first look like just normal circus animals (an elephant, a seal, etc.) wearing clown facepaint and other accessories. However, the show's theme song informs us of their true nature:
    And Clownimals don't have clownface on like Little Clowns, THAT'S HOW THEY'RE BORN!
  • Dastardly Whiplash: The evil Awful B. Bad is a sinister-looking guy in a purple suit and bowler hat, with a small mustache.
  • The Diva: Hiccup likes to show off her singing and dancing and can be rather self centered, saying "me" instead of "us" though she quickly corrects herself.
  • Forbidden Friendship: Subverted with Blooper and Geek. The little clowns and Whiner approve of their friendly relationship. The only one who doesn't seem to approve is Awful Bebad.
  • Friendly Enemy: After Blooper and Geek both run away from their homes, they befriend each other. In “Goodbye Grandma” Geek still shows kindness towards Blooper.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Hiccup.
  • Happy Circus Music: The Expository Theme Tune, which introduces the Little Clowns and tells about how they spread happiness, is done in a circus march style.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Geek and Whiner are rather close and care about each other despite their purpose of being evil henchmen.
  • Hiccup Hijinks: Hiccup's namesake is also her main schtick.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Blooper is obviously a child while Geek seems to be a teenager. But they share a close bond despite being on different sides.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Whiner isn't much better at his job than Geek, but he is the more selfish of the two. However, he cares about Geek and covers for him when he goes to comfort Blooper.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: In "Won't You Please Come Home Blooper, Geek", Awful Bebad only cares that Geek ran away because he had his gloom machine.
  • The Klutz: Blooper.
  • Large Ham: Awful B. Bad, especially when Charlie Adler does his voice.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Geek is so kind-hearted it's a mystery why he even works for Awful Bebad. He loves animals and is best friends with Blooper. Even when he goes along with Awful Bebad's plans, he says he wants to make him "happy" (a word Awful Bebad hates.)
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The villain's name is Awful BeBad. It doesn't get any more evil than that.
  • The Napoleon: Awful B. Bad is an adult about the height of a child, and he has a fiery and authoritative personality.
  • Non-Ironic Clown: The clowns are deliberately made to be as cute, kind, and friendly as possible.
  • Obviously Evil: Awful B. Bad. He's a Dastardly Whiplash in a purple suit and bowler hat, and has a fiery temper despite being vertically challenged. You can't get much more obviously evil than that.
  • Pie in the Face: Pranky's favourite act.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Tickles' costume of choice is completely pink.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Geek only seems to work for Awful B. Bad because it's a job, and the show's Black-and-White Morality - even though he's a Friendly Enemy to Blooper.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: All the Clownimals are adorable, but Rover the elephant takes the cake.
  • The Runaway: In "Won't You Please Come Home...Blooper, Geek", Blooper and Geek both run away from home.
  • Sugar Bowl: This is pretty much Happytown in a nutshell.
  • Theme Tune Roll Call: “Big Top leads the Little Clowns, Badum-Bump makes real funny sounds. Hiccup's got a silly song, and Tickles giggles all day long. Pranky has a joke to play, he'll throw a cream pie someone's way. And Blooper doesn't think it through, but he's a funny little clown too.”
  • The Unintelligible: Badum-Bump speaks in random noises.
  • Very Special Episode: Normally, the episodes are 11 minutes long, but some of them are 22 minutes long, and one in particular focuses on kids with disabilities.
  • Villain Song: Awful B. Bad got his own brief song in one episode, in which he and his bumbling henchmen sing about how B. Bad takes delight in being "awfully bad."