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Western Animation / Wonder Pets!

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What's gonna work?note 

Turtle Tuck: A baby animal! She's in trouble!
Ming-Ming Duckling: This is serious!!!
Linny Guinea Pig: We have to help her!
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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 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 had three 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 new episodes in 2011, three in 2013, one in 2015, and three in 2016.

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To the Tropeboat!

  • Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal: The pets wear hats and capes, Tuck wears shoes, Ollie is sometimes seen wearing a cape too, and sometimes the pets put on different accessories, such as the bib Linny wore in the past seen in "How it All Began".
  • 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 (if they had been worried) mention how worried they were.
  • Argument of Contradictions: In "How it All Began", Ming-Ming and Tuck argue over whether to build a boat or a vehicle that can fly, which devolves into shouting, "Boat!" "Fly!". This leads to the creation of the flyboat.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
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    • Ducks and turtles don't urinate. At least, not the way the show portrays they do. However, they could've been urinating the way they do in reality, as we never actually see them pee, and the terminology they were using was to be simplified for the young audience.
    • Ming-Ming can fly even though she doesn't have any flight feathers yet.
  • 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 with a bedsheet on.
  • Big "NO!":
    • In "Save the Unicorn!", the team screams, "NO!" 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.
    • In "Save the Skunk", the team screams, "NO!" as Ollie is running toward the baby skunk just before she stinks him out of fear.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Ming-Ming will exclaim, "This is sewious!" if she thinks a situation is serious.
    • Linny will say, "Good eye, Tuck!" if Tuck makes an observation.
  • Catchphrase Interruptus: Sometimes Ollie will interrupt someone in the middle of their catchphrase. He's usually unsuccessfully trying to help.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Damsel in Distress: While a lot of the animals weren't actually in grave danger, the pets have saved a beached whale (in "How it All Began") who was female.
  • 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 pronounces her "R"s as "W"s (though she can say "L"s fine). 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.
  • Excited Show Title!: Nearly all episode titles end in an exclamation point.
  • Face Palm:
    • Ming-Ming slaps her face with a wing in exasperation during "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.
    • In fact, in "Save the Honey Bears" if you pay attention, she's constantly facepalming.
  • Fake Interactivity: A one-off example. In "Save the What?", the Wonder Pets don't know who they need to rescue, and they need the viewers help to find clues.
  • 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.
  • Furry Confusion: In the circus episode, we see an anthropomorphic penguin even though all other animals seen are either completely normal or only slightly humanised.
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Most episodes follow the format "Save the (animal)!", referring to the baby animal the team is saving in that episode. There are a few exceptions.
  • Illness Blanket: In "Save the Mouse!", Linny is sick and wraps herself in a blanket.
  • 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.
  • Kid Hero: They make a habit out of saving animals, and Ming-Ming at least is still a child.
  • Land, Sea, Sky: We have Linny, a guinea pig (land); Tuck, a turtle who likes to swim (sea); and Ming-Ming, a duckling (sky).
  • Little Miss Snarker: Ming-Ming is only a little duckling, but is prone to insulting other characters and making quips.
  • 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.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Ollie, considering the derision 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..."
  • 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.
  • Mythology Gag: In "How it All Began", when the main characters are deciding on the team name, Ming-Ming suggests the name "The Super Singing Power Pets!". It turns out, that is a reference to the show's original production name, which was changed because it "was too long".
  • 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.
  • Odd Name Out: The protagonists are named Linny, Ming-Ming, and Tuck. Tuck is the only one with one syllable and the only one with no "I" in his name.
  • 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.
  • Out Sick: Downplayed in "Save the Mouse!", where Linny has an unspecified, cold-like illness and so doesn't accompany the others but still tells them what to do.
  • 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?
  • Phrase Catcher: Linny will say, "Good eye!" to Tuck whenever he notices something.
  • Potty Dance: Downplayed in "Save the Puppy!", where Linny is briefly seen sidestepping when she says, "We've all gotta go".
  • 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!" is the trio's motto and they have a heavy emphasis on working together.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Sometimes Ming Ming says. "THIS. IS. SERIOUS!!"
  • Put Down Your Gun and Step Away: Parodied in the episode "Save the Skunk". Ollie the Bunny is a little overzealous about saving an animal, and picks up a toad that obviously doesn't need saving. After Linny informs him that the toad is not who they are there to help, Ming-Ming tells Ollie, 'Put down the toad and step slowly away from the rock.'
  • 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.
  • Serious Business: Ming-Ming's stock in trade is calling everything serious even when it isn't. 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
  • In "Save the Puppy!", the Wonder Pets' song parodies "Let's Do It, Let's Fall in Love".
  • In "Save the Visitor!", the mothership plays music like Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
  • Sick Episode: Linny is struck with some sort of cold-like illness 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.
  • Superheroes Wear Capes: The heroes all wear capes.
  • 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.
  • Theme Tune: Oddly separate from the actual theme song, which is actually the Ending Theme and leitmotif.
  • Toilet Humor: "Save The Puppy!" focuses on a dog who needs to be let out so he can pee.
  • 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.
  • Unexpected Kindness: In "Save The Unicorn!", the Wonder Pets are surprised when the dragon that had been chasing them is actually kind, and is the unicorn's best friend. He was following them because he knew who the pets were and wanted to help them save her.

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Wonder Pets!

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

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