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Western Animation / The Family-Ness

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The Family-Ness (1984-1985) is a British children's cartoon revolving around the adventures of a brother and sister, Angus and Elspeth McToot, and their friends, a family of Loch Ness monsters collectively known as the Nessies.

The children become friends with the Nessies after they save the clumsy Silly-Ness from a hole. The mother of the Nessies, Her High-Ness, made it a strict rule beforehand that Loch Ness monsters have nothing to do with humans, but she makes Elspeth and Angus the exceptions after they save Silly-Ness. To show her gratitude for the children's actions, Her High-Ness gives them "thistle whistles" that they can use to call on the Nessies at any time.

Elspeth and Angus's dad, Mr. McToot, is the keeper of the Nessies' loch, but he dismisses anyone's claims of seeing a Loch Ness monster as nonsense. Similarily, the local policeman does not believe anyone who says they saw a Loch Ness monster. Professor Dumkopf, on the other hand, knows for sure that the Nessies are real and tries to prove their existence by making various inventions to use in and around the loch; his plans are usually foiled by the McToot children or the Nessies themselves, however.


Not to be confused with a wholly separate other British (albeit French co-production) series which also featured the same "-Ness suffix denotes personalities of a group of Loch Ness monsters" concept a decade later Happy Ness: The Secret of the Loch.

This work provides examples of:

  • Artistic Licence - Geography: The mayor of the Loch appears in one episode. Scotland does not have any mayors in real life due to a complex situation involving local authorities.
  • Big Eater: Hungry-Ness. It's even in his name.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Professor Dumkopf. The word "dumkopf" is German for "stupid head".
  • British Brevity: The show ran for a single season of 25 episodes. Since the episodes are only 5 minutes in length each this gives the entire series a total run time of just over 2 Hours. Despite this, the show retains an enduring popularity with many fans from its original run.
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  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": Angus has a "T" on his shirt.
  • Chameleon Camouflage: It's revealed that Ferocious-Ness can change color at will in "Ferocious-Ness Changes his Colour".
  • The Ditz: Forgetful-Ness and Silly-Ness. Again, all in the names.
  • Ending Theme: A song called "You'll Never Find a Nessie in the Zoo" is played over the end credits of every episode. The final episode, which shares its name with the song, features an extended version of this ending theme.
  • Grand Finale: "You'll Never Find a Nessie in a Zoo", the 25th and final episode, ends with Ferocious-Ness saying good-bye to the McToot children.
  • Interspecies Friendship: Between Angus and Elspeth, a pair of human children, and the Nessies.
  • Literal Music Video: The lyrics of the theme song describe exactly what's happening on screen.
  • Mad Scientist: Professor Dumkopf is a mad scientist.
  • Meaningful Name: The Nessies all have names reflecting what their personality is. For example, Eager-Ness is a very eager Nessie while Sporty-Ness likes to play sports.
  • Missing Mom: The father of the McToot children is a commonly-seen character, but their mother is never even mentioned anywhere.
  • Modesty Shorts: Elspeth wears red shorts with matching vest beneath her pleated skirt.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: None of the Nessies are even antagonistic or hostile to the children.
  • Nonstandard Character Design: The Nessies tend to have pretty similar designs, but Ferocious-Ness and Her High-Ness look markedly different from the others. Ferocious-Ness has a more monstrous design, and Her High-Ness actually resembles a stereotypical Loch Ness monster to a greater degree.
  • Our Monsters Are Different: Although there is the iconic depiction of the Loch Ness monster or any Stock Ness Monster design, these monsters are non-malicious, fun and friendly, and look more like dinosaurs than monsters.
  • Punny Name: Most of the Nessies have names made to resemble words ending with the suffix "-ness" (e.g. Ferocious-Ness, Clever-Ness, Eyewit-Ness, etc.).
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Invoked in-universe. Ferocious-ness enters a parade pretending to be a float modelled after the Loch Ness Monster, but is annoyed when he only wins third place. It turns out that the judges were looking for a more stereotypical plesiosaur-type design of Loch Ness monster rather than Ferocious-ness’ Godzilla-like appearance.
  • Short-Runner: Ran for one series of 25 episodes from 1984 to 1985.
  • Sick Episode: "Baby-Ness Gets the Measles", where Baby-Ness gets... well, what the episode's title says.
  • The Smart Guy: Clever-Ness, as per his name again.
  • Stock Ness Monster: The whole focus of the series is Loch Ness monsters, obviously.
  • Theme Tune Extended: In the show, the theme song is just barely over 30 seconds long. An extended version exists which is almost two minutes and thirty seconds long.
  • Title Theme Tune: "Eyewit-Ness comes up for air, and taking notes without a care, returns with a crash and a bash and a splash to The Family-Ness!"