September 17, 2016

STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE'S BERRY BITTY ADVENTURES

STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE’S BERRY BITTY ADVENTURES
(Family Channel, The Hub/Discovery Family, October 10, 2010-September 12, 2015)


MoonScoop Group (2010-13), Iconix Brand Group (2015), American Greetings

MAIN CAST:
Ingrid NilsonRaspberry Torte, Kadiebug, Ladybug Doris, various
Shannon Chan-KentCherry Jam (season 2-4), Berrykin Bonnie, various
Victoria Duffield – Cherry Jam (singing, season 2-4)
Diana KaarinaSour Grapes (season 4)
Rebecca ShoichetApple Dumplin (season 4), Postal Bee

Strawberry Shortcake was a character designed for American Greetings by Muriel Fahrion in 1977. The character was a bright and energetic six-year-old girl with a cat named Custard who was always ready to help her friends, which were created by Fahrion, Cindy Moyer Patton and Janet Jones. Each character in the series had a fruit or dessert-themed name with clothing and a pet to match, as well as lived in a pastry house in Strawberry Land. The story and personality of each character was developed by line editor Lynn Edwards. In 1979, Strawberry and her friends made their debut on a series of greeting cards and posters through American Greetings’ Those Characters From Cleveland division.

The original line of Strawberry Shortcake dolls.

When the character proved popular, Kenner licensed her and released the first doll; a rag doll designed by Fahrion and created by her sister Susan Trentel. The doll’s signature feature was the strawberry scent it came with. Each doll in the line would have its own scent based on whatever their name was. Strawberry Shortcake quickly became a hit with young girls, sending American Greetings into full promotion of the line expanding beyond greeting cards and posters into video games, comic books and more.



Starting in early 1980 and running through 1985, an annual half-hour animated special featuring Strawberry and her friends was produced and released on television in first-run syndication. Murakami-Wolf-Swenson and Toei Doga animated the first and third, Perpetual Motion Pictures the second, and Nelvana the final three. Russi Taylor voiced Strawberry throughout all of them.


Like all fads, the Strawberry Shortcake one ran its course in 1985. In 1991, Toy Head-Quarters (THQ) tried to revive it by updating five of the dolls and releasing them. The dolls resembled the Kenner line and came with two outfits: one from Strawberry Land, and the other more realistic one to symbolize the characters being able to cross over into the real world. The line was only moderately successful and lasted just the single year. Another revival came about in 2002 with Bandai assuming the manufacturing rights to create new dolls and other merchandise. In 2003, a new animated series was produced by DiC Entertainment and 20th Century Fox featuring the changes Bandai made to the line. Sarah Heinke assumed the Strawberry role, and the show ran for four seasons.

Strawberry Shortcake's evolution.

In 2006, Strawberry changed hands as Playmates Toys picked up the licensing rights to the franchise. They introduced a new character, Frosty Puff, and shuffled around all the pets between the characters. That year, DiC produced the film The Sweet Dreams Movie which brought the character into 3D computer animation and was DiC’s fourth theatrical release. Heinke reprised her role for the film. Koch Records released 8 CDs of music from both the 2003 series and the film.

Hasbro's Strawberry Shortcake with pilot DVD.

The Playmates toy line proved unsuccessful both with fans of the franchise and the general public. American Greetings transferred the rights over to Hasbro in 2009 and began a complete reboot of the franchise. All of the characters were reimagined and redesigned, as was the world that surrounded them. To promote the new toys, Hasbro authorized the production of Strawberry’s third animated incarnation by the MoonScoop Group to be broadcast on their new network, The Hub.

Lemon Meringue, Orange Blossom, Plum Pudding, Raspberry Torte, Strawberry Shortcake, Blueberry Muffin and Cherry Jam.

The CGI series was set in the small town of Berry Bitty City. The town, like its residents, are smaller than a bed of flowers and has buildings whose color schemes matched their respective owners. Amongst those residents were Strawberry Shortcake (Anna Cummer for speaking, Tracey Moore for singing), the owner of Berry Bitty Café who tried to help her friends when she could and brought enthusiastic optimism to various situations; Orange Blossom (Janyse Jaud), owner of Orange Mart who was sporty and adventurous; Lemon Meringue (Andrea Libman), owner of Lemon Beauty Salon and a very quick-thinker in sticky situations; Blueberry Muffin (Britt McKillip), owner of Blueberry Bookstore which fed her bookworm habits; Raspberry Torte (Ingrid Nilson), owner of Raspberry Boutique and incredibly fashion-forward; and Plum Pudding (Ashleigh Ball), quirky owner of Plum Dance Studio who believed there was always something to dance about. Each girl had a pet puppy with the exception of Strawberry, who also had her traditional cat, Custard.

Princess Berrykin and two of her Berrykin subjects.

Other residents include the Berrykins; even smaller people who have berry-like heads and came in a variety of colors. The Berrykins were responsible for the creation and maintenance of Berry Bitty City, with the exception of the city’s ruler Princess Berrykin (Libman using a British accent). Notable Berrykins included Berrykin Bloom (Paul Dobson), the eldest Berrykin who enjoyed gardening and inventing; Berrykin Ed (Scott McNeil) and Berrykin Earl (Sam Vincent), two maintenance Berrykins that often work together; and Berrykin Bruce (Vincent), who specialized in mechanism engineering and inventing complex apparatuses. Other residents included Postmaster Bumblebee (McNeil), a bumblebee who ran the post office; Mr. Longface (Dobson), a caterpillar who ran the Berry Bitty Mini Golf Course; Jadeybug (Nicole Oliver), a ladybug who worked at the post office; and Doctor Hazel Nutby (Oliver), a squirrel doctor who traveled between Berry Bitty City and Berry Big City.


Lemon's attempt at a new hairstyle goes a bit wrong.
A 15-minute pilot episode was produced in, introducing Strawberry and her world as she opened her café. The episode, titled “A Berry Grand Opening”, was never aired on TV; rather, it was made available for viewing on American Greetings’ website and later included on DVD with a Strawberry Shortcake doll. Shortly after that, a direct-to-video movie called The Sky’s The Limit was released, showcasing the first full Strawberry Shortcake adventure and widely introducing the series to general audiences. Finally, in 2010, Strawberry Shortcake’s Berry Bitty Adventures made its debut on The Hub on October 10, 2010 after airing a few months earlier on Canada’s Family Channel.

Kitchen accident.

The series largely followed the adventures of Strawberry and her friends as they, and the audience, learned important life lessons as they dealt with the various problems or situations that would arise. One of the quirks of the show was the use of “berry” as a replacement for “very” whenever characters would speak. The series’ theme was composed by Chip Whitewood and Ashley Saunig, while Whitewood and Marco Luciani composed the series’ music.

Sweet and Sour Grapes.

As the series progressed, improvements in technology allowed animators to update the designs of the show and introduce more fluid movements and renderings. New characters were also introduced, including musician Cherry Jam (Shannon Chan-Kent speaking, Victoria Duffield singing), Huckleberry Pie (Aidan Drummond) who ran a pet adoption service, Strawberry’s adventurous cousin Apple Dumpling (Rebecca Shoichet) and perennially arguing sisters Sweet (Libman) and Sour (Diana Kaarina) Grapes.

Blueberry attempts to juggle the legalities of their franchise.

While the show was in production, Hasbro lost the manufacturing rights to the franchise to The Bridge Direct in 2014. The Bridge Direct continued on with the designs from the 2009 reboot for their own series of toys, as well as resurrected the classic designs. American Greetings had previously attempted to sell off the franchise back in 2008, with Cookie Jar Entertainment, the successor to DiC, and MoonScoop competing against each other for the property. American Greetings ultimately retained the rights until putting the franchise up for sale once again, with Iconix Brand Group acquiring the rights in 2015. As a result of these changes, after Berry Bitty Adventures reached four seasons and the 65 episodes needed for syndication rights, the show came to an end on September 12, 2015. Iconix announced in 2016 that it will oversee production of a new series with DHX Media, the successor to Cookie Jar and production company behind several other Hasbro properties.

Strawberry on DVD.

20th Century Fox released a series of DVD collections featuring several episodes put together, as well as two-packs collecting the individual releases. No complete season sets have yet been made available. In 2011, Ape Entertainment began publication of a Strawberry Shortcake comic based on Berry Bitty Adventures. The series ran for two volumes and were direct adaptations of episodes. In 2016, IDW Publishing picked up the publication rights and began an all-new series, this time focusing on original adventures picking up from the show’s 4th season. Each issue is typically comprised of one long adventure and a shorter, unrelated back-up story. The comics introduced classic characters that hadn’t made it onto the show, including villains The Purple Pie Man and Raisin Cane

EPISODE GUIDE:
Pilot:
“A Berry Grand Opening” (2009) – Strawberry Shortcake is about to open her new café and she sends the Berrykins to gather all her friends.

Season 1:
“Fish Out of Water” (10/10/10) – Orange Blossom ends up adopting a tadpole that causes a lot of problems.

“A Stitch in Time” (10/12/10) – Plum Pudding secretly tries to help Raspberry Torte decide how to stitch Strawberry Shortcake’s new dress.

“Vanishing Violets” (10/13/10) – Lemon Meringue suspects Berrykin Bloom of stealing the flowers she grew for a festival.

“Babysitter Blues” (10/14/10) – After Baby Berrykin causes some trouble, Strawberry offers to babysit him and discovers what a difficult task it is.

“Hair Today Gone Tomorrow” (10/15/10) – Lemon’s new hair-styling machine makes her feel like her job is in peril.

“Pop Goes the Garden” (10/18/10) – Blueberry’s daisy seeds turn out to actually be for explosive corn stalks instead.

“The Berry Best You Can Bee” (10/19/10) – Strawberry offers to help Postmaster Bumble-Bee deliver a special birthday package to Bitty Dale when a bee gets sick.

“Strawberry’s House Pest” (10/20/10) – Strawberry struggles to be a good hostess despite her lousy house guest.

“Berry Bitty World Record” (10/21/10) – Her friends try to help Orange figure out how to win a holiday trip for Berrykin Bloom.

“Too Cool for Rules” (10/22/10) – Plum starts making up weird rules at her dance studio.

“Berry Best BerryFest Princess” (10/25/10) – In Princess Berrykin’s absence the town holds an election for a replacement.

“Strawberry’s Berry Big Parade” (10/26/10) – Strawberry asks her friends to help her put on the BerryFest parade.

“The Berry Best Choice” (10/27/10) – Strawberry learns how to overcome obstacles in order to make the BerryFest a success.

“Nothing to Fear but Berries Themselves” (10/28/10) – Orange makes her friends believe a monster is after them when the power goes out in Lemon’s salon.

“Where Oh Where Has My Blueberry Gone?” (10/29/10) – Blueberry gets so engrossed in a series of mystery novels she forgets to live her life.

“Manners Meltdown” (11/1/10) – To avoid future embarrassment, Blueberry reads up on manners and strictly enforces them during the Berry Derby Party.

“Trading Sizes” (11/2/10) – Raspberry finds a way to make the Berrykins her size.

“Different Waltz for Different Faults” (11/3/10) – Plum tries to win a dance-off by having her friends imitate the style of a rival team.

“Happy First Frost” (11/4/10) – Blueberry’s First Frost Day gift seems more suited for her than the recipient.

“A Circle of Friends” (11/5/10) – Raspberry believes her friends are copying her lantern design for the GlimmerBerry Gathering.

“GlimmerBerry Ball” (11/8/10) – Plum finds the best location for the ball, but two chipmunks keep causing trouble.

“Nice as Nails” (11/9/10) – Lemon develops a manicure that’s like a miniature party, but the novelty quickly wears off.

“How You Play the Game” (11/10/10) – A new game in town quickly overshadows the other town activities.

“Good Citizens Club” (11/11/10) – Plum would do anything to be part of Sadiebug and Kadiebug’s new club.

“Team for Two” (11/12/10) – Lemon and Raspberry work together to create a day care center for the baby Berrykins.

“Lost and Found” (11/15/10) – Strawberry’s friends help her look for her missing pets.

Season 2:
“The Berry Big Harvest” (11/5/11) – Orange has to deal with massive overstock at her store.

“Room at the Top” (11/12/11) – Strawberry’s friends help her add on a new bedroom over her new produce marketplace.

“Starlight, Star Bright” (11/19/11) – Strawberry’s friends invite her favorite singer, Cherry Jam, to town to perform at her marketplace’s grand opening.

“Practice Makes Perfect” (11/26/11) – When Cherry holds a recital, Plum gets stage fright.

“Top Talent” (12/3/11) – Lemon refuses any help from her friends in trying to win the talent show.

“A Star is Fashioned” (12/10/11) – Raspberry considers a move to the city in order to have access to the top fashion designers.

“No Blueberry is an Island” (1/28/12) – Blueberry overhears Strawberry talking about a dream vacation and misinterprets it as her planning the trip for all of them.

“Where the Berry Breeze Blows” (2/11/12) – Strawberry and friends head out for a vacation, but the resort ends up cancelling on them.

“The Berry Best Vacation” (3/1/12) – The vacation is interrupted when a reporter wants to interview Cherry.

“The Berry Long Winter” (3/8/12) – Winter runs longer than expected, resulting in the town to wonder how to handle their supplies.

“The Big Freeze” (3/15/12) – Blueberry invents parasol-powered ice skates that lands her her own musical commercial.

“On Ice” (3/22/12) – Strawberry helps Raspberry and Berrykin Bruce come to a compromise over spring-themed events they want to hold at the same place at the same time.

“On the Road” (3/29/12) – The girls train the Berrykins to do their jobs so that they can enjoy a concert tour.

Season 3:
“A Boy and His Dogs” (2/23/13) – When Huckleberry Pie’s van breaks down in town, the girls offer to babysit the puppies he has in tow.

“Partners in Crime” (2/23/13) – Blueberry invites Huckleberry to join her in writing a mystery story for an online magazine.

“The Mystery of the Disappearing Dog Show” (3/2/13) – Plum attempts to turn Strawberry’s dog show into an extravagant performance.

“Snowberry and the Seven Berrykins” (3/9/13) – Plum’s direction of a play becomes too elaborate, turning it into a comical disaster.

“Berryella and Prince Charming” (3/16/13) – Huck is drafted to play Prince Charming in a new play.

“The Littlest Berrykin” (3/23/13) – The girls’ imaginations take over as Blueberry and Huckleberry narrate their new play.

“The Berry Big Relay Race” (3/30/13) – To pass the time waiting for the sparkleberry juice system to be fixed, the girls decide to have a relay race.

“The Berry Best Treasure” (4/6/13) – The girls go on a treasure hunt for their missing puppies.

“The Berry Scary Fun Adventure” (4/13/13) – The girls become scared on a camping trip and decide to protect their site with a series of traps.

“The Berry Lucky Day” (4/20/13) – Huck finds Cherry’s good luck charm and Strawberry helps them realize where their luck really comes from.

“All Dogs Allowed” (4/27/13) – The girls try to figure out what’s scaring their dogs away from the inaugural dog park tea party.

“A Basket of Blue Berries” (5/4/13) – Blueberry takes ill after inviting Huck to the masquerade ball.

“The Berry Biggest, Berry Baddest Bakeoff” (5/11/13) – Competition runs wild as the girls try to outdo each other in Berrykin Bloom’s bakeoff.

Season 4:
“Berry Double Trouble” (6/20/15) – Raspberry and Lemon recruit the Grapes to run Strawberry’s café while she participates in an internet fashion show.

“Berry Bitty Adventurer” (6/27/15) – Strawberry’s cousin Apple Dumplin comes for a visit, but it ends up being anything but quiet.

“High Tech Drama” (7/4/15) – Sweet and Sour Grapes’ latest argument is caught on camera and broadcast across the net as part of Lemon and Raspberry’s fashion podcast.

“A Berry Merry Birthday” (7/11/15) – The Grapes decide to separate their birthday parties but soon end up missing each other.

“Tell Tale Trio” (7/18/15) – The festivities begin early as Orange, Plum and Cherry make up tall-tales about why they were late to the campout.

“Berry Big Tale-Teller” (7/25/15) – Sour tries to get Sweet involved in the tall tale of their adventure in the forest, but Sweet can’t keep up.

“The Berry Bitty Great Race” (8/1/15) – Unaware of the tall tale tradition, Apple regales her friends with the story of a road rally she really entered.

“The Berry Best Taste Test” (8/8/15) – Strawberry’s stuffed-up nose leads her to bake a bad cake for the Queen of Berryvania, whose delivery Apple must now try to stop.

“The Berry Best Biscuit” (8/15/15) – Sour and Apple are sentenced to camp alone together for a weekend after they erupt into a prank war.

“Hot Sauce Cook Off” (8/22/15) – Sour and Apple deicide to help Berrykin Bloom beat his brother in the hot sauce competition.

“The Berry Bitty Dance Disaster” (8/29/15) – Tired of being left out, Apple invents dancing boots to help her dance like a pro—unfortunately, they end up going out of control.

“The Doggie Dance No-Show” (9/5/15) – Apple uses her boots to teach the dogs to dance in a show, and Huck tries to get the frightened Tom Tom to join in.

“Dance Puppy Dance” (9/12/15) – Cherry can’t escape her new song and it drives her nuts.

Film:
“Sky’s the Limit” (2009) – When the water supply is blocked by a giant rock, the town must work together to find a new source before they’re forced to evacuate forever.

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