The Big Comfy Couch


The Big Comfy Couch
The Big Comfy Couch
Logo BigComfycouch.jpg
Format Children's television series/Educational
Created by Cheryl Wagner
Starring Alyson Court
Bob Stutt
Fred Stinson
Grindl Kuchirka
Edward Knuckles
Robert Mills
Taborah Johnson
Ramona Gilmour-Darling
Country of origin Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Mexico
Language(s) English, French, Spanish
No. of seasons 7
No. of episodes 100
Production
Location(s) Wallace Avenue Studios, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 25 minutes
Production company(s) Radical Sheep Productions
Nashville Public Television
Owl Television
Amity Entertainment
Tadpole Kids
American Public Television
Broadcast
Original channel YTV
PBS
Treehouse TV
Original run March 2, 1992 – 2006

The Big Comfy Couch is a Canadian children's television series about Loonette the Clown and her doll Molly, who solve everyday problems on their "Big Comfy Couch". It aired from 1992 until early 2006. Re-runs of the show are still being aired on Treehouse TV. 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. There is also a Spanish version of the show titled, "El Sofa de mi Imaginacion". It also aired in the United Kingdom on GMTV's kids block.

The show's format revolves around Loonette the Clown, who lives with her doll 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.

Contents

Original Show

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 (possibly for the purposes of diversity). 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.

Remake 1

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.

Remake 2

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.

Characters

Loonette

Loonette the Clown is the lead character, portrayed by Alyson Court from 1993-2002 and Ramona Gilmour-Darling from 2003-2006. She is a young clown living with her dolly, Molly, on the eponymous Big Comfy Couch, an oversized 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

Molly is Loonette's dolly. Loonette found her in a barrel with a sign marked "Free to a good home", and adopted her. She is puppetered by Bob Stutt.

Molly wears a blue dress (sometimes a yellow one, and a light green one in the books), and occasionally wears bunny pajamas. She believes that dust bunnies really exist, despite Loonette's disbelief; and 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. 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.

Additional Characters

  • Fuzzy and Wuzzy (puppeteered by Bob Stutt and Rob Mills): Dust bunnies who live under the Big Comfy Couch. Only Molly knows of their existence.
  • Foley Family (Fred Stinson, Jani Lauzon and Suzanne Merriam) A very silly family who lives inside of Loonette's dollhouse. Note: One of the dustbunnies appeared inside the dollhouse in an episode.
  • Granny Garbanzo (Grindl Kuchirka) Loonette's grandmother in which she loves Loonette very much. Even Molly too! She comes from the old country and has an 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.
  • Major Bedhead (Fred Stinson): The local clown courier who makes deliveries to Loonette from her Auntie Macassar and Uncle Chester.
  • Wobbly (Gary Parmer): A close friend who lives in Clown Town. Appears in 2 episodes in season 2 only.
  • Auntie Macassar (Taborah Johnson): Loonette's travelling aunt who likes to make an entrance whenever she visits.
  • Uncle Chester (Edward Knuckles): Loonette's travelling uncle who appears in the future seasons.

Reruns and other original channels

The series aired on PBS for a certain amount of time, and reruns can be seen on Treehouse TV.

Merchandise

Additional items for kids, like coloring pages, can be found on the Big Comfy Couch website. Episodes also can be seen on video on demand in some cable and satellite systems on Studio 4 Kids, as well as in short-form on Studio4kids.tv. Other merchandise for kids also includes VHS's, DVD's, coloring books, stuffed plush dolls, puzzles, and life size dolls (example: Loonette).

Episodes

Season 1 - 1992

  • 100 - Get Ready To Clown Around (Originally released as a promo by Blockbuster)
  • 101 - Pie in the Sky
  • 102 - Pinch To Grow an Inch
  • 103 - All Aboard for Bed
  • 104 - Knit One Twirl Too
  • 105 - Upsey Downsey Day
  • 106 - Flippy Floppy Fun
  • 107 - Something's Fishy Around Here
  • 108 - Scrub-a-Dub
  • 109 - Red Light, Green Light
  • 110 - Gesundheit
  • 111 - Ping Pong Polka
  • 112 - Funny Faces
  • 113 - Snug as a Bug

Season 2 - 1993

  • 201 - Babs in Toyland
  • 202 - 1-2-3 Dizzy Dizzy Me
  • 203 - Wobbly
  • 204 - Jump Start
  • 205 - This Little Piggy
  • 206 - Juggling the Jitters
  • 207 - Hoopla
  • 208 - Wrong Side of the Couch
  • 209 - I Feel Good
  • 210 - Boomerang
  • 211 - Rude-I-Culous
  • 212 - Make It Snappy
  • 213 - Feast of Fools

Season 3 - 1994

  • 301 - Give Yer Head a Shake
  • 302 - It’s About Time
  • 303 - Clownus Interruptus (Wait Your Turn)
  • 304 - Why?
  • 305 - Monkey See Monkey Do
  • 306 - Sticks and Stones
  • 307 - Horsing Around
  • 308 - All Over and Under
  • 309 - Pants on Fire
  • 310 - All Fall Down
  • 311 - Traveling Papers
  • 312 - Hiccups
  • 313 - Full of Life

Season 4 - 1995

  • 401 - Backwards!
  • 402 - Picky Eaters
  • 403 - Forty Winks
  • 404 - Swing-a-Ling
  • 405 - Spare Some Change
  • 406 - Stuck in the Muck
  • 407 - Gimme Gimme Never Gets
  • 408 - One Step at a Time
  • 409 - Enough Already!
  • 410 - Where Do Clowns Come From?
  • 411 - Are You Ready for School?
  • 412 - Hit Parade
  • 413 - Comfy and Joy (Christmas Special)

Season 5 - 1996

  • 501 - Bad Hair Day
  • 502 - Clownvitations
  • 503 - Nothing To Do
  • 504 - The Big Brain Drain
  • 505 - One Potato Two Potato
  • 506 - Earth to Loonette
  • 507 - Lettuce, Turnip and Pea
  • 508 - Time for Molly
  • 509 - Gizmo Shmizmo
  • 510 - Clothes Make the Clown
  • 511 - Don't Tell
  • 512 - You're a Gem!
  • 513 - See Ya in My Dreams

Season 6 - 2002

  • 601 - Clowning in the Rain
  • 602 - Lost and Clowned
  • 603 - Button Up!
  • 604 - Scaredy Cat!
  • 605 - It’s the Thought that Counts
  • 606 - Growing Pains
  • 607 - Donut Let It Get You Down
  • 608 - Fancy Dancer
  • 609 - The Big Bang Boom
  • 610 - Ain't It Amazing, Gracie?
  • 611 - Between the Covers
  • 612 - Going Up
  • 613 - Cool It!

Season 7 - 2006

  • 701 - Apple of My Eye
  • 702 - Dat's Da Law!
  • 703 - Fibberish Gibberish
  • 704 - Slow Down, Clown!
  • 705 - Floppy!
  • 706 - Clown with a Frown
  • 707 - Rub-A-Dub
  • 708 - Upside Down Clown
  • 709 - The Clown Promise
  • 710 - Lost & Found Clowns
  • 711 - Phony Baloney
  • 712 - Ready, Steady, Go!
  • 713 - Happy Mirthday, Granny!
  • 714 - Popcorn-Y
  • 715 - Peek-a-Boo!
  • 716 - Ouch!
  • 717 - Big Blow Hard
  • 718 - Shh, Shh, Shh, Quiet!
  • 719 - Freeze, Please!
  • 720 - Clown in the Round
  • 721 - Molly's Bellybutton
  • 722 - Just Purrfect

Home video

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 on DVD

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)

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.

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Cheryl Wagner — Cheryl Wagner, the creator of The Big Comfy Couch, is a Gemini Award and Emmy award winning Canadian children’s television writer, showrunner and producer who began her career as a performer in both theatre and on the screen. Her Halifax based… …   Wikipedia

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  • YTV (TV channel) — Infobox TV channel name = YTV logofile = YTV logo.svg logoalt = YTV logo logosize = 150px launch = September 1, 1988 closed date = picture format = share = share as of = share source = network = owner = YTV Canada Inc. (Corus Entertainment)… …   Wikipedia

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  • Molly (name) — Molly Gender: Female Meaning: pet form of Mary or Margaret Molly or Mollie is a pet name for Mary (or occasionally Margaret). It is sometimes used as a name in its own right. People Molly Burnett, American actress and singer Molly Brown: Margaret …   Wikipedia

  • Radical Sheep Productions — is a Canadian children s television series production company. Radical Sheep s most popular production is The Big Comfy Couch .Founded in 1985, the company also once housed the Sheep Shop , which provided puppet construction and design services… …   Wikipedia