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Western Animation / Tiny Planets

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Tiny Planets is a British-American computer-animated Preschool Show featuring the adventures of two white fuzzy aliens, Bing (the taller, bipedal, more thoughtful one) and Bong (the smaller, hexapedal, more childlike one).

Each five-minute episode begins with Bing and Bong getting onto their sofa, which is then launched by an elaborate Clockpunk-ish catapult into space towards one of six neighboring planets. (The sofa is fitted with seatbelts, a steering wheel and headlights, and a tow cable that stretches back to an anchor point on their home planet.) At the end of each episode, they get back on the sofa and are towed home, where they brush their teethnote  and go to bed.

The six planets are: the Planet of Light & Color, where their adventures embody lessons about optical phenomena; the Planet of Nature, lessons about climate and weather; the Planet of Self, lessons about self-care and caring for others; the Planet of Sound, lessons about sound and music; the Planet of Stuff, lessons about mathematics and geometry; and the Planet of Technology, lessons about machines.

Two types of inhabitant occur on each planet, with each planet having its own particular variations: tall, birdlike creatures, referred to in the supporting material as "Flockers", and small, spheroidal creatures, referred to in the supporting material as "Locals".

Bing and Bong, and the various characters they meet in their travels, are Speaking Simlish; the only intelligible words in each episode are in the Expository Theme Tune.

The series aired from 2001 to 2002 on CITV in the UK and Noggin in the US. For the Noggin airings, a didactic narrator was added.

This series provides examples of:

  • Ageless Birthday Episode: In "Birthday Build-Up", while celebrating his birthday on the Planet of Self, Bong becomes anxious to wait to open a big present Bing has in store for him. Bong's age is never alluded to in the episode.
  • Agony of the Feet: In "Magnificent Seven", Bing tries to stop a door closing by sticking his foot in the narrowing gap. He might have got a better result if he wore shoes.
  • Baby Planet:
    • Implied by the title, but it never really comes up except in "Gone With the Wind", where Bing and Bong, finding the path to their goal blocked, solve the problem by going all the way around the planet and approaching it from the far side.
    • In the opening sequence, Bing and Bong's flight always takes them past a trio of Flockers living on an asteroid not much larger than they are.
  • Backing into Danger: The version where two people back into each other happens while Bing and Bong are playing hide-and-seek in "That's What Friends Are For".
  • Bag of Holding: Bing carries a satchel from which he produces a variety of useful items, many of which are larger than the satchel itself.
  • Balloon Belly: In the silent movie in "Flocker Flicker".
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Bing and Bong don't seem to have any trouble breathing as they zoom through the interplanetary void. That might be explained by the sofa having some kind of artificial atmosphere, but then there's the inhabited asteroid they always pass in the opening sequence...
  • Bioluminescence Is Cool: In "Night Light Sleep Tight", Bing and Bong stay overnight on the Planet of Self, and learn that the Locals glow in the dark.
  • Camping Episode: In "Night Light Sleep Tight", Bing and Bong go camping on the Planet of Self; it goes pretty well, apart from Bong being frightened by strange noises in the night.
  • Circling Birdies: Bong sees a halo of stars after falling off a see-saw in "Pivotal Points".
  • Clockpunk:
    • The gadgets in Bing and Bong's home and built into the sofa.
    • Also some of the devices on the Planet of Technology. The planet itself is set up like a life-sized orrery, with moons that don't so much orbit as stick out on long poles from a rotating ring at its equator.
  • Couch Gag: The closing credits sequence always ends with a close-up of the photo at Bing's bedside. It's different each episode and always shows a moment from the adventure they've just been on.
  • Cute, but Cacophonic: Bong lets out a surprisingly loud and raucous shriek when particularly excited.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The silent film in "Flocker Flicker" is in sepia-tinted monochrome for no reason other than because that's what silent films look like.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The pitch pilot "Tiny Planet of Colours", unsurprisingly, has several differences from the final show. In particular, the alarm that blares from Bing's watch at the end of the pilot not only sounds different from his alarm in the proper show, but is tied in to the background music that starts to play afterward.
  • Expository Theme Tune:
    Bing and Bong...
    Heroes of the universe
    Adventure every day
    From their home in space
  • Genius Bonus: The Planet of Light and Color has a strange ring that makes the planet resemble an enormous zoetrope - an old illusion-making device and forerunner to modern animation, film and video.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: Any time Bong is on a platform that moves downward suddenly (such as in the episode "Tip the Scales", or in the closing sequence), there's a demonstration of Creeping Gravity: Bong's head remains at the same level for a moment with Bong's body stretching out below it, before it snaps down to continue dropping at the same rate as the platform and Bong.
  • Handcar Pursuit: In "Tools, Glorious Tools", Bing and Bong hitch a ride on a handcar on the Planet of Technology, and inevitably spend the next few minutes pumping furiously to stay ahead of an oncoming locomotive.
  • Heavy Sleeper: The local in "Pivotal Points" who sleeps through gentle nudging, an alarm clock ringing, and an explosion.
  • Idea Bulb: One appears above Bong's head when Bong has a moment of inspiration in "Spring Cleaning".
  • Mechanical Lifeforms: The inhabitants of the Planet of Technology are robotic versions of the Flockers and Locals.
  • Multiple Head Case: The Flockers on the Planet of Self have two heads each.
  • Name and Name: Certain international localizations rename the show Bing and Bong.
  • Narrator: The Noggin airings add a narrator who explains what Bing and Bong's adventure will be at the beginning of each episode. For all other versions, the trope is averted.
  • Nighttime Bathroom Phobia: In the episode "Night Light Sleep Tight", Bing and Bong go camping on the Planet of Self, but Bong has to get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and keeps waking up Bing to get him to the outhouse safely. They eventually get around this by having some luminescent Locals light up the way for Bong.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted in "Night Light Sleep Tight", where not only is the camping site equipped with an unambiguous outhouse, it's the focus of the plot. (Bong is afraid to go to the outhouse alone in the middle of the night, and repeatedly wakes Bing up for reassurance.)
  • No Mouth: Bing has no mouth (or any other facial features except eyes). This doesn't seem to stop him eating: he just holds the food up to where his mouth would be and it mysteriously disappears.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The architecture on the Planet of Technology has hints of the standard sci-fi No OSHA Compliance aesthetic, with lots of platforms over bottomless pits. One difference: these platforms do have safety rails around the edges.
  • The Noseless: It would be easier to list the creatures that do have noses.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: In "Free Wheeling", Bong is quick to see a solution to the problem, but it takes several attempts to get Bing to pay attention — even after Bing has literally tripped over the answer.
  • Pictorial Speech-Bubble: Bing and Bong occasionally produce pictorial thought bubbles — which appear to be visible to other people. In "Spring Cleaning", Bong has an idea and, after failing to explain it with Simlish and hand gestures, produces a pictorial thought bubble which Bing examines and nods thoughtfully.
  • Shout-Out: The title sequence and theme music of the movie Bing and Bong go to see in "Shadow Showdown" bears recognisable similarities to James Bond.
  • Speaking Simlish: All the characters (except Halley the narrator in the version with her in).
  • Turtle Island: In "That's What Friends Are For" Bong gets stranded on a rock after getting to it via a series of stepping stones that turn out to be living creatures and swim away.
  • Typewriter Eating: In the opening sequence, Bing is shown eating a pre-adventure meal this way.
  • Vacuum Mouth:
    • In the opening sequence, Bong is shown eating a pre-adventure meal this way.
    • Bong eats a bowl of party treats the same way in "Pooling Resources".
  • Vertebrate with Extra Limbs: Bong has six limbs, which are usually legs although the front pair can also be used as arms.

  • World in the Sky: The Planet of Self is made up of islands floating in the sky, connected by floating stepping-stones and a flying gondola service.
  • World Shapes: The Planet of Stuff is a Möbius strip.