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Western Animation / Wonder Pets!

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What's gonna work?

Turtle Tuck: A baby animal! She's in trouble!
Ming-Ming Duckling: This is serious!!!
Linny Guinea Pig: We have to help her!

And pretty much every parent who watched television with their child in the mid-to-late 2000s could probably recite the rest by heart.

Created by Josh Selig, who had previously created Noggin's Oobi, "Wonder Pets!" is a series about three cute little baby animals who go on adventures to save other cute little baby animals. The animation is created with cut-out photographs and all the important dialogue is delivered operatically.

The series started as a set of two short films called "Linny the Guinea Pig." Selig made these in between production cycles of Oobi and pitched them to Nickelodeon. Selig called Nickelodeon "a great partner," saying "They're really the company that first believed in us when we pitched Oobi, and then they believed in us again on Wonder Pets!."

The show is currently available for streaming on Amazon and the Noggin mobile app. It has three official seasons and wrapped production in 2010, but its broadcast history is highly unusual. It began in 2006 and aired most of its third season on Nickelodeon in 2009-2010. After that, the show was moved to the Nick Jr. channel, where there were two episodes in 2011, three in 2013, one in 2015 and three as recently as September 2016.


To the Tropeboat!

  • Adults Are Useless: While averted on a few occasions, most of the time the parents aren't attempting to save their children or aren't even worried about their children. Until a few moments after the Wonder Pets save their baby, where they thank the Wonder Pets and mention how worried they were.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Ducks and turtles don't urinate. At least, not the way the show portrays they do.
  • Aside Glance: Linny always gives a wink to the audience at the end of each story.
  • Bedsheet Ghost: In "Save the Black Kitten," the "ghost" that scares the black kitten (and Tuck and Ming-Ming) is just a puppy that is this.
  • Be Yourself: Tuck is told this when he wants to play with a pink toy car, but he's the only one. The lesson is later used to help a lion cub.
  • Big "NO!": In "Save the Unicorn!", the team screams this in unison as the magical butterfly leads the unicorn right towards the dragon chasing them, just before it's revealed he was Good All Along.
  • Advertisement:
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: The costume box sequence in Save the Nutcracker:
    Linny: I'm a mouse!
    Tuck: I'm a king!
    Ming-Ming: I'm a mouse king!
  • Captain Ersatz: Ollie and his Thunder Pets.
  • Cartoon Physics: The Wonder Pets' flyboat can go anywhere in the world in the time it takes for them to sing their "we're on our way" jingle. It can also magically enter picture books, dioramas, posters and other art projects in their schoolhouse.
  • Catch Phrase:
    • "This is sewious!"
    • "Good eye, Tuck!"
    • "To the flyboat?" "To the flyboat!"
    • Catchphrase Interruptus: Yes, thank you, Ollie, for trying to help.
  • Celeb Crush: Ming-Ming on a Ringo Starr Expy.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Once an Episode, The Pets have to solve a minor problem before they can get on their way, and the method they use fits the needs of the larger quest with insane precision.
  • Christmas Episode: Save The Nutcracker; Save the Reindeer. (Separate episodes)
  • Circus Episode: A particularly odd one that was a borderline Bizarro Episode. The three pets are part time heroes and in all other episodes everyone is a normal animal implied to speak Animal Talk. The circus is different. The ringmaster was a penguin, not a human, and the audience were all wild animals wearing clothing. It showed animals were riding a normal sized train in front of a school and no humans caring. You may think that this indicates that all the "humans" in the show (who are never actually seen) are actually animals that treat smaller animals as pets but it was explicitly said in early episodes that the humans were humans. The episode was full of Furry Confusion in a series devoid of it.
  • Class Pet: Linny is a class pet. The series started out as a group of "Linny the Guinea Pig" shorts showing what happened when the kids leave the room. The full series expands upon this, showing that Linny and her friends save other animals.
  • Cuteness Proximity: The Wonder Pets surrender to this upon meeting bunny Ollie's little sister Omee, much to the dismay of Ollie, who feels he should always be the center of attention.
  • Death Glare: Linny gives Ming-Ming one when, in "Save the Visitor!", Ming-Ming suggests of the Visitor, "Maybe he's a guinea pig. He sure eats like one."
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Once, the Wonder Pets saved a "baby kitten." Another time it was a "baby egg."
  • Deus Exit Machina: Linny ends up getting sick in “Saves The Mouse” just to have Tuck and Ming-Ming save the mouse without her guidance.
  • Easter Bunny: In one episode in which they had to help the Easter Bunny because he had a cold. They are assisted by bunny Ollie in this one, to the degree that anything Ollie does can actually be called assistance.
  • Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: Ming-Ming. Well, she's about five. So it's not really her fault. It's also a Throw It In! that carried over from the audition process.
    • Parodied in MAD where she enters a spelling bee and spells the word "serious" with a "w" instead of an "r" and Fudd himself was the judge, declaring it correct.
  • Ending Theme: An instrumental version of the leitmotif.
  • Excited Show Title!/Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All episodes follow the format "Save the (animal)!", referring to the baby animal the team is saving in that episode. There are a few exceptions.
  • Face Palm: Ming-Ming does this with a wing "Help the Easter Bunny" after Linny asks what the song and dance routine he just made the group do had to with hiding eggs and he replies with "What eggs?" This episode being late in the show's run and her being the Little Miss Snarker of the group, it's probably not the first time she did it.
  • Fanboy: Tuck exemplifies this in "Save the Honey Bears"
  • Flanderization: While Ming-Ming has always been a Little Miss Snarker, she gets much snarkier in later episodes, to the point where there are even more Parental Bonus pop culture references.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Downplayed with Ollie, but the main group seems to find him as annoying as the audience does, especially Ming-Ming.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In "Save the Puppy", the doggy door can be easily seen in a few shots of the door (evidenced by the hatch on one of the lower panels) long before the team realizes they can use it.
  • Freudian Trio: Linny (ego), Tuck (superego), and Ming-Ming (id).
  • Furry Confusion: In the circus episode.
  • Good All Along: The dragon that follows after the team in "Save the Unicorn!" is eventually revealed to be a nice dragon who is friends with the unicorn, and he followed them because he wanted to help out.
  • Group Hug: Tuck loves to call for one following the successful completion of a mission.
  • Halloween Episode: Save the Black Kitten.
  • I Am Not Weasel:
    • Linny, whenever anyone refers to her as simply "pig," or some other type of rodent, such as "hamster."
    • Numerous eBay listings refer to Linny incorrectly as "hamster," "hampster," and even "hedgehog."
  • Incoming Ham: Linny in "Save The Puppy". "It's a puppy, he has to pee-pee, but he CAAAAAAN'T, 'cause he's stuck in the house!"
  • Insistent Terminology: Already described to some degree under "Department of the Redundancy Department," but even when not doing this, the Wonder Pets had a tendency to refer to any baby animal as a "baby x," i.e. a "baby cow." A baby cow is called a "calf."
  • It's All About Me: Ollie is totally full of himself and doesn't like anyone else getting too much attention.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Ollie is impolite and more than a little bit irritating during his appearances. This has the added affect of making his philosophies as unappealing as he himself is.
    • To a lesser degree, Ming-Ming. She's somewhat impatient and sarcastic, but she's still good natured and well-meaning, just as the others are.
  • Little Miss Snarker: Ming-Ming.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Ollie, considering the diresion he gets from the Wonder Pets for trying to do things by himself and making the problems worse for not using teamwork.
  • Mad Libs Catch Phrase: Theme Tune version. "Wonder Pets, Wonder Pets, we're on our way, to help a [insert imperiled animal here] and save the day..."
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Tuck and both of the girls.
  • Medium Blending: The show combines photorealistic live-action with hints of CGI.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: For example, the song about celery is delivered with all the gravitas worthy of a Wagnerian epic.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: In one episode they saved a band of insect musicians called The Beetles. (Three of which were voiced by Lenie Colacino, one of the stars of the musical "Beatlemania.") In another episode they meet three rats named Sammy, Dino and Blue Eyes. And in one episode they rescue a hound dog whose father is a canine version of Elvis Presley. These also count as Parental Bonus.
  • Once an Episode: Being a kid's show, it happens a lot.
  • Origins Episode: "How it All Began!" explains exactly that - showing how Linny was joined by Tuck and Ming-Ming, how they came up with the show's trademark songs, and their first two rescues.
  • Painful Rhyme: Played with in "Happy Mother's Day!" - the Wonder Pets sing a song about Moms and that they have one thing in common, which Ming-Ming rhymes "They're all good at mommin'." Linny winces, but Ming-Ming insists that it's a good rhyme.
  • Parental Bonus: Scattered throughout, what preschooler would recognize references to The Beatles, The Rat Pack, and Fiddler on the Roof? Also see No Celebrities Were Harmed.
  • Potty Emergency: "Save The Puppy" had a puppy locked in the house alone, while he has to go outside, so the Wonder Pets have to find a way out before the dog bursts his kidneys. Soon even the Wonder Pets find themselves in the same situation as the pup. In the end, they find a way outside and take a piss in great relief.
  • The Power of Friendship: "What's gonna work? Teeeeeeamwork!"
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Sometimes Ming Ming says. "THIS. IS. SERIOUS!!"
  • Regular Caller: "The phone, the phone is ringing!" "The phone, we'll be wight there!"
  • Remember the New Guy?: "How it All Began!" would have us believe that Ollie was the very first animal that the Wonder Pets helped when they first got together, completely ignoring the fact that Ollie only appeared for the first time later in the show's run.
  • Running Gag: The unusual celery toppings sometimes offered by the parents of the animals that the Wonder Pets save.
    Father Flamingo: You can top it with papaya!
    Ming-Ming and Tuck: Huh?
    Linny: A yummy fruit.
    Ming-Ming and Tuck: Oh my-a.
  • Sewious Business: Ming-Ming's stock in trade. Eventually parodied during an episode where they need to give a baby blowfish the encouragement to go to preschool.
    "This isn't sewious!" "But-we-still-have-to help him!"
  • Shout-Out
  • Sick Episode: Linny in "Save the Mouse".
  • The Stoic: Linny, who almost manages to remain unflappable no matter how badly her teammates might behave, particularly Ming-Ming. Also, you gotta give her some credit for being the only one of the team that didn't freak out when they first met The Visitor.
  • Straw Character: Ollie, whether it was deliberate or not. In one memorable episode, Ollie gloats about how he can solve the problem of the week by himself, only to wind up making the situation worse as a result of attempting the mission solo. Cue the trio gloating at his expense.
  • Strictly Formula: The show's standard formula went as follows: the Wonder Pets are busy relaxing in the school when a phone call comes in from a baby animal. They assemble the flyboat, something happening along the way that ties into a moral that can be used later during the rescue. They then take off in the flyboat, sing a song and go to save the animal, then sing about rescuing it. However, the show often liked to subvert this. "Save the Duckling!", "Save the Nutcracker!" and "Save the Rat Pack!" all did so, and these are just a few examples.
  • Sugar Bowl: The Wonder Pets' world is teeming with cute overload, and the animals are mostly of the cute and fuzzy kind.
  • Superhero Speciation: To a ridiculous degree. You know as well as we do that baby ducks are born swimmers, but because Tuck Turtle is already the Designated Swimmer, Ming-Ming is the team's resident... flyer. Because ducklings can fly. Before they know how to swim. Sure.
  • Swans A-Swimming: One of the animals in trouble was a cygnet whose head was stuck in a bucket. Except not really—he put the bucket on his head on purpose because he was embarrassed over the fact that he thought he couldn't dance as well as the other swans. After the team shows him that his style of dancing is just as good as any other swan's, he opts to use the bucket as a makeshift stage instead.
  • Team Hand-Stack: After every rescue.
  • Team Spirit: This is essentially their shtick. Remember: "What's gonna work? Teamwork! What's gonna work? Teamwork!"
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: An aversion, which is where the Viewer Gender Confusion comes from. Baseball caps are the usual "male" signifier, but Linny is female and has one.
  • Title-Only Opening: The series has no theme song, only showing the show title at the beginning of the episode as the view pans down to the school.
  • The Load: Ollie the Rabbit, who is guaranteed to either screw up the rescue when he comes along and/or require rescuing himself. He's also a Jerkass. Notably, Ollie tends to attempt things on his own before he screws things up and/or requires rescuing. One wonders if he was deliberately thrown in to reinforce the show's Aesop.
  • Theme Tune: Oddly separate from the actual theme song, which is actually the Ending Theme and leitmotif.
  • Toilet Humor: "Save The Puppy!"
  • Toilet Training Plot: "Save The Puppy!" is a pet variant of this; a puppy, with a Potty Emergency, is described as "ready to go outside like a big dog".
  • Trademark Favorite Food: "Let's celebrate with some celery!" And apparently every species loves celery.
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot: Distance and even reality are never barriers for the Wonder Pets when it comes to saving an animal in need. In the second story of the first episode, they travel into space to save a chimp in the time it takes to sing a cheery tune and in the first story of the second episode, they zip into a storybook to save a unicorn.
  • Truck Driver's Gear Change: When the Wonder Pets reprise their "we'll help you" routine before they start the rescue, you'll notice the tone is a couple notes higher.

Wonder Pets, Wonder Pets, we found a way, to help TVTropes and save the day...


Video Example(s):


Wonder Pets!

"Save The Puppy!" is a pet variant of this; a puppy is described as ready to go outside, "like a big dog".

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / ToiletTrainingPlot

Media sources:

Main / ToiletTrainingPlot