Zuzubaland (1998 series)

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What a very good way to create a Candy Land rip-off.

Zuzubalândia was a Brazilian live-action/puppet comedy series that aired on SBT. It was created by the animator/puppeteer/author Mariana Caltabiano, this being her first work of great recognition to the public. The program revolves around a world called Zuzubalândia (in the original book, was called Jujubalândia), a world where residents and homes are based on food and has as main character Zuzu, a arrogant bee who aspires to be a great singer. It was aired from April 13, 1998 to 2000.

Why It Rocks

  1. The show was adapted from a children's book that was popular in some regions of southeastern Brazil in the late 90s.
  2. Talented puppeteering for the late-1990s standards.
  3. Has a catchy theme song.
  4. The series had the introduction of the character Zuzu (not present in the book Jujubalândia) as the protagonist that was well accepted by the public.
  5. Zuzu's character design for this live-action program was perfectly made, very similar to the 1969 standards of Sesame Street.
  6. This can be considered the first original children's series of SBT.
  7. Several funny moments.
  8. It has some educational moments sometimes.
  9. Has a decent soundtrack with some great songs, like the theme song and the bath song.
  10. After the show ended, the legacy was maintained through a website created by Mariana Caltabiano in the 2000s. This site contained several games and comics made in flash as well some new stories with the characters.
  11. It received an animated reboot.

Bad Qualities

  1. The show can feel like a rip-off of both Candy Land and Strawberry Shortcake.
  2. While the voice acting was great, Zuzu's voice was almost masculine, and her singing voice was extremely abusive.
  3. Zuzu can sometimes be very arrogant and unlikeable.
  4. Poor grasp on the source material: The designs of most characters are very different from the book Jujubalândia, the most exaggerated examples being: Suspiro, Pipoca, Brigadeiro, Maria-Mole and the King who seem to be practically other characters. Their designs can also be considered ugly or even hideous.
    • Speaking of Brigadeiro, he resembles more a monster as a puppet than a kid.
  5. As mentioned above the puppet designs looks a bit flat and hideous, the only exception being Zuzu which has a better worked design.
  6. The design of Sushiroco (one of the new characters) can be considered racist, since he is a toothy Asian boy with yellow skin and closed eyes.
  7. The script for the episodes is pretty dumb sometimes and can get boring often.
  8. Some ideas are very stupid, like for example: Brigadeiro transforming into Michael Jaca (a parody of Michael Jackson) whenever he hears someone say Jaca (jackfruit).
  9. Some of the new characters introduced in the show like Batata Fritz and Jujubo are quite forgettable, so much so that they did not return in the reboot.
  10. The show was briefly aired on SBT and quickly became forgotten. The only channels on which the show had reruns were RedeTV! and TV Rá-Tim-Bum, which are low-rated channels.
  11. The show makes excessive use of a annoying laugh stock sound in a attempt to make the show funnier.
  12. The camera shakes a lot sometimes, especially when a character is in focus.