WordGirl title card
Genre Children's television series Created by Dorothea Gillim Developed by Dorthea Gillim;
Jack D. Ferraiolo
Directed by David SanAngelo Voices of Dannah Phirman,
Narrated by Chris Parnell;
Rodger Parsons (Interstitials; uncredited)
Theme music composer Steven D'Angelo and Terry Tompkins Opening theme Word Up It's WordGirl Ending theme Word Up It's WordGirl (Instrumental) Country of origin United States Language(s) English No. of seasons 3 No. of episodes 130 Production Executive producer(s) Dorothea Gillim (Season 1);
Deborah Forte (as of Season 2)
Producer(s) Will Shepard (Season 1);
Danielle Gillis (as of Season 2)
Hollywood, California (voice actors)
Running time 30 min. Production company(s) Soup2Nuts Distributor PBS Productions Broadcast Original channel PBS (PBS Kids GO!) Original run September 3, 2007– present External links Website Production website
WordGirl is an American children’s animated television series for children aged 6-12, produced by the Soup2Nuts animation unit of Scholastic Entertainment for PBS Kids. The show began as a series of shorts that premiered on PBS Kids GO! on November 10, 2006, usually shown at the end of Maya & Miguel; the segment was then spun off into a new thirty-minute episodic series that premiered on September 3, 2007 on most Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member stations. This animated show is aimed at children six-to-ten years old, but viewers have been targeted as older than this demographic, and is designed to teach about the expansive English language and its vocabulary. This is also the second (The first was Liberty's Kids) PBS Kids program to have a TV-Y7 rating. The first two seasons each have twenty-six episodes; on June 10, 2009 it was announced that a third season was ordered, and it began airing on many PBS stations August 23, 2010, consisting of an additional thirteen episodes per season. The show has been renewed for three additional seasons in August of 2010.
The show is also seen on some educational networks in Canada, including Knowledge in British Columbia and TVOntario. The program is also syndicated internationally in places such as Australia and Italy, and also airs on Discovery Kids Latin America. The Spanish version is called "Chica Supersabia" (Super-wise girl) and it is translated and dubbed in Caracas, Venezuela, and the Brazilian version is called "Garota Supersábia". There's a Catalan version called "La Súper Mots" and a Portuguese version called "Super Sabina". The show, however, has not been well-received in Latin America, where many parents have stated that the show is too violent and inappropriate for Discovery Kids' preschool audience. 
The show's creator, Dorothea Gillim, believes that children's shows often underestimate children's intelligence:
“ Part of my mission is to make kids' television smart and funny. I feel as though we’ve lost some ground there, in an effort to make it more accessible. WordGirl's focus is on great stories, characters, and animation. If all those elements are working, then you can hook a child who may come looking for laughs but leave a little smarter. ”
Each eleven-minute segment in each episode (except for the first three episodes) begins with verbal instructions to listen for two words that will be used throughout the plot of that episode. The words (examples include “diversion,” “cumbersome,” and “idolize”) are chosen according to academic guidelines. The reasoning is that children can understand words like “cumbersome” when told that it means “big and heavy and awkward.”
News anchor Jim Lehrer agreed to do a mock interview with WordGirl. Jack D. Ferraiolo, who developed the series with Gillim and served as the series' head writer in Season One, received an Emmy for his work on WordGirl.
The series stars WordGirl, an alien with superpowers whose secret identity is Becky Botsford, a 10½ year old fifth grade student. WordGirl was born on the fictional planet Lexicon (also a term referring to the vocabulary of a language or to a dictionary) but was sent away after sneaking onto a spaceship and sleeping there. Captain Huggy Face, a monkey who was a pilot in the Lexicon Air Force, piloted the ship, but lost control when WordGirl awoke, and crash-landed on Earth (more specifically in Fair City), a planet that affords WordGirl her superpowers, including flight and super strength. WordGirl utilizes these powers to save her adoptive home, using her downed spacecraft as a secret base of operations. WordGirl and Captain Huggy Face fight crime together.
WordGirl was adopted and provided an alter ego by Tim and Sally Botsford, who gave her the name Becky. While in her alter ego, she has a younger brother, TJ, obsessed with WordGirl, but still unknowingly a typical sibling rival to Becky. The Botsford family keeps Captain Huggy Face as a pet, naming him Bob. Becky attends Woodview Elementary School, where she is close friends with Violet Heaslip and has a crush on school newspaper reporter Todd “Scoops” Ming.
WordGirl tries to balance her superhero activities with her "normal" life. Doing battle with a rather odd grouping of villains, such as the Butcher, who can call into existence most any type of meat; senior citizen Granny May, with her knitting needles and projectile yarn; her former friend Professor Steven Boxleitner, who became the evil Dr. Two Brains thanks to an albino mouse fusing his brain with the animal; ten-year-old genius and colossal robot builder Tobey McCalister; and The Whammer, who speaks by interjecting the word "wham" in the most inopportune sentences. At the same time, she must worry about maintaining her second life as Becky, keeping people from discovering the truth and living normal family situations.
Often, short animated segments are shown in between and at the end of episodes. "What's Your Favorite Word?", ostensibly hosted by Todd "Scoops" Ming, is a series of vox populi interviews asking random children what their favorite words are and why. A short game show segment called "May I Have A Word?" airs following each eleven-minute segment. This segment features the game show host, Beau Handsome, asking three contestants the definition of a particular word. The segment was created by Kelly Miyahara, Barry Sonnenfeld, and Ryan Raddatz. Yet another segment features the interstitials announcer (Rodger Parsons) asking Captain Huggy Face for a visual demonstration of a certain word (such as "pensive" or "flummoxed"). When Captain Huggy Face correctly demonstrates the meaning of the word, a definition is given, followed by a victory dance by the chimp sidekick.
The companion site to WordGirl lives on PBS Kids, and was built by interactive firm Big Bad Tomato. It contains vocabulary-building games, a section where children can submit their favorite word, a video page with clips from the show, a "Heroes and Villains" section with character biographies and activities, and a PBS Parents section with episode guides, lessons, a site map, and more activities to play at home.
Characters and voice cast (2007-present)
Cast Dannah Phirman Becky Botsford/WordGirl, Clair McCalister, Edith von Hoosinghaus, Chuck's mom, Iris, Lily, Wordgirl Doll, Audience Member #1, Chris Parnell The Narrator, Exposition Guy, Police Officer, Cab Driver, Audience Member 1, Parent Gallery Member #1 additional voices Tom Kenny Dr. Two-Brains, TJ Botsford, Two-Brains' Henchman #1, Warden Chalmers, Brent the Handsome Successful Everybody-Loves-Him Sandwich Guy, Phil, Truck Driver, News Reporter, Shoe Salesman, additional voices Cree Summer Granny May, Bingo Announcer, additional voices Patton Oswalt Theodore "Tobey" McCalister III, robots, additional voices Fred Stoller Chuck the Evil Sandwich Making Guy Jack D. Ferraiolo The Butcher, The General Pamela Adlon Eileen, a.k.a. The Birthday Girl, additional voices Maria Bamford Violet Heaslip, Sally Botsford, Leslie the Assistant, additional voices Ryan Raddatz Tim Botsford, Todd "Scoops" Ming, Beau Handsome, additional voices Tim Conway Bampy Botsford Mike O’Connell Bill the Grocery Store Manager, Big Left Hand Guy, additional voices Elliott Gould The Masked Meat Marauder Brian Posehn Glen Furlblam James Adomian Captain Huggy Face/Bob (script readings), Robber, The Candlestick Maker, Security Guard, Curator, Raul Demiglasse, Hunter Throbheart, Robber #1 H. Jon Benjamin Reginald, InvisiBill, Jewelry Store Clerk (first voice), additional voices Ron Lynch The Mayor, additional voices Jeffrey Tambor Mr. Big, Old Woman, Old Man Larry Murphy The Amazing Rope Guy, TV Reporter, Dave, Principal, Mr.Best, Used Car Salesman (second voice), Mailman, additional voices John C. McGinley The Whammer Amanda Plummer Beatrice Bixby / Lady Redundant Woman (first voice) Grey DeLisle Beatrice Bixby/Lady Redundant Woman (second voice), Ms. Question, Mrs. Ripley, Host, additional voices Rose Abdoo Great Granny May Darran Norris Seymour Orlando Smooth, Nocan the Contrarian Mike Phirman The Narrator's Brother Peter Graves Mr. Callihan James Mathis Tiny Big Ed Asner Kid Potato, The Butcher's father Jen Cohn Bank Teller (first voice), Rich Old Lady, Ms. Champlain Stephanie Sheh Bank Teller (second voice), Lill Mittens, additional voices Robin Reed Ms. Libri, the bookstore owner Judy Greer Ms Dewey, the librarian Andy Dick Milt (Ms. Dewey's assistant) Jim Gaffigan Mr. Dudley Matt Besser Zachry Zany, Male News Anchorman, Lead Deriver, additional voices Rodger Parsons Interstitials Announcer (uncredited) Danielle Schneider Female News Anchorwoman, Crowd Member, News Caster, additional voices William Mapother Guy Rich Kristen Schaal (speaking)
Victoria Best John Henson Captain Tangent Amy Sedaris Ms. Davis, additional voices Orlando Brown Tommy "His Dishonor" Kelly Miyahara Emily Kevin McDonald Vocab Bee, Jeremy, Police Chief, Judge, The Baker, Magic Pony Wayne Knight Police Commissioner Watson (first voice) Frank Welker Prof. Robert Doohickey, various animals Jill Talley Babysitter Elisabeth Abbot Dress Shop Owner Chris Williams Judge Sergio Cilli Royal Dandy, Lolipop Man Jane Lynch Miss. Powers
May I Have a Word Episodes
Title Directed by Written by Original air date 1 1 "Hurl" Barry Sonnenfeld Ryan Raddatz September 3, 2007 2 1 "Pounce" John Chiapparde P. Kevin Strader
September 14, 2007 3 1 "Stroll" Michael T. Holman Ryan Raddatz September 21, 2007 4 1 "Devour" Kelly Miyahara Ryan Raddatz September 28, 2007 5 1 "Dazzling" Matt Sheridan John Morning October 5, 2007 6 1 "Soar" Barry Sonnenfeld Ryan Raddatz November 23, 2007 7 1 "Swerve" Matt Sheridan John Morning
November 30, 2007 8 1 "Smash" Barry Sonnenfeld
Ryan Raddatz December 21, 2007 9 1 "Scowl (Pissed)" Matt Sheridan John Morning
December 28, 2007 10 1 "Enormous" Matt Sheridan Ryan Raddatz February 15, 2008 11 1 "Dazed" Barry Sonnenfeld John Morning
February 22, 2008 12 2 "Evade" Matt Sheridan Ryan Raddatz February 16, 2009 13 2 "Disguise" Matt Sheridan Ryan Raddatz February 17, 2009 14 2 "Fatigued" Kelly Miyahara Tom Martin
March 23, 2009 15 2 "Stench" Matt Sheridan Ryan Raddatz March 24, 2009 16 2 "Snare" Barry Sonnenfeld Barry Sonnenfeld April 30, 2009 17 2 "Crestfallen" Matt Sheridan Tom Martin
May 1, 2009 18 2 "Silohouette" Matt Sheridan Ryan Raddatz May 4, 2009 19 2 "Petrified" Matt Sheridan Ryan Raddatz October 23, 2009 20 2 "Hover" Barry Sonnefeld Jack Ferraiolo
June 19, 2009 21 2 "Tiff" Kelly Miyahara Ryan Raddatz July 13, 2009 22 3 "Collection" Matt Sheridan Ryan Raddatz August 23, 2010 23 3 "Doze" Kelly Miyahara Tom Martin
September 13, 2010 24 3 "Elegant" Alan Zdinak Tom Martin
September 14, 2010 25 3 "Shatter" Paul Zehrer Ryan Raddatz September 15, 2010 26 3 "Smudge" Alan Zdinak Ryan Raddatz September 16, 2010 27 3 "Binoculars" Paul Zehrer Tom Martin
October 11, 2010 28 3 "Imitate" Barry Sonnenfeld Ryan Raddatz November 8, 2010 29 3 "Bewilder" Daniel Silverman Ryan Raddatz January 3, 2011 30 3 "Perspire" Kelly Miyahara Ryan Raddatz February 8, 2011 31 3 "Strenuous" Nancy Keegan Tom Kenny
Jack D. Ferraiolo
April 1, 2011
Season 1 (September 2007-January 2009)
Ep. Airdate Segment 1 Segment 2 1/101 9/3/2007 Tobey or Consequences High-Fat Robbery 2/102 9/14/2007 You Can’t Crush City Hall Two-Brain Highway 3/103 9/21/2007 Coupon Madness When Life Gives You Potatoes... 4/104 9/28/2007 Jerky Jerk Becky's Birthday 5/105 10/5/2007 Chuck! Down With Word Up 6/106 11/23/2007 Mr. Big Book Ends 7/107 11/30/2007 Super-Grounded Mouse Army 8/108 12/21/2007 Tobey’s Masterpiece Chuck the Nice Pencil Selling Guy 9/109 12/28/2007 The Birthday Girl Granny-Sitter 10/110 2/15/2008 Mr. Big’s Big Plan Vocab Bee 11/111 2/22/2008 Shrinkin’ in the Ray Department Store Tobey 12/112 4/11/2008 Chuck E. Sneeze Swap Meat 13/113 4/18/2008 Granny’s Goodtime All-Cure Spritzer Mecha-Mouse 14/114 4/25/2008 Princess Triana and The Ogre of Castlebum Heat Wave, Crime Wave 15/115 5/26/2008 Thorn in the Sidekick Crime Takes a Holiday 16/116 5/27/2008 Meat With a Side of Cute Mr. Big Words 17/117 6/13/2008 Two-Brains Forgets Banned on the Run 18/118 7/11/2008 Have You Seen The Remote? Sidekicked To The Curb 19/119 7/23/2008 Lady Redundant Woman A Game of Cat and Mouse 20/120 8/15/2008 The Masked Meat Marauder Sandwich World 21/121 9/12/2008 Violet Superhero Big Business 22/122 10/13/2008 The Handsome Panther The Butcher, the Baker, and the Candlestick Maker 23/123 11/3/2008 Mousezilla Villain School 24/124 11/28/2008* Return of the Reprise of Lady Redundant Woman A Simple Plan 25/125 1/1/2009* Granny Mayor Tobey Goes Good 26/126 1/2/2009* Bongo Rock Dr. Three Brains
* - These episodes are listed as Season One episodes although they premiered in Season Two
Season 2 (November 2008-July 2010)
Ep. Airdate Segment 1 Segment 2 27/201 11/4/2008 A Vote for Becky Class Act 28/202 2/16/2009 The Two-Brains Boogie Field Day Fund with Robo-Tobey 29/203 2/17/2009 Slumber Party Pooper Line Lessons with Lady Redundant Woman 30/204 3/23/2009 Mr. Big's Dolls and Dollars Great Granny May 31/205 3/24/2009 Theme Park WHAMpage Chuck Makes a Buck 32/206 4/30/2009 Highway to Harvati Tiny Big 33/207 5/1/2009 I Think I'm a Clone Now Answer All My Questions and Win Stuff 34/208 5/4/2009 Bonkers For Bingo The Ballad of Steve McClean 35/209 10/23/2009 Tobey's Tricks and Treats Escape Wham 36/210 6/19/2009 Pretty Princess Premiere Where's Huggy? 37/211 7/13/2009 Robo-Camping The Stew, The Proud 38/212 7/14/2009 Who Wants Candy? Chuck's Brother 39/213 9/7/2009 Becky and the Bard Monkey-Robot Showdown 40/214 10/12/2009 The Wrong Side of the Law (Two-part episode) 41/215 10/13/09 Two-Brains Quartet Big's Big Bounce 42/216 10/14/2009 The Young and the Meatless Mr. Big's Mini-Golf 43/217 10/15/2009 Nocan The Contrarian Meat My Dad 44/218 11/23/2009 Who Is Ms. Question? Lunch Lady Chuck 45/219 12/10/2009 Oh, Holiday Cheese Ch-ch-ch-change Day 46/220 12/28/2009 WordGirl Makes a Mistake (Two-part episode) 47/221 3/1/2010 Earth Day Girl A Hero, a Thief, a Store and It's Owner 48/222 2/15/2010 Opposite Day Granny's Book Club 49/223 5/3/2010 Wham Up! Seeds of Doubt 50/224 5/4/2010 Wishful Thinking Lady Redundant Woman Gets The Blues 51/225 7/19/2010* Win a Shiny New Car The People vs. Ms. Question 52/226 7/20/2010* Oh, What a Tangled Knot You Tie, Amazing Rope Guy Kids Action News
* - Emily from May I Have a Word still have a Season 2 voice, even though she has a Season 3 voice (current voice) on July 6, 2010.
Season 3 (August 23 2010-Present)
Ep. Airdate Segment 1 Segment 2 53/301 8/23/2010 Bummertime The Homerun King 54/302 9/13/2010 Granny and Clyde Too Loud Crew 55/303 9/14/2010 The InvisiBill Hand Birthday Town 56/304 9/15/2010 Pretty Princess and Mr. Big Power Hour Cleanup in Isle Eleven 57/305 9/16/2010 When Chuck's Mom is Away... That's Entertainment 58/306 10/12/2010 Victoria Best Showdown at the Super Secret Spaceship Hideout 59/307 11/08/2010 Captain Tangent Chuck and Brent Ride Again 60/308 1/03/2011 Bend It Like Becky Questionable Behavior 61/309 2/08/2011 Cherish Is the Word Granny's Intuition 62/310 4/01/2011 The Straw That Broke Two Brains Nocan, The Evil Ingredient Finding Guy 63/311 1/17/2011 Bampy Battles Bots Truth, Revision, and the Lexicon Way 64/312 5/06/2011 Meat-life Crisis Mobot Knows Best 65/313 7/08/11 A Better Mousetrap (Two-part episode) 66/314** 9/05/2011 Sonny Days with a Chance of Showers Seymour ... Right After This 67/315** 10/10/2011 The Fill-In Word (Hicc)Up! 68/316** 10/11/2011 Mouse Brain Take-Over Leslie Makes It Big 69/317** 10/12/2011 Chuck with a Sidekick of Brent Yarn-4-Gold 70/318** 10/13/2011 Whammer Anniversary Rat Trap 71/319** 11/14/2011 Where Have All the Villains Gone? Captain Tangent Returns 72/320** 10/14/2011 WordGirl and Bobbleboy Crime in the Key of V
** - Originally aired as Season 4, Due to Hurricane Irene Season 4 premiere will be delayed.
- ^ PBS Kids Programs - WordGirl
- ^ Cluster of Animation Studios Grows Up Around Watertown, The Boston Globe 5 September 2010
- ^ http://comunidad.tudiscoverykids.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/123101243/m/790100994 Discovery Kids LA community forum: WordGirl = inappropiate for small children (in Spanish)
- ^ http://comunidade.discoverykidsbrasil.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/139100243/m/358103994 Discovery Kids Brazil community forum: Post of complaints against WordGirl (in Portuguese)
- ^ a b Jensen, Elizabeth (2007-09-02). "A New Heroine’s Fighting Words". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/02/arts/television/02jens.html. Retrieved 2008-06-23.
- ^ Bynum, Aaron H. (2007-06-18). "'The Adventures of WordGirl' Animation Emerges on PBS Kids". Animation Insider. http://www.animationinsider.net/article.php?articleID=1423&document=2. Retrieved 2008-06-25.
- ^ Spero, Johannah (2008-06-18). "Local man lands Emmy for ‘WordGirl’". Wicked Local Newburyport/The Newburyport Current. GateHouse Media, Inc.. http://www.wickedlocal.com/newburyport/news/x833714497/Local-man-lands-Emmy-for-WordGirl. Retrieved 2008-06-23.
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