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Western Animation / Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends

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Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends (2004-2009) is a CGI-animated series targeted towards preschool audiences that is seen on Nick Jr.. (formerly Noggin) in the United States and Treehouse TV on Canada. The program was briefly removed from Nick Jr. in early 2012, but quickly resurfaced. The series began with the film Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Kids, which was itself based on a popular series of books by David Kirk. It features the adventures of a spider Mom and Dad and their family of eight children— five spiders and three adopted "buglets" — a dragonfly named Dragon, a jewel beetle named Shimmer and a bedbug named Bounce. Miss Spider is described as being a "fruit spider" and she and her musician husband, Holley, try to teach their children to "Be Good to Bugs."


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

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends: The Prince, the Princess and the Bee.
  • 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 ThemeTwin Naming: Pansy and Snowdrop.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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"
  • Shout-Out to Shakespeare: In one episode where Spiderus plays a king in one of Miss Spider's bedtime stories, he uses lines from Shakespeare.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • Talking Animal: The entire cast. There are no human characters, or even characters with human-like physical features.
  • 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..."
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Spiderus pretends to hurt his leg in "The Bug Flu" to get out of doing work.
  • 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.


Example of: