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Western Animation / The Mighty B!

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WOW! I got the beat, so all the kids dance with me, me, me, me! Pick it up, turn around, here comes the Mighty B! B! B! B!

What happens when you combine the creative talents of Amy Poehler (of Saturday Night Live fame), Erik Wiese (SpongeBob SquarePants storyboarder), and Cynthia True (The Fairly OddParents writer)? The Mighty B!, a Nickelodeon animated series that manages to be completely insane and down-to-earth at the exact same time.

Bessie Higgenbottom (voiced by Poehler) is an abnormally eager Honeybee scout determined to collect every single Honeybee scout badge ever, believing that once she does this nigh-impossible task, she'll become a super hero (the titular "Mighty B"). Living with younger brother Ben, pet dog Happy, and mother Hilary in San Francisco, Bessie ends up going on a multitude of strange adventures. From covering the entire city in wool to getting trapped in Alcatraz, Bessie does everything either to get a badge or have some fun.

The show debuted in April, 2008. After a rough air schedule, The Mighty B! was pretty much forgotten halfway through 2010. It took a station change to Nicktoons Network and another year before the final episodes ever got released, eventually ending its run in June 2011.

Please do not confuse this with The Mighty Boosh.

The Mighty B! provides examples of:

  • Adults Are Useless: With the exception of Hilary (Bessie and Ben's mother), adults are fairly indifferent/incompetent, particularly when it comes to Bessie's problems. Mrs. Gibbons, the underhanded head of Honeybee Academy, takes the cake, however.
  • Afraid of Doctors: In "Bee Patients" Happy is afraid of going to the doctor and has to be forced by Bessie.
  • Afraid of Needles: Bessie is so afraid of needles she runs away when she has to get her booster shot.
  • Alpha Bitch: Portia fits this to a T. She's popular, blonde, has one girl that always tags along with her, is somewhat vapid, speaks like a Valley Girl and torments Bessie at every opportunity.
  • Bigger on the Inside: The Hive. That tiny little clubhouse sure does feel like a normal house in the inside.
  • Birthday Episode:
    • "An I See Bee", for Penny.
    • "Ten Little Honeybees", for Portia.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Bessie became this in the episode "Blindsided", where she spends most of the episode wandering around without her glasses.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Portia (blonde), Gwen and Penny (brunettes), and Mary Frances (redhead).
  • Body Horror: Dear. Lord. "Hen and Bappy". Watch and try to be horrified.
  • Catchphrase: Bessie: "Awwwwwsome!"
  • Chickenpox Episode: "Apoxalypse Now" is about Bessie trying to catch chickenpox from Gwen and her brothers so Bessie can get the "Chickenpox Patch." Bessie even breaks into Gwen's house by using Ben (who already had the chickenpox) to distract Gwen. At the end of the episode, Ben is the one who gets sick, as it turns out Bessie did already have chickenpox and is now immune.
  • Clashing Cousins: An interesting variation is the plot of "Doppelfinger" where after Bessie's Imaginary Friend "Finger" is injured in an origami competition his evil French cousin "Fingere" (Bessie's right index finger) takes over his duties and tries to keep him out of the picture. At one point apparently trying to KILL HIM in his sleep… keep in mind these are fingers and supposed to be imaginary characters created by Bessie…
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Bessie, of course. Although she's right about some things, like her middle name being cursed.
  • Continuity Nod: The series tends to be fairly comfortable with smaller continuity. Examples include returns of Judge Gibbons, The Doctor, Running With The Rainbow Unicorn, K.G. Bianca, and the switch from the suburban rec-center to the newer, urban one.
  • Cool Big Sis: Bessie is this to Ben, even though she's more eccentric than cool.
  • Crapsack World: San Francisco is portrayed as a shithole city full of sadistic bullies, jerks, and idiots, with a corrupt and underfunded school system. Bessie herself tends to fall victim to this the most, although this never breaks her chipper attitude.
  • Crying a River: In "Portrait of a Happy", Bessie bawls enough to flood her room with tears when Fritz refuses to take pictures of Happy.
  • Cutaway Gag: Doesn't usually happen, but in "Higgenbottom'$ 7" there's two examples of this trope: When Penny becomes president of Venezuela, and when they stop the story to send a fly back in time, who through the Chaos Theory, affects the current situation.
  • Cute Creature, Creepy Mouth: In the first episode, Portia's dog Precious opens her mouth and shows her teeth, which Anton St. Germain thinks she's a rat.
  • Day in the Limelight: "Mr. Turtleton's Wild Ride" for Millie and her pet turtle.
  • Denser and Wackier: Season 2 is a sharp contrast from Season 1: from stuff like underwater gangsters and unicorns being real to more wacky facial expressions and more expressive animation, it is a massive leap compared to Season 1, which, while wacky, is comparatively more grounded and down to earth.
  • Derailed for Details: In the episode "Ben Screams for Ice Cream", Bessie trying to tell a joke. "A leprechaun walks into a bar. Wait, you're not supposed to know it's a leprechaun yet..."
  • Deranged Animation: Of the Ren and Stimpy variety, though somewhat downplayed due to the lack of Gross-Up Close-Up.
  • Disappeared Dad: No mention of either Bessie or Portia's fathers have been made.
  • The Ditz: Penny operates on a different plane of logic than most people.
  • Ditzy Genius: Bessie has many talents, including being able to create cold fusion. Also creating a functioning spaceship when she was 5.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Bessie Kajolica Higgenbottom. And it's cursed.
  • Everybody Cries: In "Ben Screams for Ice Cream", Hal steals all the ice cream, causing the kids to cry.
  • Evil Is Petty: In "Beenadict Arnold" Portia tried to take Happy away from Bessie just because it would make Bessie feel bad.
  • Expy
    • Bessie seems to be a version of a character Amy Poehler did for The Upright Citizens Brigade: a hyperactive ten year-old Girl Scout. Saturday Night Live's Kaitlin was a watered down version of the character, making her a spiritual cousin of Bessie. In a way, the freedom of animation makes Bessie a purer version of the character than the original! In fact, you'll notice Poehler performs Kaitlin and Bessie with the same childish, lisping voice.
    • She can also pass as a female version of SpongeBob SquarePants. Both has the same annoying and happy-go-lucky behavior as one another and they both have the exact same buck teeth.
    • Penny is easily the female counterpart to Patrick Star, as they're both not-so-bright simpletons who are the Fat Best Friend to the main protagonist.
    • Happy seems a bit similar to Porkchop.
  • For the Evulz: Often Portia's evil acts against Bessie have no real motivation.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: Averted for fingers. But played straight for toes.
    • Animal characters (ex: Happy) has these.
  • Freak Out: Portia goes utterly bananas in the pilot upon discovering her dog is actually a rat.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Happy used to work as a secret agent for the attack dog organization called S.H.A.D.O.W. or Seriously Hardcore Attack Dog Operation Worldwide.
  • Genki Girl: Bessie seems to be a bottomless well of energetic optimism.
  • Getting Sick Deliberately: In "Apoxalypse Now", Bessie tries to catch chicken pox so that she can get the Chickenpox Patch. She ends up unknowingly infecting Ben and finds out too late that since she already had chickenpox in the past, she's immune to it now. She is then forced to take care of Ben for roping him into her scheme.
  • Gem-Encrusted: In the first episode "So Happy Together", the dog collar Portia put on Precious has those.
  • Girl Posse: Portia and Gwen (and Penny and Bessie on occasion) are a smaller version of this than the norm, consisting of only two people.
  • Gonk: Penny and Anton St. Germain, to lesser extents.
  • Gross-Out Show: Downplayed. There are a few gross-out moments in the cartoon, such as the occasional fart and booger joke, but it's perfectly normal aside from that.
  • Halloween Episode: "Catatonic", also serving as an Amnesia Episode where Bessie, trying on her cat costume, hits herself on the head hard and actually believes herself to be a cat. The same thing happens to Bessie's mom, making her think she's a Wicked Witch.
  • Hartman Hips: Mary Gibbons (Portia's mom) has a rather massive pair of hips, to the point where it could be mistaken that she has a butt both on her front and her back..
  • Hate Sink: Portia often serves as this, due to how far she goes in order to make Bessie suffer, often for no real reason.
    • Her cousin, Chelsea, and her mother to a lesser extent could also count as such, due to them being just as vapid and cruel as her.
  • Hand Sliding Down the Glass: Parodied in the episode “Hive of Darkness” when Bessie is trapped in her hive-shaped clubhouse with bees, her hand slides down a window full of honey.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door Penny is Bessie's best friend, and yet she frequently goes behind her back to team up with Portia and Gwen (sometimes to gang up against her, even). What's even more odd is that Bessie never seems to have a problem with this.
  • Hook Hand: Daren, the neighbor has hooks for his hands and teeth.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Subverted. the first part of a segment is Bessie's dog, Happy, getting treatment from a vet for a skinned knee. After the usual kicking and screaming, they head next door for the doctor to treat Bessie's skinned knee. Turns out that she's just in time for a booster shot. After fighting much worse than her dog did, she finally gets the shot while trying to escape through the sink. After the shot, she launches into the usual "See Happy, that didn't hurt a — okay, yeah, that hurts..."
  • Imaginary Friend: Bessie's "Finger" which she draws a face on, which often appears to be sentient. In fact, at one point of the series she comments on how she can actually hear him breathing!
  • Inelegant Blubbering: It happens anytime Bessie cries, such as in the episode "Portrait of a Happy", where she starts to sob grossly after getting out of her bed. Later in the episode, her tears come out of her nose and mouth.
  • Instant Web Hit: "Awww-esome!" revolves around Bessie trying to watch a viral web series of adorable puppies doing cute things for the camera, but everything in the universe prevents her from doing so.
  • Intentional Mess Making: Among the other trouble Millie causes to ruin Bessie's reputation in "Stuffed Happens", she throws eggs at Penny's rubber chicken, crudely draws a picture of Bessie on Mr. Turtleton's shell, and breaks a Ferris wheel with vomit.
  • Konami Code: Bessie recites it for Ronnie during a game of Raspberry Shortcake Space Attack 6.
  • Lean and Mean: Portia, Gwen, and Chelsea are all mean and thin.
  • Left Hanging
    • We never found out if Bessie was right about the whole super hero thing. Given that it's a Nicktoon, this should be expected. Except for the episodes in which she seemingly turned into The Mighty B without collecting all the badges. (That would be Bessie's overactive imagination at work.)
    • There is one honeybee who, if the dialogue proved true, got every badge though she never turned into a superhero. Bessie helped her get her last badge, the Sock Hop Badge, in Grumpy Old Bees.
  • Levitating Lotus Position: Bessie into the Zone in "Dang it Feels Good to be a Gamester" and levitates briefly in the Lotus Position.
  • Literal-Minded: Never drive through Bessie's neighbourhood with a bumper sticker that says "How's my driving?" and a phone number unless you really want her to call that number and comment on your driving.
  • Little Miss Badass: The crew may have gotten bored with the direction of season 1, so most season 2 episodes have some sort of unnecessary action sequences from nowhere, which seem highly out of context compared to season 1. (Water) Gun fights, (multiple) giant monster fights, sword fights, a high speed downhill chase, and piledriving a bear, just a to name a few.
  • Malicious Misnaming: Portia and Gwen often refer to Bessie Higgenbottom as "Messy Stinkinbottom".
  • Merit Badges for Everything: And how: there are even merit badges for farting and time travel.
  • Missing Mom: They're no mentions of Gwen and Penny's mothers in the series.
  • No Name Given: Past Bessie, Portia, Gwen, Millie, and Penny, the rest of the Honeybee Scouts don't speak, nor are their names ever referenced (though some concept drawings prove they DO have names). In "Irritable Bowling Syndrome", Portia picks a player for her team by referring to her as "Not Millie, and not Messy".
  • Not Where They Thought: In one episode, titled "Body Rockers", Bessie and Penny believe they have been shrunk down and entered somebody's body. In reality, they've accidentally stumbled into a giant, mechanical exhibit meant to teach people about the human body.
  • Ocular Gushers: Bessie does this in at least three episodes, which all involve Happy going missing. In one of them, she even ends up flooding her own room.
  • Omniglot: Happy is fluent in 12 different languages, including French, German, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Swahili, Pomeranian, and even Pandaren.
  • Onion Tears: In "Portrait of a Happy", Bessie can be seen chopping onions while crying next to Fritz in one scene.
    • And in "Ben Appetit", Ben watches a show where a woman is crying while chopping onions.
  • Parental Abandonment
    • Bessie, Penny, Portia and Gwen are all in single parent families.
    • And it turns out that Happy's "mother" is actually an imposter, and what happened to his parents remains a mystery.
    • Unresolved in Gwen's case. Since she has five younger siblings, including one who's still an infant, one suspects that her mom can't be that far away. And we don't know for certain that Mr. Wu, who runs the local Chinese restuarant, is Gwen's dad.
    • Oddly enough, MF Gibbons is referred to as "Mrs. Gibbons", and not "Ms. Gibbons".
  • Pet the Dog: Gwen is actually willing to hang out with Bessie and Penny when Portia isn't around.
  • Poke the Poodle: In "Bad to the Bee" Bessie decides to become a bad girl and goes around doing very minor things. Subverted in that everyone else treats these things just as seriously as she does. When Portia and Gwen try to get her to do something actually criminal, if somewhat minor (stealing and eating taffy they're supposed to be selling), she can't bring herself to do it.
  • Popular Is Dumb: In the pilot episode, "So Happy Together", Portia spent the whole episode carrying around a rat thinking it was a dog, even kissing it. To be fair, everyone else thought so too.
  • Reduced to Dust: In "Portrait of a Happy", Fritz' camera explodes by a fireball and disintegrates.
    • This happens to Portia at the end of "Bee Afraid". She disintegrates from stress, and forest animals eat her body.
  • Rewind, Replay, Repeat: Miriam Breedlove watches a number of videos from Honeybee scouts all over the country trying to win a contest whose prize is lunch with her. Bessie Higgenbottom's retro-style video indicates Bessie knows the legend of "The Mighty B", which implies the Honeybee who earns every single badge will be endowed with superheroic powers. As Breedlove comes upon this part of the video, she pauses, rewinds, and replays several times so as to rewatch Bessie enthusiastically shouting, "The Mighty B!" over and over.
  • Rich Bitch: Portia, though she isn't much rich. Even so, she plays the part, and she plays it well. Howevery, she still pales compared to her cousin Chelsea.
  • Rule of Three: Used in a more literal sense, Bessie only gets three chances at the Standup Comedian Badge. The Comedy Rule of Threes, as Mrs. Gibbons says.
  • Running Gag: The game of Pineapple, which can only be assumed works under Calvinball rules.
  • Sadist Show: Many episodes of the show is about how Bessie's eccentric-yet-annoying personality causes a lot of hell and trouble to everyone around her.
  • Scout-Out: The Honeybees are obviously an honey-themed version of The Girl Scouts.
  • The Scottish Trope: Bessie's middle name causes bad things to happen to whoever says it.
  • Series Goal: For Bessie: Earn every single Bee Badge possible so she can become the Mighty B.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Several episodes follow this formula.
    • "Hat Trick" subverts it by having the shaggy dog turning point in the middle of the episode, when it turns out Bessie suddenly can do the trick.
    • "Apoxalypse Now": Bessie spends the whole episode trying to catch Gwen's chickenpox so she can get the badge for it; in the end when Ben gets it, Hillary reveals she confused the two and Bessie already had the chicken pox at a younger age when they were still in Berlin.
  • Shout-Out: In "C'mon, Get Happy" they introduce a secret agent dog, Agent Lovecraft. Oddly enough, series co-creator Erik Wiese also goes by the name Erik Eldritch. Technically, you could consider any monster in this show to be an Eldritch Abomination. HAH! Get it?
  • Speech Impediment: Bessie; she's missing her front teeth, so she slurs a little. It's cute. Even when she has her teeth back, she still slurs.
  • Simpleton Voice: Penny has a female version of this, talking low and slow.
  • Spot the Imposter: When Happy's faced with the decision of shooting either Bessie or her evil robot counterpart with a fire hose, he'd rather just blast them both.
  • Squashed Flat: Happens somewhat frequently, as befitting of the Zany Cartoon nature of the show. Bessie even uses it to her advantage, having Happy flatten her on purpose so she can fit inside a vending machine or using it to slip under a door.
  • Status Quo Is God: Bessie regains and loses her front teeth in "Irritable Bowling Syndrome".
  • Suck E. Cheese's: The Australian themed pizza/fun center "Jump 'n Joey's" is fun enough for the kids to run amok, much to the chagrin of their hapless troop leader. The episode featuring the establishment has Penny fall in love with the titular kangaroo animatronic, which she then steals.
  • Sucky School: Honeybee Academy is led by Mrs. Gibbons, who makes budget cuts, encourages bullying (especially when Bessie is involved), and is barely able to perform her duties.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: In "Macro-Mayhem" while Bessie and her macrame skills are hardly realistic, the end result is. In a city like San Francisco where foggy and wet weather is frequent? A city covered in wool would quickly suffer the effects of it being wet and smelling rancid. Not to mention the excess weight and mush resulting. There's also the toll such a large amount of wool would have on supply and demand, not just from every craft store running out of wool entirely, but sheep being over-sheared and left freezing before winter.
  • Sudden Downer Ending: "Name Shame" ended with Ben saying Bessie's middle name one last time, eventually causing the Hive to explode. Cue SMPTE color bars.
  • Summon Magic: Bessie and Happy summon giant monsters made from their stench to do a Godzilla-esque brawl in "Dirty Happy".
  • Super Villain: The Mighty B's first antagonist: Evil Mr. Pants, who controls others to do his bidding. This even spawned another villain, The Ghastly Giraffe (that's pronounced grr-affe, not jir-affe) who is actually Millie under Evil Mr. Pants' control.
  • Sweet on Polly Oliver: A rare Les Yay example when Portia got a crush on Bessie disguised as Ben.
  • Take That!: In "A Pirate's Life for Bee", the debt collectors out for the money Bessie owes are depicted as zombies.
  • Tasty Gold: Portia's reaction to her gold locket is to bite it to be sure it's real.
  • The Unintelligible: Millie seems to have a talkative relationship with her turtle, Chester. He's written haikus and they've had verbal arguments, though its all happened offscreen, so Millie's strangeness could play a factor here.
  • Trade Snark: Pinch! Poke! You owe me a trademark cola!
  • Unstoppable Rage: Happy hulks out in "B-Chip" after his suppressed bad behavior breaks loose.
  • Valley Girl: Portia. She has the personality of one and speaks in a low, scratchy Californian valley girl voice.
  • Wedding Finale: In the series finale ("C'mon, Get Happy") Bessie and Happy celebrate being BFFs for 104 weeks (or 2 years, which is about how long the series lasted) by holding a "BFF Ceremony" which is apparently a wedding. Uh... Better yet, at the end of the episode, they decide to do a "quick BFF ceremony" in Vegas. Just so we're clear, Bessie marries her pet dog Happy as the series ends. What the pup?!
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In "Name Shame", Hillary is never seen suffering the bad luck of Bessie's cursed middle name, despite announcing it to Portia and Gwen.
  • You Must Be This Tall to Ride: Bessie is too short to go on the ride, but her dog threatens the operator and he bends the rules so the dog won't rat him out.


Video Example(s):


Bessie "Kajolica" Higgenbottom

The Honeybees suffer weird incidents after learning Bessie's strange but cursed middle name.

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Example of:

Main / EmbarrassingMiddleName

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