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Western Animation / The Long Long Holiday

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A ten episode animated series produced by Cyber Group Studios, Les Grande Grande Vacances in French or The Long Long Holiday in English, follows the adventures of Ernest and Colette Bonhoure, a pair of a siblings from Paris, during the events of World War II. While visiting their maternal grandparents in a village near Dieppe in Normandy, the German Army invades France, and Ernest and Colette must stay with their grandparents (semi)permanently, as their father's off fighting the invasion while their mother (who's sick with tuberculosis) is sent to a sanitarium over in Switzerland.

What was supposed to only be a short vacation ends up going on for five years (all but the first year of World War II). At the start of the series, Ernest is 11 while Colette's 6—by the end, Ernest is 16 and Colette's 11. During their time in Grangeville (the town that their maternal grandparents live in), Ernest and Colette meet new friends and help the French resistance fight the Nazi occupation.


The Long Long Holiday provides examples of:

  • Aborted Declaration of Love: Jean barely gives one to Lily when he gets shot in the ankle.
  • Action Dad: Robert, Ernest and Colette's Dad, who breaks out of a Stalag and joins the Resistance.
  • Act of True Love: Towards the end of the war, Hans reappears and attempts to kill Jeanne. However, Otto, Jeanne's Second Love and a German officer, fights with and kills Hans to protect Jeanne. Fantastic example of Love Across Battlelines.
  • Adult Fear: It doesn't get much more adult than the Nazis invading your country. Some specific examples include:
    • Children not coming home at night.
    • Becoming separated from family members while fleeing from an invading army.
    • Playing alone at a beach filled with landmines.
    • Going without food to make sure your children have enough to eat.
    • Seeing smoke coming from neighboring villages and worrying when the war will reach your home.
    • Being taken as a hostage and knowing that you will probably die, and sending your children to run and save themselves, not knowing if they'll even survive.
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    • For the audience there's the kids upbringing due to the war.
  • Adults Are Useless: Played with. While the adults are often just trying to survive, many of them work secretly for the Resistance. However, the kids are instrumental in helping kick the Nazis out of France, what with their spying and sabotage efforts that prove themselves capable of more than many adults are in a similar situation.
  • All Germans Are Nazis: Subverted. There are swastikas and plenty of German soldiers but none of them are in Nazi uniform. While there are of course sinister and abusive soldiers that occupy the town, there also appears to be a few truly kind soldiers who lend a hand to the townsfolk from other Germans trying to exploit them. Although some of the friendlier soldiers are even more unsettling to the children, as they can't tell who to trust.
  • Alliterative Name: Marcel Morteau.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Lily at first.
  • Anachronism Stew: Mostly averted. However, when the Germans arrive in Grangeville in 1940, the column of vehicles that runs over the children's football includes a Tiger I PzKpfw VI heavy tank... first manufactured in 1942. Later, in 1943 and 1944, the German vehicles continue to be painted in grey, rather than sand, and at Dieppe the Allied tanks are Shermans instead of Churchills. On the other hand, everything else is very accurate.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Standard reaction coming from most characters, due to the war.
  • Animal Motifs: Mr. Herbin is shown to be fond of birds, even using bird calls to summon his students from the schoolyard. Unsuprisingly he is revealed to be Sparrowhawk.
  • Arcadia: The characters live in Grangeville, a Close-Knit Community in Normandy.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: Don't let the animation fool you. This show is a very serious depiction of World War II.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": Ernest and Jean use this to trick Marcel into going to a Nazi-occupied lighthouse. Later, Marcel and Gaston do the same to lure Durant into a hole.
  • Bathos: One particular instance has Marcel going temporarily deaf yelling why everyone's crying as the other kids lament Sparrowhawk/Mr. Herbin's death.
  • Batman in My Basement: One episode deals with the Robinsons hiding a downed English airman named Douglas.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Ernest for Colette and Pierre for Marcel, Gaston, and the Robinsons in general.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Happens several times; Robert and the Resistance attack a Nazi headquarters to rescue hostages taken in retaliation for sabotage. Later, Paul and then Ernest warn that the clubhouse's whereabouts are compromised, saving both the kids and adults from death.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The occasional German dialogue of the soldiers isn't subtitled.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Most of the characters survive the war, but several characters have died. Also, Ernest and Colette have been reunited with their parents but their departure from Grangeville and leaving the friends they've made is inevitable.
  • Blank White Eyes: Character's eyes (Black Bead Eyes) become blank and feature worry lines when scared or sad.
  • Blush Sticker: Marcel, Gaston, and Lily all have blush "hatch mark" stickers on their cheeks. Interestingly, they're the characters who are the most stubborn and hot-tempered of the Robinsons.
  • Brother–Sister Team: Ernest and Colette.
  • Bully Hunter: Lily, when she throws cow dung at Marcel and Gaston.
  • Bus Crash: Fernand is taken away by the Nazis due to his Jewish heritage. The finale reveals that he died in Auschwitz.
  • Butt-Monkey: Jean-Baptiste. Poor guy crashes his bike more than he's actually able to ride it around. He even gets a broken leg. However, there's a silver lining in that the injury prevents him from being taken by the Nazis).
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The first two episodes are comparably light; after that, things keep getting darker.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Colette's drawing ability. Over time she gets progressively better and uses her skill to aid the French Resistance.
    • More of a Chekhov Disability; Marcel going temporarily deaf and yelling, which tells the Canadian forces that they're kids, otherwise they would had gotten shot.
  • Cheerful Child: All of the kids are fun loving and cheerful. That is, until the war comes.
  • Child Hater: Durant, who spends most of the series slinking around and spying on the kids, trying to get the Nazis to arrest them.
  • Childhood Marriage Promise: When the Robinsons talk about their futures and what jobs they'd like, Jean suggests to Lily that they marry one day. She didn't exactly tell him no...
  • Children Are Innocent: Ziggzagged. The Robinsons still play and act like kids, but living during a war certainly destroys one's innocence. Lampshaded by Mr. Herbin in that even though they look and act like kids, the Nazis won't care if they catch them participating in the Resistance.
  • The City vs. the Country: Plot B for Ernest and Colette. Exploited by Marcel in the first episode.
  • Comic-Book Time: Averted. They do have a case of Limited Wardrobe, but everyone gets noticeably taller (Using the adults as reference). It can just be hard to notice since they grow proportionally to each other. Additionally, Lily is developing some curves by the last episodes.
  • Commonality Connection: Jean and Ernest become friends right off the bat when they learn they're both fans of the book Robinson Crusoe.
  • Cool Teacher: Mr. Herbin
  • Cowardly Lion: Jean. though when the situation calls for it, he will take a bullet in order to protect his friends.
  • Death Equals Redemption: For Sparrowhawk Mr. Herbin the school teacher, he put kids and early teens through life-threatening situations for the cause, but he did die saving their lives.
  • Death of a Child: Antoine and Fernand don't survive the war.
  • Defeat Equals Friendship: In a sense between Ernest and Marcel. They start off very antagonistic towards each other, but after a prank results with Marcel detained by the Nazis and Ernest and friends help freeing him, they fight, have a laugh over it, and reconcile their differences.
  • Defiant Stone Throw: More of a defiant paper throw at the French policeman who shows up to the school to investigate if the students are resisting the Nazis. It also provides cover to hide an important map for the Resistance.
  • Defiant to the End: Mr. Herbin dies yelling "Viva la France!"
  • Deadpan Snarker: Lily, being Tall, Dark, and Snarky and using Flippant Forgiveness and Condescending Compassion on the other Robinsons and their sometimes terrible plans.
  • Disappeared Dad: Ernest and Colette's father left to fight in the war. Pierre, Marcel, and Gaston's father is confirmed to be dead.
  • Dub Name Change: Muguette becomes Lily and Jean-Baptiste is just Baptiste in the English dub.
  • Entitled Bastard: Hans, a German soldier who uses 'requisition' to steal food to sell on the black market. It's also implied that he killed and ate Muddy.
  • Expy: Jean and Lily share certain similarities with Ulrich and Yumi from Code Lyoko. Both have similar physical appearances, both are about the same age, and both have their share of UST. The VAs for Lily and Yumi in the English dub even sound similar.
  • Free-Range Children: Played straight, though most of the characters' parents are away at war, so they don't have a lot of supervision anyway.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Durant. At first, he's just a self-serving jerk who talks of how the French should be helping the Germans, but his actions cause many people to be hurt, including getting Fernand arrested by the Germans and telling the Germans of the Robinsons/Resistance hideout and causing Mr. Herbin's death.
  • Ghibli Hills: The forest is pure Scenery Porn, except for all the danger that intrudes into the story.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Thought its debatable how much of a heel he is, Otto receives this, helping to save the Morteau children from being killed by Nazis.
  • Home Base: The Robinson's clubhouse, created from an abandoned house in the middle of the forest. Features include: treehouse/lookout, improvised furniture, a view of the surrounding area, and dart games with Petain and Hitler's faces. Used as a meeting place for the Resistance later on in the series.
  • Hope Spot: When Hans, an Entitled Bastard German soldier is sent to the Eastern Front for stealing food and selling it in a black market, it seems like Muddy, hidden in the Robinsons' clubhouse, will be safe from further harassment. Except it's revealed that Muddy escaped from the clubhouse as Hans was departing the area and is unfortunately killed and eaten.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Played surprisingly straight for a series with children as the main characters, with people accusing each other of being spies or parisans, turning each other in to the Germans, or taking advantage of rationing to overcharge customers basic necessities both legally and on the black market. Fernand is a notable victim, first being accused of being a German spy, since he is from the Alsace area and has a German accent. Later, he is turned in to the Nazis by the same jerk who accused him of being a German spy because Fernand is Jewish and refuses to wear a Star of David.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Lucie, Colette and Ernest's mother, suffers from TB and goes to a sanitorium in Switzerland just before the war she gets better, but they don't see each other again until six years later.
  • Improbable Infant Survival:
    • A baby manages to survive being strafed by a German plane.
    • Rosie, a French Jewish girl, is rescued and taken to England by the Resistance.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Jean, when Fernand is trying to tell the Robinsons that he's Jewish.
  • Invisible Parents: Lily's father is occasionally mentioned but is one of the only parents still alive that is never seen on-screen.
  • It's Always Spring: Zigzagged. While some brief scenes take place in late fall and winter, most of the time the series is set in what seems to be summer/early fall.
  • Juxtaposition: In later episodes the kids play as always, except they aren't playing anymore, they are getting behind enemy territory to draw maps and get items. If they get caught they could die.
  • Kid Hero: The Robinsons.
  • Killed Offscreen: Fernand is taken away and killed in Auschwitz.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Everyone, which makes sense, given the war.
    • Ernest actually does change his signature outfit halfway through the series, giving up the sweater vest and just wearing a white shirt (sometimes with a blue coat).
  • Missing Mom: Ernest and Colette's mother, Lucie, was sent to a clinic in Switzerland for her health. Meanwhile there's no explanation for what happened to Lily's mother, as she's never mentioned.
  • Mood Whiplash: The ending details how liberty is of incredible value and everyone kept on with their lives except Fernand, he was taken to Auchwitz
  • Nature Lover: Colette
  • Never Bareheaded: Pierre and Gaston Morteau are often seen wearing hats.
  • Not So Different: (See Humans Are Bastards) Early on in the Nazi Occupation we see German soldiers waving at civilians and near the end the Resistance is killing Les Collaborateurs in the middle of the street as "Justice", even Gaston and Marcel's older brother is about to shoot Otto despite his own mother crying and his little brother hugging the man and begging him not to.
  • No Swastikas: Averted, plenty of swastikas are seen on flags and German vehicles.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. There are three characters that share some variation of the name "Jean"
  • Outdoorsy Gal: Lily knows the whole area, from the beaches to the forests, like the back of her hand. Granted, she doesn't go to school (out of a lack of money), and spends quite a lot of time scavenging wild foods like seaweed, berries, and shellfish in order to eat. So she has shades of Wild Child as well.
  • Parental Substitute: Played with. Gaston's father died when he was little so he views Douglas, the downed English pilot that the Robinsons find as a fatherly figure of sorts. Douglas in turn shows Gaston a picture of his own son, left a letter addressed only to him, and lets him have his RAF watch for keeps. When he leaves, Gaston is devastated.
  • Pet the Dog: The Colonel gets a few of these moments.
  • Precision F-Strike: The original French dub makes good use of the word "bastard"
  • Put on a Bus: Colette's narration mentions in episode 3 that the abandoned baby that she and her friends and family found was reclaimed by the next of kin.
  • The Quisling: Durant.
  • Raisedby Grandparents: Ernest and Colette live with their maternal grandparents for six years while their mom is ill and their father is fighting.
  • Red Baron: The local resistance leader is known only as the Sparrowhawk
  • Redhead In Green: Marcel
  • La Résistance: Naturally, for a story set in WWII era France. The children help the resistance effort several times.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Played straight for Durand. Averted with Otto.
  • Ship Tease: Lily and Jean. Counts as a Toy Ship, since they're both kids who Almost Kiss once in the series.
  • The Siege: Towards the end, the Nazis attack the Robinsons/Resistance hideout, with Sparrowhawk and some of the kids still inside.
  • Smurfette Principle: Lily and Colette are the only girls in the Robinsons gang.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: The Morteaus all resemble each other with their red hair.
  • Suggestive Collision: Happens between Jean and Lily when he pushes her away from an oncoming truck in one episode. He also hugs her close until it's passed by.
  • Team Pet: Muddy the pig. At least until he's eaten.
  • Title Drop: Said by Colette in the first episode.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Durand is the only one in town who actively helps the Germans.
  • Token Good Teammate: Otto is repeatedly shown to be a good person, never overstepping his authority, prevents a more malevolent fellow officer from overstepping his authority, and even keeping things from his superiors to keep the children safe. He even ends up falling in love with Jeanne and helps protect her children from the other Nazis.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Colette. While not reaching Action Girl levels, she goes from a little girl who cries all the time to a member of the French resistance, spying on the Nazis and using her skills to map out the German supply routes.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The spacey Antoine is a tragic example, having wandered where he wasn't supposed to be and stepped on a landmine.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Not many are bothered due to the circumstances but Colette goes from drawing pigs and happy scenes to detailed maps of German fortifications on the beaches, working as a child agent for the Resistance. She also draws some Hitler and Durant faces for Lily to throw darts at.
    • It gets more troubling in universe as she develops a quite a violent desire to end the war. Truth in Television for many citizens of France at the time.
  • True Companions: The Robinsons.
  • War Is Hell: Par for the course with a show detailing the Nazi occupation of France, albeit from a child's perspective. The children's parents try to protect them, but it doesn't last long.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Living through a war does tend to cause children to become much more mature than their age suggests it.
  • Youthful Freckles: Colette has them.

  • Language Barrier: When a group of French kids meet an English airman, they communicate surprisingly well despite not knowing each other's languges. Could fall under Bilingual Dialogue.


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