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Western Animation / Special Agent Oso

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It's all part of the plan...more or less.


Special Agent Oso (2009-2012) is a children's animated television series that aired on Disney Junior and seen for a couple of years when that programming block was still known as Playhouse Disney. It's about Oso, a "unique stuffed bear" who is a secret "special" agent in training working with some kind of nondescript agency, along with his training helpers, Wolfie and Dottie, and his trusty talking map Paw Pilot. Other characters include Mr. Dos, a deep-voiced man who only talks through Oso's watch, and Rapide and Whirlybird, a talking train and a talking helicopter, respectively.

In each episode, Oso is doing his agent training guided by Wolfie, Dottie or Buffo. He messes up his exercise at first, and that's when he gets a "special alert" from Mr. Dos, who alerts him to a child who needs help doing some sort of everyday thing, aka his special assignment. Oso then gets the "three special steps" from Paw Pilot which are needed to help the child and complete the assignment successfully. After helping the child, Oso goes back to agent training where he tries at his exercise again; this time, he remembers a technique from when he helped the child, which he uses to complete the exercise correctly. Oso is then reviewed of what he did during the assignment and is awarded a "Digi-medal".

Basically, it's James Bond meets Dora the Explorer meets Winnie the Pooh.

The new Disney Junior block includes a short show called Special Agent Oso: Three Healthy Steps in which Oso observes as real-life children take three healthy steps to complete some sort of physical activity, such as jumping rope, swinging on a swing or fixing a salad.

Special Agent Oso contains examples of:

  • A Dog Named "Perro": Oso is a sentient teddy bear and his name is the Spanish word for bear.
  • Adults Are Useless: The adults on the show don't seem to help their children but rely on Oso to help them. In many cases, though, it's not so much that they're useless so much as that they have a good excuse. They may be sick, busy with a sibling, or the child simply didn't ask them for help because they wanted to try to accomplish the task without the parents' help. In certain cases, the adult was about to help the child until they got called away by something else. In other cases, they may have even offered to help, only for the kid to say that they wanted to do the task on their own, before admitting to themself that they didn't know how.
  • Artistic License – Geography: Pay attention to the two different locations on the globe that are shown when the camera zooms out of a shot of a kid in need of help, then zooms in on where Oso is. Then ask yourself, "how did he get from Europe to North America in just a couple of minutes BY CAR?!" Or better yet, how is it that Oso makes it from the moon to help a kid in a matter of minutes?
  • Artistic License – Physics: Oso is in a rocket when it collides head-on with a huge rock. Instead of the rocket crashing, it shoots halfway through the rock.
  • Bedsheet Ghost: In "A View To a Mask," the boy that Oso is helping, Kevin, initially mistakes Oso for being dressed up as one of these when he lands in front of his doorway covered in his parachute. Admittedly, a very odd-looking one.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Oso being Spanish for bear.
  • Book Ends: At the beginning of the episode, Oso tries at a training exercise and flaws at it; that's when his special assignments come in. The exercise returns in the end once Oso finishes the assignment, only he passes the exercise perfectly by using a skill he learned during the assignment.
  • Butt-Monkey: Oso is the butt of more than a few jokes and Running Gag things.
  • Captain Obvious: Guess what the third step of petting a llama is? Petting a llama.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "It's all part of the plan! More or less."
    • And, to a lesser extent, "Sounds like a plan."
    • "Special Alert! Special Alert!"
    • "I want to do X, but I don't know how." (Or, more generally, some form or another of "I don't know how.")
    • "Sounds tricky. Can you lend a paw... or a hand?"
    • From Agent Wolfie: "Outstanding, Oso! AWOOO-tstanding!"
    • Agent Dottie: "Spot on, Oso!
    • "That's me... in the plush!" (Oso, in response to a kid shouting "Special Agent Oso!")
  • Chekhov's Classroom "Your special assignment for today, Oso..."
    • Blatantly toyed with, in that he always forgets the lecture in question when it's actually INTENDED to be used, and only remembers it when something only vaguely related comes up.
  • Chekhov's Skill: During Oso’s Special Assignment, he remembers something about the Training Exercise from earlier, which he uses to complete it correctly.
  • Christmas Episode: "The Living Holiday Lights," which also covers Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.
  • Crossover: "The Manny with the Golden Bear" had Handy Manny and his tools show up to help out when Oso has to help a kid who has a broken bike. Presumably relatively easy to finagle, since not only do both shows air on Disney Junior, but both are produced by Disney Television Animation. They're also both CGI and have reasonably similar looks.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: A lot of the songs diverge into this.
  • Drink-Based Characterization: Oso likes his water "fizzy, not flat", just like how James Bond likes his martini "shaken, not stirred".
  • Easter Episode: In "Dye Another Egg", two kids named Gabriel and Kiara want to learn to dye eggs for an Easter egg hunt before bedtime, so Oso has to step in and teach them.
  • Expository Theme Tune: "Meet Special Agent Oso, the unique stuffed bear/He's on a special assignment to help a kid somewhere/And with help from you, there's nothing he can't do..."
  • Forgetful Jones: Special Agent Oso has a tendency to almost immediately forget things he's been told, such as in "Thunder Berries" when he forgets Dotty's instructions that the invisibility paint can be washed off simply with water.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: A curiosity with this one. The human characters on the series are normally depicted as having the normal number of fingers. In "The Manny With the Golden Bear," (Handy Manny crossover) however, they sport four-fingered hands. This is presumably because the human characters on Handy Manny have only four fingers and it would have been odd to have to draw Manny with five.
    • In "From China from Love," Oso is helping a kid to use chopsticks and there's a lot of talk about the fingers being used to hold them. Oso notes that he himself has only four fingers and one of the kids tells him that that's okay: he's a stuffed bear. Out of the mouths of babes.
  • Friendship Song: The Handy Manny crossover episode, "The Man With the Golden Bear," had the song "Friends Help Friends," about the helpful things friends do for each other.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Oso works for an organization called "U.N.I.Q.U.E.", though just what that stands for is anybody's guess.
  • Grand Finale: "Thundersmall," potentially, in which Oso manages to solve the problem after everyone is shrunk by Wolfie's shrink ray and he is promoted to a full agent.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal
  • Hanukkah Episode: "The Living Holiday Lights" talks about other holidays besides Hanukkah, but special focus is placed on Hanukkah when Oso heads to Israel to help a boy set up a menorah.
  • I Can't Hear You: The Running Gag of Whirly's mistaking Oso's comments as a request to eject him is basically a continuous version of this. For example, in "Nobody Plays 'It' Better"...
    Oso: Hey, I see Alexander!
    Whirly: You want to land there? Okay. (ejects Oso)
    Oso: Whirly!
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each episode title is a parody of a James Bond film title.
  • Idiot Hero: Arguably, Oso. He's supposed to the special agent helping the kids out... only every time it ends up being the opposite way around (because Oso forgets all of his instructions and struggles in the most basic tasks... like turning on a flashlight).
    • Well, he is "Oh so special" after all.
    • He does get a bit better (YMMV on this one) in a few more recent episodes.
  • I Meant to Do That: See Oso's Catchphrase.
  • Insomnia Episode: "For Sleepy Eyes Only" revolves around a girl named Nadia who is going to have a birthday party tomorrow but she's too excited to go to sleep, so Oso has to teach her how to relax so she can sleep.
  • Literal Surveillance Bug: Shutterbug, a tiny ladybug-like robot that looks for children who need help.
  • Living Toys: Although it's not overly emphasized, Oso is actually a plush toy bear. Sometimes when he appears to help a child, they'll shout "Special Agent Oso!" and he'll reply "In the plush!"
  • Magic Countdown: The third special step is usually timed in seconds counted down by Paw Pilot, but they don't count down by actual real-life seconds.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: How to make household chores like washing the dishes or folding laundry awesome? Make them the "special assignments" of a stuffed bear working for a secret agency, voiced by Sean Astin and equipped with all sorts of special spy gadgets.
  • Mundane Utility: Similar to the above, Oso's array of vehicles and special agent gadgets are employed during his training assignments helping children with mundane tasks.
  • Not Where They Thought: In "Potty Royale", Aiden says he has to use the bathroom, so Oso tries to look for the bathroom. Oso briefly mistakes a broom closet and a bedroom for the bathroom, but Aiden (who actually knows where the bathroom is) finds it before him.
  • On the Next: As "The Living Holiday Lights" was presented in two parts, this was used at the end of the first part. This special case was the only time it was used on the series.
  • Pain to the Ass: In "Goldringer," Oso finds a boomerang and is told by a girl that "If you throw it, it comes back to you." He throws it and comes back... and bonks him on the butt.
  • Parental Bonus: One of the show's songs, released on the CD "Playhouse Disney: Let's Dance," (the final CD before they became Disney Junior) is a parody of the main theme of the original Shaft.
  • Punny Name: Oso. He's "Oso special."
  • Race Against the Clock: EVERY episode, to the point where completion of the given 'task' must be done anywhere between 3-19 seconds.
    • Magic Countdown: These scenes tend to take a fair bit longer than expected, even with Paw Pilot counting down throughout. The countdown is in sight, it just seems to work in magical molasses time in order for Oso to finish Just in Time. "License to Chill" plays with it when Oso helps a kid make juice pops to help his sick sister who has to take medicine and doesn't want it to take so yucky. Although the juice pops are placed in the freezer just as the countdown finishes, the sister points out that it takes time for juice pops to freeze. It's indicated as Oso leaves that the juice pops should be ready by the time she's next scheduled to take her medicine. Meanwhile, back at his training assignment, Oso learns from Paw Pilot that it will take 10,800 seconds, or three hours, in order for the paint on the car he's just finished spray-painting to dry.
  • Rule of Three: The show's conceit is that the problem a child is having in any particular story can be solved in "Three Simple Steps." That said, sometimes a particular step will have more than one thing in it, such as the second step of taking care of a cut from a thorn in "Redfinger" being to dry off your hands that you just washed and then dab antibiotic ointment on the cut.
  • Running Gag: As Oso is riding Whirlybird and approaches his destination, he makes some comment which Whirlybird misinterprets, causing him to suddenly drop Oso, resulting in Oso having to use his parachute.
  • Samaritan Syndrome: A mild example - Oso often receives invitations to dinner or such from the parents of the kids he just helped, but he can't stay because he has to go back and finish his training exercise.
  • Santa Claus: In "The Living Holiday Lights," when Whirlybird appears to ferry Oso across the sea to the United States, he asks if Oso was expecting Santa Claus.
  • Sentient Vehicle: Rapide the train and Whirly Bird the helicopter.
  • Serious Business: No matter what problem Oso might be helping a little kid with, you can bet it will be treated as being of the the utmost urgency.
    Mr. Dos: It's a serious matter... Your special assignment: help Katie build a sandcastle.
  • Shout-Out: Many, many James Bond references, all the way up to hilariously bad titles (ex: Live and Let Dry, Carousel Royale, Goldenfly, A View to a Kitten00, etc.) complete with musical Homages to the original Bond movies' Title Theme Tunes...
    • There was a bonus one at the end of the double-episode For Your Nice Bunny and For Pancakes With Love. "That's not a bunny, it's a stack of pancakes!"
    • In "License to Clean," one of the books that Oso puts back on the kid's shelf when helping to clean his room has a cover design that looks distinctly like that which was used for the A Series of Unfortunate Events books.
    • In "License to Dress," Oso gets to wear a tuxedo and drinks water that is "fizzy, not flat."
  • Shrink Ray: "Thundersmall"
  • So Proud of You: The kid who was helped in the episode may get this from their parent or parents after successfully completing whatever it was Oso was helping them to learn.
  • Stock Footage: Whenever Paw Pilot sings the song Three Special Steps, the music video is just shown over and over, with the steps changing, and not to mention there’s two segments so you will here the song 2 times, it’s easy to get an ear worm.
  • Strictly Formula: Oso does a training assignment and fails. He is then called away to help a child by Mr. Dos and Paw Pilot assigns Oso "three special steps" to complete the task. Paw Pilot then starts singing about the mission as a strange music video is shown. When he arrives, Oso follows the steps carefully when helping the child, needing the audience's help for very simple tasks. As the final step is completed in the nick of time, Oso returns to complete his training exercise, using the knowledge he got from his mission to earn his training award. Oso then receives a special assignment digi-medal for helping the child. The episode finishes off with a corny one-liner.
  • Talking Animal: And talking trains, and talking planes... Let's just say "it's childrens' television" and leave it at that.
  • Title Theme Tune: Combined with a Pun.
  • Toilet Humor: "Potty Royale".
  • Toilet Training Plot: In "Potty Royale", Oso must help a boy named Aiden use the bathroom all by himself.
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot: Whether Oso is halfway across the country or on the moon, you can be sure that as soon as he's informed of a child in trouble, he will arrive in time to help that child before it's too late, then return in time to finish his training exercise without inconveniencing anyone.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Oso himself. Both children and parents alike always recognize him for who he is, and know why he's there.
  • The Voice: Mr. Dos.


Video Example(s):


It Works!

In "Goldringer" from "Special Agent Oso," while searching for a horseshoe, Oso comes across a boomerang. The girl he's helping informs him of what it is, explaining that if he throws it, it'll come back. He tries it and it does indeed come back, hitting him on the butt.

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