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Western Animation / Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends

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"We have to be good to bugs. All bugs."
Miss Spider

Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends (2003-2009) is a Canadian computer-animated series aimed at preschool audiences and based on a popular series of books by American children's author David Kirk. The show was developed by Nelvana for Teletoon and Treehouse TV, which both aired it in Canada. In the United States, the series originally aired on Nickelodeon during its Nick Jr. block; from 2008 to 2009, several unaired episodes were burned off to the sister channel Noggin.

The series features is set in tranquil Sunny Patch, a miniature forest town in the woods built out of common forest items and inhabited by talking insects, arachnids, and other creepy-crawlies. The focus of the show is the Spider family, made up of a "fruit spider" named Miss Spider and her musician husband Holley, as well as their eight children, composed of five spiderlings named Squirt, Spinner, Pansy, Snowdrop, and Wiggle, and three adopted "buglets" — a dragonfly named Dragon, a jewel beetle named Shimmer and a bedbug named Bounce. The young bugs have adventures around Sunny Patch, frequently interacting with the other arthropod denizens of their community while also learning various life lessons, with the most important being the one Miss Spider and Holley always remind them: "Be Good to Bugs."

The series began with the Pilot Movie Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Kids that aired on Teletoon on March 31, 2003, with the TV series arriving in September 7, 2004. The show ran for 3 seasons and 43 episodes (plus 1 special), with Season 3 making a Channel Hop to Treehouse TV. You can find them all on Youtube, thanks to Nelvana and its Treehouse Direct channel. See them all here!

Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Actor Allusion: This ain't the first time Tony Jay played a villain with yandere tendencies, though this time, he's a lot less scary about it.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Many stories from the show were released in the numbered series Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Library. Some were released as 8 x 8 paperback books and others as large picture books in the style of the original books. These are all generally well done, but being picture books, they simplify the plots of the stories.
  • All-CGI Cartoon: Debuting the same year as The Backyardigans, this was one of Nelvana's first all-CGI offerings.
  • All of Them: In "Hum Bug," after Spiderus takes berries for himself that Bounce had asked him to deliver for the Earwig family, he has a nightmare in which he keeps taking everyone's berries. They chastise him for being selfish, asking him just how many berries he needs. "All of them," he insists repeatedly, swiping berry after berry until finally wakes up, realizes it was a nightmare, and decides to make up for his real-life selfish action.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Includes a brightly pink jewel beetle and spiders of all colors
  • Anatomy Anomaly: Bedbugs are insects, yet Bounce walks on only two legs.
  • Artistic License – Arachnids: Most female spiders eat their mates, yet Holley and Spiderus are still alive. This is justified because it's a preschool show, and in Miss Spider's case, it's Hand Waved by the fact that she's a vegetarian.
  • Aside Glance: At the end of "Eight Legs Up," a beetle repeats his statement to Snowdrop that she has a lot of legs. "Yeah," she says, "give it a try," and then she gives a definite wink at the camera. The opening sequence even has Miss Spider herself winking at the camera during the show's title card.
  • Award-Bait Song: The Prince, the Princess and the Bee has "You Are Much Richer Than You Know," which was even performed by Canadian popular artist, Margo Timmins, as Miss Spider, unlike the other songs in the series, which are all performed by the characters' normal voice actors.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Squirt, Shimmer and Bounce at the end of The Prince, the Princess and the Bee
  • Backhanded Apology: Squirt and Shimmer do this to each other in "Stumped" after having a fight over a hollyberry. Holley demands that they stop fighting and apologize to each other. "Sorry your ugly scarecrow won't have a head," shouts Squirt and Shimmer retorts "And I'm sorry that you're the world's worst berry thief!" Later, the two apologize to each other for real after they cool off and realize the pettiness of their earlier behavior.
  • Big Bad: Spiderus starts out as this, but it doesn't last.
  • Big Eater: Bounce, though one time was nervous about eating when it came to trying new foods.
  • Bowdlerize: In the pilot, Mr. Mantis was a priest rather than a teacher. Hence being a praying mantis. His role was changed in order to comply with Teletoon and Nickelodeon's secular preschool standards.
  • Bumbling Dad: Spiderus, once he and Spindella hatch their own little Spiderlings. Spiderus tries to be a perfect parent, but has to learn from Miss Spider and Holley that there are no perfect parents. Additionally, he often tries to show off in misguided attempts to impress his children.
  • Carnivore Confusion: This is a big one. Miss Spider and her entire family are all vegetarians, either by design or choice. Spiderus often threatens to eat other bugs when he is grumpy or annoyed, though it is unknown if he has actually ever done so. Additionally, an entire special was devoted to a frog named Felix who ate only berries and other plants because he found the taste of bugs awful.
    • And then there's Mr. Mantis. Real Life praying mantises are famous for their strictly carnivorous diet, and they will eat almost anything, including spiders.note  This mantis, however, completely throws all of that out the window in favor of a Cool Old Guy art teacher. What he eats is anyone's guess.
  • Cartoony Eyes: The page for this trope features an image of several of the characters from this program, and for good reason— there are both characters on this show with life-like insect eyes and ones with cartoon eyes. Some consider it to be rather unsettling.
  • Cast Herd: Given that there are eight kids, kind of inevitable. Squirt and the three adopted bugs (Shimmer, Dragon, and Bounce) are really the focal characters; the other spiderlings tend to show up as a group.
  • Catchphrase: Be Good to Bugs
  • Cathartic Crying: In the episode "Cry Buggie", Dragon convinces Squirt that "big bugs don't cry". When Squirt injures one of his legs, he tries desperately to hold his tears in. During the soccerberry tournament, his parents come to comfort him and tell him it's okay to cry. While Squirt lets himself sob, a sudden rainstorm cancels the game. As the family goes back inside the tree, Dragon is revealed to be crying over the cancellation. Squirt comforts him and teaches him the lesson their parents had taught Squirt:
    Squirt: Big bugs do cry, when they need to.
  • Character in the Logo: There are two versions of the show's logo. One of them features a goofy-looking sun, the other features Miss Spider herself.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The hair bows used by the twins.
  • Cranky Neighbor: Spiderus, though he mellowed greatly the longer the series continued. This may indicate that he is actually a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Crush Blush: Squirt blushes very brightly when Sweetie the cockroach gives him a kiss on the cheek at the end of "Country Bug-Kin".
  • Darker and Edgier: A few parents complained that the special The Prince, the Princess and the Bee went a bit too far with this with a fire-spitting fire and some drama involving danger in a hot-air balloon, but it really isn't too much of a slide.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Since Squirt and the adopted bugs were really the main characters most of the time, the other kids tended to get side-episodes dedicated to them—such as one revolving around Pansy and Snowdrop's musical aspirations.
  • Description Cut: In "Secret Frog," Spiderus comes into the Hollow Tree shouting about a new frog family in Sunny Patch and sowing fear. He then describes how he had an encounter with one of the frogs and how he faced it bravely, "Horrible as it was, I stared that frog right in the eye!" Cue flashback...
    Spiderus: (sobbing, covering his eyes) Is it... is it gone?
  • Didn't Think This Through: In the episode "Wiggle's Squiggles", after unsuccessfully trying to paint a realistic-looking daisy, Wiggle glues a real daisy to a piece of paper, completely forgetting about his father's allergy to daisies. As a result, Holley sneezes and exposes the picture to be a fake.
  • Diurnal Nocturnal Animal: Played with - Eddy Earwig attends school during the day but is usually tired because he's nocturnal.
  • Disney Owns This Trope: Pretty much every episode credits Kay Wilson Stallings, formerly SVP of Preschool at Nick Jr. note . Also, Nick Jr's logo shows up on most title cards.
  • Dreadful Musician: Pansy proves to be one of these in one episode... Unless she duets with her twin Snowdrop, in which case, the two of them sound pretty good together.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Squirt has long eyelashes, and even wears a pink flower on his head.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: In the pilot movie Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Kids, Miss Spider is regularly referred to by her first name of Flora by those who aren't her children. In the television series, she is always "Miss Spider." Also, Dragon's eyes were a much darker blue and Spiderus had sharp teeth.
    • Holley is also more cowardly in the pilot movie than he is in the tv series.
  • Easily Forgiven: Spiderus tries to kill Holley in the pilot (for the second time if the books are canon). However given Miss Spider is an All-Loving Hero, she and Holley forgive him.
  • Elmuh Fudd Syndwome and Third-Person Person: In "All Pupa'ed Out," Cookie the caterpillar matures out of both in the space of just a couple days.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: "Evil" is probably not the right word, but Spiderus is an antagonistic character who has the delightfully deep voice of the late Tony Jay.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Stinky the stinkbug
  • Expository Theme Tune: "To the Hollow Tree, a family on wings and strings and floaty things / Coming home for hugs— Be Good to Bugs!"
  • Floral Theme Twin Naming: Pansy and Snowdrop.
  • Friendship Song: "Fly Away Friends" has the song "Bug Buddies."
    Squirt: Some have wings / Some have strings / We can do all kinds of things
    Dragon Racin' bees
    Shimmer: Or tickling fleas
    Squirt, Dragon and Shimmer: It's way more fun / When it's done in threes / Bug buddies, bug buddies, We're best bug buddies!
  • Friend to All Children: Miss Spider, who has a particular weakness for orphans, being one herself. In "All Pupa'ed Out," when Squirt and Shimmer want to take care of Cookie the caterpillar, simply learning that Cookie is an orphan is enough to make Miss Spider melt and give in to the request.
  • Foreshadowing: Several hints are dropped as early as "Big Bad Buggysitter" that Spindella and Spiderus are going to become parents.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Spider: The series stars the kindly Miss Spider, who adopts three insect children along with raising her own five spider kids. There is another spider character, Spiderus, who starts out as a bad guy, but becomes more of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold as the series goes on.
  • Good Feels Good: In "Hum Bug," Spiderus poo-poos the idea of the "Dream Bug," and reneges on his deal with Bounce to deliver berries to Eunice Earwig, who has sprained her ankle, for her solstice morning breakfast. After having a nightmare, his wife Spindella asks him if he's even done one good deed, and he says there's still time and leaves to deliver the berries. He returns home and has a dream in which he is praised to the heavens for being so helpful. That morning, when he wakes up, he finds that his dream is real - Bounce and Eunice are outside the home and Eunice is delighted at his good deed and invites him and Spindella to her breakfast.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Spiderus was this towards Holley in the Pilot, since he was also in love with Flora and was jealous that she chose Holley over him.
  • Halloween Episode: Though as is so often the case with shows like this, they called it something else— Bug-a-Boo Day
  • Happily Adopted: One of the major points of the series, stemming straight from the original books. Miss Spider herself was adopted and later adopted Bounce (a bedbug), Dragon (a dragonfly) and Shimmer (a jewel beetle.) A later episode features Stinky and Whiffy adopting Grace the ladybug.
  • Henpecked Husband: Any of Spiderus's darker impulses are generally kept well in check by his sweetie-bug, Spindella, who clearly has him well under her eight legs.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: A number of different phrases are used as "bugspeak," including "mayfly-day," "honey-bug," "bugging out" and, wait for it... "hold your horseflies."
  • I Am Who?: True of Dragon, Bounce and Shimmer, but particularly Shimmer. In The Prince, the Princess and the Bee she goes on a quest to discover if she is, perhaps, a long-lost jewel beetle princess.
  • Informed Species: You really just have to take the show's word for it that Bounce is a bedbug. He only has two legs and basically looks like a giant blueberry head on top of them with two antennae. An actual bedbug is a normal brownish insect with six legs.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: In "Ground House Rules," Betty Beetle comments that her grandbugs are all on their best behavior. Gus agrees that they're "quite as larvae." Immediately Dragon and Bounce are heard shouting and shown gallivanting through the room, Dragon riding Bounce and calling "Giddyup, horsey!" They then knock against the table, spoiling the adults' card game.
  • Interspecies Adoption: Bounce, Dragon and Shimmer are respectively a bedbug, dragonfly and jewel beetle adopted by a family of spiders. Miss Spider was adopted by Betty Beetle as a child. In "Little Ladybug Lost" and the follow-up "A Beetle-ful Family," Stinky the stinkbug and his sister Whiffy adopt a ladybug named Grace.
  • It's Okay to Cry: This is the lesson taught in the episode "Cry Buggie", where Dragon convinces Squirt that "big bugs don't cry", causing Squirt to hold in his tears when he gets hurt and has to stay home from a sports game he was supposed to be playing in. Eventually, Miss Spider finds him watching the game from far away and tells him that even big bugs cry sometimes when they need to, likening it to how clouds produce rain when they can't hold any more water.
  • I've Heard of That — What Is It?:
    • In "The Listening Walk," Miss Spider tells Wiggle, Squirt, Dragon and Bounce that the Firefly Ballet is about to start. Bounce shouts "Ballet! Ballet! Ballet!", then asks what a ballet is.
    • In "The Marin Rose," Spiderus is cast as the king in Miss Spider's story of The Marin Rose. He summons his Knights of the Round Toadstool, portrayed by Miss Spider's children, to fetch the Marin Rose, but warns them that the quest will be filled with "pitfalls and perils." Bounce shouts "Huzzah!" and Squirt tells him that pitfalls and perils are dangerous things. "They are?" he asks. "Can I take back my huzzah?"
    • In "Big Bad Buggysitter," Spiderus tells the kids that he'll grace them with a "nocturnal narrative" if they're good and get to bed. Bounce hops up and down and shouts excitedly about the idea of a "nocturnal narrative," then asks what this is. Spiderus explains that it's a bedtime story.
    • In "Be Good to Bugs... and Frogs," Felix hops up and down excitedly in the Cozy Hole at the idea of breakfast. Miss Spider tells him to calm down, that it's just berry cakes and honey. "Honey! Yum!" he says, then asks what exactly honey is.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Spiderus comes to this decision in the Pilot when he talks to Flora and realizes how much she loves Holley and how happy he makes her.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: As mean and pessimistic as he is, Spiderus is a genuinely good guy deep down.
  • Love at First Sight: Miss Spider & Holley, Spiderus & Spindella
  • Men Don't Cry: Subverted in "Cry Buggie," in which both Squirt and Dragon learn that "Big bugs do cry, when they need to."
  • Mouse World: Sunny Patch. Though no humans are seen, they are implied to exist in the pilot movie.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: In the pilot, Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Kids, Spiderus actually tried to kill Holley so that he can finally have Flora for himself. Thankfully he gets better.
  • Never Say "Die": In the pilot, Miss Spider mentions that her original mother "didn't stick around long enough to meet each other", and did you know that all spider moms die before their babies are born?
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Bounce is the only bug whose teeth are perpetually visible, while Spiderus and his family have a human like face.
  • Parents as People: Miss Spider and Holley aren't portrayed as perfect parents and neither are Spiderus and Spindella once they become parents. As early as "Family Circus," Miss Spider is shown making a mistake when she admits she jumped to conclusions regarding Squirt's actions.
  • Pilot Movie: The series originally began with a film, which covers Miss Spider and Holley's wedding, the birth of their spiderlings, and the adoption of Bounce, Dragon, and Shimmer.
  • Playing Sick: The episode "The Bug Flu" is based around Dragon doing this.
  • Plot Allergy:"Wiggle's Squiggles" reveals that Holley is allergic to daisies.
  • Post-Kiss Catatonia: In "Country Bug-Kin", Sweetie kisses Squirt before leaving Sunny Patch, which lives him standing still, blushing, and with huge eyes.
  • The Power of Friendship: "Bug buddies, bug buddies, we're best bug buddies!"
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Squirt is a male spider who wears a pink flower on his head.
  • Save the Villain: In the pilot movie Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Kids, Spiderus tries to smoosh Holley and ends up taking a nasty fall for it. Miss Spider immediately declares that they have to help him.
  • Scout-Out: Squirt, Bounce, Shimmer, Dragon and Snowdrop are part of the Bug Scouts. Mr. Mantis is the leader, though their father Holley takes over the role in one story when Mr. Mantis is injured.
  • Secret Identity: Squirt, who quite accidentally creates himself his own superhero outfit and becomes "Captain Sunny Patch"
  • Single-Minded Twins: Averted with Pansy and Snowdrop, though the whole thing is pretty weird. All of Miss Spider's children were hatched at the same time, so the only way in which these two are really twins is that they look alike. They wear different colored bows to distinguish themselves and have very different personalities and voices. Interestingly, in the original film, they wore purple and pink bows, but in the TV series, Snowdrop's was changed to green to provide greater distinction between them.
  • Smug Snake: Spiderus is so much this that his character profile on Nick Jr. even lampshades it.
    "Spiderus is a whiney, conniving, cowardly arachnid. His dastardliness is over the top and completely laughable. He lives with his new wife Spinderella in a crack at the bottom of the Hollow Tree. He's a heckler who taunts and torments everyone with empty threats that he'll eat them up. Even though he would never follow through with his threats, the kids go to great lengths to sneak by his door without being noticed."
  • Spaghetti Kiss: A variation appears in the episode "What a Tangled Web", where the spiders eat some leftover webs. Miss Spider and Holley end up slurping on the same web strand, which causes them to kiss by accident.
  • Springy Spores: In "A Little Slow", the children are seen bouncing on the tops of mushrooms while on their nature hike.
  • The Stinger: In The Prince, the Princess and the Bee, the ants Ned and Ted try to get Miss Spider to bring them home a sweet treat from Mushroom Glen, but aren't successful. The closing credits show them trying Stinky's awful cowpies, but deciding that they don't want them.
  • Stock Audio Clip: Examples include Holley's "Well, you know...", before stating a fact to the kids, and the pillbug's gasping sound.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: In "Be Good to Bugs... and Frogs," the Spider family gathers around Felix the frog to hide him when Beetrice pays a visit to the Cozy Hole. She asks if they've heard what the buzz is, and they say that they haven't. Bounce agrees, telling her, "This is our sofa, not a frog."
  • Talking Animal: The entire cast. There are no human characters, or even characters with human-like physical features.
  • Talking in Your Sleep: In "Country Bug-Kin," Bounce mutters "Chocolate, yum," while snoring after a city cockroach named Sweetie is blown into Sunny Patch and tells him and the other children about chocolate and other city foods.
  • That Cloud Looks Like...: Squirt and Shimmer do this when they're forced to be together on a tree stump in "Stumped!"
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Miss Spider and Holley. Truth in Television, as this is usually the case with spiders.
  • Two-Timer Date: Subverted from the normal way of the trope in "The Thinking Stone." Squirt is scheduled to attend both Lil' Sis's hatchday party and a tuber tuba parade. After finding his own special thinking stone, he solves the problem by inviting Lil' Sis to attend the parade as part of her hatchday celebration.
  • Vegetarian Carnivore: Felix the frog, who chooses to only eat berries instead of bugs.
  • Verbal Tic: "Anybuggy, everybuggy, somebuggy..."
  • Villainous Crush: Spiderus towards Flora Spider in the Pilot. Though it's actually Subverted since he's not actually a villain at all, he's just hurt and sad that the spider he is in love with loves somebody else.
  • Why Are We Whispering?: In "Basketberry Blues," Dragon and Squirt pull a trick to make Spinner think that he's good at basketberry by tying low-visibility spider silk around the basketberry and having Spinner take off his glasses so that he can't see that it's rigged so that it always goes in the basket. He thinks he's so good that he'll try out for the basketberry team. That evening, the rest of the kids discuss that they can't let him do this in hushed voices. Bounce, however, isn't in on the trick and asks why Spinner shouldn't try out when he's really good, then asks "Why are we whispering?" Dragon explains in a normal voice, unfortunately, right as he's in the process of doing so, Spinner shows up.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Spiderus pretends to hurt his leg in "The Bug Flu" to get out of doing work.
  • Yandere: Spiderus's unrequited love for Flora in the Pilot shows shades of this, the most evident being that he was willing to kill her husband Holley in order to finally have a chance with her.
  • Yet Another Christmas Carol: Featured in the story "Hum Bug," the title of which is a pun on Scrooge's oft-used phrase. This version focuses on Spiderus, who thinks that the idea that one must do a good deed for someone else or they won't be visited by the dream bug is "Hum Bug."
  • You Are Grounded!:
    • Miss Spider has its own twist on this one— "Stumped!" When Shimmer and Squirt have an argument, they are placed on a tree stump and told that they've been "stumped" and they can't leave until they resolve their argument.
    • In "Fungus Among Us," Wiggle figures that he'll be grounded after admitting having brought a mushroom into the Hollow Tree, the result of which being spores spread everywhere and a bunch of mushrooms growing. He is instead sentenced to help in the ongoing chore of cleaning Sunny Patch of mushrooms.
  • You, Get Me Coffee: In "Secret Frog," Dragon, Bounce and Pansy join Spiderus's Sunny Patch Anti-Frog Squad as junior members. They ask what the first thing they can do for him is.
    Spiderus: Fetch me a berry, I had a light breakfast.



In "It's My Party", the scene shows Dragon's dragonfly vision.

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