Ni Hao, Kai-Lan
|Ni Hao, Kai-Lan|
|Created by||Karen Chau|
|Developed by||Mary Harrington
|Written by||Sascha Paladino (Head Writer)
Bradley Zweig (Staff Writer)
|Theme music composer||Matt Mahaffey|
|Opening theme||Theme Song composed by Matt Mahaffey|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||40 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||24 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Nickelodeon Animation Studios HarringToons Productions
Nick Jr. Productions
|Original channel||Nick Jr.
|Original release||November 5, 2007– August 21, 2011|
Ni Hao, Kai-Lan (simplified Chinese: 你好, 凯兰; traditional Chinese: 你好，凱蘭; pinyin: Nǐ hǎo, Kǎi Lán!; Hello, Kai-Lan) is an American children's television series which premiered on Nickelodeon on November 5, 2007, and on Noggin (now Nick Jr.) on December 15, 2008. It also premiered on the Canadian Television Channel Treehouse TV.
Ni Hao, Kai-lan is based on the childhood memories of the show's creator Karen Chau growing up in a bicultural (Chinese-American) household. “Ni hao” means “Hello” in Mandarin, and Kai-Lan is the Chinese name Chau was given at birth, which was later anglicized to Karen.
The setting of the show appears to be China or Ancient China throughout most episodes. However, it's revealed in the Season 1 finale that they all live in California, possibly in Chinatown. It appears most of the characters aren't Chinese. This is not explained. Ni Hao, Kai-lan introduces its viewers to the Mandarin Chinese language, along with elements of Chinese culture and values, multiculturalism (through the diverse backgrounds of Kai-lan's friends), and intergenerational families (e.g., Kai-lan and her relationship with Ye Ye).
Episodes generally feature breaking the fourth wall, 11 minutes of interactivity, a target word that is repeated multiple times, a few words of Mandarin Chinese vocabulary, one or more of Kai-lan's friends having a negative emotional response to some action or activity (problem), Kai-lan thinking out loud (observation), cause-and-effect problem solving, and before saying goodbye (at the end of each episode), The Rabbit Raytheon and The Little Girl Kai-lan says, "You make our hearts feel super happy!" Later installments added Rabbit Raytheon and Little Girl Kai-lan saying this phrase in Mandarin after she said it in English: "Ni rang wo hao kai xin!"
Kai-Lan is the main character, a playful, adventurous young girl with a big heart. She speaks both English and Mandarin Chinese, and she is eager to share her language, her culture, and her playtime with her animal friends and the viewers at home. Kai-Lan is a natural leader but she is also thoughtful and caring with a gift for helping her friends when they really need her, and are sad. For example, in the episode Rain or Shine, Kai-Lan and her friends were going to play on a beautiful sunny day, but then it suddenly started to rain. Ye-Ye made everyone put on raincoats, but you can't roller-skate, skateboard, or fly kites in the rain. Hoho, Rintoo and Tolee did not like the idea of not playing with their things and felt sad about it. But Kai-Lan helped them find different ways to play in the rain by riding on sleds, sliding on leaves, and playing hide-and-seek, and at the end of the episode, the rainstorm finally ended and Mr. Sun made a rainbow. Her favorite animal is a dinosaur and in her music group, she plays her tambourine.
Kai-Lan is voiced by Jade Lianna Peters.
Ye ye (simplified Chinese: 爷爷; traditional Chinese: 爺爺; pinyin: yéye, "paternal grandfather") is Kai-lan's grandfather and legal guardian. He was born in Hong Kong and lovingly passes on his exciting traditions to his granddaughter. He provides Kai-lan with gentle guidance, leading her to find her own answers, at her own pace. (Kai-lan's parents and other grandparents are not known.) The only 2 episodes that Ye-Ye didn't appear in were that last 2 special episodes Princess Kai-Lan and Journey to the Monkey King Castle. He can play the tuba. He also enjoys picking apples and making dumplings for Kai-lan and all her animal friends. He's known to pop out of places unexpectedly, but the gang just gets used to it after awhile.
Ye ye is played by Clem Cheung in English and Ben Wang in Chinese.
Rintoo is a rambunctious yellow-and-black tiger with a lisp who often acts before he thinks. He likes to play rough but when it comes to his friends, he's willing to compromise. He loves dragons and racing racecars. Also, although he is with Hoho most of the time, his actual best friend is Tolee. He got hurt twice in the series, one was spraining his ankle on a rock on Halloween in the episode Ni-Hao, Halloween, and another was being punched in the leg by Hoho in the episode Kai-Lan's Playhouse. (He shook that other hit off, however.) He might be a tiger, but he is sweet on the inside.
Rintoo is voiced by Jack Samson.
Tolee is a gray koala who loves pandas and fruit (especially apples, bananas, and pineapples). He is intelligent and always thinks before he acts and sometimes worries too much, but he never lets that stop him from having a great time with his friends. Kai-Lan and her friends can always rely on him for good ideas. Tolee also has a stuffed Panda he affectionately named Pandy, and Tolee loves Pandy so much he can't imagine being without him. The unimaginable, however, happens in Pandy's Puddle when he accidentally drops Pandy into a mud-filled puddle, the reason being he was trying to pull up a very large Chinese turnip, resulting in Pandy having to be put into a washing machine to get clean. Tolee did not like the idea of being without Pandy and cried. But then felt better by having a picture of him and Pandy, and he also made him a card, and later, he got him back. He is the vocalist in Kai-Lan's music group. His love for pandas culminated in the two part episode "Kai-Lan's Great Trip to China" when the group traveled to China to meet a whole family of Pandas' including baby Xiao Xi Gua (Little Watermelon).
Tolee is voiced by Khamani Griffin.
Hoho the white monkey is the youngest of Kai-lan's friends (hence his smaller sized appearance), so when he participates in activities, he often goes first. He's full of boundless energy and nothing makes him happier than being the center of attention. Whenever he jumps a spring sound can be heard. He can often be found jumping on his friends' heads or playing his turntables as the resident DJ in Kai-Lan's music group. The turntables are normally stored in a tree when not in use. Aside from his turntables and his friends, Hoho's favorite thing happens to be bananas.
Hoho is voiced by Angie Wu.
Lulu is a pink rhino. She has a red balloon tied around her horn that helps her fly in the sky. Lulu is very energetic and sweet. She loves her friends. When her friends are in trouble, Lulu is the one in the group who stays calms, remains positive, and thinks of a solution to the problem. Lulu is always seen as being there to help her friends. Lulu's home is is castle in the sky. She is best friends with Kai-Lan. Lulu plays the piano in Kai-Lan's music group. Her favorite fruit is the lychee. Some of Lulu's favorite games include: dancing, playing house, having tea parties, and dressing up like a fairy. Unlike Rintoo, Hoho and Tolee, Lulu does not appear too often and has only appeared in 7 episodes total.
Lulu is voiced by Beverly Duan. However, in the end credits of the episode, "Everybody's Hat Parade", Beverly's last name "Duan" is misspelled as "Dawn".
At the start of almost season 1 every episode, Kai-Lan wakes up Mr. Sun so she can start her day. With the help of the viewer, Mr. Sun rises and showers down smiling sun fuzzies to Kai-Lan and she gets tickled by them. The only noise heard from him was him yawning in the episode The Moon Festival. He also knows how to play the French horn, so Kai-Lan and the lady bugs (playing the pi-pa) join him as a little music group at the beginning of Tolee's Rhyme Time and later joins Kai-Lan and her friends in the music show.
In one corner of Kai-Lan's backyard is a teeming mini-metropolis of ants called Ant City. The ants serve very important roles in the community: they deliver mail, they build things, and they love to play with Kai-Lan and her friends. San San is their leader along with his two right-hand ants, Bubu and Fufu. The ants even have their own, 3-D starring segment called "Ant City Builders".
Other, grown-up, and minor characters
- Howard is an owl who appears in "The Dragonboat Festival", "Lulu Day", "The Dinosaur Balloon", and "Stompy Rides Again". He delivers letters, and only speaks in hoots.
Voiced by Khamani Griffin
- Mr. Fluffy is a hamster. He is a baker at his own bakery who first appears in "Everybody's Hat Parade." He makes the best cakes. Mr. Fluffy is currently voiced by Elan Garfias.
- Mei Mei is a shy, innocent blue polar bear. She is voiced by Laura Marano.
- Stompy the Elephant is a big, playful blue elephant who first appears in "Safari Pals." Nothing makes Stompy happier than being able to play with his friends. He is also known by some as Spouty or Trunky because of his long trunk.
Stompy is voiced by Hsiang Lo.
- Hula ducks who don't speak but dance and quack are in episodes sometimes. They're very conservative as shown when they made pumpkin pie out of a broken pumpkin.
- An unnamed bat makes a few appearances as an audience member or a background character, as well as a brown squirrel, and white rabbit, crabs and a dinosaur.
- GuNaiNai is Kai-Lan's Great Aunt and YeYe's sister. She appears in "Kai-Lan's Trip to China."
GuNaiNai is voiced by Ming-Na Wen.
- Xiao Xi Gua ("little watermelon") is a baby panda. He appears in "Kai-Lan's Trip to China."
- Father's body is completely black with a red outline along his body and eyebrows, giving him a silhouette-like appearance with few other discernible features, the most notable among them being his bright yellow eyes, which often are exaggerated since his eyes are the only way of visually seeing his facial expression. She voiced by Maurice LaMarche.
- Michael and Natalie Andersons are white shirt, blue pants and black hair. Also, a white shirt, blue pants and yellow hair. She voiced by James Garner and Claudia Christian.
- Nathan Explosion is the frontman, lead vocalist and "lyrical visionary." Portrayed as a tall, bulky figure, with long black hair, black nails, and green eyes. She voiced by Brendon Small.
- Burton mentioned that finding his performance as Mole was by allowing the character to "leap out" of him while making funny voices. She voiced by Corey Burton.
- Mr. and Mrs. Color Purple, Red and Blue are green eyes and green face on the Text to speech. She voiced by AT&T Rich, Mike and Crystal.
- The Peeking Mice are little, black mice who are often seen playing music. They are voiced by assorted members of the cast.
- Orchestra Rabbits are black shirt with a tie and black pants with a tail, and playing music on the National Rabbit Symphony Orchestra at the Auditorium at Night.
- Rabbits are playing music on his bagpipes and Hoho the white monkey are playing his turntables as the resident DJ music group.
- Mr. Hoppy is a green frog who speaks in ribits. In Kai-Lan's carnival, he has darker eyes, shown without a bowtie, talks completely and owns a game booth called "Mister Hoppy's Hop-and-Splash" where the player has to throw a ball to sink a lilypad.
- Dinosaur Rolling Egg Balls - It is not known what color or colors the balls where before they were re-painted as dinosaur eggs. They are a white-yellow-green color as Dinosaur egg-like. They are shaped like ovals and Kai-Lan and her friends use them in the final game of the "Dinosaur Games" olympics.
- Panda Slippers - Always worn by Tolee, soft slippers that are shaped like Pandas.
- Musical Instruments - Instruments that Kai-Lan's band play. Kai-Lan plays the tambourine, Rintoo plays the xylophone, Hoho plays the turntables, and Tolee sings through a microphone.
- Boats - 4 Sailboats that only appear in "Tolee's Turn". One boat is shaped like a duck (used by the Hula Ducks), one is shaped like a rabbit (used by Ye-Ye and Mr. Fluffy), one is shaped like a dinosaur (used by Kai-Lan, Hoho, Rintoo, and Tolee), and the last is small and shaped like an old-fashioned sailing ship (used by the Ants).
- Train - A kid's train that only appears in "Stompy Rides Again". The locomotive is red, shaped like a steam engine, and blows out bubbles instead of steam. The first two passenger cars are blue, roofless, and have orange wheels. The last passenger car is yellow, roofless, has orange wheels, and a red lantern at the back (they made the last car from Stompy's toy box).
- Bicycle - Ye-Ye's bicycle that appears in various episodes, often during season 2.
- Lanterns - Lanterns that the gang use for many special occasions.
- Chinese Dragon - Dragon that the gang carries around in the episode "Happy Chinese New Year".
- Raft - Orange raft that Tolee uses at his house and once on a sailboat.
- Cula 4 free-to-air public broadcaster TG4's kids brand Cula 4 airs the show in the Irish language and teaches Chinese to its audience.
- Télé-Québec airs a French language dub of the show.
- Nickelodeon in the Netherlands airs a Dutch dub.
- Nickelodeon in China's northern neighbour Russia airs a Russian dub.
- E-Junior in United Arab Emirates airs in English although other programs are available with an Arabic Second audio program
- ETTV Yoyo air a Chinese dub.
- FOX in Finland airs a Finnish dub.
- In the Philippines, ABS-CBN Network airs the series in Filipino dub. (See also: list of programs broadcast by ABS-CBN)
- NHK in Japan airs a Japanese dub.
- Nick Jr. in Norway airs a Norwegian dub.
- Jade-Lianna Peters as Kai Lan
- Clem Cheung as Yeye
- Khamani Griffin as Tolee, Howard
- Beverly Duan as Lulu
- Angie Wu as Hoho
- Michael J. Fox as Raytheon
- Don Novello as Chili's
- Jim Varney as Chase Bank
- David Ogden Stiers as Chinatown West
- Christian Bale as Applebee's
- Mel Gibson as Denny's
- Tom Hulce as IHOP
- Joaquin Phoenix as TGI Friday's
- James Woods as Taco Bell
- John Mahoney as Burger King
- Jacqueline Obradors as Wal-Mart
- Cree Summer as Kmart
- James Garner as Michael Anderson
- Claudia Christian as Natalie Anderson
- Florence Stanley as Packard
- Jonathan Groff as Orchestra Rabbit
- Corey Burton as Mole
- Brendon Small as Nathan Explosion
- AT&T Crystal as Mrs. Color
- AT&T Mike as Mr. Color
- AT&T Rich as Mr. Blue Color
- Phil Morris as Officer Flanigan
- Jack Samson as Rintoo
- Frank Welker as Mr. Dragon & Eli the Dog
- Preston Strother as Fox, Bear
- E.G. Daily as Mr. Hoppy
- Jeremy Herzig as Mr. Fluffy
- Maurice LaMarche as Father
- Zachary Gordon as San San
- Laura Marano as Mei Mei
- Terrence Hardy Jr. as Ants
- Kwesi Boakye as Mr. Hoppy
- Ming-Na as Gui Nai Nai
- Elan Garfias as Mr. Fluffy
- Kyla Rae Kowalewski as Fufu
- Lucy Liu as The Bear Queen
- Steve Bulen as additional voices
- Strike, Joe (2007-12-04). "Ni Hao, Kai-lan: Tigers and Dragons and Mandarin Lessons". Animation World Network.
- Liu, Ed (2008-01-21). "Toon Zone Interviews Nick SVP Teri Weiss About "Ni Hao, Kai-lan"". Toon Zone.
- Official website
- Ni Hao, Kai-Lan at TV.com
- Ni Hao, Kai-Lan at the Internet Movie Database
- nihao-kailan.com, unofficial page