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"I discovered whole other worlds that are nothing like mine. And we're all under attack."
"Pibby is ripped out of her safe, preschool world and thrown into unknøwn lands. She has to grow up, 💜LEARN💜, and become a b∆dass to stop the cartoon A₱⊙C⋀L¥⍴$∑//////////////////////"
Official YouTube description for the trailer
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Pibby (also known as Come and Learn with Pibby! or Learning with Pibby) is an action-horror metafictional pilot uploaded to Adult Swim's YouTube channel on October 30, 2021. Its creator, Dodge Greenley (known for his work on Nickelodeon shows such as Sanjay and Craig and Pinky Malinky), has stated that he plans for it to become a full series, but that any further development hinges on viewers' reactions to the initial short, which doubles as both proof of concept and a trailer.

Pibby is a cute little girl who stars in her own educational cartoon for preschoolers (Learning with Pibby), learning about spelling and caring with all of her cuddly animal friends. This all comes to a screeching halt when a glitchy, eldritch blob suddenly invades her world, consuming and absorbing all of her friends. Just as she is about to be eaten herself, Pibby finds herself in the credits of her own show.

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Soon, she finds herself traveling to other worlds – that is, other cartoons (both real and fictional) – and discovering that they are also under threat of being assimilated into this nightmarish abomination. While her newfound allies doubt that they'll be able to deal with such an apocalyptic problem, Pibby holds out hope that there's a way of beating back the darkness – but before then, she'll need to learn a lot more than she bargained for.

The trailer/short/pilot (titled "Come and Learn with Pibby!") can be seen here.


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"Troping with Pibby, troping is so fun!":

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    #-L 
  • All There in the Manual: The superhero sidekick and Disney-esque villain who are forced to team up with Pibby are left unnamed in the short. A few days after the short was uploaded, Dodge Greenley posted the credits for it on his Instagram, revealing their names as Alloy Boy and Melira, respectively.
  • Anyone Can Die: From the trailer, it looks like anyone, no matter what franchise or show they're from, can and will get assimilated into the Darkness. Even if the character normally gets by due to Toon Physics or any powers they have that can possibly stop the glitch, they're still doomed.
  • Art-Style Clash: The crossover aspect is hammered home by the many disparate art styles used for each dimension in the trailer. Pibby has a brightly-colored and simple design (befitting the protagonist of a show for preschoolers), the superhero characters are all more detailed and live in a world with painted backgrounds, Melira and her universe have a more fluid Disneyesque style, and one scene depicts the main trio in a black-and-white setting with noticeable film grain. This also goes for all previously-existing characters, who are drawn and animated in the styles of their original shows — Fred Flintstone, for instance, looks exactly out of The Flintstones proper, complete with a false shadow underneath him that mimics old cel animation.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: As part of its Subverted Kids' Show nature, the short juxtaposes bloody violence and frightening imagery with a cutesy and cartoony art direction. The many cartoon styles featured in the trailer are all generally child-friendly, not at all suited for an action horror series centering on an Eldritch Abomination devouring entire worlds.
  • The Assimilator: In addition to the Darkness consuming several different characters and occasionally wearing their faces on its body, one scene near the end near the end of the trailer shows Pibby and company facing a horde of victims that are fighting on the abomination's side and share its Ominous Visual Glitch-laden aesthetic.
  • Badass Adorable: Pibby, a cute preschool character who can kick ass after witnessing her home and friends getting destroyed and chased by zombie-like creatures.
  • "Bang!" Flag Gun: At one point, Melira fires a revolver at the void while escaping in the Mystery Machine, only for it to fire out a harmless little "Bang!" sign, to her confusion.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Horrifically subverted. Being from a preschool show that taught simple subjects, the very concept of blood is foreign to Pibby, so when something scratches her eye out she doesn't understand why "red water" is coming out of her.
  • Blue Is Heroic: In the main trio of heroes, Pibby and Alloy Boy have a blue skin tone and outfit, respectively.
  • Break the Cutie: Pibby begins as the sweet, innocent protagonist of a cartoon for small children, only for an Eldritch Abomination to invade, ruin her world, and force her to mature quickly as she grapples with the horror of the scenario. The trailer strings together several scenes to show her progression: she goes from innocently wondering what "red water" is after receiving an eye injury that causes her to bleed to leading an army of cartoon characters against the antagonist, sword in hand, with a following scene showing her wiping blood off her mouth without a second thought.
  • Captain Ersatz:
    • One brief scene in the trailer shows a rabbit with a heart symbol on its belly that is clearly designed to emulate the Care Bears. They're even able to shoot heart-shaped lasers from it like a Care-Bear Stare.
    • The superhero that Alloy Boy is a sidekick to is basically a recolored Captain Planet, with an outfit that combines elements of Superman and a pinch of Captain America.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Melira is a self-proclaimed villain, although the trailer indicates she's more of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, if not an outright Punch-Clock Villain.
  • Care-Bear Stare: Parodied, thanks to a Lampshade Hanging by Pibby, when Melira sarcastically asks her if she's going to save the world with The Power of Love. Gilligan Cut to Pibby wielding a freaked out Care Bear Expy as a weapon.
  • Catchphrase Interruptus: Fred Flintstone is partially finished belting out a triumphant "Yabba-Dabba-Doo!" before he cuts himself off with a scream of terror as he realizes that he's about to get assimilated into the glitch blob.
  • Character Title: Pibby – both the trailer itself and the fictional children's show within its setting – is named after its protagonist, Pibby.
  • Comforting Comforter: In one scene, Melira uses her fur coat to cover Pibby, who is crying herself to sleep.
  • The Corruption: The trailer's main antagonist is a black, glitchy void that worms its way into various cartoons and infects the characters within, turning them into monsters.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: The premise of the short is that various otherwise cheery and optimistic cartoon worlds, including many beloved classics (or expies of said classics) are being corrupted and devoured one by one by a horrific, nigh-unstoppable Glitch Entity that no one knows the origin of.
  • Covers Always Lie: The series poster has Buttercup and Unikitty! as some of the "infected" characters. In the trailer, they are both normal and fighting against The Darkness in the Mirrored Confrontation Shot.
  • Crisis Crossover: The premise of the series, as shown in the trailer, is that an Eldritch Abomination is destroying several different cartoon shows (fictional and real, the latter all owned by Warner Bros.) and killing their casts. Pibby is forced to dimension-hop into these shows and meet with other characters in the hopes of stopping it.
  • Crossover-Exclusive Villain: The Eldritch Abomination seen in the trailer invades several different worlds, absorbing and taking control of their citizens. It's not from any of the real shows included in the crossover because Pibby's target demographic is far more adult than theirs – underscored by the disturbing manner in which it assimilates its victims (all of which are children's cartoon characters).
  • Dark Reprise: The trailer opens with Learning with Pibby's theme song, a cheerful and innocent tune suitable for a cartoon for small children. Near the end, well after the true tone of the series becomes evident, the background music changes to a version with slow, emotionless vocals and a progressively harsher mechanical beat. In particular, as Pibby witnesses the Eldritch Abomination assume the form of BunBun, the last line is layered to sound outright demonic.
  • Daylight Horror: Most of the scenes involving the Darkness in the trailer take place in broad daylight. It even corrupts the cartoon Sun.
  • Dead Sidekick: Inverted. One of the worlds seen in the trailer is a city inhabited by a traditional superhero and his young sidekick, Alloy Boy. A later scene shows the former being assimilated by the Eldritch Abomination antagonist (hammered home by Pibby's narration concurrently saying that "there's no superheroes left"), which is implied to leave Alloy Boy with insecurities about his ability to save the world on his own.
  • Declaration of Protection: Pibby promises BunBun that she'll always protect him... only for him to be consumed in the next scene. Pibby is later horrified to see a giant BunBun coming out of the ooze.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: The short appears to be a Deconstruction of various children's cartoon tropes. Ending credits are apparently foreign to cartoon characters, Pibby genuinely has no idea what blood is, and the corruption represents forces from outside the fictional world leaking in.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: One scene in the trailer is set in an old black and white cartoon, though the main three remain in color.
  • Dissonant Serenity: The cartoon zombies all have wide, blank eyes and large, hanging grins; sometimes hanging to the point where their jaws appear to be melting.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The trailer sets up the series' main antagonist: a formless, glitchy inklike mass that invades various worlds and relentlessly consumes anything it can touch. If someone gets assimilated into it, they become a part of it – either their glitched face appears on its body or they become one of its malformed minions, sporting an eerie grin and glitch-marred facial features in both cases. Several shots depict it with a lower FPS than anything else in the scene to further indicate how alien it is.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: At the beginning, Pibby styled her hair into two hairbuns to show how childlike she is. But at the end, she lets her hair down to show she is no longer a Cheerful Child, but a hardened and experienced warrior after the horrors she's gone through.
  • Expy: Two of Pibby's allies are a young superhero named Alloy Boy, who parodies typical superhero sidekicks like Robin, and an anthropomorphic cat named Melira, who parodies classic Disney villains such as Cruella de Vil and Ursula. The dog characters who appear to be native to Melira's show, however, more resemble designs from Pound Puppies (1980s).
  • Eye Beams: The trailer briefly shows the unnamed superhero character firing lasers from his eyes to (ineffectually) fight the Eldritch Abomination antagonist.
  • Eyepatch of Power: The trailer shows Pibby with an eyepatch on after she receives an injury to her left eye. It ties into her maturation and Character Development, as several scenes afterward show her acting as a sword-wielding leader.
  • Eye Scream: One of the key moments of Pibby losing her innocence is losing her left eye in a bloody manner, which she subsequently covers up with a bandage and later an Eyepatch of Power.
    Pibby: What's this red water? I've never seen it before...
  • Genre Refugee: A protagonist from a preschool edutainment series, a dopey superhero sidekick, and a classic cartoon villainess are thrust into a multiverse-spanning Cosmic Horror Story against an Eldritch Abomination.
  • Gilligan Cut: Played for Drama in the trailer. After Pibby promises that she'll always be there to protect her friend BunBun, the very next shot shows the latter being swallowed up by the Eldritch Abomination antagonist, with Pibby being unable to save him.
  • Harmful to Minors: Even disregarding The Darkness not being picky with who or what it assimilates, Pibby also ends up losing an eye in the trailer.
  • Innocence Lost: Pibby begins as an innocent character in a children's cartoon. After an Eldritch Abomination destroys her world and assimilates her friends, however, she is forced to grow up and take action against it. One scene in the trailer emphasizes this in particular: after receiving a gruesome eye injury, she wonders what the "red water" leaking out of her is, completely unfamiliar with what blood is.
  • It Can Think: The dark glitchy void, or at least the characters it assimilates, seems to have some degree of logical thinking. The void sets itself up at the bottom of a dinosaur tail for Fred to fall into, and at the end when BunBun reappears as part of the void, he's shown alongside at least one other cartoon rabbit, implying that the void is sorting them.
  • Jitter Cam: Once the Darkness begins invading Pibby's world in the trailer, the framing begins to emulate a jittery handheld camera (including losing focus intermittently), contrasting with the more controlled blocking used during the previous scene and driving home just how alien the threat is to their child-friendly setting.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Worlds resembling SpongeBob SquarePants and Rocko's Modern Life briefly appear, but characters from them are not explicitly shown, likely to avoid getting into legal trouble with Viacom.
  • Letting Her Hair Down: In an inversion of the usual portrayal of this trope, Pibby spends most of the trailer with her hair in a pair of buns, and her letting her hair down is supposed to solidify her graduation from a preschool character who doesn't even know what blood is to a Badass Adorable Action Girl.
  • Light Is Not Good: The Mirrored Confrontation Shot towards the end of the trailer has the sun among the Darkness' minions, while the moon is among Pibby's makeshift army.
  • Little Miss Badass: Pibby, who becomes a hardened badass after the horrors she's been put through.
  • Lovecraft Lite: While it's an interdimensional horror that can assimilate the likes of superheroes and protagonists normally protected by cartoon logic, the trailer indicates that it's possible to fight back against the Darkness. It is unknown if it's possible to permanently defeat it.

    M-Z 
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: The short and its poster feature appearances and cameos from various characters owned by different Cartoon Network and Warner Bros. IPs – including The Flintstones, Scooby-Doo, The Amazing World of Gumball, Dexter's Laboratory, The Powerpuff Girls, Craig of the Creek, Steven Universe, Looney Tunes, The Jetsons, Adventure Time, Ed, Edd n Eddy, Samurai Jack, Unikitty!, Courage the Cowardly Dog, ThunderCats (1985), Regular Show, and Ben 10 (2016).
  • Medium Blending: The trailer has a brief scene where the main cast (all cartoon characters) run across a table in a commercial for grape juice, with a live-action young boy watching in shock.
  • Metafictional Device: Implied in the trailer. The opening spells out certain words in the theme song on-screen, typical of a cartoon made for very young children. Once the Darkness invades, however, the letters in "Pibby" are shaken up by the impact. Later scenes suggest that the characters can directly interact with these: Pibby inadvertently blows her cover while hiding from corrupted versions of Finn and Jake when she attempts to tell her friends to be quiet and summons the word "QUIET" by accident, while a massive battle in the same setting briefly shows other letters scattered on the ground amid the commotion.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: Characters who have been consumed by the glitch all sport whited out eyes, if not covered by the glitch completely (eg. Finn's Black Bead Eyes).
  • Mirrored Confrontation Shot: Near the end of the trailer, there's a shot depicting Pibby leading an army of uncorrupted cartoon characters against the Darkness, each at opposite ends of the screen; driving the dichotomy home, the heroes have a moon on their side while the antagonist has a sun.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • The trailer opens with what appears to be the intro to an educational show for young children... only for it to be interrupted with a sudden jolt, a glitchy Eldritch Abomination pouring in immediately afterwards.
    • One scene in the trailer depicts Pibby cowering as the Darkness surrounds and begins to move in on her... only for the scene to abruptly cut to the end credits of her series, complete with rainbow-colored letters and a cutesy song.
    • One scene in the trailer has Fred happily state "you're gonna love it here" to Pibby and Alloy Boy, followed by him performing a homage to The Flintstones' opening, only for him to see the glitch entity waiting for him, Fred visibly panicking before it overtakes him and the distorted faces of various Cartoon Network characters appear alongside him.
    • The climax of the trailer depicts a serious action scene where Pibby witnesses the Eldritch Abomination taking on her friend's form, then immediately reverts back into a cutesy children's show for a brief moment before it ends. Downplayed, since the visual glitches continuing afterward show it's not all well and good.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The trailer has a dark gag that recreates The Flintstones' opening, with Fred yelling "Yabba-Dabba-Doo!" and sliding down a Brontosaurus to exit work... only the glitch abomination is waiting for him at the bottom. Fred tries to scramble back up the Brontosaurus, but the entity takes hold and assimilates him.
    • Near the end of the trailer, Muriel can be seen in a crowd shot wielding her husband's mallet.
  • No Name Given:
    • The sidekick superhero and classical villain characters aren't named in the short. Some credits posted on Instagram gives them the names Alloy Boy and Melira, respectively.
    • The series' main antagonist isn't given a conclusive name.
  • Off-Model: Even though Adventure Time characters Finn and Jake appear much closer to their actual appearances, Lady Rainicorn appears in the crowd during the fight without her signature rainbow stripes, appearing all pink instead.
  • Ominous Visual Glitch: This is the calling card of the antagonist, an Eldritch Abomination that appears as a blob of visual glitches and moves at a significantly lower frame rate than anything else in the trailer. All of the characters it assimilates are also affected, their facial features becoming distorted by artifacting in an unnerving fashion.
  • Original Generation: The main trio of Pibby, Alloy Boy, and Melira don't come from any existing Cartoon Network, Hanna-Barbera or Warner Bros. shows, instead being from fictional cartoons.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Once consumed by the glitch, toons come back out as corrupted shambling husks of their former selves.
  • Outside-Context Problem: The glitch is completely unlike anything Pibby has encountered, and the same goes for many of the other shows seen. Also applies to Pibby experiencing violence for the first time and not even knowing what blood is.
  • The Power of Love: Parodied and subverted. In the trailer, Melira sarcastically asks if Pibby will use "the power of love" to defeat the Eldritch Abomination that threatens their worlds, to which Pibby agrees that it sounds like a good idea. The very next shot shows a much later point in the plot, where Pibby is using a Care Bear knock-off's heart-shaped Care-Bear Stare as a makeshift weapon against the Darkness.
  • Power Trio: Pibby, Alloy Boy, and Melira are the three main protagonists. Pibby is the main character from a preschool cartoon, Alloy Boy is the sidekick from a superhero cartoon, and Melira is the villain from a Disneyesque cartoon about two dog children.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits:
    • One scene in the trailer highlights that the protagonists are hardly the first choices for defeating an Eldritch Abomination that threatens the entire universe. While Pibby (a small little girl from a preschool cartoon) explains the situation to Alloy Boy and Melira, they protest that they're just a sidekick and a villain, respectively.
      Pibby: I know we're not heroes. But maybe... we can learn.
    • The crowd of characters involved in the Mirrored Confrontation Shot similarly includes many non-leading characters and/or secondary protagonists from their respective shows in lieu of their (already captured in most cases) protagonists, such as Darwin, Lady Rainicorn, Lion, Muriel, and Jonny and Plank.
  • Reluctant Hero: Greenley describes Pibby as wanting nothing more than to remain child-like forever, but being forced to mature and be the hero she needed if she wants to survive.
  • Retraux:
    • Downplayed. The Flintstones scene in the trailer gives Fred and other non-background elements fake shadows underneath them, emulating the cel animation used in the original show, though otherwise it is not that far off from the "regular" style. The same applies for the brief glimpse of the Mystery Gang.
    • The trailer has a brief scene where the background is patterned after an old black and white cartoon, complete with simulated film grain.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: As well as going through a number of animated series while fighting the Static, the main trio also stumble upon a live-action advertisement at one point, where a child appears to be shocked by their presence.
  • Saved by Canon: Since the final clip of the trailer shows what appears to be a Final Battle, Buttercup, Darwin, Lady Rainicorn, Lion, Muriel, Samurai Jack, and Jonny and Plank are all confirmed to have survived The Darkness up to that point.
  • Sensory Abuse: The trailer prominently uses the ear-grating sound of static for horror, punctuating the monster's presence by an overwhelming amount of noise. Best shown in the scene right after Fred Flinstone is assimilated, where the audio suddenly cranks up as several corrupted characters emerge from the glitchy mass and stare at the camera.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Two shots in the trailer have backgrounds resembling SpongeBob SquarePants' house and O-Town from Rocko's Modern Life.
    • The rabbit that shoots hearts from their belly is also a reference to Care Bears.
    • The scene of Pibby running down a forest path as a corrupted George Jetson comes out of the woods to chase after her is reminiscent of the chase scene between Ashitaka and boar god-turned-tatari-gami Nago from Princess Mononoke.
    • The main trio briefly run through a commercial for "Grapes of Atwater" juice as they flee the Static. This may refer to Cody Goodfellow's horror story "Atwater", about an Eldritch Location that, not unlike the Static, subjects anyone who crosses it to extreme Body Horror.
  • Solar and Lunar: The Mirrored Confrontation Shot in the trailer shows a living moon on the protagonists' side, assumably from Pibby's show, staring down a glitched sun previously seen at the beginning of the trailer on the antagonist's side.
  • So Much for Stealth: While hiding from corrupted versions of Finn and Jake, Pibby whispers to Melira and Alloy Boy to keep quiet, but the word "Quiet" pops up above them and a narrator loudly says "QUIET!". Cue Pibby, Melira and Alloy Boy screaming and running away.
  • Subverted Kids' Show: The trailer/short opens up as though it were a typical completely-unironic preschool show, with a fun theme song and cutesy imagery, only for an Eldritch Abomination glitch blob to interrupt and reveal the short's true nature as a more mature cartoon with bloody violence, and a dark work of metafiction and Existential Horror.
  • Sugar Apocalypse: Pibby's home is all smiles and sunshine until the glitch blob starts invading and reduces it to sweet-looking wasteland.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Pibby goes from being an innocent and naive preschool character to a kick-ass and experienced eyepatch-wearing warrior who battles against the apocalypse.
  • Wham Shot: The short begins as a 100% genuine preschool cartoon straight out of Playhouse Disney or Nick Jr., with Pibby teaching her friends about spelling and hugging as a cheery theme song plays in the background. When the song hits the first reprise, it abruptly cuts as a quake knocks over the cast. The camera then shakily pans to the cause — a massive, glitchy black void that's quickly consuming the world. Pibby and BunBun make an escape, and the short's tone veers into a Meta Fictional horror.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Aside from Pibby herself and BunBun, a dinosaur, ladybug and skunk are shown with them in the first scene of the trailer, only to never appear again. As BunBun is consumed early on, it's implied they met with the same fate.
  • The Worf Effect: The abomination proves how great a threat it is by taking over all sorts of heroes. Not even a Comically Invincible Hero like Bugs Bunny is safe, and even the more experienced and powerful heroes, such as the Powerpuff Girls (minus Buttercup), Finn and Jake, Amethyst, and Ben Tennyson have lost to this monster and were assimilated.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Has most of the hallmarks of one: a spreading infection via foreign agent (in this case literally) that causes the transformation of anything it touches into hollow glitch-monsters that attack anything uninfected. Only thing missing is a Patient Zero, assuming there is one.

🎵 Learning with Pibby! Learning is so fun 🎵
🎵 We like to spell and we love to hug 🎵

 
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Alternative Title(s): Learning With Pibby, Come And Learn With Pibby

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BunBun dies

Played for drama. In the trailer, Pibby promises BunBun that she'll always keep him safe. Smash cut to the next shot with BunBun being killed by the glitch, with Pibby struggling to save him, leaving her helpless but to watch in horror...

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

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Main / GilliganCut

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