George Shrinks

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George Shrinks
George Shrinks title.png
Created by William Joyce
Written by Ken Cuperus
Dave Dias
Hugh Duffy
Richard Elliott
Ben Joseph
Voices of Bryn McAuley
Robbi Jay Thuet
Paul O'Sullivan
Kathleen Laskey
Tracey Moore
Composer(s) Roberto Occhipinti
Country of origin
  • Canada
  • China
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 40
Production
Running time 30 mins.
Production company(s)
[1]
Release
Original network PBS (United States)
CBC/TVOKids (Canada)
Original release September 30, 2000 (2000-09-30) – February 23, 2002 (2002-02-23) (as Bookworm Bunch)
January 6, 2003 (2003-01-06) - September 10, 2004 (2004-09-10)

George Shrinks is a Canadian–Chinese 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 30, 2000 on PBS Kids 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 Zooper Car, 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]

  • George Shrinks — George, age ten, is the main character of the series. George 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 "Junior "Shrinks Jr. — George's baby 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 leads to accidents, though Junior's sincere "Sowwy, George," always gets his brother to forgive him. He is voiced by Robbi Jay Thuet.
  • Becky Lopez — George's best friend who lives next door. She and George go on many exploits and adventures. Becky is also the captain for a Little League ice hockey team called the Storks, whose terribly bad goal-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 — Dad is a musician in a jazz band, and he 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, minor, and one-time characters[edit]

  • Aunt Eunice — Aunt Eunice is George and Junior's aunt (but whom the entire family calls "aunt"), who sometimes serves 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 at every turn. However, Aunt Eunice's ways are changed when George fixes her prized plant, a Bonsai tree named "Maurice", which has 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 can mail his way back home safely. She has travelled around the world; as such, she knows a great deal about different places as well as people. Voiced by Catherine Gallant.
  • Sparkle Tangerine — A bright orange stray cat that roams George's neighbourhood, also the main antagonist. It often tries to eat George or anyone his size.
  • Russell Copeland — Russell is a kindhearted senior who used to live in George's house as a boy. He had lost his treasured possession, a spaceship toy called "Spaceboy Bob", in the pond outside the house when he was a child, and George would later retrieve and return the toy to him, almost 80 years after the loss. He is also a retired veterinarian. He is voiced by Sean McCann.
  • Ellen — Ellen is a kindhearted 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 the owner of an anole lizard named Ting-Ting (which, as Ellen describes, is 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.
  • 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.
  • Hilda and Henry — Hilda and Henry are two blond-haired, glasses wearing fraternal twins. They say almost everything in unison and only appear 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, a Little League Hockey Team that is the focus of the episode "Coach Shrinks". This episode is her only appearance, in which she plays a major role. She usually wears glasses, except on the ice because the lenses fog up.
  • Lizzy — Lizzy is the 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 a hockey team because she felt figure skating was lonely and wanted to join a team.
  • The Cadwells — Seen only in the episode "Speed Shrinks", they are two twins similar to Hilda and Henry, but they 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.
  • Skyler — George and Junior's cousin once removed.

Series overview[edit]

Season Episodes Originally aired
Season premiere Season finale
Bookworm Bunch: Season 1 13 September 30, 2000 February 24, 2001
Bookworm Bunch: Season 2 10 November 3, 2001 February 23, 2002
George Shrinks: Season 1 40 January 6, 2003 September 10, 2004

Episodes[edit]

Bookworm Bunch Season 1 (2000–2001)[edit]

  • If It Ain't Broke (September 30, 2000)
  • Can We Keep Him? (October 7, 2000)
  • Close Encounters of the Bird Kind (October 14, 2000)
  • Ants in the Pantry (October 21, 2000)
  • Round Up the Usual Insects (October 28, 2000)
  • From Bad to Worse (November 4, 2000)
  • Sunken Treasures (November 11, 2000)
  • Snowman's Land (November 18, 2000)
  • Space Invader (November 25, 2000)
  • Down the Drain (February 3, 2001)
  • A Day at the Beach (February 10, 2001)
  • King Kongo (February 17, 2001)
  • Space Invaders (February 24, 2001)

Bookworm Bunch Season 2 (2001–2002)[edit]

  • Ghost of Shrinks Manor (November 3, 2001)
  • Journey to the Center of the Garden (November 10, 2001)
  • Return to Sender (November 17, 2001)
  • Dogsitting Miss Daisy (November 24, 2001)
  • George-Lo-Phone (December 15, 2001)
  • Sunken Treasures (January 5, 2002)
  • Down On The Bayou (January 12, 2002)
  • Tankful of Trouble (January 19, 2002)
  • Speed Shrinks (February 16, 2002)
  • Hound of the Bathervilles (February 23, 2002)

Season 1 (2003–2004)[edit]

No. Title Original air date
1 "On the Road" January 6, 2003
George and his family go to Capital City for Dad's big band concert.
2 "Friends and Anemones" January 7, 2003

When Junior accidentally loses his simian shrimp at an aquarium, George must set out to recover the little guys before they are eaten by residential fish.

  • The first use of the Zoopersub.
  • First appearance of Becky.
  • The title is a pun on the phrase "Friends and Enemies".
3 "If I Ran the Circus" January 8, 2003

The circus is in town, and the Shrinks family is all excited about going. But everyone's plans are threatened when a surprise attack of chicken pox hits Junior.

  • First episode in the Shrinks' house.
4 "Coach Shrinks" January 9, 2003

George makes an effort to help Becky's struggling hockey team (which hasn't scored all season) to score a goal.

  • Only appearances of Lizzy, Helga, and the Storks.
  • First appearance of the Fortevoce twins.
5 "Becky in Wonderland" January 10, 2003
George and Becky read Alice in Wonderland and are transported into a fantasy world of caterpillars, rabbits, and creatures.
6 "George Unshrinks" January 13, 2003

When George, Dad, and Junior all have dreams about being different sizes, they find out that staying their original size would have prevented a lot more problems.

  • 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).
7 "Migrate-est Adventure" January 14, 2003
After a monarch butterfly emerges from its cocoon in George's room, George and his family track a butterfly on its migration route with a scientist.
8 "Toy George" January 15, 2003
George puts on a school play of Pinocchio, featuring Junior and their first cousin once removed, Skyler.
9 "Lost and Found Art" January 16, 2003
After George and Becky carelessly lose Mom's found art sculpture, they set out to recover all of the pieces before they are recycled and permanently lost.
10 "If It Ain't Broke" January 17, 2003
George and Junior sneak a peek at Mom's surprise birthday sculpture for Dad (something she told them not to do), and get more trouble than they bargained for.
11 "Ghost of Shrinks Manor" January 20, 2003
After Dad tells a spooky ghost story, George and Becky are so convinced that there is a ghost in the Shrinks House that they forget to think about a logical explanation for the spooky goings on at night.
12 "Can We Keep Him?" January 21, 2003
George nurses a mouse with an injured leg back to health, but not without upsetting Junior, who feels that the mouse has taken away all of George's attention.
13 "Journey to the Center of the Garden" January 22, 2003
George and Becky's bean project is going AWOL so George sets out to find out what could be causing the trouble.
14 "Close Encounters of The Bird Kind" January 23, 2003

George meets a new kid on the block named Becky, and helps a little bird learn to fly.

  • This episode is a continuity error, as George and Becky don't know each other.
15 "Dog Sitting Miss Daisy" January 24, 2003
George is planning a surprise birthday party for Becky... but her present (a little dog) keeps messing things up.
16 "Ants In The Pantry" January 27, 2003
An army of ants threatens to attack the family's picnic and George tries to stop them by himself.
17 "Return To Sender" January 28, 2003
When George gets trapped in a mail parcel headed to Nigeria, he ends up going all around the world in a strange turn of events.
18 "Round Up The Usual Insects" January 29, 2003
George and Becky carry out another science project about bugs, but when Junior releases them all, the pair need to round them up before Mom's party is ruined.
19 "The More Things Change" January 30, 2003
George and Becky find half of a treasure map belong to Russell Copeland and the trio set out with Russell's friend Edna (who has the other half) to find their buried treasure, though not without some friction between some old friends.
20 "From Bad To Worse" January 31, 2003
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.
21 "George-Lo-Phone" February 3, 2003
When George is rejected by the school's band because he is too small to play the piano, George and Dad resolve to create a one-of-a-kind musical instrument to prove everyone otherwise.
22 "Sunken Treasures" February 4, 2003

George and Becky find a hidden room in the attic belonging to a boy named Russell, they find a pile of comic books that say "The Adventures Of Spaceboy Bob" when they open one of the books, they find a journal belonging to Russel who lived in the house seventy years ago, when Russel lived in the house, he had a toy named Spaceboy Bob.

  • This episode is a continuity error, as George doesn't know Russell.
23 "Down On The Bayou" February 5, 2003
The Shrinks family take their annual camping trip, and this year, George inherits his father's special compass.
24 "Snowman's Land" February 6, 2003
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 getting lost in a blizzard.
25 "A Star Is Shrunk" September 15, 2003
Mom, Dad, and Aunt Eunice all get small parts in a movie being filmed in town, but George becomes the real star when he gets to stand in for the hero of the movie.
26 "Monster Mash" September 16, 2003
A new neighbour proves that everyone's negative first impression of her was wrong with her clever contributions to George and company's annual Monster Movie Marathon.
27 "In the Duck Soup" September 17, 2003
When Junior's beloved toy duck "Wiggy" is broken, George and Junior take it to a local toy inventor to fix it. The duck is saved, but will not stay safe unless George can stop a legion of flawed toy robots from wrecking Junior's duck.
28 "George's Apprentice" September 18, 2003
George manages to get his parents to buy him a new cool robot, but the toy proves to be more troublesome than he anticipates.
29 "The Lost World of George Shrinks" September 19, 2003
George and Ellen release Ting-Ting, Ellen's older brother's lizard, when they aren't supposed to and must track it down to the local zoo while learning about following instructions.
30 "Tankful of Trouble" September 22, 2003
George and Becky planned to raise a frog for a science project, but things get out of hand when they end up with a bunch of frog eggs and far too many baby frogs.
31 "Zoopercar Caper" May 3, 2004

A pair of toymakers, stumped for new ideas, find out about the Zooper Car. In order to please their hard-to-please boss, they decide to acquire it from George by hook or crook.

  • This episode includes a flashback in which George remembers how he and his dad built the Zoopercar.
32 "All Along the Clocktower" May 4, 2004
For the town's big anniversary, everyone decides to fix up town hall and the broken clocktower attached, despite rumours that the clocktower is cursed.
33 "Down the Drain" May 5, 2004
George promises to keep a ring well hidden and safe that Dad plans to give Mom for their anniversary, but ends up going through the house's drainage system when the ring accidentally falls into the sink drain.
34 "Return of the Space Invaders" May 6, 2004

George, Junior, and Aunt Eunice end up meeting Manigishi (Manny for short), a space alien who appears to be of the same kind as George met earlier. She needs their help repairing her crashed spaceship. She needs it too; an upcoming meteor shower will make it impossible to get back home.

  • This episode is a continuity error, as George hasn't yet met the aliens.
35 "A Day at the Beach" May 7, 2004
George and Junior are excited about taking a trip to the beach, even though Mom is suffering from artist's block near a deadline and Dad needs to come up with a new tune soon.
36 "Small of the Wild" September 6, 2004
George and Becky prepare for the worst and attempt to save a yard full of animals when a bad winter storm comes around.
37 "King Kongo" September 7, 2004
Junior is supposed to be starring in George and Becky's monster movie. However, much to Becky and George's chagrin, Junior is more interested in eating cookies than in acting. They decide to find a replacement right in their backyard — a monkey who has escaped from the circus. But things get a little crazy when their new star crashes the arts fund-raiser, which Mom and Dad are hosting.
38 "Speed Shrinks" September 8, 2004
George and Becky enter a model car race, but need to watch out for competitors who aren't beyond winning if it means cheating.
39 "George vs. the Space Invaders" September 9, 2004
Too much pepperoni pizza and scary movies, along with Dad's new musical instrument, have George on edge, especially when real space aliens drop by for a visit and George can't convince anyone he isn't just imagining things.
40 "Hound of the Bathervilles" September 10, 2004

To raise money and awareness for a local animal shelter, George and Becky set up a pet-wash-a-matic, but finds things turning upside down when a stray dog turns out to be someone's cherished pet.

  • The series finale.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Dog Sitting Miss Daisy". Season 1. Episode 15. Event occurs at 25:30.  Missing or empty |series= (help)
  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]