|Genre||Children's television series|
|Filmed by||Josh Selig|
Sofie Zamchick, Danica Lee, and Teala Dunn
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||42|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Original channel||Nickelodeon (2006-2009) Nick Jr. (2009-2010)|
|Original run||March 4, 2006 (2006-03-04) – 2010|
Wonder Pets! is an animated television series created by Josh Selig, who had previously created Oobi for Nickelodeon and Noggin. The series was based on a set of short pilot episodes that Selig wrote and animated between production cycles of Oobi in 2003.
The first episode of Wonder Pets! debuted on March 3, 2006, on the Nick Jr. block of the Nickelodeon cable television network and Noggin (now Nick Jr.) on August 31, 2006. It won an Emmy Award in 2008 for Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition.
The show's heroes are three elementary school classroom pets: Linny the Guinea Pig, Turtle Tuck, and Ming-Ming Duckling. They are presented as a trio of friends who rescue baby animals as they demonstrate the benefits of teamwork.
Linny the guinea pig is a five-year-old girl and the leader of the Wonder Pets. As a superhero, she wears an orange-yellow cap and a blue cape. Linny appears to be the most educated of the group, often providing different zoological and geographical information to the others. She is usually the one to remind the group about teamwork or other values and offer praise. She leads Ming-Ming and Tuck in most of the show's primary songs and usually has the responsibility of starting the "Flyboat". Linny's catch phrase is "This calls for some celery!", usually declared at the conclusion of each adventure. Before Wonder Pets, Linny starred in a few three-minute shorts on Nick Jr. titled Linny the Guinea Pig, where Linny would explore different environments such as the ocean and outer space.
Tuck, a turtle, is a four-year-old Red Eared Slider terrapin boy. He is described as sensitive with an emotional connection to living things and the heart of the group. As a superhero, he wears a white French sailor's cap, blue Aquasocks, and a red cape. Tuck is empathetic, often desiring to give the rescued animals a hug or keeping them company while Linny and Ming-Ming put their rescue plan into action. He also has keen observational skills, spotting things from a distance, which often garners him the compliment, "Good eye, Tuck!".
At age three, Ming-Ming is an overconfident young duckling. As a superhero girl, she wears a leather pilot's helmet, goggles, and a green cape. Unlike the other Wonder Pets, she has the ability to fly. She can also speak "bird", allowing her to talk to other birds that the Wonder Pets encounter. Ming-Ming also believes that her great-grandfather was an eagle. Ming-Ming sometimes tries to take on big problems by herself and in one episode ("Save the Duckling") she even becomes the animal that needed rescuing. Ming-Ming often provides comic relief in the show. Ming-Ming is voiced by Danica Lee in the United States version, and Kaya Alexander in the UK version. When Lee auditioned for the role, she pronounced her "R" sounds as "W" sounds (as in "This is Se-wious!"). The producers said that her speech impediment had an endearing quality and that young children commonly mispronounce certain sounds. Some people have criticized Ming-Ming's speech pattern, but consultants for the show point out that many characters in children's programs have childlike speech patterns. Danica Lee has been nominated twice, in 2007 and 2008, for a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program. Ming-Ming sometimes refers to herself as "Ming-Ming Duck".
Ollie the Bunny
Ollie is a male rabbit who is four years old. He first guest stars in the series in the episode, "Save The Skunk!" He boasts and brags a bit. Ollie was the first animal that the pets ever saved.
Little Bee first guest stars in the episode "Save the Bee!". She is friends with a cricket, Slug, and a glowworm named Lucy. Her last appearance was in "The Adventures of Bee & Slug!".
Each episode follows a similar structure, with some variation, in terms of the storyline and the musical form.
As each episode begins, viewers hear the school children, off-screen, leaving school at the end of the day. They say goodbye to the classroom pets. Once the classroom is vacant, a pencil holder rattles to create the ringing of a telephone. Often, the classroom will be decorated with student artwork or other items related to the storyline, particular animal or geographic location of that episode.
One by one, the classroom pets wordlessly notice the ringing phone. Up to this point in the episode, they have acted like normal animals and not said a single word. But as the phone rings, the Wonder Pets get dressed and make their way towards the phone while singing their opening verses.
The Wonder Pets answer the phone and find that an animal is in trouble somewhere. Linny explains the situation to the other two. They all jump into a box filled with fabric scraps and jump back out, wearing various different outfits, often alluding to the area of the world they will be visiting. They make a quick joke then jump back into the box and emerge in their Wonder Pets capes.
Once dressed, they assemble a flying boat called "The Flyboat" from classroom objects: a Frisbee for a body, magic marker caps as rocket exhausts, a marble, wheels, the mast, and a sheet of paper for the sail. Usually, the Wonder Pets encounter some sort of obstacle before leaving the classroom. The solution is invariably similar to the action they will need to take to save the animal in trouble.
When saving the animal, the Wonder Pets often fail on the first few attempts. Then the danger escalates, prompting Ming-Ming to once again sing, "This is se-wious!" Suddenly, the Wonder Pets remember how they solved the problem in the classroom and realize that the rescue has the same solution. Then they have to work together to achieve the rescue.
Once the animal is saved, a parent or other relative often comes out of nowhere to give grateful thanks to the Wonder Pets for saving its baby. The Wonder Pets celebrate with a celery snack, which the rescued animal's parent sometimes adds to with a bit of regional food, or they insist on a regional preparation. Then they fly back to the classroom. They wordlessly return to their cages until the next episode. The Flying boat smoothly disassembles by itself. Linny is always the last one to get back in her cage, and her cape and cap come off. The music style that has to do with the saving that day is played, as Linny takes a bite out of the celery in her cage and winks towards the camera as the closing credits begin.
Modes of transportation
In each episode, the pets create something out of toys to get them to the animal in trouble.
The Flyboat is the most common vehicle that the pets assemble. The main base is a red Frisbee with four blue and yellow wheels, three lights, green, orange and purple, and a clear plastic bottom where five gears are that is possibly part of the engine. Then the rocket boosters are two dry erase marker caps that are controlled by a green Popsicle stick that when lifted up makes them point down, which allows the Flyboat to hover in the air. Lastly the boat has a mast made out of blue erector pieces with a marble on top and a sail (the color/design/print varies) with the Wonder Pets logo on it. Usually, Linny drives the Flyboat, but there are episodes where Ming-Ming or Tuck drive instead. Most other modes of transportation are a variation of the Flyboat and primarily use the same components.
Season 1 (2006)
- "Save the Dolphin!" / "Save the Chimp!"
- "Save the Sea Lions!" / "Save the Kangaroo!"
- "Save the Caterpillar!" / "Save the Crane!"
- "Save the Duckling!" / "Save the Kitten!"
- "Save the Pigeon!" / "Save the Dinosaur!"
- "Save the Cow!" / "Save the Skunk!"
- "Save the Swan!" / "Save the Puppy!"
- "Save the Panda!" / "Save the Mouse!"
- "Save the Tree!" / "Save the Elephant!"
- "Save the Hedgehog!" / "Save the Crocodile!"
Season 2 (2007-2008)
- "Save the Camel!" / "Save the Ants!"
- "Save the Hedgehog!" / "Save the Crocodile!"
- "Save the Bullfrog!" / "Save the Poodle!"
- "Save the Sheep!" / "Save the Hermit Crab!"
- "Save the Black Kitten!" / "Save the Yak, the Pig, and the Dancing Bear!"
- "Save the Reindeer!" (double-length)
- "Save the Three Little Pigs!" / "Save the Owl!"
- "Save the Wonder Pets!" (double-length)
- "Save the Goldfish!" / "Save the Baby Birds!"
- "Save the Turtle!" / "Save Little Red Riding Hood!"
- "Save the Egg!" / "Save the Flamingo!"
- "Save the Bee!" / "Save the Squirrel!"
- "Save the Chameleon!" / "Save the Platypus!"
- "Save the Dragon!" / "Save the Beaver!"
- "Save the Goslings!" / "Ollie to the Rescue!"
- "Save the Ladybug!" / "Save the Sea Turtle!"
- "Save the Pangaroo!" / "Save the Cricket!"
- "Save the Armadillo!"/ "Save the Itsy Bitsy Spider!"
- "Save the Beetles!" / "Three Wonder Pets and a Baby!"
- "Save The Gecko" / "Save the Griffin"
- "Here's Ollie" / "Save the What!"
- "Save the Rooster" / "Save the Visitor!"
- "Off to School!" / "Save the Pirate Parrot!"
Season 3 (2008-2010)
- "Save the Bengal Tiger!" (double-length episode)
- "Save the Old White Mouse!" / "The Adventures of Bee and Slug!"
- "Save the Hound Dog!" / "Save the Glowworm!"
- "Save the Nutcracker!"
- "Save The Rat Pack!" / "Save the Fiddler Crab on the Roof!"
- "Save the Raccoon!" / "Save the Loch Ness Monster!"
- "Save the Cool Cat and the Hip Hippo!" / "Tuck & Buck!"
- "Save the Mermaid!" / "Save the Pony Express!"
- "Save the Honey Bears!" / "Save the Stinkbug!"
- "The Amazing Ollie!" / "Help the Monster!"
- "Kalamazoo" / "Save the Cow Who Jumped Over The Moon!"
- "A Job Well Done!" / "Save the Rhino!"
- "Save the Jaguar!" / "Save the Giraffe!" (Not aired)
- "Save the Bat!" / "Save the Donkey!" (Not aired)
- "Save the Lovebugs!" / "Save the Skunk Rocker!"
- "Help the Easter Bunny!" / "Save the Visitor's Birthday Party!"
- "How It All Began!"
- "Happy Mother's Day!" / "Save the Sun Bear!"
- "Adventures in Wonderland"
- "Save the Moose in the Caboose!" / "Climb Mount Everest!"
Toys and merchandising
Fisher Price began distributing a line of official Wonder Pets toys & playsets in the U.S. in March 2008. Toys include: Flyboat, figurine playsets and plush animals. These figurine playsets have each Wonder Pet saving a different baby animal. These include Linny saving a baby penguin, Tuck saving a baby bluebird and Ming-Ming rescuing a kitten. In addition there is a whale playset for the tub. Nickelodeon Universe, a theme park inside Minnesota's Mall of America, also has a children's ride dedicated to the Flyboat.