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It's surely best for little children to live an orderly life, especially if they can order it themselves.—Pippi Longstocking
Pippi Longstocking began as a series of childrens books by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren. They have since been adapted into multiple films and television series. The series is regarded as a classic of Swedish literature and the character has become a cultural icon.
The stories all revolve around the adventures of the eccentric young heroine Pippi. Her mother died when she was just a baby, so her father, Captain Efraim Longstocking, raised her as he travelled the world in his ship. When he was blown overboard in a storm Pippi was convinced that her father had survived and would one day come looking for her, so she moved into an old house (called Villa Villekulla) in a little Swedish village to wait for him. Besides a pet monkey and a horse Pippi lives alone, takes care of herself and keeps a suitcase full of gold pieces to pay for anything she might need. She quickly befriends her neighbors Tommy and Annika, who are both very normal kids in a very normal family. Pippi herself is highly unconventional, assertive, and inhumanly strong, quite able to lift her horse one-handed without difficulty. She can also be instantly recognized by her distinctive red braids that stick straight out on either side of her head.
At first Pippi's adventures are confined to the town she lives in and include her rescuing other kids from trouble, clashing with adults who underestimate her, and generally doing whatever she pleases with no regard for social norms. She later travels with her friends to the tropical island where her father rules as king, having more exotic adventures there before returning home. By the end of the series pretty much everyone in the town comes to accept Pippi the way she is and nobody bothers to make her do anything she doesn't want to. This is okay because although she refuses to go to school or be put in an orphanage, and behaves very badly at times, Pippi is a good kid who really just wants to have fun.
The Pippi Longstocking books have been adapted for TV and cinema several times. The adaptation that is probably most widely known is the 1969 TV series (a Swedish-West German co-production), which was also re-edited into five feature films. There is also an Animated Adaptation from 1997.
Pippi Longstocking provides examples of:
- Anime Hair: People trying to cosplay as Pippi inevitably have trouble with her gravity-defying red braids. The actress in the original Pippi TV adaptation had wire braided into her hair to keep it in place. Now that's Anime Hair.
- Art Evolution: The illustrator, Louis S. Glanzman, steadily gets better with each book.
- Ascended Extra: The two burglars, Blom and Dunder-Karlsson, only appear in one chapter in the original books, but go on to become major recourring characters in the 1969 TV series and later adaptations. Likewise, Kling and Klang, the two police officers were nameless minor characters in the books and got names and larger roles in the TV series.
- Adaptation Distillation: The 1969 Swedish TV series and its related movies take everything that was good about the books and crank it up to eleven, thanks to tight scriptwriting and good actors (Inger Nilsson in the title role being the most prominent example).
- Astrid Lindgren herself was highly involved with this particular production, which explains why it's so much closer to the spirit of the books than its many successors.
- Adults Are Useless: Played straight most of the time, but there are some notable exceptions. The local school teacher always treats Pippi kindly and is very patient with her bad behavior. Tommy and Annika's parents are like this, too, to the point that they trust Pippi with their children's lives. Then there's Pippi's father, who is just as unusual as she is and allows her to keep living the way she wants to.
- Animated Adaptation: The only studio to attempt it so far is Nelvana, the same studio that produced Care Bears. It started in 1997 as a movie musical, then spun off into a 26 episode TV series.
- Berserk Button: Pippi doesn't like it when people beat their animals. She can also get very upset if Tommy or Annika are in serious danger.
- Book Dumb: Pippi can't spell and thinks math is a waste of time, but she's smart enough to know how to cook her own meals and frequently outsmarts adults who should know better.
- Canon Immigrant: Mrs. Prysselius doesn't appear in the original books, but after her introduction in the 1969 Swedish TV series has been in every later adaptation.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Pippi
- Cute Bruiser: Pippi has not only defeated bullies, police officers, robbers, and dangerous animals, but in one of the movies she took down an entire gang of fully armed pirates!
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: Sir/Mr. Nilsson.
- Extreme Omnivore: Pippi once, on a whim, drank a cocktail of "meduseen (sic)" from the local pharmacy, including several bottles marked "For External Use Only". She seemed to be just fine in the next chapter.
- Feminine Women Can Cook: The tomboyish Pippi subverts this trope.
- Flanderization: One of the good examples with Tommy and Annika in the 1969 TV series and its related movies -- in the books, while they do have some individual traits, they're mostly played up as contrasts to Pippi. In the series and movies (particularly the last one, Pippi On The Run) their individual traits come across much more strongly: Tommy as the cheerful, easygoing older brother, Annika as the emotional, sensible younger sister.
- Formally-Named Pet: Mr Nilsson the monkey.
- Fountain of Expies: Pippi has served as the inspiration for a lot of spunky redhaired heroines over the years. One notable modern example is Lisbeth Salander of The Millennium Trilogy, and it's even lampshaded in one of the books.
- Genki Girl: Of course!
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Melissa Altro, who voices Pippi in the animated series also voices Muffy in Arthur.
- Instant Plunder, Just Add Pirates: Even though the books, TV shows, and movies all take place sometime in the 20th century, there's plenty of these guys running around in Pippi's universe. She even states at one point that she wants to be a pirate when she grows up. Somewhat justified by the fact that her father was a wealthy sea captain in the books, but whether he's really a pirate is unclear.
- The Ishmael: The two kids who befriend Pippi, Tommy and Annika, are just there to watch her be wacky, and in the 1969 TV series are often heard as voiceover narrators when exposition needs to be delivered.
- Their role is a little more than that. Not only do Tommy and Annika serve as viewpoint characters for all of the normal kids in the audience, they also serve as a voice of reason for Pippi when it comes to interacting with normal society.
- Little Miss Snarker: Pippi manages to combine this with being a Cloudcuckoolander and Genki Girl. She is, not surprisingly, at her snarkiest when confronting too-strict or unfair adults who object to her non-conformist way of life.
- Live Action Adaptation: These go back as far as 1949, but the most famous ones are the 1969 Swedish TV series and the 1988 American feature film. Then, early in January 2010, it was announced that a new American film is being planned.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Pippi for Tommy and Annika, though obviously without the romantic angle.
- Missing Mom: Died when Pippi was a baby. Pippi imagines her as an angel in Heaven who watches over her.
- Motor Mouth: Pippi routinely lapses into longwinded, nonsensical speech, especially when she's telling lies or dealing with a stuffy adult.
- Mugging the Monster: Two burglars attempted to rob Pippi. The chapter ended with them having a Spot of Tea with her... somehow.
- The Munchausen: Most of the stories Pippi comes out with are actually lies.
- She claims to have learned to lie from her trip to the Congo... which is probably also made up.
- Muscles Are Meaningless: Adolf, a very large and muscular circus strongman, has no trouble bending iron bars in half but he can't beat Pippi in a wrestling match.
- Naughty Is Good: Pippi, though she's more playfully mischievous than truly naughty. Also, her best friends are well-behaved children.
- The New Adventures: Used by the movie The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking.
- No Name Given: In the books, Pippi's horse is simply called 'the horse', though certain film and video adaptations have named him either "Old Man" or "Alfonzo."
- Non-Human Sidekick: Pippi has two unusual pets. Subverted in that they're really just a normal monkey and horse.
- Overly Long Name: Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Ephraimsdaughter Longstocking, in the English translation.
- And in the original Swedish version: Pippilotta Victualia Rullgardina Krusmynta Efraimsdotter Långstrump.
- Parental Abandonment: Pippi has a father, but he's away at sea a lot (and in the first book is missing after having been blown overboard in a storm). Fortunately, Pippi is financially self-sufficient and very resourceful.
- Redheaded Hero: Pippi, of course.
- Rules of Orphan Economics: Type 1 for Pippi. It's nice to have a bottomless suitcase full of gold coins, isn't it?
- In the 1969 TV series she does at one point run out of money, conveniently at the time when her long-lost (and rich) father comes to find her, turning it into a Type 2 situation.
- Rummage Sale Reject: Pippi's usual outfit in the books, complete with mismatched socks.
- Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Tommy and Pippi.
- Social Services Does Not Exist: Averted -- the Child Welfare Board do take interest, and in the 1969 TV series (and later adaptations) well-meaning Mrs. Prysselius visits often and makes repeated attempts at getting Pippi to an orphanage, but Pippi prefers to continue living on her own and makes this very clear.
- Stout Strength: Pippi's father, Captain Efraim Longstocking.
- Strange Girl: C'mon, take a guess who it is!
- Super Strong Child: The only adult who ever comes close to Pippi in strength is her own father, whom she probably inherited it from.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Pippi and Annika.
- Tomboy Princess: After her father is made the king of Kurrekurredutt Island, Pippi becomes a princess by default. Doubles as Modest Royalty since she discourages her subjects from bowing to her and prefers to be treated as one of them.
- Uncle Pennybags: Pippi is very generous with her gold pieces and never seems to run out of them.
- What Could Have Been: At one point in 1971, Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata wanted to do an anime adaptation of Pippi, however when they went to get personal permission from the creator, they were denied and the project was canceled. Some samples of Miyazaki's lovely artwork for the project still exist and can be seen here.
- Then in 1972 Miyazaki and Takahata created another anime called "Panda Kopanda" (in English "Panda! Go Panda!"), and the heroine Mimiko is a spunky, pig-tailed redhead who is an orphan and lives by herself in a house with animals.
- A lot of the concept art did make it into later pictures though, especially the extensive background work in Visby and Stockholm which became most of the backgrounds for Kiki's Delivery Service. Pippi's braids are resurrected in the pirate queen from Laputa, who has a youthful portrait in her airship cabin looking suspiciously like Pippi...
- Word of Dante: Everybody in Sweden knows that Pippi's horse is named Lilla Gubben. This name never appears in the books, who simply refers to Pippi's horse as "Pippi's horse." The name incidentally means "Little Old Man" and originated in the 1969 TV series -- though even there, Tommy (as the voiceover narrator) explains that the horse doesn't have a real name; "Lilla Gubben" is an affectionate term Pippi uses when talking to him.
- Youthful Freckles
- Zettai Ryouiki: They don't call her Pippi Longstocking for nothing!