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Twiddlebugs

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Twiddlebugfamily

The Twiddlebugs on Elmo's World.

CGI-Twiddlebug-Family-Portrait

The Twiddlebugs in CGI form.

CGI-Twiddlebug-Collage

The Twiddlebugs' updated computer-animated home.

Twiddlebugs are a species of colorful insects who live in Ernie's window box. While the species was established in season 2, the main Twiddlebug family was introduced in season 5.[1]

The Twiddlebugs seen most frequently on Sesame Street are a family of four. These Twiddlebugs often find themselves facing difficult challenges, such as taking their car to the zoo or hanging a postage stamp on the wall. Presented with such daunting situations, it would an easy thing for them to simply give up, and indeed they express despair when their initial attempts at solving these problems meet with agonizing failure. However, the Twiddlebugs persevere in the face of adversity, and through collective brainstorming and cooperation, they always manage to overcome even the most seemingly insurmountable tribulations, such as figuring out how to exit a roller rink. These moments of triumph are cause for celebration for the Twiddlebugs, who remain blissfully unaware that their ultimate solution is rarely the most logical.

A secret of Twiddlebug reproduction is revealed in the Sesame song "Let's Lay an Egg". "Snails do it, slugs do it," two gastropods sing. "Even tiny Twiddlebugs do it!" the Twiddlebug family (only without Timmy) chirps. "Let's do it! Let's lay an egg!"

Characters

The main Twiddlebug family consists of:

Other Twiddlebugs have appeared in books, including Mayor Thaddeus Twiddlebug. The Twiddlebug species is seen in great numbers and a wider variety of colors, and different aspects of Twiddlebug life and culture are examined therein. Other Twiddlebug homes and communities exist in other windowboxes on Sesame Street. Twiddlebug Town is located in Elmo's windowbox.

The CGI versions of the Twiddlebugs are animated by Magnetic Dreams.

Performing the Twiddlebugs

The high-pitched effect of the Twiddlebugs' voices was accomplished by recording the performers at slow speed, then playing the vocal tracks back at normal speed. The characters' very deliberate enunciation is a result of the performers' attempts to keep the dialogue comprehensible after it was sped up.

In addition to being Muppets, the Twiddlebugs first appeared in computer-generated form in Sesame Street 4-D Movie Magic. Additionally, new computer-generated Twiddlebug sketches premiered on the show starting in season 37. Magnetic Dreams animation studio, Nashville, adapted the Twiddlebugs for CGI. The CGI versions of the Twiddlebugs also made a cameo in an advertisement for Sesamestreet.org. The CGI versions are all voiced by Rickey Boyd.

Sketches

Muppet Sketches

Picture Theme / EKA Description
Counting Six Twiddlebugs

Episode 0280
Kermit counts six happy little Twiddlebugs, and when he is finished, the Twiddlebugs have a party.
Going to the Zoo

Episode 0693
The Twiddlebugs try to get to the zoo.
Some airings of this segment feature a shorter version of Ernie's introduction.


Video: Old School: Volume 1

Hanging a Picture

Episode 0961
The Twiddlebugs get a new postage stamp portrait of George Washington, but have trouble getting it to stick to the wall. They finally get it to work, but it is upside down.


Video: Old School: Volume 2

Finding the Door

Episode 1576
The Twiddlebugs try to find a way out of the rollerskating rink. After their attempts to smash through the wall with their bodies fails, they find the door... and use it to break down the wall.


Online: sesamestreet.org (SSvideo)

Out of the Rain

Episode 2124
The Twiddlebugs don't understand why they are getting all wet, while Mommy Twiddlebug isn't. They soon learn it's because she's inside the house. After they all huddle inside, Ernie finishes watering his plants.
Get Along

Episode 2600
The Twiddlebugs are background singers for the Song, Get Along. As it was sung by Kermit the Frog, A Cow, the Martians, and some Anything Muppet greasers. In the tune of The Silhouettes hit song "Get a Job"
The Beach Umbrella

Episode 2641
At the beach, the Twiddlebugs notice that only Thomas has a beach umbrella, which they decide to share. They soon notice that they have no idea where the ocean is.
Close

Episode 2837
On a cold day, the Twiddlebugs try to figure out what they should close to make themselves warm. After they try closing a book, a lunchbox and their mouths, Tina sees they must close the door. Once they're warm, they decide to go outside, but can't find what they should open.
The Mulberry Bush

Episode 3522
The Twiddlebugs find a mulberry bush, and try to figure out if they should go under it, on it, or around it.


Online: sesamestreet.org (SSvideo)

Rainy Day

Episode 3673
Ernie watches as the Twiddlebugs head for Hooper's Store in the rain, but they need something to keep themselves dry. The then take the umbrella with them.
Cutting Down Flowers

Ernie watches as the Twiddlebugs cut down the pretty flowers in their yard. Once they've realized the environmental mistake they've made, they undo their action by creating giant flowers from wrappers.
Smoke Detector The Twiddlebugs get a smoke detector installed in their home by the superintendent Twiddlebug, but at first don't know what it is, but are pleased that it is working when it is tested. After Tessa figures out what it is and what it's for, smoke comes out of their oven (due to Tessie's roast bean being left unattended), and Ernie pours water over it to put out the smoke.


Online: Hulu (Hulu)

Animated Sketches

Picture Theme / First Appearance Description
Family Photo

Episode 4125
The family tries to take a family photo, but someone is always missing (as they are operating the camera). When they all try to take the picture they finally get it to work, by photographing themselves in the mirror.
Caterpillar

Episode 4152
The Twiddlebugs take a caterpillar in, thinking at first that it's a cat. After it doesn't drink any milk, and proves to have more than four legs, Tessie consults a book to discover that it's a caterpillar. They decide to name it "Cat."


Video: Firefly Fun and Buggy Buddies

Missing Snowshoe

Episode 4153
Thomas Twiddlebug is missing a snowshoe (a paper clip), and tries to find it. However, Tina uses the paper clip as a music stand, and Timmy uses it as a backscratcher, and Tessie uses it to mix her batter for a cake. When everything is back to normal, Thomas prepares to go out, only to find that it's a nice sunny summer day.
Flat Tire

Episode 4160
The Twiddlebugs are off to Uncle Ollie's surprise birthday party, when they suddenly get a flat tire. Now they have to search for something to replace it. Thomas suggests that either a triangle-shaped nacho or a square-shaped cheese cracker would work, but the cracker gives a bumpy ride, which breaks the nacho. But a red checker does work, and they're off - not realizing they left the cupcake behind.


Video: Elmo's Travel Songs and Games

Little Children, Big Challenges The Twiddlebug kids learn how to take turns.

Twiddlebug books

Bookclubhemlockcover
Twiddlebugland
TwiddleDream
Book.twiddlework
Book.ernietwiddle

Book appearances

Trivia

  • In the Who's Who on Sesame Street coloring book, the characters are incorrectly listed as Thomas (father), Tina (mother), Teddy (son) and Tessie (daughter).
  • The Spanish version of Sesame Street, Barrio Sésamo, translated the names of the characters as Los Nabucodonosorcitos, literally "The Little Nabucodonosor's", for King Nebuchadnezzar II the Great of Babylon, called Nabucodonosor in Spanish.
  • The German version of Sesame Street, Sesamstrasse, called them Krabbelkäfer, which basically means "Crawlingbugs" or "Scuttlebugs".
  • Most of the time, Twiddlebugs are depicted on TV as miniature creatures, small enough to live in a window box. However, in an early segment, Kermit the Frog counted "happy little Twiddlebugs" at a Twiddlebug Party - most of whom were bigger than Kermit.

See also

Sources

  1. The Deseret News: 1...2...3...4...5 for Sesame St.

External links

  • Tough Pigs Book Club - The Great Twiddlebug Mystery
  • YouTube - Fan video of Postage Stamp sketch with audio pitched down to resemble original voice recording.

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