Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake is a licensed character owned by American Greetings, originally used in greeting cards and expanded to include dolls, posters, and other products. The Strawberry Shortcake properties also include a toy line of the character's friends and pets.


The original design of Strawberry Shortcake and her cat, Custard was done in 1977 by Muriel Fahrion during his time as a greeting card illustrator at American Greetings' Juvenile & Humorous card department. After the idea was presented to Bernie Loomis of General Mills and became a licensing entity, Fahrion designed a subsequent thirty-two characters for Those Characters From Cleveland (American Greetings' toy & licensing design division).

Cindy Moyer Patton and Janet Jones designed the other later characters of the classic Strawberry Shortcake line. Lyn Edwards was the editor of the line and along with brainstorm group developed the personality profiles and the story line and philosophy. The first doll was a rag doll directed by Muriel Fahrion and created by Susan Trentel, Fahrion's sister.

The Strawberry Shortcake line of characters each had their own fruity or dessert-themed name with clothing to match, and they each had a dessert- or fruit-named pet. Like the Strawberry Shortcake doll, all the other characters' dolls had hair scented to match their dessert theme. The characters lived and played in a magical world known as Strawberryland.

During the 1980s, Strawberry Shortcake became a huge fad. At the time, there were several related products, such as sticker albums, clothes, a video game by Parker Bros. entitled "Strawberry Shortcake Musical Match-Ups" for the Atari 2600 [] , and several other products. Several TV specials were made featuring the characters, one each year between 1980 and 1985, when the fad had apparently waned. Kenner produced no new dolls or toys thereafter.

In 1991, THQ tried reviving the franchise by producing an updated line of Strawberry Shortcake dolls. Strawberry and five of her classic friends each got a makeover, with new clothes, hair, and eyes. However, the line enjoyed at best a modest success, lasting just the one year.

In 2002, the franchise was revived again, this time with a revamped look by a different designer. Many strong licensing deals were made. A television series with new DVD and VHS (and in certain markets [particularly in Asia] , Video CD) releases was made, with soundtracks for the episodes being put out on CDs at certain intervals. DiC Entertainment was granted rights in producing the TV series, who sub-licensed the production of videos, DVDs and Video CDs of the series to 20th Century Fox Home Videos (who subsequently licenses the production of the video outside the US to various other licensees). Bandai (along with KellyToy) was granted the rights to manufacturing the dolls and toys. For the first time in almost two decades, new videogames were launched, produced by The Game Factory for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS. Educational CD-ROMs for the PC were also produced.

In 2006, Playmates Toys picked up the rights to make Strawberry Shortcake figures. The line is named "A World Of Friends". The doll Frosty Puff was new to this line, but, although a good deal of shuffling and re-distribution was made concerning the pets of the re-launched characters, very few of the new dolls were actually merchandised with pets. A full-length feature film , , premiered in 2006 and released to videos in February 2007.

The Playmates' line was received with mixed reactions (see Criticisms section below) from the series' fans. However, overall reaction towards Playmates' line was negative. As a result, Playmates Toys lost the rights to Hasbro, who will be putting out new toys beginning fall 2009, after American Greetings reboots the franchise again AG Properties Press Release announcing the change of licensor] . However, on July 23, 2008, Cookie Jar Entertainment announced that it is in an ongoing talk to buy the franchise off American Greetings. Whether this will nullify any future plans American greetings has for the franchise remains to be seen. The deal is expected to finalize on September 30, 2008.



There is a bit of "wiggle room" in a few cases, between the introduction of a character, and their release as a toy. For instance, Raspberry Tart (the character) was introduced in 1980, with the first Strawberry Shortcake TV Special, alongside Huckleberry Pie, Apple Dumplin', etc., but wasn't released as a Doll until the next year. The same is true of Strawberry Shortcake's nemesis, The Peculiar Purple Pie Man. Plum Puddin' also debuted in 1980, but would not get a doll until 1984, by which time the character had apparently switched genders, and was now a girl. Moreover, with the exception of Apple Dumplin', Apricot, and The Purple Pie Man, none of the other characters would come packaged with pets (nor indeed, would most of them even be known to HAVE pets) until the 1982 releases, when all the earlier-released characters were re-issued with their animal friends. A couple of the characters weren't produced as dolls at all, namely T.N. Honey, Raisin Cane, and Baby Needs-A-Name, who was only made as a larger-sized "Blow-Kiss" baby doll. Raisin Cane was introduced as the niece of villainess Sour Grapes in Issue #1 of Star Comics' (an imprint of Marvel Comics) short-lived Strawberry Shortcake Comic Book, and, as far as is known, was never considered for any kind of commercial merchandising.

1980s toys

*Berry Bake Shoppe
*Snail Cart (with Escargot The Snail)
*Berry-Shaped Carry Case
*Flitter-Bit the Butterfly
*Garden House (Gazebo)
*Berry Cycle
*Big Berry Trolley
*Berry Merry Worm (Philbert Wormly III)
*Berry Happy Home
*Maple Stirrup and the Oatsmobile

1980s television specials

From 1980 through 1985, annual specials featuring Strawberry Shortcake were produced. Like many animated shows produced in the 80s, they were produced primarily to sell toys.

The 1980 and 1982 specials were animated by Murakami-Wolf-Swenson and Toei Doga, while the 1983 special through the final special 1985 were animated by Nelvana. The 1981 special was a unique case, animated by Perpetual Motion Pictures of New York.

2002 relaunch

Characters with their pets and homes

A little revamping took place at the characters' relaunch. Both Pupcake and Custard now belong to Strawberry Shortcake. In Pupcake's place, a new pet, Shoofly Frog, was introduced as Huckleberry Pie's pet, and Apple Dumplin' was relaunched as Strawberry Shortcake's sister. Also, Strawberryland is now divided into "districts" like Cakewalk, Orange Blossom Acres, Huckleberry Briar and Cookie Corners.

Strawberryland Fillies

The 2003 revival of the franchise introduced fillies to the franchise. Each of the fillies are tied down to a character, with the main filly, Honey Pie Pony, being the only one able to talk and have a pet. However, when Playmates took over the dolls rights from Ban-Dai, they decided to scrap the existing fillies and introduce new ones. However, the removal has not spread beyond the scope of the toy line.

2003 TV series

In 2003, the Strawberry Shortcake franchise was revived, and with it, a Strawberry Shortcake TV series was finally produced, 19 years after the last special. The series reflected the changes in the direction of the franchise, and has the primary focus on being an educational program.

The series is produced by DiC Entertainment and 20th Century Fox.

Theatrically-released feature film

In October 2006, the first Strawberry Shortcake film, "", was released in select cities by Kidtoon Films. The Peculiar Purple Pie-Man of Porcupine Peak and Sour Grapes, which were notably absent from the TV series, are re-introduced in the movie. However, Sour Grapes is re-introduced as Purple Pieman's sister in materials related to the Sweet Dreams Movie. The movie was released on DVD on February 6 2007, and has also been aired on networks and released on DVD and VideoCDs worldwide.


To date, 8 CDs have been released by Koch records since the franchise's revival in 2003. These CDs are soundtrack CDs containing music from the TV series and DVDs, as well as one for the movie. Additionally, a CD was released along with a piano book. It features 10 tracks, 5 full tracks coupled with 5 minus-one tracks.

2009 Planned relaunch

In June 2008, American Greetings announced that Hasbro has won the license from Playmates, and with it they will relaunch the series again. The extensive relaunch involves numerous large redesigns and a reboot of the franchise's universe. The relaunch is expected to happen in Fall 2009. However, the announcement worries some of the newer fans (see Criticisms section below).

According to American Greetings, the current franchise' run will end in spring 2009 where toys are concerned, but DVDs containing the older designs will continue to be released until late 2010/early 2011.

Cookie Jar's acquisition

In June 20, 2008, Cookie Jar Entertainment announced it's intention to merge with DiC Entertainment [ Cookie Jar Entertainment announcement of the intention of merger with DiC] ] , who holds the rights to the Strawberry Shortcake animated series. The merger was completed in July 23, 2008 [ Announcement of the closure of the merger] ] . On the same day as the finalization of the merger, Cookie Jar Entertainment announced further intentions to acquire the Strawberry Shortcake and Care Bears franchise from American Greetings itself [ Cookie Jar Entertainment's announcement of the intention to buy the franchise off American Greetings] ] . Whether this nullifies any of the current future plans for the series remains to be seen. The deal is expected to finalize on September 30, 2008.

Video Games

The first Strawberry Shortcake videogame was produced in 1983. It was designed for children, and thus the software was kept as simple as possible, with very simple graphics and sounds (the abilities of the Atari 2600 console was very limited). Needless to say, no newer games on the franchise was produced again until 20 years later, in 2003, with Strawberry Shortcake: Amazing Cookie Party, for the PC. Since then, games have been published for the Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance, Sony Playstation 2, PCs and Apple Macintoshes, and even a standalone game console based on Konami's Dance Dance Revolution franchise.


General Inconsistencies

A criticism from long-time fans is the inconsistency and retconning of characters, pets, scents, etc. that exists between the vintage franchise from the 1980s and the current franchise. Some examples are:

"Character names" - Raspberry Tart's name was changed to Raspberry Torte. Almond Tea's name was changed to Tea Blossom. Classic characters Banana Twirl and Lime Chiffon have apparently been replaced by new, rather different characters Banana Candy and Lime Light, respectively.

"Pets" - Pupcake now belongs to Strawberry instead of HuckDiC Entertainment/20th Century Fox, Meet Strawberry Shortcake, DVD, 2003] (who now has Shoofly FrogDiC Entertainment/20th Century Fox, Peppermint's Pet Peeve, Best Pets Yet, DVD, 2004] ). Angel Cake no longer has Souffle skunk, but instead a lamb named Vanilla Icing. Lemon Meringue's pet frog, Frappe, is replaced by Sourball the skunk (possibly explained by the switching of Souffle skunk to Vanilla Icing for Angel Cake and switching of Pupcake to Shoofly Frog for Huck). Apple Dumplin's turtle, Teatime, is replaced by Apple Ducklin'. Rhubarb, Raspberry's pet, changed from a monkey to a raccoon. This might be explained by the existence of Banana Bongo (Tangerina Torta's monkey), although Banana Bongo himself was originally introduced as the leader of a monkey band on Seaberry Beach during the story introducing Coco Calypso and Seaberry Delight DiC Entertainment/20th Century Fox, Mystery of Seaberry Beach; The, Seaberry Beach Party, DVD, 2005] .

"Relationships" - Previously unmentioned sibling pairs keep popping up, such as Strawberry Shortcake and Apple Dumplin' and The Purple Pie Man and Sour GrapesDiC Entertainment/20th Century Fox, Strawberry Shortcake: The Sweet Dreams Movie, Film/DVD, 2006] . There is also some confusion about the relationship between Crepes Suzette and the younger, recently-introduced Cherry Cuddler. Both have cherry scents and early promotional materials indicated that they are sisters. However, the box for the Playmates doll set indicates they are merely friends.

Playmates' acquisition of the licenses

In 2006, Bandai lost the rights of the franchise to Playmates. Upon acquiring the license, Playmates started making changes to the directions of the franchise, provoking many fans of the series.

"Availability" - Fans have noticed that since Playmates' acquisition of license to the franchise, merchandise has become scarce. Many fans have speculated the reason of the scarcity of products, with the two biggest theory being that Playmates does not have as wide a distribution base as Bandai, and that many stores found that the Playmates toys were not selling as well as the Bandai toys in the past.

"Scents" - Playmates' introduction of the 2006 toy line is very loose with the linked scents that have been traditional in this franchise. Examples include cherry used for Crepes Suzette and Grape used for Tea Blossom. While some consider the scent mixing and blending to be part of the fun, it is also criticized for taking some of the unique and distinct personalities and associations away from each individual character.

"Fillies/Ponies" - In early 2007, Playmates introduced three new ponies, but these are different from the previous Strawberryland Fillies. The ponies belong to Strawberry Shortcake, Angel Cake, and Crepes Suzette, and are aligned with the Berries to Blossoms doll line. The Honey Pie Pony and Milkshake names are not used and neither pony looks like the fillies previously linked to Strawberry and Angel. The new ponies are not given names of their own. This move upset fans of Honey Pie Pony and the current fillies line.

"Character designs" - Many feel that the Playmates line of dolls does not look anything like the characters on TV or the other materials at all. The Playmates dolls are all looking increasingly alike (same expressions, hairstyles, outfits) with just differing colors. Also, changes to hair colors in the dolls for Blueberry Muffin, Lemon Meringue, Angel Cake, Seaberry Delight, and even Strawberry Shortcake herself make the dolls look even less like their contemporary TV/Book/movie versions. Some fans believe that the aging of the characters on the later TV series episodes were Playmates doing and strongly detests the action.

The TV show and the movie

AS the 2000 series is a complete reboot and redesign of the Strawberry Shortcake universe, it brings upon criticisms of those old enough to remember the original 1980s annual specials regarding various aspects of the new series. On the other hand, its real-life adventures format also brought in a new string of fans, many of them fans of other real life adventures educational programming driven to the series due to the new format of the show.

Some people were disappointed with the absence of The Purple Pie Man in the TV series. However, others applauded the removal of villains from the series and were disappointed with the reintroduction of the Pie Man in the Sweet Dreams Movie, preferring that the series being kept in its current format: an educational, real-life adventure program similar to Arthur or Caillou. Two camps clearly exist on this issue: There are fans (adults and children alike) that love the inclusion of antagonists such as Purple Pie Man, Sour Grapes and Licorice Whip. These fans want to continue to see more of them in movies, books, and toys. However, there are others who feel that the inclusion (or re-inclusion) of villains in the show take away from the primary focus on Strawberry and her friends as well as erode the educational content of the show, and would prefer the show and franchise be kept villain-free [
] ] [ an review dissing the introduction of the villain "Licorice Whip"] ] .

There is a continuity error between "Meet Strawberry Shortcake" and "Here Comes Pupcake", with the former indicating that Strawberry Shortcake had not meet the other residents of Strawberryland when she already had Pupcake for a while, while the latter indicates that she has known the other residents of Strawberryland even before she got Pupcake. [ guide detailing the glitch] ]

Another continuity error exists in regards to Blueberry Muffin and Rainbow Sherbet. Initially both characters were already present in "Mystery of Seaberry Beach" and "Legend of the Lost Treasure" prior to the stories that "introduced" them, "The Blueberry Beast" (Blueberry Muffin) and "The Costume Party" (Rainbow Sherbet) [;dropdown;1 Season 2 episode guide] ] . Certain networks have attempted to fix these inconsistencies by reordering the episodes so that "Mystery of Seaberry Beach" and "Legend of the Lost Treasure" would air after "The Costume Party". However, it is unknown how many networks worldwide re-ordered their episode schedules in an attempt to fix these inconsistencies. Nonetheless, these inconsistencies have led to confusion among some viewers.

Also, the versions of the first four episodes broadcast on North American TV were edited down to 22-minutes in length. This resulted in the removal of certain subplots and songs from the broadcast edition of these episodes. This edited version was also used in the Game Boy Advance Video release of the episodes. However, the DVD and VHS releases contain the original 44-minute versions of the episodes. In other markets, these first four episodes were aired as two-parters, adding an extra four episodes to the episode count. [;title;2 details on one of the edited episodes] ]

Some episodes were also released under different names in different regions, sparking even more inconsistencies in fan clubs where there could be people from all over the world. For example, "A Trip to Pearis, France" was released under the title "The Friendship Club" on Disney Channel Asia and on Video CDs and DVDs released in Asia. This was repeated for "The Great Friendship Festival", "Dancing in Disguise", and "Meet Apricot", which was released as "A Festival of Friends", "Everybody Dance" and "Let's Dance" respectively in the Asian region.Compared guides to Disney Channel Asia's online guides]

2003 episodes Series 4 criticisms

With the transition to the new design for Series 4 of the show beginning in 2008 with Big Country Fun, new criticisms arose about various aspects and changes made upon transition from 2003 Season 1-3 to 2003 Series 4.

American Greetings' design team changed Blueberry Muffin's hair color from blue to brown for the 2000s series, but reinstated her blue hair in phases beginning in 2006 (starting with the Playmates dolls, followed by books, and finally on to various media in 2008). This was followed by rumors that the 2003 Series 4 episodes will be the next to see this change. This brought on criticism from those who're used to Blueberry Muffin's brown hair, who voiced their dislikes to the idea of American Greetings changing it back to blue on the grounds that it makes her look unnatural. The change also sparked concerns among another different group of fans, but on the grounds that it makes her look too much like another character on the series, "Frosty Puff", instead. Ultimately, it turned out that American Greetings has no intention to force DiC to change Blueberry Muffin's hair back to blue for the TV show. Furthermore, there are still fans that are worried that it might happen in the future. However, the other camp was disappointed at the change to brown hair in the first place, and were pleased to see Blueberry Muffin return to her trademark blue hair color and feel that it is a shame that a partial switch may lead to mixed messages across the various Strawberry Shortcake media, and feel that Blueberry's hair should revert to blue in all usages. Ironically, the girl surrounded by friends with pink, orange, and even purple hair, which evades these blue-haired Blueberry Muffin critics. It is also possible that these critics are just trying to resist change.

Also, beginning with "It Takes Talent" and "Playing to Beat the Band" (which have already been seen in Asia), the characters now have an "all new look" which is more consistent with the current official artwork and toyline. Due to the style of the design, this new look has given some fans the impression that the characters are now "teenagers". The impression is further reinforced in the Big Country Fun DVD, as Strawberry is seen seeking a part time job at a dude ranch, and is later seen driving a car in the episodes on the Berry Big Journeys DVD (of which the first story of the DVD, "Strawberry's Big Journeys", was already aired by Disney Channel Asia). This resulted in a group of fans voicing their dislike of the idea of aging the characters.

The continuity of "Everybody Dance aka Dancin' In Disguise" in "Let's Dance" was discarded in Big Country Fun as Sour Grapes will be reverted back into a villainDiC Entertainment/20th Century Fox, Big Country Fun, DVD, 2008] . This news did not go well with a group of fans of the show who feel that Sour Grapes and other reformed villains should have been kept reformed.

Finally, there recently arose reports (as of February 2008) that Honey Pie and the other fillies have been scrapped and will no longer be featured in the fourth season of the 2000s TV series [ the thread that started the entire fiasco] ] , probably a move to synchronize the show with the Playmates dolls (which does not associate Honey Pie or any of the current fillies to the dolls or franchise, but instead a new generic, nameless set of fillies). This resulted in concerns and disapproval of the idea by fans, as many fans feel that Honey Pie is an integral part of the series and should not have been removed. Ultimately, it turned out that DiC has no intentions to immediately remove the character, but instead faded the character into background [ contradictory proof that Honey Pie made it into Season 4] ] . However, while many fans are relieved to find that Honey Pie has not been removed, some are still concerned that the character will face removal in the future, or dislike the fact that the character will be getting less screen time.

The 2009 Relaunch

As of June 2008, Hasbro has been named the new Master Toy Licensee for Strawberry Shortcake. Credible sources state that American Greetings plans to end the current franchise in Spring 2009, and wait six months before relaunching the series in Fall 2009. However, it has plans to stretch the current DVD releases until late 2010/early 2011, allowing the current DVD franchise to run along DVDs featuring the new redesigned characters (a similar tactic is also currently being employed by American Greetings to market Care Bears DVDs).

However, the decision to redesign the entire franchise again has put off some fans, who would prefer that it be reverted to the 2003 series design instead. American Greetings also announced that the franchise would be truer to the original 80s franchise, which worries the "Real Life Adventure" fans that the show will be taken back to its good-versus-evil format that was promenent in the 80s specials.

Furthermore, the characters are now said to be fairy sized. This news did not go well with some fans who preferred that the characters be kept human in nature.

Lastly, it has been suggested that the removal of various characters will be inevitable, further upsetting fans. A reporter for the "New York Times" who was given a sneak peek at the relaunch plans has hinted that Custard, along with many other characters whose names do not directly suggest a fruit, may be removed from the series. Additionally, each of the characters will be equipped with cell phones. While the plans to scrap Custard has apparently since been dropped as witnessed in a recent Good Morning America report on the series' relaunch [ Good Morning America News report, accessed 24 August 2008] ] , the verdict has not yet concluded for the rest of the characters. This resulted in fans voicing their dislike for the idea of the removal of any characters as well as questions and concerns of the practicality of equipping the characters with cellphones, given the target audience of the franchise.


American McGee's Strawberry Shortcake

In 2003, webcomic "Penny Arcade" posted an "advertisement" for an imaginary computer game, "American McGee's Strawberry Shortcake", in reference to "American McGee's Alice" - a twisted and violent take on Lewis Carroll's works. American Greetings took offense to the parody and issued a cease-and-desist letter, to which the authors begrudgingly complied [ Penny Arcade! - Tart As A Double Entendre ] ] - but not without making their indignation very clear [ Penny Arcade! - Read It Before They Take Legal Action] ] .

Some argue that Penny Arcade's case was not covered under the fair use doctrine because the use of the characters in this case was for satire [ Penny Arcade! - Blog, 21st April 2003] ] ; they claim that fair use only protects the unauthorized use of copyrighted characters in parodies of the original material, and that satire and parody are totally different concepts. Others, however, take the view that parody and satire are equally protected by law [ Arts & First Amendment in Speech] ] .

Ironically, Penny Arcade did not intend to offend American Greetings in the comic, but instead intended to mock American McGee and Mcfarlane Toys, who collaborated to create a toy line based on a twisted version of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz". The poster also mocked American McGee's game, American McGee's Alice, a game with a dark and twisted take of Alice In Wonderland and purportedly an unofficial sequel to Lewis Carroll's books. Some fans of the comic speculate that American Greetings' actions were triggered due to the close date proximity of the appearance of the comic and American Greetings' relaunch of the franchise, as well as the slight similarity of the name American Greetings and American McGee.

Various other TV shows, including Drawn Together ] , Robot Chicken] The "Girl Toys" skit in the Robot Chicken episode "Moesha Poppins"] Robot Chicken episode title "Squaw Bury Shortcake"] , and South Park)] have since also parodied or satirized Strawberry Shortcake in various ways but at this time have met no reported retaliation from American Greetings.

In Other Languages

*Danish: "Jordbær Marie"
*Dutch: "Aardbeitaartje"
*Finnish: "Mansikka-Marja"
*French: "Charlotte aux Fraises" (France), "Fraisinette" (Canada)
*German: "Emily Erdbeer"
*Hungarian: "Eperke"
*Polish: "Truskawkowe ciastko"
*Portuguese: "Moranguinho" (Brazil),"Docinho de Morango" (Portugal)
*Serbian: "Jagodica Bobica"
*Spanish: "Tarta de Fresa" (Spain), "Rosita Fresita" (Mexico), "Frutillita" (Chile, Argentina), "Fresita" (Peru, Colombia, Venezuela)
*Swedish: "Jordgubbs-Lisa"
*Vietnamese: "Cô bé bánh dâu"

External links

* [ "Strawberry Shortcake"] - official site
* [ "Strawberry Shortcake" Convention]
* [ Strawberry Shortcake Revival in 2009] at
* [ The Strawberry Patch] - fan site
* [ Mint Tulip's Garden Tea Party] - fan site
* [ Huckleberry Briar] - fan site
* [ "Strawberry Shortcake" Guide] - fan site
* [ "Strawberry Shortcake" Wiki] - fan site
* [ Cute Cartoons: "Strawberry Shortcake"] - fan site
* [ JuniorToons: "Strawberry Shortcake"] - fan site
* [ Charlotte aux Fraises] - fan forum [French]
* [ "Strawberryland Forum"] - fan site

ee also

References and Footnotes

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