George Shrinks

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George Shrinks
George Shrinks title.png
GenreAnimated series
Created byWilliam Joyce
Written byKen Cuperus
Dave Dias
Hugh Duffy
Richard Elliott
Ben Joseph
Voices ofTracey Moore
Bryn McAuley
Robbi Jay Thuet
Paul O'Sullivan
Kathleen Laskey
Composer(s)Roberto Occhipinti
Country of origin
  • Canada
  • China
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes40
Production
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)
[1]
Release
Original networkPBS (United States)
CBC/TVOKids (Canada)
Picture format480i (4:3 SDTV)
Audio formatStereo
Original releaseSeptember 9, 2000 (2000-09-09) –
January 23, 2003 (2003-01-23)

George Shrinks is a Canadian–Chinese children's animated television series. It is based on the children's book by William Joyce, produced in China by Jade Animation and in Canada by Nelvana, in association with Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). It tells the story of a ten-year-old boy named George who, one night dreams that he is three inches tall, only to wake up and discover that it is true. The show details his adventures with his friends and family going through his adventures on his mini machines that George and his musical father have created.

The series started on September 9, 2000, on PBS Kids, and then aired as part of PBS Kids Bookworm Bunch. The Bookworm Bunch disbanded in 2004, but George Shrinks was given an individual PBS debut on January 6, 2003, along with The Berenstain Bears and Maurice Sendak's Seven Little Monsters.

Content[edit]

George's tiny size turns mundane activities, such as working around the house or playing outside, into dramatic adventures. His primary mode of transportation is his Zoopercar, a multi-purpose miniature vehicle he built with his father that can do things like transform into a submarine or a helicopter. George often has interesting encounters with animals who, although they do not talk, seem to be able to communicate with George throughout the series. On one occasion, he encountered a robotic alien that was his own size and helped it get back home.

The show affects a retro-1950s look, with simple animation and colours. Primarily jazz is used for background music, reflecting both his father's occupation as a musician who tinkers with inventing new musical instruments and his mother's style as an avant-garde artist. However, statements made in the characters' dialogue imply that events take place in the present, or the year that the showing episode was produced and filmed.[citation needed]

The theme song, composed by Roberto Occhipinti, in a jumping blues style, is sung by Canadian musician Colin James.

Characters[edit]

Main[edit]

  • George Bernard Shrinks: George, 10, is the titular protagonist of the series, who wakes up from a dream to discover he is small;[2] his golden plated baby shoes were extremely tiny seen in "Round Up the Usual Insects". Because of his small stature, George has had to invent his own adaptive devices, most notably the Zooper car (a small vehicle which George built with his father, and which can be automatically transformed into an airplane, a helicopter, or a submarine). Another invention is a system of pneumatic tubes, which George also uses for transportation. He is voiced by Tracey Moore.
  • Harold Shrinks Jr. (referred to as "Junior" in the series): George's little brother, who often accompanies George in his adventures around the house. Junior is George's "sidekick" and "gofer", doing the tasks that are too difficult for George because of the latter's stature. However, his playfulness and his size sometimes lead to accidents, though Junior's sincere "Sowwy, George", always gets his brother to forgive him. He is voiced by Robbi Jay Thuet.
  • Becky Lopez: Becky Lopez is George's best friend who lives next door. She and George go on many exploits and adventures. Becky is the captain for a Little League ice hockey team called, "The Storks", whose terribly bad-scoring drought was the focus of one of the later episodes. She is voiced by Bryn McAuley.
  • "Mom" Perdita Shrinks: Mom is a freelance artist by trade who builds, sculpts and welds with a very abstract style. She is a member of the town's art committee and is into organic foods. Mom is also very supportive of the projects that the family and kids work on, and she enjoys helping out in the community. She also used to be a Radio City Rockette which George reveals his dad told him in "If It Ain't Broke" episode. She is voiced by Kathleen Laskey.
  • "Dad" Harold Shrinks Sr.: Dad is a musician in a jazz band, and is constantly building and trying out new instruments (most of which resemble oversized and distorted tubas and saxophones) in the search for the "perfect sound". Dad is a bit eccentric, but still loves his family and is a good father. He is voiced by Paul O'Sullivan.

Other and one-time characters[edit]

  • Aunt Eunice: Aunt Eunice is George and Junior's Great-Aunt (but whom the whole family calls 'aunt'), who sometimes serves them as their babysitter. The first time she watched the boys, she was very patronizing toward George, treating him as though his size were a handicap and "assisting" him. However Aunt Eunice's ways have changed when George fixes her prized plant, a Bonsai tree "Maurice", which seemingly been damaged beyond repair. In "Return to Sender", she expresses complete confidence in that George will handle himself just fine when he was mailed to various locations across the planet, and that he could mail himself back home safely. She has travelled around the world; as such, she knows a great deal about different places as well as people. The boy's mother, Perdita Shrinks, is Eunice's niece. She is voiced by Catherine Gallant.
  • Sparkle Tangerine: A bright orange stray cat that roams George's neighbourhood, also the main antagonist. She often tries to eat George or anyone his size. A similar cat, though unnamed, appeared in the original book by William Joyce. Seen in Can We Keep Him?, Close Encounters of the Bird Kind, Zoopercar Caper, King Kongo, Journey to the Centre of the Garden, George-Lo-Phone, Small of the Wild, Hound of the Bath-ervilles, George Unshrinks, Becky in Wonderland, and The Lost World of George Shrinks.
  • Russell Copeland: Russell is a kindhearted senior that used to live in George's house as a boy. He is also a retired veterinarian. He is voiced by Sean McCann.
  • Ellen: Ellen is a kind-hearted girl next door with a Chinese nationality. Despite only appearing in three episodes, Ellen plays a major role in two of them. Ellen is a fan of old horror movies and enjoys playing harmless practical jokes. She has an older brother, Matt, who is an owner of an anole lizard named Ting-Ting (which, as Ellen describes, is literally Chinese for "Gracefully Graceful"). She is left-handed and a member of the Storks, Becky's hockey team, as a forward on the left wing. She is voiced by Lisa Yamanaka.
  • Timmy and Jimmy Fortevoce: Timmy and Jimmy are identical twins, members of Becky's hockey team- Jimmy plays centre and Timmy plays defence. Despite appearing in just two episodes, they still play an important role as supporting members of the cast. In Italian, their last name literally means, "Loud Voice".
  • Hilda and Henry: Hilda and Henry are two blond-haired, glasses wearing dizygotic fraternal twins/sororal twins. They say almost everything in unison and only appeared in two episodes. They enjoy playing tricks on one another, such as during a scary movies night at the Shrinks' residence. They are somewhat competitive but are good friends with George and Becky.
  • Helga: Helga is the goaltender for the Storks, Becky's Little League hockey team. Coach Shrinks is the only episode she appears in, which she plays a major role. She usually wears glasses, except on the ice because the lenses fog up.
  • Lizzy: Lizzy is right-wing forward for the Storks, Becky's Little League hockey team. She's skilled at turning on the spot because of her previous experience figure skating; she joined the hockey team because she thought it was kind of lonely and wanted to join the team. She only appears in the episode, Coach Shrinks.
  • The Cadwells: The Cadwells appear only in the episode, Speed Shrinks. these kids are two twins similar to Hilda and Henry, but are somewhat villainous. They build a craft similar to the SR-71 Blackbird and use its special features to sabotage and unfairly halt the other racers in order to win. The boy is voiced by, Michael Cera and the girl is voiced by Annick Obonsawin.
  • Skyler: Skyler is George and Junior's first cousin once removed. Seen only in Toy George. She is about the same age as Junior and has similar personalities to him. She attended the school play George was putting on, "Pinocchio".

Episodes[edit]

Series overview[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
113September 9, 2000 (2000-09-09)December 2, 2000 (2000-12-02)
213September 8, 2001 (2001-09-08)December 1, 2001 (2001-12-01)
314January 6, 2003 (2003-01-06)January 23, 2003 (2003-01-23)

Season 1 (2000)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
code
11"If It Ain't Broke"Doug ThomsPete SauderSeptember 9, 2000 (2000-09-09)101

  • First episode in the Shrinks' house.
22"Can We Keep Him?"Doug ThomsPete SauderSeptember 16, 2000 (2000-09-16)102
33"Close Encounters of the Bird Kind"Doug ThomsRichard Elliott and Simon RacioppaSeptember 23, 2000 (2000-09-23)103

  • First appearance of Becky.
  • This episode is a continuity error, as George and Becky don't know each other.
44"Ants in the Pantry"Doug ThomsRichard Elliott and Simon RacioppaSeptember 30, 2000 (2000-09-30)104
An army of ants threatens to attack the family's picnic and George tries to stop them by himself.
55"Round Up the Usual Insects"Doug ThomsTerry SaltsmanOctober 7, 2000 (2000-10-07)105
The insects from George and Becky's science project escape.
66"From Bad to Worse"Doug ThomsRichard Elliott and Simon RacioppaOctober 14, 2000 (2000-10-14)106
When Aunt Eunice is left to babysit George and Junior, George sets out to prove he can do all the things a regular ten year old boy can do - but not without various mishaps.
77"Sunken Treasures"Doug ThomsJ.D. SmithOctober 21, 2000 (2000-10-21)107

George searches the pond for a toy that was lost 70 years ago.

  • The first use of the Zoopersub.
  • This episode is a continuity error, as George doesn't know Russell.
88"Snowman's Land"Doug ThomsRichard Elliott and Simon RacioppaOctober 28, 2000 (2000-10-28)108
After a huge snowfall, everyone is having fun but a disappointed Becky, who has the measles and won't be able to make her annual snowman from the first snowfall. George decides to make one for her, but risks being lost in a terrible blizzard.
99"Zoopercar Caper"Doug ThomsJennifer PertschNovember 4, 2000 (2000-11-04)109

After the Zoopercar goes missing, George tells the story of how he made it with his father.

  • This episode includes a flashback in which George remembers how he and his dad built the Zoopercar.
1010"Down the Drain"Doug ThomsRichard Elliott and Simon RacioppaNovember 11, 2000 (2000-11-11)110
George must venture into the drain pipes to find a ring he was helping his father hide.
1111"A Day at the Beach"Doug ThomsJennifer PertschNovember 18, 2000 (2000-11-18)111
The Shrinks family spends the day at the beach.
1212"King Kongo"Doug ThomsRichard Elliott, Simon Racioppa, and J.D. SmithNovember 25, 2000 (2000-11-25)112
1313"George vs. the Space Invaders"Doug ThomsJ.D. SmithDecember 2, 2000 (2000-12-02)113

Season 2 (2001)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
code
141"The Ghost of Shrinks Manor"Doug ThomsKen CuperusSeptember 8, 2001 (2001-09-08)201
152"Journey to the Centre of the Garden"Doug ThomsRichard Elliott and Simon RacioppaSeptember 15, 2001 (2001-09-15)202
163"Dog-Sitting Miss Daisy"Doug ThomsJennifer PertschSeptember 22, 2001 (2001-09-22)203
174"Return to Sender"Doug ThomsDave Dias and Kim ThompsonSeptember 29, 2001 (2001-09-29)204
George is inadvertently mailed around the world.
185"The More Things Change"Doug ThomsRichard Elliott and Simon RacioppaOctober 6, 2001 (2001-10-06)205
196"The George-Lo-Phone"Doug ThomsBen JosephOctober 13, 2001 (2001-10-13)206
207"Down on the Bayou"Doug ThomsJennifer PertschOctober 20, 2001 (2001-10-20)207
218"Tankful of Trouble"Doug ThomsMatthew CopeOctober 27, 2001 (2001-10-27)208
229"All Along the Clocktower"Doug ThomsKen CuperusNovember 3, 2001 (2001-11-03)209
2310"Return of the Space Invaders"Doug ThomsRichard Elliott and Simon RacioppaNovember 10, 2001 (2001-11-10)210

  • This episode is a continuity error, as George hasn't yet met the aliens.
2411"Small of the Wild"Brian LeeDave DiasNovember 17, 2001 (2001-11-17)211
2512"Speed Shrinks"Doug ThomsScott KraftNovember 24, 2001 (2001-11-24)212

George races the Zoopercar in an R/C Race.

  • First appearance of the Fortevoce twins.
2613"Hound of the Bath-ervilles"Brian LeeKen CuperusDecember 1, 2001 (2001-12-01)213

Season 3 (2003)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
code
271"On the Road"Brian LeeJennifer PertschJanuary 6, 2003 (2003-01-06)301
282"A Star is Shrunk"Doug Thoms and Karen LessmannScott KraftJanuary 7, 2003 (2003-01-07)302
The Shrinks family helps make a movie that is filming in their town.
293"George Unshrinks"Brian LeeKen CuperusJanuary 8, 2003 (2003-01-08)303

  • Only appearance of George as a normally sized boy (albeit this occurs in a dream).
  • This is the only episode in which the Zoopercar is driven by someone other than George (Harold).
304"Monster Mash"Doug Thoms and Karen LessmannJennifer PertschJanuary 9, 2003 (2003-01-09)304
315"In the Duck Soup"Brian LeeDave DiasJanuary 10, 2003 (2003-01-10)305
326"Friends and Anemones"Doug Thoms and Karen LessmannKen CuperusJanuary 13, 2003 (2003-01-13)306

During a trip to the aquarium, George must save a family of "Sea Symies."

  • The title is a pun on the phrase "Friends and Enemies".
337"Coach Shrinks"Brian LeeJennifer PertschJanuary 14, 2003 (2003-01-14)307

George coaches Becky's hockey team, which has yet to win a single game.

  • Only appearances of Lizzy, Helga, and the Storks.
348"Migrate-est Adventure"Karen LessmannKen CuperusJanuary 15, 2003 (2003-01-15)308
The Shrinks family follows a migrating butterfly, participating in a scientific study.
359"George's Apprentice"Brian LeeDave DiasJanuary 16, 2003 (2003-01-16)309
3610"If I Ran the Circus"Karen LessmannMatthew CopeJanuary 17, 2003 (2003-01-17)310
3711"Becky in Wonderland"Brian LeeKen CuperusJanuary 20, 2003 (2003-01-20)311
3812"Toy George"Karen LessmannScott KraftJanuary 21, 2003 (2003-01-21)312
3913"The Lost World of George Shrinks"Brian LeeKen CuperusJanuary 22, 2003 (2003-01-22)313
4014"Lost and Found Art"Karen LessmannAlice ProdanouJanuary 23, 2003 (2003-01-23)314

Home media[edit]

DVD title Episode count Release date Episodes
George Shrinks: Down the Drain 3 February 28, 2006 "Coach Shrinks", "In the Duck Soup", and "The Lost World of George Shrinks"
George Shrinks: Ghost Grabber Machine May 9, 2006 "Ghost of Shrinks Manor", "All Along the Clock Tower", and "Journey to the Center of the Garden"
George Shrinks: George Vs Space Invaders 2 "George vs Space Invaders", and "Close Encounters of the Bird Kind"
George Shrinks: Speed Shrinks 3 "Speed Shrinks", "Hound of the Bath-Ervilles", and "George-Lo-Phone"
George Shrinks: King Kongo 2 "King Kongo", and "Ants in the Pantry"
George Shrinks: Toy George 3 "Toy George", "Dog-Sitting Miss Daisy", and "Down on the Bayou"
George Shrinks: Snowman's Land 2 November 10, 2009 "Snowman's Land", and "From Bad to Worse"
George Shrinks: Zoopercar Caper January 26, 2010 "Zoopercar Caper", and "If If Ain't Broke"
George Shrinks: Sunken Treasures March 9, 2010 "Sunken Treasres", and "Can We Keep Him?"
George Shrinks: The Lost World of George Shrinks 4 "If I Ran the Circus", "Becky in Wonderland", "Toy George" and "Lost and Found Art"

Treehouse Direct also released the series on YouTube.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Dog Sitting Miss Daisy". George Shrinks. Season 1. Episode 15. Event occurs at 25:30.
  2. ^ "Based on William Joyce's book, George Shrinks is an animated series about a boy who wakes up and discovers he's the size of a mouse". Retrieved May 17, 2014.

External links[edit]