Zuzubaland (1998 series)
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
- The show was adapted from a children's book that was popular in some regions of southeastern Brazil in the late 90s.
- Talented puppeteering for the late-1990s standards.
- Has a catchy theme song.
- 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.
- Zuzu's character design for this live-action program was perfectly made, very similar to the 1969 standards of Sesame Street.
- This can be considered the first original children's series of SBT.
- Several funny moments.
- It has some educational moments sometimes.
- Has a decent soundtrack with some great songs, like the theme song and the bath song.
- 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.
- It received an animated reboot.
- The show can feel like a rip-off of both Candy Land and Strawberry Shortcake.
- While the voice acting was great, Zuzu's voice was almost masculine, and her singing voice was extremely abusive.
- Zuzu can sometimes be very arrogant and unlikeable.
- 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.
- As mentioned above the puppet designs looks a bit flat and hideous, the only exception being Zuzu which has a better worked design.
- 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.
- The script for the episodes is pretty dumb sometimes and can get boring often.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- The show makes excessive use of a annoying laugh stock sound in a attempt to make the show funnier.
- The camera shakes a lot sometimes, especially when a character is in focus.