Oobi (partially found puppetry short series; 2000-2002)
Oobi is a puppet TV series that was co-produced by Sesame Workshop and Nickelodeon. From 2003 to 2005, it ran for two seasons of 26 half-hour episodes on Nickelodeon and its sister channel Noggin. It became a staple of Noggin, and achieved higher Nielsen ratings than any other show on the channel by season two. All of the full episodes are widely available and have been released on several different platforms, including Amazon Video, YouTube, and Noggin's mobile app.
The show was based on a series of two-minute shorts featuring the same characters. They were filmed in the late 1990s and pitched to Noggin while it was jointly owned by Nick and Sesame Workshop. They started airing in 2000 during commercial breaks. They continued to air alongside the full episodes from 2003 to 2007, albeit much less frequently. Noggin pulled the plug on its relationship with Sesame Workshop on September 10th, 2007, causing the shorts and several other Sesame Workshop programs to be removed from the schedule.
The show is set in a neighborhood populated by bare-hand puppets, and is shown from the perspective of a 4-year-old boy named Oobi. The puppets tend to interact with the audience and encourage them to join in on whatever they are doing. The puppets speak in clipped sentences (ex. "Uma, school, first day!" instead of "It's my first day of school!").
Oobi lives in an old-fashioned single-story home with his excitable little sister, Uma, and somewhat hapless grandfather, Grampu. Oobi's best friend, Kako, lives right across the street and visits often. Each episode focuses on Oobi discovering or learning more about a particular concept, such as a game or sport. Uma and Kako provide comic relief, often misunderstanding Oobi's discoveries in a comical way.
The shorts were pitched to Noggin in the late 1990s under the working title Pipo. Josh Selig has indicated that there was some kind of pilot presentation with "Pipo" as the main character's name, but no images have been found.
In the United States, the shorts were shown on Noggin and Nickelodeon during its Nick Jr. block. Like its other interstitial programming, Nickelodeon had no specific schedule for airing them and played the shorts at random intervals. On Noggin, one short was played before each 30-minute show from 6 AM to 6 PM. After the full episodes started airing on April 7th, 2003, Noggin stopped airing the shorts as frequently and adopted the same randomized schedule as Nick Jr.
In Canada, TVOntario aired 46 of the shorts on a rotating schedule. TVO's schedule catalogs are the source of official titles for many of the shorts. However, some of them ("Itsy Bitsy Spider!" and "Toys!") don't appear at all on their schedules, indicating that TVO didn't air the complete collection.
Although the full episodes are widely available and can be watched for free on YouTube, very few of the shorts have had an official release. Though shortened versions of "Dance!" and "Bubble Bath!" were released on Nick Jr. DVDs in 2003, that was it in terms of official releases. 48 shorts are confirmed to exist, but it is unknown how many were made in total.
|1||"Dance!"||Partially Lost||A shortened version is available on the Blue's Clues: Shapes and Colors! and the Dora the Explorer: Rhymes and Riddles DVDs.|
|4||"On and Off!"||Lost|
|6||"Watermelon!"||Partially Found||The last 10 seconds of this short are available online.|
|7||"Soup!"||Partially Found||Two short clips of this episode are featured in the shorts' opening sequence.|
|8||"Hotdog and Ketchup!"||Lost|
|10||"Bubbles!"||Partially Found||The last 15 seconds of this short are available online.|
|11||"Empty and Full!"||Found|
|13||"Worm!"||Partially Found||A short clip of this episode is featured in the shorts' opening sequence.|
|18||"Water Games!"||Lost||A low-quality screenshot of this episode exists online.|
|19||"Guess!"||Lost||A screenshot of this episode exists online.|
|20||"Bird!"||Partially Lost||The short is available online, though the first few seconds are missing.|
|24||"Slide!"||Partially Found||A short clip of this episode is featured in a promo.|
|25||"Follow the Leader!"||Lost|
|27||"Dig!"||Lost||A photograph of the production of this short is featured on Tim Lagasse's website.|
|28||"Hide and Seek!"||Partially Found||A short clip of this episode is featured in the shorts' opening sequence.|
|29||"Nature!"||Partially Found||A short clip of this episode is featured in a promo.|
|32||"Guitar!"||Partially Found||A short clip of this episode is featured in a promo.|
|36||"Painting!"||Lost||A low-quality screenshot of this episode exists online.|
|39||"Pinch Pot!"||Partially Found||A short clip of this episode is featured in the shorts' opening sequence.|
|45||"Wet and Dry!"||Lost|
|47||"Itsy Bitsy Spider!"||Found|
- Media Life Magazine, January 2005 Retrieved 24 Feb '19.
- Interview with Little Airplane's Josh Selig Retrieved 24 Feb '19.
- Kidscreen article - "The Name Game: Deconstructing the fine art of kids show titling" Retrieved 24 Feb '19.
- Archive of Noggin's Oobi homepage Retrieved 24 Feb '19.
- TVOntario schedule from January 2004 Retrieved 24 Feb '19.