Word Party is an animated series targeted at toddlers and preschoolers by The Jim Henson Company—specifically, The Henson Digital Puppetry Studio (who were also responsible for Sid the Science Kid and Dinosaur Train). This interactive series stars four baby animals - Bailey the elephant, Kip the wallaby, Lulu the panda and Franny the cheetah, along with a myriad of exotic toys and a friendly off-screen narrator. The viewers takes on the role as a "big kid", whom the babies looks up to and "learns" new words from.
Most of the plot centers on the babies' playtime, which will proceed until the babies come across something that they do not know the word to, be it an emotion, an occupation, a color or an animal. The big kids are then required (with the help of Word Wally, a proportionately large robotic TV on wheels) to teach the babies the required word. Upon completion, the babies break into a party and the show ends.
The novelty of the series, however, relies on its fully interactive segments. On supported devices, an icon will pop up at set intervals that when tapped or clicked, interrupts the show and launches a flash card minigame that teaches the words relevant in the episode to the viewers.
The series had 26 episodes and premiered worldwide on Netflix on July 8, 2016, with 14 episodes. The remaining 12 premiered on 21st October 2016.
This series provides examples of:
- Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal: The baby animals are wearing diapers. Also, Lulu is wearing a little bow on her head.
- Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: So Kip and Franny are the colors expected from a wallaby and cheetah respectively. But then you get blue elephants and purple pandas (Bailey and Lulu respectively).
- Artistic License – Biology: In the episode Bailey's Garden, a sunflower planted from a seed grows into a full plant in a matter of minutes, without fertilizer or watering to boot.
- Assuming the Audience's Age: The babies and narrator address you as the big kid.
- The Baby of the Bunch: Lulu.
- Beeping Computers: The episode "Kip Comes To His Senses" has Kip's new toy, the Bopping Beetle, that technically plays sounds that could give CrazyBus a run for its money.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Kip.
- Edutainment Show: Teaches basic vocabulary and social skills.
- Expository Theme Tune: The theme song pretty much nails the basic premise of the show.We're the babies/you're the big kid/teach us every word you know/ready, set, let's go!.
- Fake Interactivity: Actually averted on supported devices. If you watch the show on an Android (Lollipop or newer) or iOS (iOS 6 or newer) -based device, an icon will occasionally pop up. When tapped, the icon will suspend the show and launch a flash-card type minigame. However, other parts of the show (as well as watching the show on devices that do not support the interactivity functions of Netflix) play it straight.
- Free-Range Children: Well, not so free range since they do ask you if they can go outside. But where they go once they're outside is completely beyond your control.
- Invisible Parents: There are no adults in the show. Unless, the Narrator is the one adult looking after all the babies and the big kids...
- Gender-Equal Ensemble: Lulu and Franny are girls. Bailey and Kip are boys.
- Keet: Kip.
- Kids Prefer Boxes: An empty box appears in the episode "To The Moon!". The babies are quick to turn it into imaginary vehicles.
- Narrator: The show has one to guide the audience and the babies.
- The Nicknamer: Lulu has nicknames for all the other kids. "Wanny" for Franny, "Kippy" for Kip, and "Bail-Bail" for Bailey.
- No Antagonist: The conflicts in the series come from Slice of Life situations.
- No Fourth Wall: The babies and narrator can converse directly with the viewers, who are addressed as the "big kid".
- Prone to Tears: Lulu.
- Quarter Hour Short: All the episodes are just 11-12 minute increments.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: The babies.
- Sixth Ranger: Tilly the tortoise, who hatched when Season 4 began.
- Slice of Life: Most of the conflicts that takes place are down to earth despite the presence of really advanced robotics—for example, not knowing what a vegetable is called, or the friendship between two characters becoming strained due to petty disagreements.
- Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism: The babies in the series fall under Funny Animals.
- Sugar Bowl: Conflict is largely petty or nonexistent in the show.
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: How do you tell that Franny and Lulu are girls aside from their name and voice pitch? They both have eyelashes.
- Title Theme Tune: Word Party! The party just begun! There's a word for what we're gonna have, and that word is fun!
- Toilet Training Plot: "Hey, Have You Heard? It's the Word 'Potty'".
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Franny and Lulu, respectively.
- White Void Room: Certain scenes are rendered as this, particularly during the opening theme sequence.