- The Off-Beats
show_name = The Off-Beats
caption = The main characters excluding September, Grubby Groo, and the Populars. From left to right, August, Betty Anne Bongo, Tommy, and Repunzil.
runtime = approx. 4:00
Mischa Barton Mo Willems
country = USA
network = Nickelodeon
first_aired = 1996
num_episodes = 14
The Off-Beats (previously known as "The Misfits") was a series of animated shorts appearing on the Nickelodeon television series
KaBlam!, featuring the lives of a clique of nerdy individuals, each having their own quirks. The series was created by Mo Willems, who would later create the Cartoon Network television series Sheep in the Big City. One of the similarities between the two shows was the distinct art style, which was mainly a lot of flat, dry colors and characters that moved with clothing patterns that don't. The animation was also similar to that of early UPAand Hanna-Barberacartoons, but mostly, the series itself (especially in story and concept) hearkened back to the classic " Peanuts" TV specials. Each episode is scored with a jazzsoundtrack, sometimes featuring big-band music, but mostly featuring a simple combination of a piano, drums and a double bass.
The theme intro to the shorts always consisted of this short poem, spoken by Mo Willems:
"They nervous, they nebbish, they small, and the Populars don't like 'em at all. But that's ok, life is sweet. They're cool. They're the offbeats."
The characters featured on the series are as follows.
-Betty Anne Bongo - Betty Anne is the realistically thinking "leader" of the clique. She usually can be found playing her bongo set. She also often sang her own little theme song, the lyrics consisting of: "My name is Betty Anne Bongo, I sing this little song-O, I sing it all day long-O!" Voiced by
-Tommy - Tommy loves his plaid coat, so much so that in one episode it is the basis for the plot. On numerous occasions he will break his calm demeanor and get carried away with his emotions, usually startling his friends and himself.
-Repunzil - Repunzil is the youngest in the clique, and at times can be quite naive. She is known for her floor-length hair (which is why she was named somewhat for the
fairy talecharacter Rapunzel).
-August - August is the most technologically inclined of the Off-Beats, even though his inventions, are most of the time, failures. He is also the person who most wants to be liked by the populars. In one episode, he actually did gain respect from them, in the end only to be foiled by his love for paddle-ball.
-September - August's sarcastic talking dog, usually ambivalent to most situations and plot-lines. Despite that, he does enjoy the company of the Offbeats. He is voiced by series creator Mo Willems.
-Grubby Groo - The beatnik-looking adult friend to the Off-Beats, and the only one who realizes how big of jerks the populars are. He is also voiced by creator Mo Willems.
The Populars are the clique popular kids, usually seen traveling in a huge nose-in-the-air clump. Led by Tina. Whenever they come across an adult, they all put on phony smiles and pretend to be really nice. But Grubby Groo knows that they're just hiding their evilness.
-Tina - Tina is the mean-spirited leader of the Populars. If the Off-Beats ever have any [shown] self-esteem, she is there to squash it. Is something of a steretypical "
-Beth - Tina's sidekick in the group. It's her job to warn the Populars whenever a grown-up is near; she usually shouts, "Adult!" Then the Populars begin their phony "nice" act. Once she and Tommy fell in love with each other, and they had to keep it secret.
-Billy - A boy who wears a red
beaniecap. A running gag in the series usually involved Billy saying something that would get Tina mad, and then the Populars would literally throw him out of the group, causing Billy to crash into something (most likely a trash cangiven the sound effects) and him screaming.
List of Segments (Incomplete)
Shoelaces (a.k.a. "Your Shoe's Untied"): The Populars play the old "Your Shoe's Untied" prank on the Off-Beats, but it only works on Repunzil, who then asks Grubby Groo to tie her shoes for her.
The Twig: Betty Anne finds a twig and tries to save it with the "help" of Repunzil. But Tommy's yelling kills the twig, and then August and September use it for a game of "fetch" (which is played the other-way around).
My Dog Can Talk: In an effort to befriend the Populars, August tells them that his dog, September, is able to talk. The dog then tells the Populars to bow down to him.
Too Much Attention for September: August takes a ride in his new invention, the heli-cart, and September refuses to go with him but then wishes he had gone along on the ride. As he does this, everyone tries to talk with him or play with him but he refuses.
The Robodog: Because of September taking a day off from being his dog, August orders a new robotic dog, which "plays 4-ever." This soon tires August, and September begins to get jealous. So September obtains a Roboboy, which also "plays 4-ever," which causes the Robodog to leave August and befriend the Roboboy instead.
Tommy's Coat: When Tommy has his coat sent to be dry-cleaned, he begins to slowly go insane due to the lack of his prized possession, as Betty Anne tries to help him. He even hallucinates the Populars having the same color pattern as the coat!
Betty Anne's Glasses: When Betty Anne Bongo loses her glasses, the Populars find them and Tina puts them on to mimic her. They hide them from the Off-Beats so they don't realize it, and then September figures it out and devises a plan to get them back; they disguise as
The Sprain: Betty Anne sprains her wrist, and despite all the attention she's getting, she is depressed because she can't play her bongoes. The Populars are jealous of the huge Junkyard Sundae Grubby Groo makes for her, and try to fake being injured so they can get a sundae, too.
Repunzil and the Sweepstakes: Repunzil gets an entry form in the mail for a sweepstakes with a million-dollar prize. She believes she is going to win, and the Populars befriend her in hoping she'll buy stuff for them.
Paddleball Record: When August is too busy in trying to break a paddleball record, September goes off to party, but realizes he cannot open his can of dog food, so he is incredibly hungry. Thankfully, August sees this and feeds his dog in time.
The Suave-O-Matic 5000: August wants to be friends with the Populars, so he uses his Suave-O-Matic, which results in him getting taller and cooler and with a deeper voice. The Populars befriend the new August, and all goes well until he decided to play paddleball, which causes the Suave-O-Matic to explode.
Tommy's Song: Tommy hears a song and gets it stuck in his head, and he can't stop singing it, so Betty Anne tries to help him out. He is even able to scare away the Populars with his song. Once they finally helped him, Repunzil arrives with the song stuck in her head.
The Statistic: When the gang hears about a probability that a person in a group of four would be conked on the head from something falling from the sky, Tommy tries to leave the group because he seems to be the target for being hit.
The Off-Beats Valentine Special: This half-hour TV special features everyone getting ready for
Valentines Day, and Tommy and Beth from the Populars develop a crush on each other. September also reminisces about a female cat he was in love with.
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