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Western Animation / Splash and Bubbles

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Splash and Bubbles is a CGI children's show produced by The Jim Henson Company, and created by the creator of Johnny and the Sprites, John Tartaglia. It premiered on PBS Kids on November 23, 2016.

The show follows the underwater exploits of a yellowback fusilier named Splash, and his friends Bubbles (a mandarin dragonet), Ripple (a seahorse), and Dunk (a pufferfish). They are the Reeftown Rangers, who vow to explore Reeftown and make new friends. The show teaches about oceanography and undersea life with a dash of social skills.

In-between the episodes, at least during PBS airings, are a live-action segment called Get Your Feet Wet, which features real kids asking ocean-related questions. Sometimes they are followed up by a song.

In October 2019, Tartaglia confirmed the show was cancelled and won't be getting a second season, due to a lack of funding.

This show provides examples of:

  • Aerith and Bob: We have characters who have names like Splash, Bubbles, Dunk, Ripple, etc, but there are characters who have more common names like Lu, Bob, Denny, Flo, Iris, Bell, and Polly.
  • All-CGI Cartoon: The show is CGI, animated with motion-capture.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Chompy the parrotfish. She's referred to as female but she's colored like a male parrotfish (females aren't that colorful, they're more brownish).
  • An Aesop: The show provides the moral that we should help take care of the ocean.
  • Animals Lack Attributes: The two titular fish characters are occasionally seen from below and one song even shows a close-up of their anal fins, yet they don't have any sort of anus. Justified, since it's a kids' show.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The Reeftown Rangers are concerned when Tidy is unusually happy to see them in one episode, making it sound like Tidy has gotten laid. However, he then explains that's he's actually looking for a mate.
  • Black Sheep: Bubbles seems to be the odd character out in a lot of ways:
  • Blind Mistake: In one episode, Mayor Sting explains to the group that sea urchins don't have eyes like they do and can only sense changes in light, so Archie got spooked by his shadow.
  • Big Eater: Chompy. She's eats almost whatever she sees and most of her appearance has her eating something.
  • Butt-Monkey: Dunk is often the butt of the others' jokes.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: Each one of the characters has their own special design.
  • Catchphrase: "Ocean Friends Forever!"
  • Cheated Angle: The characters are normally seen from a three-quarter angle, and are very rarely seen completely from the front or side.
  • Chromatic Arrangement: Splash (yellow), Bubbles (magenta pink/blue), Dunk (orange), and Ripple (pastel pink).
  • Edutainment Show: The show's theme is undersea and marine animals and life.
  • Expository Theme Tune: The theme song explains that after traveling all over the world, Splash came to Reef Town and met Bubbles.
  • Extra-Long Episode:
    • The episode “One Big Ocean” runs for a whole hour, longer than the other episodes.
    • "Pole to Pole" also qualifies for the trope, being the show's second 1-hour special and all.
  • Feather Fingers: Downplayed. The characters do sometimes use their fins as humans would use their hands, such as gesturing, waving, and picking up objects, but more often they just use their mouths to pick up objects and always use their faces to point, not their fins. Bubbles uses this trope the most, probably because of the size and placement of her fins compared to the others.
  • Filthy Fun: Bubbles' favorite pastime is rolling around in (underwater) mud puddles.
  • Friendship Song: “Hangin’ With Friends”, which is sung by the Reeftown Rangers as they introduce themselves and how having friends around can be fun.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: The main cast has two males (Splash and Dunk) and two females (Bubbles and Ripple)
  • Gossipy Hens: Maury is a male example. He likes to spread rumors about what goes on in the reef.
  • Handy Helper: Snap and Scout has this relationship. Snap's eyesight isn't great, so he needs Scout to protect him.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs:
    • "Leave only your finprints  behind!"
    • "What in the big blue ocean  just happened?!"
    • "I thought we were playing surprise fish, not scare-the-gills-off-of-me  fish!"
    • "I can't put my fin  on it."
  • "I Am" Song: Bubbles has "Yucky", which explains her likeness over gross things, and Dunk has "I Don't Know What I'm Doin' (I'm Just Doin' It)" as he shows his artist skills.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: Ripple has 499 brothers, all of which are referred to by their numbers.
  • Missing Mom: We don't see or hear about Ripple's mom but this is justified, as she's a seahorse.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: While there are species of parrotfish in the Pacific (where the show is implied to be), Chompy looks more like an Atlantic species.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Lu's name is short "bio'lu'minescence", something that anglerfish have.
    • Tidy likes to keep things in order. In one episode, he gets a wife named "Neat".
    • Melody's name is reference to whales "singing"
    • Pearline's name refers to her pearl.
    • Iris, a Bennett's butterflyfish, has eyespots. The iris is the colored part of an eye.
  • Puppy Love: The main characters are confirmed to be kids, and in "I Only Have Eyespots for You", Splash sees the most beautiful fish, Iris, go by and really wants to be her 'friend', to the point of following her around and being nervous when finally talking to her.
  • "Setting Off" Song: Splash has the song “Catch a Current”, normally used in an episode whenever he and his friends take the currents.
  • Shrinking Violet: Iris is very shy.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Tidy has Chipper.
  • The Smurfette Principle: In her family, Ripple is the only girl out of 500 offspring, which is odd since seahorses aren't known for having broods with one gender so extremely outnumbering the other.
  • Stock Footage: Sometimes a song can be used in more than one episode, with the same animation save for a few minor tweaks to go with who's in the episode and what the focus is about.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Bubbles is the tomboy, as she loves to get messy, and Ripple is the girly-girl, as she is much more feminine.
  • True Companions: Splash, Bubbles, Dunk, and Ripple, who have stuck with each other through thick and thin.
  • The Voice: When Tidy the garibaldi fish cleans his algae bed, his annoying neighbor Chipper is often heard insulting his algae bed, but is never seen. He always replies with something along the lines of "THIS DOES NOT CONCERN YOU, THANK YOU!" or "I HEARD THAT, CHIPPER!"
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Bubbles' accent is hard to pinpoint. Her accent has a youthful, distinctly female tone, but it sounds like a cross between a Southern accent and an entirely made up accent. It is most likely not supposed to be a specific "accent," but rather her voice actress exaggerating her natural voice to be higher pitched.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: It's implied that much of the show and Reeftown are somewhere in the Pacific, probably between the coasts of Asia and Australia, considering Bubbles' species.