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Between The Lions was a PBS kids' show with puppet/marionette animal characters designed to teach reading. As the title suggests, the main characters are a family of lions who live in a library. The series lasted from September, 2000 to November, 2010.
The series was known to have a writing team who sometimes forget that this is an Edutainment show and made it far too amusing to watch, be the age group younger or older. There were also a lot of jabs at famous children's novels, such as Dick and Jane becoming "Chicken Jane".
Yes, it's just as silly as it sounds.
Tropes include the following:
- Animesque: The "Little Wendy Tales" sketches. Pokes fun at Sailor Moon and anime clichés in general.
- Badly-Battered Babysitter - Chicken Jane.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall - Leona, dressed as a doctor, in "Clickety-Clack, Clickety-Clack!," looks at the camera, saying "Oh, no! You know what we need... a miracle!"
- Call on Me: Whenever Click was needed.
- Captain Obvious: Cliff Hanger's theme.
- Cliff Hanger: Parodied, lampshaded, played straight and taken literally all at the same time. "Cliff Hanger" features a man named Cliff Hanger hanging from a cliff. Each episode he tries - and fails - to escape his dangerous perch, and they always begin and end with him clutching a particularly loose branch and shouting, "Can't...hold...on...much...LONGEEEEER!"
- Dick and Jane - "Chicken Jane" series of sketches. Parodied to no end.
- Edutainment Show
- "Faux To" Guide: Cliff Hanger's survival manual provides the right instructions, but something always goes wrong in the payoff.
- Fox Chicken Grain Puzzle
- Fully-Dressed Cartoon Animal: B.B. the King of Beasts, Theo's musical alter ego, sports a suit, shades and fedora.
- The Funday Pawpet Show: Two of the Lions made a pre-title segment for the internet puppet show.
- Happily Married: Theo and Cleo, to the point where they openly flirt with each other during their cooking segments
- Humiliation Conga: The attempts made by Lionel's family to help him get over the fact he has antlers. Sure, they all mean well, but it's no less embarrassing... especially the "coat rack" bit.
- Literal Cliff Hanger - Cliff Hanger, who appears in a series of animated vignettes, and is even the subject of one or two episodes. His life is Failure Is the Only Option in terms of actually getting off the cliff. (He does get off the cliff once, but he ends up following a sign that leads him right back onto it - in his defense, though, the sign CLEARLY said "Cliff"!)
- My Name Is Not Durwood - Walter and Clay, the pigeons, constantly annoy Barnaby B. Busterfield III with this. (He doesn't like being called "Buster".)
- Incidentally, another character, Dr. Nitwhite, gets ticked off when his assistant, Watson, calls him "Dr. Nitwit."
- Parental Bonus - Lots, being a PBS show.
- Theo and Cleo, during their cooking segments, display a lot of sexual tension. You can't help thinking that after they're finishing devouring that (as always, uncooked) hunk of meat, they'll start devouring each other.
- Punctuated for Emphasis - Cliff Hanger's "Can't. Hold. On. Much. LONGER!!!"
- Punny Name: Cliff Hanger.
- "Reading Is Cool" Aesop: This was essentially what the seies was trying to promote, though it also focused on the basics of learning to read.
- Stealth Pun: The title is not only a pun on "between the lines", but it also refers to the fact that there are lion statues near the entrance of the library, which you must walk between to enter.
- Shout-Out: Lionel's "42" jersey, confirmed in The Salmon of Doubt by one of the show creators to be a reference to Douglas Adams. One of the show's major staff was Christopher Cerf, who was a good friend of Adams.
- Take a Third Option - In "Bobby the Hopping Robot," Theo is sure that either he or the toy robot must be defective because he can't make it work, but Leona calls the help number and finds out that it's actually the instructions that are wrong.
- Title Theme Tune: "Between the Lions, between the covers of a book, it's time to look Between the Lions!"
- Trouser Space - Pretty much Arty Smartypants' whole shtick.