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Western Animation / The ZhuZhus

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Let's ZHU this!note 

"Let me tell you 'bout my friends
They're my best friends, the ZhuZhus
They can talk, dance, and sing
They can do 'bout anything!"

The ZhuZhus is a Canadian–American TV series produced by Nelvana and based on Cepia LLC's ZhuZhu Pets toyline. It premiered on Disney Channel in the United States on September 12, 2016, under the title Polly and the ZhuZhu Pets. Seven episodes in and one hiatus later, the show was suddenly retitled, and Polly Pamplemousse was renamed to Frankie, with all dialogue redubbed as such. In the UK, the show was seen on Boomerang, and in Canada, the show can be seen on YTV. It is notably the first TV series to be made for the franchise, and is the ninth Canadian animated TV series to be acquired by Disney Channel since Braceface in 2004 (incidentally, also a Nelvana creation).

Average 8-year-old Frankie Pamplemousse lives with her parents Stanley and Ellen, who are also door-to-door plumbers that run their own business, Pamplemousse Plumbing. But she's not alone; Frankie also owns four talking hamsters called the ZhuZhu Pets!note  Pipsqueak, the rebellious, loyal tomboy (and also The Leader of the Zhus), Mr. Squiggles, the scientific smart guy, Num Nums, the shy and sweet knitter, and Chunk, the stylish but slow Big Eater, accompany Frankie on her many Slice of Life adventures in the town of, well, Anytown. Recurring leads also include Cindy and Mindy Gelato, two single-minded identical twins who are good friends with Frankie, Madge, Frankie's next door neighbor and Arch-Enemy, and Mr. Kerdle, a cranky janitor who always tries to stop the Zhus from entering Frankie's school.

Along with the creation of the show, Spin Master and Cepia have worked together to rebrand the old ZhuZhu Pets franchise for 2017, with new designs for the Zhus. Airing for nearly a year, the series finished on August 24, 2017, and ended just two days earlier in Canada, with no sign of a second season.

Interesting fact: This is the first show originally produced for YTV or Teletoon to use the label "Produced in association with Corus Entertainment" instead of the traditional "YTV/Teletoon Original Production", with all YTV and Teletoon shows afterwards following suit.

On September 25, 2018, the company Cinedigm released the entirety of season 1 on DVD. The Amazon link can be found here. The series is also available on Hulu.

The ZhuZhus contains examples of:

  • A Twinkle in the Sky: "The Trashing of Zhuper Girl" ends with a land-based version. Madge is walking trapped in a trash can, then falls and is last seen rolling downhill at increasing speeds as the can grows smaller from Frankie's vantage.
  • All Cavemen Were Neanderthals: Averted in Zhurassic Park. They're still intelligent and have the same proportions. They even have boots.
  • Alliterative Name: Polly Pamplemousse (until renamed Frankie), Pamplemousse Plumbing, Num Nums, Ninja Knitwit,note  Midge the Mighty,note  and Count Chunkula.note 
  • Alliterative Title: The ZhuZhus.
  • Almost Kiss: Ellen and Stanley have this in "Happy Bounciversary" when Frankie overhears their conversation.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: While Pipsqueak and Mr. Squiggles have exceptional colors for hamsters, Num Nums is purple and Chunk is light blue (yes, not gray).
  • Artifact of Attraction: Frankie towards her bike, which is shown in "Weathering Heights".
    Frankie: Nobody rides my bike but ME!
  • Baby Carriage: In "The Trashing of Zhuper Girl," a piece of litter is headed for one. The mother screams "My baby!" and Frankie grabs it in time.
  • Ballet: In "Frankielocks and the 4 Zhus", Frankie does a ballet style leap and her dad does a ballet style catch.
  • Big Eater: Chunk eats a lot.
  • Big "NO!": While short, Num Nums lets out one of these in "Happy Bounciversary."
  • Breaking the Bonds: Midge the Mighty does this in the episode "Zhu World" after Num Nums and Izzy tie her up with yarn. She then ties them up using the fragments.
  • By "No", I Mean "Yes": In the episode Zhu Land, Midge the Mighty stops the hamster car with her foot.
    Midge: Nice try! "Nice" meaning "bad".
  • Captain Obvious: Num Nums in "Hamster a la Kart" after being lofted out of her stalled kart and placed in the spare seat Chunk's lost watermelon used to occupy.
    Num Nums: Whew! Thank you Chunk. Wait! I'm not a snack!
    Chunk: Obviously. Snacks are a lot quieter.
  • Catchphrase: "Let's Zhu this!"
  • Clone Army: In one episode, Mr. Squiggles relates that an army of copies called the Squiggles want to take him back to his home planet.
  • Comedic Underwear Exposure: In one of the episodes while Mr. Kerdle bends over to catch the hamsters, his pants split exposing polka-dot underwear.
  • Confronting Your Imposter: Whendy Sails in "The Trashing of Zhuper Girl" when Frankie confronts Madge.
    Whendy Sails: Two Zhuper Girls? It was a Zhuper Girl imposter!
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Num Nums remembers she adopted a skunk in "Hairible Mistake".
    Num Nums: Like that time I adopted a skunk... Wait, that didn't work out so well.
    • In "Prankster's Paradise," Jilly notices a photo of Jessica Beeker with Frankie and the Zhus, who they met and befriended earlier in the season.
    • Mr. Squiggles has a flashback to when he was Dr. Thermostat in Zhuper Girl, and how he took it too far.
    Jilly: Wow, you guys got to meet Jessica Beaker?
    Pips: Yes, we met her.
    Chunk: She and Frankie are good friends now.
  • Creepy Doll: Gherkin in "Frankielocks and the 4 Zhus".
  • Cut Short: The series didn't perform so well in the channel it initally premiered on, and therefore lasted under a year on Disney Channel before being forgotten and presumably cancelled with one season.
  • Damsel in Distress: Zhuper Girl when she is kidnapped and tied to a last by Girl Beard and needs the sidekicks to team up to free her.
  • Depth Deception: In "The Unfortunate Cookie Crumbles," Pipsqueak has a flashback to her "bad day" when Num Nums knit her a sweater with two left sleeves. Nums explains as she demonstrates that Pip usually stands that way with both arms pointing to her left side. This is a posture done in the show to allow the arms more visibility by not being within the body silhouette but is usually intended to mean they are facing sideways. Their face is often still very much toward-camera. While this could be explained by a twisted neck, Nums is presenting the different interpretation that it is only the arms which are turning and that the torso doesn't, even though the orientation of her feet do not reflect this.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The theme is presumably sang in Frankie's perspective (judging by the usage of the word "my"), and she even introduces herself in the middle of it.
  • Dissonant Serenity / Slasher Smile: Num Nums in "Zhu Land" has an Oh, Crap! moment realizing O.O.C. Is Serious Business as the giantess Midge the Mighty is unhindered by yarn bondage.
    Num Nums: She's smiling. Why is she smiling?
  • Dramatic Wind: Frankie's cape is blown away as she delivers a heroic speech in "The Trashing of Zhuper Girl". The wind also blows trash along the ground in said episode.
  • Drawing Straws: Done with spaghetti sticks in "Zhu and Improved" to see who will talk to Mr. Squiggles. Chunk misses the point of "shortest has to talk" and nibbles his.
  • Dual Wielding: Ellen with forks in "Zhu Years Eve."
  • Dub Name Change: In the Finnish dub, Frankie's name was changed to Fanni.
  • Effortless Amazonian Lift: Toyed with in "The Trashing of Zhuper Girl." Frankie tries to lift a car to get litter under it. It speeds up as she lifts one arm... only to pan left and show that it is a tow truck actually lifting it.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: In "Zhu and Improved," Mr. Squiggles overhears Chunk saying "his inventions never work" and Num Nums saying "maybe he wasn't meant to be an inventor" because he is welding in the bathroom and an open pipe carries the sound. This prompts Mr. Squiggles to become The Woobie as sad music plays, and he shuts off his welding torch and shuffles off looking at the ground with his eyes barely open. He is next seen boxing up his tools and saying he won't be inventing anymore.
  • Exploding Closet: Shown in "The Unfortunate Cookie Crumbles" when Num Nums instructs everyone to over pack it. Also in "And the Hammy Goes To" when Frankie adds her new French trophy to her trophy closet.
  • Expository Theme Tune: The theme tells the personality of the characters (except Frankie) and explains what the ZhuZhus are.
  • Failing a Taxi: Chunk in "Say It Don't Spray It."
  • Fake Twin Gambit: The Gelato twins mess with Ellen about their names during a sleepover.
  • Faked Kidnapping: Frankie essentially kidnaps herself roleplay-style since she portrays both kidnapper (Girl Beard) and victim (Zhuper Girl).
  • Family Business: Pamplemousse Plumbing. Both of Frankie's parents are plumbers and Frankie sometimes comes along to help with easy jobs.
  • Fantastic Slurs: Furballs to refer to the ZhuZhus.
    Cave!Frankie: Furballs speak?
    Cave!Pipsqueak: We speak good. But no like word "furballs". We ZhuZhus.
  • Finishing Each Other's Sentences: In "Happy Bounciversary," Frankie, Pipsqueak, and Chunk finish Mr. Squiggles's sentence about how his experiment has never been tested.
  • Flashback: Mr. Squiggles in "Zhuper Zhide Kicks" as he remembers being "Dr. Thermostat." See Continuity Nod above.
  • Foot Popping:
    • Cave!Frankie does this in "Zhurassic Park" as she is hugging Cave!Pipsqueak.
    • Ellen does this pointing at Chinese take-out in "The Unfortunate Cookie Crumbles" as a modeling pose.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: There's two boy Zhus (Mr. Squiggles and Chunk) and two girls (Pipsqueak and Num Nums).
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: In "Story Book It," Frankie is detective Good Cop and Pipsqueak is detective Bad Cop.
  • Good Parents: Frankie's for the most part.
  • Growling Gut: Frankie's tummy growls in "Zhu's the Boss", where an Imagine Spot has her stuffed to the gills after eating a huge amount of cake while thinking of new house rules.
  • Happily Married: Frankie's parents.
  • Hard-Work Montage / Training Montage: In "Zhu Land", all hamsters (aside from Chunk) do pushups as music plays, preparing to fight a giantess.
  • Hollywood Glass Cutter: In "Ball in a Day's Work", Mr. Squiggles does this in Frankie'simagined scenerio with a laser beam. The hole is large enough for the Zhus to crawl through, and Frankie simply opens the window.
  • Horror Films: In "Zombie Sleep Over," Frankie and the Gelato twins watch one of these, which sets up the plot for the episode.
  • Howl of Sorrow: Frankie upon discovering her haircut in Hairible Mistake.
  • Indirect Kiss: Chunk shoving vampire fangs from his mouth directly into Mr. Squiggles. Num Nums asks why he didn't just give Mr. Squiggles the unused pair.
  • Informed Attractiveness: In "Hairible Mistake," Sergio calls Frankie and Ellen beautiful.
  • Interspecies Friendship: Num Nums befriending a skunk in "Say It Don't Spray It."
  • It's All My Fault: When Chunk takes out the needles holding the bouncy castle in "Happy Bounciversary," Frankie suggests that Chunk should be the one to get closer to the bouncy castle because it's his fault.
    • In addition, Chunk's joke about it.
    Pipsqueak: So who's goin' up?
    Frankie: Maybe the person whose fault this is should go.
    Chunk: Frankie, you'll never fit in there!
    • In its sister episode, "Say It Don't Spray It," Frankie blames herself for the pets getting lost in the wild.
  • Laser Hallway: In "Ball in a Day's Work."
  • Like Father, Like Son: Sergio to Ellen about Frankie in "Hairible Mistake." She then cuts Frankie's hair to resemble Ellen's instead of Jessica's like she wanted.
    Sergio: She is like a little you! So beautiful!
  • Little Known Facts: Frankie in "Hairible Mistake" when she explains why she's wearing a helmet in class.
    Frankie: It's a well-known fact that most head injuries happen to people while sitting.
  • Magic Hat: Chunk's crown in Zhu Land feeds him hotdogs IN REAL LIFE.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Pipsqueak and Chunk.
  • Merchandise-Driven: The show is based on the 2017 ZhuZhu Pets line of toys.
  • Mirror Match: Zhuper Girl battling Girl Beard, as both are Frankie.
  • Monster Clown: Num Nums' nightlight in "Frankielocks and the 4 Zhus."
  • Mr. Imagination: In "Zhu and Improved," Mr. Squiggles is so engrossed in a daydream about being interviewed by Whendy that he exclaims "yes I will" to her question, prompting everyone actually in the kitchen to ask what that was about.
  • My God, You Are Serious!: Ellen to Stanley over pancakes after he surrenders in response to her disarming his fork and wielding it along with her own foiling attempt to steal her pancake, even though his plate was full. He passes her the syrup and they both break into laughter as if it were a joke, but then she stops abruptly and glares seriously at him and his face resumes at a frightened expression.
    Ellen: Your (maple) syrup or your life!
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Parodied in "Chunklette's Web." When Num Nums falls in popcorn, Chunk chases a stray kernel.
    Chunk: Leave no snack behind!
  • Not Big Enough for the Two of Us: Madge says this in "The Trashing of Zhuper Girl."
    Madge: This park isn't big enough for the both of us!
  • One Head Taller: Stanley and Ellen.
  • Or Was It a Dream?: The end of "Zhu Land." Ellen steps on one of the crowns from the dream, and Frankie matter of factly states they were responsible for getting the Zhu-riff-ics back together.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Jilly and Bean.
  • Pun: This show has a lot of them.
    • "Let's Zhu this!"
    • "Zhus it or lose it!"
  • Put Off Their Food: Frankie is about to have a bowl of cereal at the start of "Zhu and Improved" until Chunk shows up exclaiming "Mm cereal, don't mind if I do," pushing her hand (holding a spoonful) aside and dunks his left forepaw/hand in to pull out individual pieces. He tosses orange/green back in, then dunks his whole head in to try and find a blue one. When he starts blowing bubbles she sighs and tells him to just take the whole bowl.
  • Recurring Extra: Three girls in a commercial with the "Screaming Monkey" recur in many later episodes in crowd scenes or just walking by, indicating it may have been locally shot. One of them is even seen in Frankie's class.
    • One of them shows up earlier in "Zombie Sleep Over" as a movie star.
  • Revenge: Madge promises it at end of "The Trashing of Zhuper Girl."
    Madge: I'll get you for this Frankie Pamplemousse!
  • Run or Die: In "Zombie Sleep Over," Frankie and the Zhus have to face the Zombie!Gelato twins... by running away from them.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Frankie's parents sometimes.
  • Sidekick: The whole theme of "Zhuper Zhide Kicks" as the Zhus compete to see who would be the best one for Frankie.
  • Speed Echoes: When Mr. Squiggles mentions that the spider he was presentating to the group escapes, Chunk screams and flees in "Chunklette's Web." The dust he leaves behind forms into a silhouette of Chunk, which then also screams and flees.
  • Spiritual Successor: Often considered this to Littlest Pet Shop (2012), another Canadian-American show about a little girl who can talk to a group of multicolored animals. Helping is how Littlest Pet Shop ended just a few months before The ZhuZhus started airing.
  • Squee:
    • In "Zombie Sleep Over," Frankie squeals over the sleepover that her and the Gelato twins have. After they arrive, both Frankie and the Gelato twins freak out, but way shorter than the first time.
    • The same thing happens when the Gelatos visit again in "Zhuper Girl in a Jam."
  • Staircase Tumble: Happens offscreen in "Friendship Friend-zy" when Frankie's dad slips on a rug and falls backwards down a flight of stairs into the basement. Although Frankie and her mom have astounded expressions as he is screaming in pain, neither are concerned or attempt to help him.
  • Sucks at Dancing: The Zhus think that Frankie and her parents suck at dancing, but the humans seem to love them.
  • Surprise Slide Staircase: Part of Mr. Squiggles' security system in "Zhu and Improved."
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Frankie and Katie from Quest for Zhu can be considered this.
  • Talent Show: Frankie dances at one.
  • Talking Animal: The Fab Four, Chunk's cousins Jilly and Bean, and the Screaming Monkey.
  • Title Theme Tune: "Let me tell you 'bout my friends, they're my best friends, the ZhuZhus..."
  • The Last Straw:
    • A pink straw placed by Frankie's dad collapses a basement shelf in "Zhu Got Game."
    • Frankie's French-speaking trophy in "And the Hammy Goes To" does this as well, causing an Exploding Closet (read above).
  • Theme Tune Roll Call: The theme song introduces all four of the Zhus and Frankie.
  • There Is Only One Bed: Frankie's bed is shared by the Zhus who sleep under the covers with her in several episodes.
  • These Questions Three...: Averted in "Story Book It." Mr. Troll lets Sir Frankie pass after solving the first question. He dropped the other two in the water and says that it was too much trouble to fetch them.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Pipsqueak and Num Nums.
    • Frankie and Madge.
  • Town Girls: Pipsqueak as the butch, Num Nums as the femme, and Frankie as the neither.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: The cereal Sugar Letters. So much for it to warrant a song in "Deja Zhu."
  • Trash Landing: This happens to Madge in "The Trashing of Zhuper Girl" when she trips over a bag of chips that are weighed down by Chunk.
  • Troll Bridge: Chunk as Mr. Troll guards one in "Story Book It."
  • Tube Travel: There are hamster tubes connecting rooms inside the Pamplemousse home and in some cases leading to different parts of the city.
  • Two Girls to a Team: Excluding Frankie.
  • Two Shorts: The show's format (with the exception of episodes 22 and 26).
  • Visible Invisibility: Star Catcher, Turbo's rocket horse.
  • We Are Not Going Through That Again: In "Chip off the Old Chunk," Chunk eats all the chocolate chips. Later in the episode, after Pipsqueak and Num Nums help him get unstuck from a bag of chocolate chips, he says that he was gonna eat his way out. Pipsqueak reminds him that that's what got them into that mess in the first place.
    • Happens again in "Zhuper Zhide Kicks," where the team decides to play Zhuper Girl again, and have a flashback to "Zhuper Girl" upon the request of Mr. Squiggles becoming the villain again.
  • We Have the Keys / There Was a Door: In "Ball in a Day's Work," Mr. Squiggles wrecking the window wasn't necessary as Frankie was able to lift the unlocked window open without reaching through the hole. He either failed to recognize it could open or failed to realize it was unlocked. Or he failed to appreciate Frankie's superior upper body strength.
  • We Need a Distraction: In "Chip off the Old Chunk," Pipsqueak orders Mr. Squiggles to distract Frankie and Ellen from noticing they're at the store by dressing up as a milk carton and trying to jog in place at the check out counter.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Where is Anytown, anyway?
  • Who Was That Masked Index?: Two garbage men ask this in "The Trashing of Zhuper Girl."
    Who was that masked girl?
  • Why Are You Looking at Me Like That?: Chunk when the other three Zhus look at him about the subject of who will test Mr. Squiggles' rocket. Even though he was already wearing an astronaut suit, he didn't make the connection.
    • Happens again in "Zhu and Improved."
    Frankie: One of us should talk to him.
    Frankie: I didn't mean me!
  • Writer's Block: Frankie suffers this in Story Book It.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: In "Zombie Sleep Over," the Gelato twins have a sleepover with Frankie and the Zhus. They then think that the Gelato twins have turned into zombies, but in the end it's revealed that they sleepwalk.

"Zhus it or lose it!"


Video Example(s):


The ZhuZhus Main Title

The opening theme to The ZhuZhus features a roll call of its five main characters.

How well does it match the trope?

4.83 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / ThemeTuneRollCall

Media sources: