The Big Comfy Couch
|The Big Comfy Couch|
|Format||Children's television series/Educational|
|Created by||Cheryl Wagner|
|Directed by||Wayne Moss|
|Presented by||Alyson Court (1992-2002)
Ramona Gilmour-Darling (2006)
|Theme music composer||JP Houston|
|Country of origin||Canada|
|No. of seasons||7|
|No. of episodes||100|
|Executive producer(s)||Annabel Slaight|
|Editor(s)||Steven B. Pinchuk|
Wallace Avenue Studios
Toronto, Ontario (2006)
|Running time||25 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Radical Sheep Productions
Nashville Public Television
American Public Television
|Original run||1992– 2006|
The Big Comfy Couch is a Canadian children's television series about Loonette the Clown and her dolly Molly, who solve everyday problems on their "Big Comfy Couch". It aired from 1992 until early 2006. It was produced by Cheryl Wagner and Robert Mills, directed by Wayne Moss and Mills. It premiered on March 2, 1992 in Canada and in 1995 in the USA on public television stations across the country.
The show's format revolves around Loonette the Clown, who lives with her dolly Molly on the eponymous Big Comfy Couch. Episodes are generally focused on a theme or a lesson. For example, Season 3's episode "Full of Life" explored the concepts of "full" and "empty", while "Sticks and Stones" dealt with name-calling and teasing.
Each episode contains several common elements. Early in each episode, Loonette performs an exercise routine she calls the "Clock Rug Stretch", often extended, sometimes short to save time for other surprises, fast if she's in a hurry and normal when she comes back, or in a floppy way; and toward the end, she performs a high-speed clean-up routine called the "Ten-Second Tidy". If, however, there is no mess made, then it is called the "Ten-Second Untidy, Tidy" (where Loonette has to make a mess and then clean up afterward). If the mess was already cleaned up, then it is called the "Ten-Second Silly" (where Loonette has to be silly for 10 seconds). If Loonette did not make a mess but Molly did, then Molly has to do the "Ten-Second Tidy" with Loonette's help.
Other oft-repeated elements include reading a story to Molly, who sometimes either chooses a story to hear, gives Loonette a book and glasses (often by holding the book and wearing reading glasses), or turning on the lights for Loonette; visits to various places in "Clowntown", songs that emphasize the episode's lessons or themes, and a trip to Granny Garbanzo's garden. Here she encounters Snicklefritz (full name being Snickle-Gustav-Amadeus-Fritz), Granny Garbanzo's cat; Major Bedhead, the local mail-delivery clown, who travels on a unicycle; and of course, Granny Garbanzo herself. The conversation with Granny Garbanzo is often used as the episode's "teachable moment", where Granny offers Loonette advice or lessons, often with the help of Major Bedhead, who delivers gifts and messages from Auntie Macassar or Uncle Chester. Both were black. All episodes end with Loonette and Molly having a nap and sometimes reminding the viewers to remember the rules on today's episode.
In season 7, Loonette and Molly play the Dream Game and Molly gives out the letter that the dream starts with and provide what they will be dreaming about. In season 6, Loonette and Molly play the Doll School Game where Molly learns the alphabet as well as numbers (mainly 1-10). A similar element used in seasons 1-5 is the Alphabet Game, where a certain letter is shown on a giant alphabet block and Loonette uses certain words beginning with that letter and also makes the letter's shape with her body to get the viewers to guess the letter.
Along with the lessons and problem solving sequences, the show also emphasized imaginative play. These episodes often take place in the context of a "visit to Clowntown", with sites such as Granny Garbanzo's "Cabbage Club Cooking School" and Major Bedhead's "Clown Chi Mojo Dojo and Dancing School". Additionally, Loonette is gifted in the art of classical dance and runs "Miss Loonette's Dance Academy". In early episodes, Loonette was too young to visit Clowntown alone, but in later seasons, she makes frequent trips to Clowntown, and volunteers at the "Clowndergarten", where she teaches "little clowns" (played by young children) games, songs, and stories. This imaginative play was also demonstrated through dress-up games and through Loonette's dollhouse, in which she imagined the adventures of "The Foley Family". Shown first as a doll-sized family, in Loonette's imagination they would become a family of regular-sized clowns, whose actions were shown in high speed and with a musical background in the style of old silent movies. The Foleys (a mother, father and son) did not speak. Early in the first season, Molly had discovered "The Dust Bunnies". However, Loonette didn't believe that there are dust bunnies under the couch.
The two lounge around the couch all day, with the exception of the "Clock Rug Stretch" and daily adventure, sometimes involving Granny or Major Bedhead, a postal service employee who also plays bit parts. Each day includes a few songs and a story (which, when told by Loonette, involves her wearing huge yellow reading glasses and holding a blue storybook); and is concluded with "The Ten-Second Tidy", and a nice nap.
The show was originally produced by Radical Sheep Productions and Owl Television, then Canadian children's television network YTV and WITF-TV Harrisburg, with a run of 65 episodes. In 2002, 13 new episodes were produced with Benny Smart, an American children's television production company, Tadpole TV and Treehouse TV, a companion channel of YTV, and Nashville Public Television.
Radical Sheep Productions and Amity Entertainment, in association with Treehouse TV and Nashville Public Television, produced 22 additional episodes, which debuted on American Public Television in 2006.
Loonette the Clown is the lead character, portrayed by Alyson Court from 1992-2002 and Ramona Gilmour-Darling from 2002 onward. She is a young clown living with her dolly, Molly, on the eponymous Big Comfy Couch, an over-sized couch.
She frequently reads stories to Molly, always performs a Clock Rug Stretch, and likes to visit her Granny Garbanzo. Auntie Macassar (or more recently, her Uncle Chester) frequently sends Loonette postcards which Major Bedhead delivers on his unicycle (similar to Reba the Mail Lady from Pee-wee's Playhouse). Loonette is gifted in the art of classical dance and runs "Miss Loonette's Dance Academy". Another gift she possesses is the unusual ability to clean just about any mess up in ten seconds, which she calls the "Ten Second Tidy". (In reality, the video's action was sped up during post-production of an episode).
Originally, Loonette was too young to visit Clowntown, but starting from 2006, Loonette makes frequent (adult supervised) trips to Clowntown to visit Granny Garbanzo's "Cabbage Club Cooking School" and Major Bedhead's "Clown Chi Mojo Dojo and Dancing School". The trips to this second location indicates that she practices martial arts.
Molly wears a blue dress (sometimes a yellow one, an orange one in a couple of episodes and a light green one in the books), and occasionally bunny pajamas. She believes that dust bunnies really exist, despite Loonette's disbelief. Her favorite food is doughnuts. She only speaks by cartoon bubbles, and usually answers Loonette's yes–no questions by either nodding or shaking her head.
- Fuzzy and Wuzzy (puppeteered by Bob Stutt and Robert Mills): Dust bunnies who live under the Big Comfy Couch. Only Molly knows of their existence, and she always does her best to protect them so she can play with them.
- Andy, Jim and Eileen Foley (Fred Stinson, Jani Lauzon and Jackie Harris): A very silly family known as the "Foley Family" who lives inside of Loonette's dollhouse.
- Note: One of the dust bunnies appeared inside the dollhouse in an episode.
- Granny Garbanzo (Grindl Kuchirka) Loonette's grandmother who loves her very much, even Molly too. She comes from the old country and has a Slavic accent. Granny also likes growing in her garden and she lives inside a wagon with Snicklefritz, her cat.
- Snicklefritz (puppeteered by Bob Stutt): Granny Garbanzo's scallywag cat, who was introduced in Season 2. Likes to play pranks on the others, and sometimes tries to get out of getting flea-baths. The name Snicklefritz comes from slang in German culture.
- Major Bedhead (Fred Stinson): The local clown courier who makes deliveries to Loonette from her Auntie Macassar and Uncle Chester. Can be quite goofy at times and a bit clumsy.
- Auntie Macassar (Taborah Johnson): Loonette's travelling aunt who likes to make an entrance whenever she visits. Appears in Seasons 1-5.
- Wobbly (Gary Farmer): A close friend who lives in Clowntown. Appears in 2 episodes in season 2 only.
- Uncle Chester (Edward Knuckles): Loonette's travelling uncle who appears in Seasons 6-7.
- Punch and Moody (Bob Stutt) are two recurring puppets that appear in Granny Garbanzo's puppet booth. They are based on the Punch and Judy puppet show.
Reruns and other original channels
Additional items for kids, like coloring pages, could be found on the Big Comfy Couch website. Other merchandise include VHS tapes, DVDs, coloring books, stuffed plush dolls, puzzles, and life size dolls (example: Loonette).
Season 1 – 1992
- 101 - Pie in the Sky- In the series premiere, Molly and Loonette discover heavy and light.
- 102 - Pinch to Grow an Inch- Molly's mirthday is soon and Loonette has a party.
- 103 - All Aboard for Bed- Loonette tells about the time when she and Molly couldn't get to sleep very well.
- 104 - Knit One Twirl Too- Molly catches a cold. Loonette makes a scarf for her.
- 105 - Upsey Downsey Day- Molly gets a balloon from Loonette but flies away. Major Bedhead, Granny, and Loonette play circus.
- 106 - Flippy Floppy Fun- Molly flops on the floor which makes Loonette in a floppy mood
- 107 - Something's Fishy Around Here- Loonette and Molly pretend to fish. Molly learns about patience.
- 108 - Scrub-a-Dub- There is a mess of toilet paper all over the couch. Major Bedhead, Granny, and Loonette make a fun clean up routine.
- 109 - Red Light, Green Light- Loonette and Molly learn about stop and go. Loonette pretends to drive a car.
- 110 - Gesundheit- Loonette sneezes a lot. Major Bedhead and Loonette fly a kite.
- 111 - Ping Pong Polka- Loonette is very energetic after doing a nice clock rug stretch, but unfortunately, she's too energetic to read Molly a story. Loonette accidentally drops ping pong balls in Granny's yard and has to pick them up.
- 112 - Funny Faces- Loonette and Molly learn about feelings. The gang watches a movie about Granny and herself in the old country.
- 113 - Snug as a Bug- Loonette and Molly discover nature by learning how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly. Loonette reads a story about a bee. This is the season 1 finale.
Season 2 – 1993
- 201 - Babs in Toyland- In the 2nd season premiere, Molly is jealous because Auntie Macassar sent in another doll named Babs.
- 202 - 1-2-3 Dizzy Dizzy Me- Loonette sings about counting and flying in her imaginary plane. However, Molly is dizzy from the plane. Loonette gets dizzy from watching a top spin.
- 203 - Wobbly- Loonette is angry and in a bad mood when she finds a wobbly toy duck. Wobbly the clown, who's unable to fix it, comforts Loonette by telling her that you just have to accept things the way they are.
- 204 - Jump Start- Loonette is in a jumpy mood. A thunderstorm hits Clowntown and Major Bedhead is afraid of lightning.
- 205 - This Little Piggy- Loonette becomes greedy because she was amazed to find out how many coins were in her piggy bank.
- 206 - Juggling the Jitters- Loonette has the jitters.
- 207 - Hoopla- Loonette lost her ball. Loonette, Granny, and Major Bedhead play with a hula hoop from Auntie Macassar.
- 208 - Wrong Side of the Couch- Loonette woke up on the wrong side of the couch making her in a bad mood also she screams in this episode.
- 209 - I Feel Good- Loonette and Molly learn about feeling good about themselves. The 2 play the "What if?" game. Loonette, Granny, and Major Bedhead exercise. Loonette reads a story about an ugly duck.
- 210 - Boomerang- Loonette is in a foolish mood and plays tricks on the others.
- 211 - Rude-I-Culous- Molly and Loonette make rude noises. But they learn that there is a time to be rude and a time to be nice.
- 212 - Make it Snappy- Loonette is in a total rush. Major Bedhead is dressed as a cowboy clown.
- 213 - Feast of Fools (Thanksgiving Special)- The gang has a huge dinner party. This is the season 2 finale.
Season 3 – 1994
- 301 - Give Yer Head a Shake- In the 3rd season premiere, Loonette and Molly learn that no means no.
- 302 - It’s About Time- Everyone has a sleepover at Granny's garden. Unfortunately for both Molly and Snicklefritz, they each have to have a time-out and a little lesson in controlling themselves.
- 303 - Clownus Interruptus - Loonette and Molly learn about patience and the importance of not interrupting when someone else is talking.
- 304 - Why?- Molly asks "Why?" all the time.
- 305 - Monkey See Monkey Do- Loonette copies everyone. Molly learns about echos and Loonette learns that being a copycat isn't exactly a good idea.
- 306 - Sticks and Stones- Loonette thinks Molly is clumsy because she wasn't good at Pick up Sticks. Major Bedhead and Loonette make up nicknames for everything in Granny's garden, and they both learn the hard way that calling names isn't really a good idea.
- 307 - Horsing Around- Today is National Horseplay Day and everyone is goofing around and laughing but Snicklefritz.
- 308 - All Over and Under- Loonette and Molly discover over and under as they explore their Big Comfy Couch.
- 309 - Pants on Fire- Loonette learns the importance of telling the truth and not to lie.
- 310 - All Fall Down- Loonette and Major Bedhead have fun falling down safely. Loonette reads the story of Humpty Dumpty to Molly.
- 311 - Traveling Papers- Loonette and Molly want to go to Clowntown; however, they are too young to go there. But Granny Garbanzo teaches them and Major Bedhead that you can explore and travel by using your imagination.
- 312 - Hiccups- Loonette and Molly have the hiccups.
- 313 - Full of Life- Loonette and Molly learn about empty and full. Granny explains to Loonette the life of a caterpillar. This is the Season 3 finale.
Season 4 – 1995
- 401 - Backwards!- In the 4th season premiere, it is National Backwards Day and everything is backwards! (Note: No ten second tidy was in this episode, just Loonette being silly)
- 402 - Picky Eaters- Molly learns about table manners and how to try new foods.
- 403 - 40 Winks- Molly refuses to take a nap.
- 404 - Swing-a-Ling- Loonette is in a swingy mood, she pretends to play tennis, baseball, and golf. Major Bedhead reflects about the time he was at the playground as a kid and he learned the importance of safety.
- 405 - Spare Some Change- Loonette is upset that her name doesn't mean anything.
- 406 - Stuck in the Muck- Loonette and Molly make up rhymes and pictures.
- 407 - Gimme Gimme Never Gets- Loonette and Molly go on a treasure hunt in the couch and finds a gem. Molly is upset because she wants the gem; while Loonette learns about the importance of not grabbing things, but politely asking for them.
- 408 - One Step at a Time- Loonette and Molly learn about the importance of trying new things, such as climbing the stairs.
- 409 - Enough Already!- Molly knows that there are real dustbunnies under the couch, but Loonette doesn't believe her. They both learn that there is a time to take a break from something, such as arguing about dustbunnies.
- 410 - Where Do Clowns Come From?- Today is Molly's mirthday and Loonette reflects about the time they first met.
- 411 - Are You Ready for School?- Loonette and Molly play school.
- 412 - Hit Parade- Molly and Snicklefritz learn that hitting is not good to others.
- 413 - Comfy and Joy (Christmas Special)- The gang celebrates "The Longest Night of The Year" where they do activities in the snow, give presents to each other, and stay up late. This is the Season 4 finale.
Season 5 – 1996
- 501 - Bad Hair Day- In the 5th season premiere, Molly and Major Bedhead have a bad hair day
- 502 - Clownvitations- Loonette feels like she's left out. Granny visits Miss Loonette's Dance Academy.
- 503 - Nothing to Do- Loonette is bored and can't find anything to do. But she learns that keeping busy is the way to fight boredom.
- 504 - The Big Brain Drain- Loonette thinks of different things in her brain.
- 505 - 1 Potato 2 Potato- Loonette, Major Bedhead, and Snicklefritz play a game of keep away with a potato. Granny Garbanzo eventually teaches everyone about not blaming someone else for your own mistakes.
- 506 - Earth to Loonette - Loonette reads about Molly being a fisher doll, and they both learn about the importance of not daydreaming all the time.
- 507 - Lettuce, Turnip and Pea- Molly wets the Big Comfy Couch which makes Loonette very embarrassed.
- 508 - Time for Molly - Molly tries to get Loonette's attention, but Loonette is too busy having a "me" parade.
- 509 - Gizmo Shmizmo - Loonette discovers all different kinds of gizmos. There is a whole mess of ping pong balls on the couch and Loonette uses a special vacuum cleaner to clean the mess up.
- 510 - Clothes Make the Clown - It is autumn and Molly and Major Bedhead try to keep warm.
- 511 - Don't Tell- The gang tries not to reveal a surprise about Major Bedhead's birthday, but Major Bedhead never stops asking what the secret is. Can they get over Major Bedhead's annoying pleads until Auntie Macassar gets to the party?
- 512 - You're a Gem! - Loonette thinks Molly is a real gem, but she also learns the importance that gems and jewelry are not as important as her doll.
- 513 - See Ya in My Dreams- Loonette pretends to be a roving reporter and interviews the others about dreams. This is the Season 5 finale
Season 6 – 2002
- 601 - Clowning in the Rain - In the 6th season premiere, it's a rainy day in Clowntown. When the rain stops, a rainbow comes out.
- 602 - Lost and Clowned- Molly wants to go Clowntown, but she's too young to do so.
- 603 - Button Up!- Today is "Best Foot Forward Day" and Loonette must find perfect shoes for Molly.
- 604 - Scaredy Cat!- Loonette wears a mask from "The Phantom of the Opera" which scares Molly. She learns from Loonette that there is nothing to be scared of.
- 605 - It’s the Thought that Counts- Loonette is searching for "Mcguffin" in the couch. Loonette and Major Bedhead attempt to help Granny to fix her roof.
- 606 - Growing Pains- Loonette wants to have a tea party with Molly but she worries about maturity.
- 607 - Donut Let it Get You Down- Loonette, Molly, Major Bedhead, and Snickelfritz compete in a field day competition; eventually Molly, the previous champion has to accept not winning again, which is hard for her to do.
- 608 - Fancy Dancer- Loonette is jealous that everyone dances better than her. Granny gives Loonette ballet lessons.
- 609 - The Big Bang Boom (Independence Day Special)- Today is "The Big Bang Boom" and everyone has a dinner and watches fireworks. Molly is afraid of fireworks, so she wears ear muffs; and Loonette learns to think of others and not only herself.
- 610 - Ain't it Amazing, Gracie?- Molly finds a miner's hat. Major Bedhead loses his mail bag but learns that he needs to retrace his steps to find things.
- 611 - Between the Covers- Loonette digs all over the couch for books. Uncle Chester reflects about the time he was at the library and discovered that reading is important yet fun.
- 612 - Going Up- Loonette believes she is not growing up properly.
- 613 - Cool It!- The clowns find ways to cool off on a very hot summer day. This is the Season 6 finale and Alyson Court's final episode as Loonette. Ramona Gilmour-Darling replaced Court for the final season.
Season 7 – 2006
- 701 - Apple of My Eye- In the 7th season premiere, Loonette and Major Bedhead learn that healthy foods are important. At Granny's Cooking School, Loonette, Molly, and Granny make Apple Muffins.
- 702 - Dat's Da Law!- Loonette learns about the rules and laws, especially MYOF, make your own fun. At the Dojo, Major Bedhead and Granny do the tango, but Loonette wants to do it too.
- 703 - Fibberish Gibberish- Loonette tells a tall tale to Molly which angers her. Snicklefritz thinks he's a dog. At Granny's Cooking School, Loonette and Granny really "blend up" things by reminding themselves, you are what you eat.
- 704 - Slow Down, Clown!- Loonette is in a super hyper mood and is doing things quickly. At the Dojo, Major Bedhead teaches Loonette how to juggle and that it's important to take things slowly at first.
- 705 - Floppy!- Loonette and Molly learn that too much junkies, such as donuts, is not good for you. At Granny's Cooking School, Granny shows Major Bedhead and Loonette how to make a healthy snack and that healthy food is good for you.
- 706 - Clown with a Frown- Loonette is in a bad mood. It's a rainy day in Clowntown then it clears up which makes Loonette feel better. She also learns that eating too many sweets, like donuts, can lead to a mood swing. (Note: there is no going to Clowntown in this episode)
- 707 - Rub-A-Dub- Loonette has trouble doing two things at the same time. Granny cleans up her garden. At the Dojo, Major Bedhead and Loonette do exercises.
- 708 - Upside Down Clown- Molly plays with an upside down doll. At Granny's Cooking School, Loonette and Granny make a special dessert.
- 709 - The Clown Promise- Loonette promises to wiggle and giggle and make mirth on Earth. At the Dojo, Loonette, Major Bedhead, and Molly dance.
- 710 - Lost and Found Clowns- Molly tries to find her other doll Bloomette. At Granny's Cooking School, Loonette and Granny make an Upside Down Clown Surprise.
- 711 - Phony Baloney- Loonette learns that telling the truth is the noble thing to do. At the Dojo, Loonette and Major Bedhead do relaxing and calm exercises.
- 712 - Ready, Steady, Go!- Uncle Chester brings Bon Bons over to the garden, and eventually teaches everyone that while candy is tasty, it's important to have a good diet and include other foods like vegetables (such as carrots) in your diet. At the Dojo, Loonette balances on a balance beam.
- 713 - Happy Mirthday, Granny!- Molly and Loonette try to keep a secret for Granny's mirthday.
- 714 - Popcorn-Y- Molly is in a popping mood and can't stop popping. Popcorn flies all over Granny's garden. At the Dojo, Loonette learns how to juggle by going pop pop pop.
- 715 - Peek-A-Boo!- It's Molly's first time at Clowndergarten and is shy of meeting all the other little clowns.
- 716 - Ouch!- Major Bedhead broke his foot by slipping on a banana peel and summarizes what happened at the Clowntown Hospital. He gets a wheelchair to sit in. At Clowndergarten, the little clowns play pin the tail on the donkey, play ball, have a snack, have Loonette read a story, and play hot and cold as they depart.
- 717 - Big Blow Hard- Loonette and Molly are on their boat they made known as "The Big Comfy Ship"and they are pretending to look for treasure. At Clowndergarden, the clowns play with bubbles. A huge wind storm known as the Big Blow Hard hits Clowntown. Everyone goes into Granny's shed for shelter from the storm.
- 718 - Shh, Shh, Shh, Quiet!- Loonette learns to use inside and outside voices. At Clowndergarden, the clowns play the opposite game, pretend to have a baby in their hands to use quiet and loud, play follow the leader, dance, color, and have Loonette read a story.
- 719 - Freeze, Please!- Molly is in a wiggly mood and learns to stay put. At Clowndergarden, the clowns play the freeze game, listen nicely to Loonette reading a story, and have a puppet show.
- 720 - Clown in the Round- At Clowndergarden, Loonette and the clowns discover all about things that are round. The clowns also play with the clock rug parachute, play the beehive game, play dress up, do the clock rug stretch, and watch a puppet show.
- 721 - Molly's Bellybutton- Molly's bellybutton is dangling down. At Clowndergarden, the clowns play "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes", play with the clock rug parachute, play with hula hoops, and have a parade with costumes.
- 722 - Just Purrfect- In the series finale, Loonette pretends to be a cat. At Clowndergarden, the clowns play "kitty cat".
Time-Life Video was the main distributor for releasing the Big Comfy Couch series under Time-Life Video's children's label Time-Life Kids. VHS releases are also released by Goldhil Video.
The Big Comfy Couch has 5 DVDs featuring the new season starring Ramona Gilmour-Darling. The DVDs and VHS tapes that feature Alyson Court are no longer made, but can be found in certain websites such as Amazon.com.
- The Big Comfy Couch: Clown in the Round (Nov. 7 2006)
- The Big Comfy Couch: Cooking Up Fun (Nov. 7, 2006)
- The Big Comfy Couch: Let's Have a Party (Feb. 6, 2007)
- The Big Comfy Couch: Wiggling and Giggling (Feb. 6, 2007)
- The Big Comfy Couch: Upside Down Clown (April 15, 2008)
The Big Comfy Couch has had a few live shows at Londonderry Mall in Edmonton, Alberta Canada and sometimes in Calgary and rarely in Regina, Saskatchewan.
Loonette and Molly Live Theatrical Tour
In 2007, a live theatrical production entitled Molly's Fool Moon Festival toured in Canada. The show included Loonette the Clown, Molly, Granny Garbanzo, Major Bedhead and others.
The production was produced by Koba Entertainment, and presented by Paquin Entertainment Group.
- Big Comfy Couch: Complete Season One
- Big Comfy Couch: Complete Season Two
- The Big Comfy Couch at the Internet Movie Database
- Big Comfy Couch Episode Guide
- Big Comfy Couch Full Episodes: Iowa Public Television
- Big Comfy Couch Episode Guide: TV.com
- Big Comfy Couch: MSN TV
- Big Comfy Couch: AOL Television