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Western Animation / The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!

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"He knows a lot about, he knows a lot about, he knows a lot about that!"

An Edutainment Show on PBS Kids starring The Cat in the Hat (voiced by Martin Short), Sally, her new best friend Nick and Fish, plus cameos from Thing One and Thing Two.

Each episode is composed of two twelve-minute stories, in which the Cat helps solve the children's problems by whisking them off in his helicopter-esque Thingamajigger to experience a relevant aspect of the natural world. This usually involves meeting and learning from an exotic animal, bird or insect.

The series is based loosely on a franchise of books called The Cat in the Hat's Learning Library, which was later retitled to match the name of this television series. It was produced by Collingwood & Co..

This show contains examples of:

  • Adapted Out: Sally's brother (or Conrad as he was called in the 2003 film) is completely absent from the show, with his role instead being taken by Sally's best friend Nick.
  • Are We There Yet?: In "Itty Bitty Water," the Cat repeatedly moans this after the group has traveled across a long desert to reach a stream. Fortunately, the third time around, the answer is yes.
  • Bag of Holding: The Cat's hat, as per the original, turns out to contain whatever might be needed for that day's adventure. The similarly-stuffed hatch at the back of the Thingamajigger probably qualifies too, given the Things apparently live there.
  • Catchphrase: When suggesting each new adventure, the Cat tells the kids "Your mother will not mind at all if you do..." referencing a similar repeated line from the books. Nick's constant variations on "That's so cool!" may also count.
  • Christmas Special: The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Christmas!
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Thanks to his role as responsible guardian to the kids, the Cat is actually quite a bit saner and more organized here than in the original... but he's still a Dr. Seuss character (as interpreted by Martin Short, to boot) and still prone to all it implies.
  • Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are: Barry the barracuda sings a rap song that includes this phrase while he's hunting for his prey.
  • Disappeared Dad: The kids' mothers are seen in most episodes, but their fathers are nowhere to be found. Subverted in Season 3's "Making Waves", where Nick's father appears. All four parents appear in The Cat in the Hat knows a Lot About Christmas!
  • Disembodied Eyebrows: Fish.
  • Don't Try This at Home: Before giving the kids bubble gum to help them stick to rocks like limpets, the Cat makes them promise never to try the same thing back home. "Your mother will most certainly mind if you do!"
  • Edutainment Show: Unlike a lot of the more recent offerings of this type, Aesops or pro-social values aren't the primary goal. Instead, the show merely has some very interesting things to teach about science and nature, and particularly various types of animals. Even Periphery Demographic watchers may learn something they didn't know before, such as the properties of the blue-footed booby's feet, or the various ways in which a wolf can find their pack.
  • Evolving Credits: Later episodes would credit the episode's writers in the opening sequence note , as well as replacing the word "that" with the episode's subject.
  • Fantasy Helmet Enforcement: Part of the ritual preflight checklist before each adventure, as they settle into the Thingamajigger: "Buckle up! Flick the jiggermawhizzer!"
  • Fun with Subtitles: A snarky variant: as if to criticize Cat hamming up his thanks to the viewers at the end of the funding credits, the on-screen words "Viewers Like You" dissolve and are replaced by a plainer, clearer "Thank You!"
  • Gesundheit: Sally and Nick say it in unison in The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Halloween when the Cat describes Bubbles as a "great haberdasher."
  • Group Hug: Happens sometimes in a few episodes with the Cat, Nick, and Sally.
  • Growling Gut: The episode "Rumbly Tumbly" is actually dedicated to stomach growling and why they make sounds.
  • Halloween Episode: The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Halloween, a nearly hour-long special featuring the group journeying so that Sally and Nick can find the perfect Halloween costumes.
  • Large Ham: Martin Short as the Cat. Good heavens, Martin Short as the Cat.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: After they get permission from their moms to go on each adventure, the kids yell to the Cat "We can go! We can go!" and he ecstatically jumps into the air and bellows back "I know, I know!!". In one episode, they perform this ritual in a small tent they've just finished putting up... leading the Cat to add a very calm "...and let's never do that in a tent again, OK?"
  • Limited Wardrobe: Sally is normally outfitted in a pink jumper dress, white blouse and a pink hairband, Nick in an orange sweatshirt and blue jeans. Cat, of course, always wears his signature red-and-white striped hat and red bowtie.
  • Mad Libs Catch Phrase: Used to set up the adventure in each episode:
    Cat: ...Your mother will not mind at all if you do!
    Sally and/or Nick: (running towards the back door) Mom! Can we go to [wacky place name] to meet/learn [specific skill] from [exotic creature]?!
    (Mom laughs and gives permission, with a quip that clearly indicates she thinks they're just kidding)
  • Mobile Fishbowl: Fish — in this series apparently the Cat's companion rather than the children's pet — travels with the group in a bowl that sits in a special cradle on the back of the Thingamajigger.
  • Once an Episode: Whenever the gang is in a situation, the Cat tells a rhyme mentioning the Things and calls them by whistling.
  • Only Sane Man: As per the original, Fish sees himself in this role in relation to the Cat's unbridled whimsy ("Somebody's gotta take care of you!"). Sally also gets shades of it from time-to-time.
  • Primal Chest-Pound: Gordon the gorilla makes his appearance doing this, explaining that he only does it to scare intruders. Like real gorillas, he does it with open hands rather than clenched fists.
  • Pluto Is Expendable: In "The Planet Name Game," the Cat, Nick and Sally travel into space and name the eight planets. Neither Pluto nor the controversy surrounding it are mentioned. Incidentally, this may be the first series of its type to touch the subject of naming the planets since the 2006 decision.
  • Race Lift: In the books, the male child character was white, but the one in the TV series is black (and is a different kid, as evidenced by the fact that he's now Sally's neighbor instead of brother). Additionally, the new books being released under the banner of The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That feature the the black youngster.
  • Refuge in Audacity: In every episode, the Cat tells the kids to get a parent's permission before they can go on the day's adventure to meet [insert outlandish animal] in [insert wacky place name]. The parent always allows it, thinking they're just pretending.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: The Cat, regularly and obviously, in the Seussian tradition.
  • Rhyming Title: The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That.
  • Rule of Three: Relies fairly heavily on it as per most children's edutainment programs.
  • Running Gag: See Refuge in Audacity above. Additionally, each episode features an interlude wherein Thing One and Thing Two are called on to get the travelers out of some difficulty, usually by building some wildly complicated contraption.
  • Smelly Skunk: In the episode "Sniff and Seek", The Cat takes Sally and Nick to see Whiffy the skunk, who helps find Sally’s favorite smell and they discover how good Whiffy is at protecting himself with his very own special smell.
  • Status Quo Is God: Nick rips his shirt in the center in "Cotton Patch" and get a diamond-shaped patch to cover it up. This is, of course, never seen again in any future installments.
  • Title Theme Tune: "Wherever you're going, wherever you're at, The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About (he knows a lot about, he knows a lot about, he knows a lot about...) That!"
  • Viewers Like You: PBS shows mandate a "thank you" to viewers at the end of the funding credits. The Cat takes this as yet one more opportunity to be supremely hammy. "You and you and you and you! Thanks. So much. You're very kind."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Originally, the main characters in The Cat in the Hat were the Cat, Sally, her brother (identified as Conrad in the live-action movie), and their pet Fish. In this series, it's the Cat, his pet Fish, Sally, and a new African-American boy who lives next door named Nick. What happened to Sally's brother? And when did Fish — notoriously suspicious of the Cat in the original — switch sides?
  • Who's on First?: One of the quiz gags with Fish involves an owl that keeps hooting when Fish is trying to ask us his question about what sound an owl makes.
    Fish: You got it this time, but next time I'll stump you for sure.
    Owl: (hooting) Whooooo.
    Fish: Me, that's who!
  • You Didn't Ask: In the Christmas special, this is Ralph the reindeer's explanation when Sally and Nick ask why he didn't tell them that he's one of Santa's reindeer.