Today we’re going to give you a blast from the past by taking a look at —Wonder Pets!
Like we’ve said before, guinea pig centric media is few and far between, and we want to highlight every project that depicts guinea pigs in a positive light, even if in some cases it’s a little inaccurate.
Overall, Wonder Pets! is a fun and family-friendly TV show about some classroom pets and what they get up to once the schoolchildren have left for the day. This show works well as a duology with The Secret Life of Pets , as both shows are about what pets do when their humans aren’t home. Just judging by how common this trope is in animal-focused movies and shows, it seems like we as humans are very curious about our pets’ extracurriculars!
What’s the show about?
Wonder Pets! is an animated children’s show that aired on Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. from December 2006, all the way up until March 2016. Don't let this impressively long series runtime fool you though, as there were only three seasons of the show produced! This is because completing each episode took 33 weeks from script development to the final product. A unique feature of this show is that most of the dialogue is sung, for some reason!
The show features three animals that are classroom pets during the school day, who become adventurous heroes once the students have left for the day. The main cast comprises Linny the guinea pig, voiced by Sofie Zamchick, Tuck the red-eared slider turtle, voiced by Teala Dunn, and Ming-Ming the duckling, voiced by Danica Lee. Combining the skills, knowledge, and bravery of Linny, Tuck, and Ming Ming Wonder Pets work to save other animals who find themselves in jeopardy.
Linny the guinea pig is the leader of the Wonder Pets, and the eldest of the three animals. Her hero costume consists of an orange cap and a blue cape. She’s the most knowledgeable of the group, often spouting off fun facts and information about the different animals and environments that they encounter. As the group's leader, Linny frequently emphasizes the importance of teamwork, and offers praise and encouragement whenever the team is struggling with the rescue at hand. Linny's also the one who drives their Flyboat, which is the vehicle they use to get to and from their rescue missions. Her favorite way to celebrate a job-well-done is with some celery, which she keeps with her at all times!
Tuck the turtle is the second eldest and specializes in sensitivity and empathy, often being the one who has the emotional connection with the animals that are in need of rescuing. Tuck's hero costume consists of a sailor’s cap, blue Aquasocks, and a red cape. He usually keeps the imperiled animals company while Linny and Ming-Ming take care of the rescue operation and put their plans into action.
Thanks to Tuck's very good eyesight and ability to see things from a far distance, he’s always making observations that the other two don’t notice, often earning himself a “Good eye, Tuck!” from Linny.
Ming-Ming the duckling is the youngest of the three classroom pets and she can be described as bold and confident. In addition to aiding Linny in the rescue operations, Ming-Ming provides much of the show's comic relief. This becomes an important service whenever the team finds themselves in “sewious” situations. She speaks with a rhotacism, pronouncing “r” sounds as “w”, and is best known for singing “This. Is. Sewious.” whenever there is more trouble than the Wonder Pets expected.
Each episode follows the same structure, often beginning with the school children leaving for the day. The classroom decor changes often, usually featuring work from the students that also pertains to the episode's topic. The Wonder Pets also often face some small, seemingly unrelated problems when trying to leave for their missions, and learning solving these problems will in some way help them apply the same wisdom when trying to rescue the animals later in the episode's mission.
The Wonder Pets usually receive their mission by “phone call,” which is a shaking tin can that holds pens and pencils in it. The pets answer the "phone" and are able to get a glimpse of the animal in trouble when they look into the can, almost like a video call.
In Episode One of Season One, the pets rescue a dolphin that is stuck underwater because she’s tangled in some netting meant for fishing. The Wonder Pets dive into the water to save her, with Linny donning a pair of goggles. Earlier in the episode, before the pets had left for their mission, Ming-Ming got herself tangled up in some string. To free her, Linny and Tuck used a pair of scissors to cut through the string. Employing their recently acquired knowledge of cutting tangled knots, the Wonder Pets use their previous experience to help them find a way to rescue the dolphin before she drowns. They enlist the help of a nearby swordfish, who uses his snout to help cut the net and free the dolphin. After Linny, Tuck, and Ming-Ming surface and swim to a beach on a nearby island, the adult dolphins thank the Wonder Pets for saving their baby. To celebrate, the Wonder Pets hold a luau where the team shares the clearest declaration of victory they can think of - celery from Linny's pocket.
What we wish it could’ve done better!
Overall, this show is lots of wholesome fun. It's entertaining, while still teaching different lessons about teamwork and problem solving. Guinea piggy media is never perfect. Obviously, since Linny the guinea pig is a superhero and displays only heroic qualities, she’s much less anxious than most real-life guinea pigs, but that’s OK!
We love media showing guinea pigs as heroes, and will happily forgive some liberties taken with their personalities and abilities. The fact that Linny can deep dive with just some goggles is amazing! That being said, make sure you don’t put your guinea pig in a pool hoping for them to answer that call to adventure.