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Punky Brewster is an animated TV series produced by Ruby-Spears that originally aired from 1985-1986 on NBC. It is an Animated Adaptation of the sitcom of the same name, with the main cast of the sitcom reprising their roles.

Punky Brewster is a Heartwarming Orphan who lives with her foster father, a photographer named Henry, and her dog, Brandon. Her friends include Cherie, klutzy Allen, and spoiled rich girl Margaux. In the animated series, the children have extraordinary adventures usually involving the new member of the cast, a magical alien named Glomer (Frank Welker). Glomer is a magical creature called a glomley from Chaundoon, a land within a rainbow, who was stranded in the human world when the rainbow disappeared without him.

The series was billed in some places as It's Punky Brewster to distinguish it from the live-action version, but the on-screen title was always just "Punky Brewster".

In 1989, selected episodes were run on a rotating basis in the syndicated series Maxie's World.

The cartoon contains examples of:

  • Accidental Athlete: "The Quartersize Quarterback" has Glomer giving Allen—normally a klutz—the abilities of a professional player who winds up winning a spot with the Chicago Bears. Punky and the others have to stop Allen when Glomer reveals that magic on him has a time limit.
  • Alien Among Us: Glomer's unusual species is cause enough for Punky to either dress him in a baby bonnet in a carriage or hidden among her stuffed toys at home. All part of her promise to keep him a secret.
  • All Just a Dream: "Return to Chaundoon" has the rainbow gateway to Glomer's home world appear, so he takes Punky with him to visit. After defeating an enemy in the episode, Glomer and Punky and her pals are celebrated for their heroics only for Punky and Glomer to wake up from what turned out to be a dream.
  • Animated Adaptation: Of the live-action sitcom, with added wacky non-human sidekick. Somewhat unusually, all the characters from the live-action version are voiced by the same actors, with no sound-alike ring-ins.
  • Art Shift: All season one episodes were cel-on-film animation. Season two's new episodes, save for three, were composited by computer.
  • Ascended Extra: Both Allen and Margaux had more prominence here than in the main live action program.
  • Aside Glance: At the end of the "The Bermuda Tangle", Punky winks to the audience.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: "Growing Pain" has Glomer growing in size due to an allergy to pepperoni pizza. He is taken to a gym where he attempts to use a weights machine but is catapulted back and wedged within the bars of the machine:
    Punky: Glomer, are you okay?
    Glomer: [not too pleased] Am I looking okay?!
  • The Bait: "Punky to the Rescue" had Margaux posed as bait to catch a supposed swamp monster that Punky thinks kidnapped Henry.
  • Birthday Episode: Punky is out to win a new easy chair for Henry's birthday.
  • Break the Cutie: Happens to Punky in "Punky the Heiress", where she believes she's going to see her missing mother. She is devastated when she realizes she was used by her aunt and uncle to embezzle an inheritance.
  • Butt-Monkey: Allen. Probably because he's the only male of the four main kids in the show.
  • Canon Foreigner: Glomer was not in the live action show for obvious reasons. Magic gophers just aren't common in Chicago.
    • Tony is a new recurring character who was created for the cartoon.
  • Cartoon Creature: Glomer is a magical furry something whose species (a "glomley", as specified in the show) are leprechaun helpers in Chaundoon (a land within a rainbow).
  • Catchphrase: "Holy Macanoly!"
  • Caught in a Snare: In "Punky to the Rescue", Margaux has one foot in a snare posing as bait for a so-called swamp monster, but in a case of animator's discretion she is shown standing upright with her snared foot raised and not hanging upside down because she's wearing a dress.
  • Christmas Episode: Glomer takes Punky and her friends to Santa's workshop in "Christmas in July". Santa is on summer vacation, so naturally the kids make a shamble of things until Big Red returns to make things right.
  • Christmas in July: In "Christmas in July", Glomer, claiming to know Santa personally, takes Punky and her pals to the North Pole workshop in July only to find Santa's on vacation. The kids manage to flummox Santa's toy-making assembly line, prompting him to return early to set things right.
  • Confronting Your Imposter: In "Double Your Punky", Glomer creates an obnoxious clone of Punky from a photograph to keep him company while the real Punky is on a class picnic. After lots of confusion, the two Punkys meet and nobody can tell who is who except her dog Brandon, who recognizes her scent.
  • Cry into Chest: "Punky, Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs" had Henry put into a deep sleep after eating an apple pie made from a spiked apple. Punky sadly kisses him on the cheek and starts sobbing into his chest.(Fortunately, Punky's kiss wakes Henry.)
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • "Any Wish Way You Can" has Margaux misusing the three wishes she accidentally got from Glomer.
    • "Allen Who?" has Allen and the It's a Wonderful Plot narrative. Allen also had "The Quartersize Quarterback" and "Switchin' Places."
  • Decoy Damsel: In "Punky to the Rescue", the kids are trying to catch a supposed swamp monster they think has taken Henry, Punky's foster dad, captive. Margaux is used as bait with her foot caught in a snare (she's wearing a dress, so she's not hanging upside down).
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Henry is seen less often than in the main live action program.
    • Cherie's grandmother gets no acknowledgement aside from her obscured hand being seen briefly as well as Glomer acknowledging her in "Mother of the Year".
  • Don't Look At Me: "Pretty Ugly" has Glomer turning Margaux's face into a glomley face (a glomley is a leprechaun helper in Glomer's world) just before attending an important upscale party. Eventually, Margaux's face returns to normal, which she doesn't know yet (she's on the verge of wringing Punky's neck), and when Avery Bigelow—the kid who invited Margaux—enters, Margaux tearfully entreats "Don't look at me! I'm ugly!" Punky holds a shiny pan to Margaux so she can see she is back to normal.
  • Everything Is an Instrument: Towards the end of the opening titles, Punky and her pals are playing music using a broom, an aluminum washtub and other items.
  • Everything's Better with Rainbows: The show starts right off telling how Glomer strayed from his home Chaundoon within a rainbow and became stranded in Chicago when the rainbow disappeared. One episode, "Be My Glomley", had Punky and her pals helping Glomer and a female glomley, Glomine, return to Chaundoon by creating a rainbow.
  • Evil Uncle: Punky discovers she has an aunt and an uncle in "Punky the Heiress", and they've offered to reunite her with her missing mother. But (a) they're actually servants for the Chester Henderson estate, and (b) they're using Punky to embezzle the inheritance of Henderson's granddaughter, of whom they have Punky dressed up to look like.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: This, from the animated episode "Punky To The Rescue", where Margaux is posed as bait for a so-called swamp monster which they hear coming:
    Punky: Smile! Look pretty!
    Margaux: Don't be redundant!
  • Expository Theme Song: The theme song explains who Glomer is and how he and Punky met. Extended in the episode "Glomer's Story."
  • Fairy Companion: Glomer in the Animated Adaptation, infamously.
  • Fairy Tale Episode: In "Punky, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves", Glomer brings the characters out of the book, including the Wicked Queen. Snow White and Henry both succumb to a tainted apple pie from the Queen, who is later returned to the book. Punky's kiss on the cheek eventually wakes Henry.
  • Forced Transformation:
    • In "Fish Story", Glomer turns Punky into a mermaid, and it takes the entire episode for Glomer to figure out how to change her back.
      • Oh, Glomer knew the remedy. He was just too bashful to say that to turn Punky back to being human was for the glomley that loves her to kiss her on the cheek.
    • "Little Orphan Punky" sees Punky, Margaux, Allen, and Cherie all turned into mice when Glomer, suffering from a cold, mishears Punky's request for a "nice disguise", and he can't change them back thanks to the same cold. It wears off on its own after a few minutes.
  • Friend-or-Idol Decision: "Be My Glomley" has Glomer and a female glomley called Glomine using their combined magic and some gadgetry by Punky and her pals to create a rainbow gate to their home land of Chaundoon. But a rope in the hot air balloon Punky is in snaps, leaving Punky dangling from the side. Faced with whether to finally return home or rescue Punky, Glomer sends Glomine back ("Tell momly and dadly I love them!") and effects the rescue. By that time, the rainbow disappears and Glomer remains stranded. But he's not too disappointed—he joyfully leaps into Punky's arms and hugs her.
  • Game Show Appearance: In "Punky's Millions", Punky and Henry vie to win a jackpot on a show called "Can You Spend It?", but to do so they have to spend $1 million in one day. Punky and her pals take the task at hand after Henry comes down with chicken pox. Punky and the gang lose the game when Allen reveals that he has change in his pocket.
  • Goofy Print Underwear: In "The Quartersize Quarterback", Allen bumbles as he attempts to catch a football pass. His belt snaps and his trousers drop, revealing polka dot boxers.
  • Gratuitous Animal Sidekick: The addition of Glomer to the cast is especially gratuitous since Punky already had an animal sidekick.
  • Great Gazoo: Glomer. He's a little more...out there than most examples. The joke? He's from a Brigadoon Expy.
  • Halloween Episode: "Halloween Howlers". Glomer turns everyone who doesn't give him a treat into a jack o'lantern.
  • Heart Symbol: Punky had a small heart embroidered on the right side of her vest.
  • Impostor-Exposing Test: In "Double Your Punky", Glomer creates a clone of Punky from a photograph to keep him company at home while she's at a school picnic. This Punky clone is obnoxious, however, and in his confusion to corral her, he zaps the sweet Punky back into the photograph. When the two Punkys face each other, nobody can tell who is who—nobody except her dog Brandon, who recognizes her scent, jumps on her and licks her face profusely.
  • It's All My Fault: Punky goes through this in the debut episode when she talks Henry into taking a skydiving photography assignment in Florida where he gets lost in a swamp and she (and the others) think a swamp monster has him. As she sits on a log, head cradled in her hands and arms propped on knees:
    Punky: We'll never find Henry, and it's all my fault. [sniffling, tears streaming down her cheeks] I guess I just wasn't meant to have a family.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: "Allen Who?" has Allen being browbeaten by everyone for nearly spoiling a surprise party, so he wishes that nobody knew who he was. Glomer grants him that wish, but he's forced to fend for himself as everyone takes him as a stranger. In that reality, Allen's grandmother was depressed for having no grandchildren; nobody cared about the coach to start the surprise party; Margaux had a broken arm because Allen wasn't there with a wagonload of basketballs to stop her fall (showing the Mainstream Margaux was wrong about blaming him for it in the first place).
  • I Wished You Were Dead: In "Any Wish Way You Can", the wish spell Glomer intended for Punky hits Margaux instead, giving her three wishes. Allen says something that irks Margaux, who growls "I wish you'd disappear!!" Allen's body does just that, leaving his clothes in midair. (Glomer brings him back, though. Margaux certainly wasn't going to waste her second wish on his behalf.)
  • Jerkass: The host of the show "Can You Spend It?" (episode Punky's Millions), who celebrated Punky losing the game.
  • Kid Detective: In "Punky P.I.", Punky opens a detective office from her school locker as she and her friends try to solve an in-school mystery involving a classmate's sabotaged project.
  • Leprechaun:
    • Punky relates how she met Glomer in the title song. Glomleys (a creature of which Glomer is) are leprechaun helpers in their homeland of Chaundoon.
    • One episode has a bad leprechaun imprisoned as a piece of art on a plate escape and causing chaos.
    • In "Return to Chaundoon", Glomer returns home and brings Punky with him, where they find the glomleys and the leprechauns mysteriously asleep.
  • Limited Wardrobe: The characters generally stay in one outfit unless for plot reasons.
    • Weirdly enforced in "Switchin' Places" on one character. The main gang and the antagonist Vic change out of their swimsuits in the second half of the short. Darlene however stays in her swimsuit the entirety of her existence.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Punky finds out she has an aunt and an uncle in "Punky the Heiress". They're actually servants for the Chester Henderson mansion. They disguise Punky as Chester's granddaughter and use her to embezzle the granddaughter's inheritance from the missing Henderson patriarch.
  • Magic Hair: In "Return to Chaundoon", Glomer temporarily transfers his magic powers to Punky, giving her magic pigtails which she uses to save the day.
  • Magic Kiss: In "Fish Story", Glomer turns Punky into a mermaid in a misguided attempt to be helpful. In the end, it turns out the only way to turn Punky back to normal is for a glomley (of which Glomer is) to kiss her on the cheek.
  • Magic Misfire: Glomer's magic powers can go haywire sometimes. In "Fish Story" he wants to help Punky win the role of a mermaid in a school play, so as opposed to creating a more quality-like outfit, he turns Punky into an actual mermaid.
  • Magic Skirt: Subverted in "Punky To The Rescue." Margaux has one foot caught in a snare posing as bait for a so-called swamp monster, but since she's wearing a dress, she is shown standing upright against a tree with her trapped foot raised (high enough to show some of her slip but not high enough to show her panties) as opposed to hanging upside down.
    • In the animated edition of "The Perils Of Punky", Margaux is held upside down as part of a human chain to retrieve a gem down a well. Her skirt and slip are draped over her rear end.
  • Malaproper: In "The Quartersize Quarterback", which revolves around the game of football, Glomer refers to it as 'toeball'.
  • Missing Mom: In "Punky The Heiress", she suddenly has an aunt and uncle—servants for the Chester Henderson estate—who use her to impersonate Chester's granddaughter and embezzle the kid's inheritance, all under the guise that they've located Punky's mother.
  • Money Song: "Punky's Millions" has a cover of "Money (That's What I Want)" performed by the same vocalist as the series theme.
  • Nephewism: In "Punky the Heiress", Punky finds out she has an aunt and an uncle. But they're a couple of ne'er-do-wells—servants of Chester Henderson and his estate—who use Punky to embezzle the fortune of Henderson's granddaughter.
  • The Nose Knows: In "Double Your Punky", this is how Brandon is able to pick her out from the obnoxious clone of her Glomer accidentally created. He recognizes Punky's scent while the clone has none, being artificially created.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: In "Growing Pain", Glomer starts to grow uncontrollably after he sneezes from eating pepperoni pizza. The flowers from Margaux's parade float help Glomer to shrink a little, but as he tries to tell Punky this, she's not listening because she's competing against Margaux with her own float.
    Glomer: But Punky...Margaux's flowers making me—
    Punky: I don't want to hear another word about Margaux's dumb flowers!
    • Towards the end, Glomer calls Punky on it when she actually sees Margaux's float flowers reducing him:
    Punky: Glomer, why didn't you tell me?
    Glomer: Well, I trying to, but you say 'I don't want to hear another word about Margaux's dumb flowers'!"
  • The Olympics: "Camp Confusion" has an Olympics-style competition between Camp Tumbleweeds (where Punky attends) and Camp Towering Pines (where Margaux is). Punky wins two events single-handedly but Margaux accuses her of using Glomer to help her. Glomer offers to stay with Margaux to prove Punky can win by herself, but when things go wrong for Camp Tumbleweeds, Punky suspects Glomer of helping Towering Pines.
  • The One Guy: Of the regular kids, this would be Allen in the cartoon.
  • On One Condition: In "Punky's Millions", Punky and Henry win a jackpot on a TV show. To collect it, however, they have to spend $1 million in a week. The task falls upon Punky and her pals when Henry comes down with chicken pox. Come the end of the week, and the total seems to show that Punky succeeded—until Allen accidentally spills some loose change from a candy bar he bought with the money from the million.
  • Or Was It a Dream?: At the end of "Return to Chaundoon", Punky decides her visit to Glomer's home was just a dream. But Punky's dog Brandon is seen with a bone that was given to him in Chaundoon.
  • Palm on Cheek Pose: A "now we return to" bumper of the show had this with Punky winking.
  • Pom-Pom Girl: In "Double Your Punky", Margaux becomes a de facto pom-pom girl rooting for a boy named Tony in a series of athletic games at a neighborhood party.
  • Promotion to Parent: Could apply to Punky with Glomer. "Return To Chaundoon" has a scene where Punky plants a goodnight kiss on Glomer's forehead.
  • Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: Much like the live action show, Punky doesn't wear skirts often. The rare times that she did was when she impersonated Margaux at a fancy party, when her aunt and uncle used her to embezzle an inheritance, and going incognito to solve a crime at school.
  • Secret-Keeper: When Punky takes Glomer under her wing, she takes it upon herself to keep him a secret. Punky's pals are also entrusted to keep Glomer a secret. Glomer himself has to stay inconspicuous, even at home, so Henry doesn't find out about him.
  • Sidekick Ex Machina: Glomer.
  • Spelling Bee: "Spellbound": Punky is on her way to Washington D.C. for a spelling bee. Glomer zaps a bee that makes people spell out words when it alights on them to help Punky, but she refuses it saying that would be cheating. The bee takes off on its own where it disrupts a senator's campaign rally.
  • Spot the Imposter:
    • "Double Your Punky" had Glomer creating a clone of Punky from a photograph to keep him company at home while the real Punky was at a school picnic. The clone, however, was obnoxious, and in his confusion, Glomer zaps the sweet Punky back into the photograph and throws it away. Having retrieved it and getting her back, Glomer is unable to tell who the real Punky is. It's up to Brandon, who recognizes her scent.
    • Punky disguising herself as Margaux in "Pretty Ugly."
  • Talking Animal:
    • In "Brandon the Dialogue Dog", Glomer gives Punky's dog Brandon the gift of gab.
    • In "Punky's Half Acre", Glomer makes the barnyard animals at the farm of Punky's pen pal talk as they air their grievances about how Margaux treats them.
  • Tears of Remorse: "Punky To The Rescue": Punky and her pals are in a swamp looking for Henry and they think a so-called swamp monster may get him. After several attempts to find him, Punky sits on a log and cries, blaming herself for sending Henry to Florida for a photo assignment to start with.
  • True Love's Kiss: "Punky, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" has Snow White and Henry put to sleep from an apple pie spiked by a disguised wicked queen. Brandon's lick awakens Snow White, but it doesn't work on Henry. Punky sadly kisses Henry on the cheek and sobs into his chest, and he suddenly awakens.
  • Undesirable Prize: In "Growing Pain", Punky is competing with Margaux in creating a float for a local parade, but first she has to deal with Glomer's pepperoni pizza-fueled growth spurts. When Punky and Margaux are declared co-winners, they find out after their prize is a pizza. A cold pepperoni pizza at that.
  • Unwilling Suspension: Happens to Punky twice ("Growing Pain" and "The Bermuda Tangle"), hung upside down by one foot each time.
  • Vague Age: According to the theme song, Glomer is 104 years old which is very young in glomley terms.
  • Valentine's Day Episodes: "Be My Glomley". On Valentine's Day, Glomer discovers Glomine, a girl glomley, and with their combined powers can create a gateway back to Chaundoon. It almost works, except when Punky is seen dangling from a hot-air balloon basket, Glomer sacrifices his ticket back home, sending Glomine back, in order to rescue Punky.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: "Punky's Millions" is basically Brewster's Millions with the millions being a game show prize instead of an Unexpected Inheritance.
  • Wink "Ding!": When Punky and Allen wink to each other at the end of "How The Midwest Was Won."
  • Your Costume Needs Work: Inverted at the end of "Fish Story" — Margaux asks if she can use Punky's mermaid 'costume' (in actual fact a transformation brought on by a magic potion). Punky is momentarily tempted.

Alternative Title(s): Its Punky Brewster