Caillou

1997 Canadian children's animated television series

Caillou (/kɑːjʊ, -j/ kah-yuu, -⁠yoo; French: [kaju], stylized in lowercase) is an educational children's television series which aired on Teletoon (both English and French versions), Tele-Quebec (French version), CTV Television Network, Citytv, Saskatchewan Communications Network, Access TV (both English versions) - with the first episode airing on the former channels on September 15, 1997 - until the fourth season. After that, it moved to TFO, Vrak.TV, Treehouse TV, YTV, Global Television Network, TVOntario (TVOKids) for season five. The series finale aired on October 17, 2010.

Caillou
GenreAnimation
Created byHélène Desputeaux
Christine L'Heureux
Based onCaillou by Hélène Desputeaux[1][2]
Voices ofBryn McAuley (Season 1)
Jaclyn Linetsky (Seasons 2-3)
Annie Bovaird (Seasons 4-5)
Brigid Tierney (Seasons 1-4)
Jesse Vinet (Seasons 3-5)
Jennifer Seguin
Pat Fry
Pauline Little
George Morris
Jonathan Koensgen (Seasons 1-3)
Ryan Tilson (Season 4)
Graeme Jokic (Season 5)
Sophie Uretsky (Season 5)
Melissa Pirrera
Amanda Tilson (Seasons 3-5)
Holly Gauthier-Frankel
Ellen David
Narrated byMarlee Shapiro
Opening themeI'm Caillou by Bryn McAuley
Ending themeI'm Caillou (Instrumental)
ComposerLeon Aronson
Country of originCanada
China (season 3)
South Africa (season 5)
Original languages
  • French
  • English
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes92 (345 segments)
Production
Running time25 minutes (4-5 5-minute segments)
Production companies
Original release
Network
ReleaseSeptember 15, 1997 (1997-09-15) –
October 17, 2010 (2010-10-17)

Based on the books by Hélène Desputeaux,[1][2] it focuses on a four-year-old boy named Caillou who is fascinated by the world around him. The series was produced in Canada by CINAR (later Cookie Jar Entertainment), while the third season was produced in association with the Chinese studio Shanghai Animation Film Studio, and the fourth season was produced in Canada by 9 Story Entertainment, and Nelvana, and the fifth and final season was produced in association with the Canadian studio Sardine Productions, and the South African studio Clockwork Zoo.[3]

The show is being followed by a computer-animated reboot series, set to premiere on Peacock with 52 11-minute episodes.[4]

Plot change

Caillou lives with his mother, father, and younger sister, Rosie. He has many adventures with his family and friends, and uses his imagination in every episode.

Each episode in seasons 2 through 3 has a theme and is divided into several short sections that mix animation, puppet skits, and video of live-action children in real-life situations. In seasons 4 and 5, the episodes are divided into three short sections; the puppet segment was dropped, alongside the "Real Kids" version of the segment.

During the first season, many of the stories in the animated version began with a grandmother (who is also the show's narrator) introducing the story to her grandchildren, then reading the story from a book. Starting in the second season, the narrator and grandmother is an unseen character.

Characters change

Major characters change

Caillou change

Caillou (meaning pebble or stone in French), nicknamed by himself The Prince of Imagination,[5] is the title character of the show. Caillou was first voiced by Bryn McAuley in 1997 until 2000, then Jaclyn Linetsky in 2000 until 2003, and then, due to Linetsky's death, Annie Bovaird from 2003 to 2011. Caillou was first shown in the episode "Caillou Makes Cookies", which aired in 1997.

Caillou is an imaginative four-year-old[6] boy with a love for forms of transportive machinery such as rocket ships and airplanes. A dreamer, Caillou is inclined to frequent dream sequences in some episodes, visualizing his daydreams and wishes, and many episodes describe his normal daily experiences with his parents, friends, and neighbours. Caillou particularly loves his stuffed dinosaur, Rexy, and teddy bear, Teddy, along with his pet cat Gilbert, all of whom are depicted as puppets in segments featured in the earlier episodes. He is Boris and Doris’ son as well as Rosie's older brother.

Caillou's family change

  • Rosie (French name: Mousseline) – Caillou's lively younger sister and Boris and Doris’ daughter who is a typical toddler. She is two years old.[6] She always wants to take part in the same activities as Caillou. In later seasons of the series, she becomes more talkative and independent. She wears a blue dress, red socks and blue Mary Jane shoes. Rosie fights with Caillou for some reasons, but they still love each other. She appears to be the only family member with orange hair. Rosie was first voiced by Brigid Tierney from 1997 to 2002, then Jesse Vinet from 2002 to 2011.
  • Doris[6]/Mommy – Caillou and Rosie's mother as well as Boris’ wife and Grandma and Grandpa's daughter-in-law. She is a busy homemaker most of the time but is seen to work in an office, as well. Caillou occasionally helps his mother with different chores, and she often takes time to involve Caillou and his friends in activities such as crafts and baking. She is predominantly dressed in a red blouse with white trim, blue headband, ankle-length blue jeans and blue shoes with green soles. Voiced by Jennifer Seguin.
  • Boris[6]/Daddy – Caillou and Rosie's father as well as Doris’ husband. He wears a green sweater with a red trim with blue jeans. In the episode "Caillou The Chef" he says he once worked at a restaurant and made pizza.[7] He and Caillou occasionally work on projects around the house together. He is voiced by Pat Fry.
  • Gilbert – Caillou's pet cat. In the puppet segments, he is shown to be knowledgeable about things which are foreign to Rexy and Teddy.
  • Grandma – Caillou and Rosie's paternal grandmother as well as Doris’ mother-in-law. Grandma is a very active lady who loves the arts and the outdoors. She passes that love onto Caillou. Grandma often comes up with creative ideas to solve Caillou's problems. She and Caillou paint and go bird-watching together. Voiced by Pauline Little.
  • Grandpa – Caillou and Rosie's paternal[6] grandfather as well as Doris’ father-in-law. He takes Caillou on adventures, often going on walks and riding the bus throughout the town where they reside. In "Caillou's Hiding Place", he showed Caillou a hidden area inside a tree in the backyard.[8] In the episode "Caillou Goes Camping", he and Caillou camp in the backyard. He is Daddy's father and loves to tell stories about when Caillou's father was a little boy. He wears a blue shirt. Voiced by George Morris.

Caillou's friends and neighbours change

  • Mr. Hinkle (French name: Monsieur Lajoie) – Caillou's neighbour, introduced in the 1997 episode "Caillou's Not Afraid Anymore". He has a gold tooth. In the episode "Farmer for the Day", it is stated that his first name is Paul.
  • Leo – A boy who started out as a bully in the 1997 episode "Caillou at Daycare", but quickly befriended Caillou in the same episode. They have been inseparable since. He is of Jewish faith and celebrates Hanukkah (stated in Caillou's Holiday Movie). Voiced by Jonathan Koensgen from 1997 to 2003, Vince Davies in Caillou's Holiday Movie, Ryan Tilson in 2006 until 2007, and Graeme Jokic in 2010 until 2011.
  • Clementine – Clementine was the first to befriend Caillou in the 1997 episode "Caillou Goes to Day Care". She can get rather bossy for some reasons, but all in all she is pretty understanding. She is of African-Canadian descent. Caillou has a crush on her, as indicated in "Caillou's Valentines" (Season 4, Episode 19). She is voiced by Brigid Tierney from 1997 to 2007, and Sophie Uretsky in 2010 until 2011.
  • Sarah – Caillou's friend, whom he first met in "Caillou Goes Around the Block". She is of Chinese descent and celebrates Chinese New Year. She has a cousin in an episode where she invites Caillou to celebrate Chinese New Year. In another she invites him to school for "Bring Your Younger Siblings to School Day" because she has no siblings. Sarah has a pet cat named Olly and a dog named Murphy. Sarah is voiced by Melissa Pirrera, and then Amanda Tilson.
  • André – A orange-headed boy, André is introduced in the episode "Caillou's Big Friend" and usually wears red sandals. According to the song "Days of the Week", released on the Caillou music CD Caillou and Friends, Caillou plays with him every Saturday. André enjoys biking and soccer.
  • Julie – Caillou's and Rosie's teenage babysitter. She has blonde hair in a ponytail, and enjoys playing with Caillou and Rosie. Voiced by Holly Gauthier-Frankel.
  • Jason and Jeffrey – Identical twin brothers who are of Hispanic descent. They both enjoy eating pizza. Initially, they wore identical clothes. By Season 4, though, Jason began wearing a shirt with inverted colours so it's easier to tell them apart. They are both in Caillou's playschool class. The first episode they appeared in was "New House, New Neighbors".
  • Billy – Clementine's older brother. He is usually seen playing in a band with his friends or playing sports. Voiced by Michael Caloz in Season 1.
  • Miss Martin – Caillou's preschool teacher. She has orange hair and wears red overalls with a long-sleeved white shirt. According to the episode "A Surprise for Ms. Martin" her birthday is in June. Her first name is Ann; this was stated in "Caillou Goes to Daycare". Voiced by Ellen David.
  • Jonas – Boris friend from before he met Doris. He lives on a ranch and has a horse named Lucky. Jonas appears in four episodes and in Caillou's Holiday Movie. Voiced by Brian Wrench.
  • Emma – A girl in Caillou's playschool class who dislikes loud noises, wearing red.[9] It is stated in an episode that she has Type 1 Diabetes.[10]
  • Xavier – A boy in Caillou's playschool class who has brown hair and wears blue overalls.

The puppets change

The puppet segments were used only on the PBS broadcasts of Caillou from 2000 to 2003 as continuity to fill time usually taken up by commercial breaks during the original Teletoon broadcasts; later episodes on PBS did not include the puppet segment continuity.

  • Gilbert – Caillou's pet cat. He is the leader of the group. He has greyish-blue fur with black stripes and loathes dogs with a passion. He especially dislikes the bulldog in the neighbourhood. In the puppet segments of the show, Gilbert often consists odes. Puppeteered by Bob Stutt.
  • Rexy – Caillou's toy dinosaur. Bluish in colour and speaks in a somewhat foreign accent, he is very playful. Rexy has the incapability to give a "good" hug. Rexy is noted for being rather pedantic. He is often teased about his speech impediment, and tends to react violently to any mention of it. Puppeteered by Pier Parquette and voiced by Rick Jones.
  • Teddy – An old teddy bear that once belonged to Caillou's father, and now belongs to Caillou, Teddy is reasonable and nice. He is somewhat pessimistic, but all in all, he just needs a hug. Puppeteered by Frank Meschkuleit.
  • Deedee – A brown squirrel, she has a bushy tail, and is often seen playing with Rexy. Deedee first appeared as a baby squirrel when Rexy found on the ground lost from her family. Deedee lives in Caillou's backyard where most of the puppet segments take place. She never appeared in Season 3. Puppeteered by Wendy Welch.

Episodes change

Caillou consists of five seasons[11] of original 92 half-hour episodes,[12] as well as the 73-minute Christmas film Caillou's Holiday Movie.[13]

Caillou original series overview
Season Episodes Segments Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 13 65 September 15, 1997 September 27, 1997
2 20[14] 80 August 26, 2000 October 13, 2000
3 13[15] 62 January 6, 2002 March 31, 2002
4 20[16] 60 January 13, 2006 May 26, 2006
5 26[11] 78 September 11, 2010 October 17, 2010

Caillou consists of five seasons of PBS 144 half-hour episodes, as well as the 73-minute Christmas film Caillou's Holiday Movie.[17]

Caillou PBS series overview
Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 40 September 4, 2000 October 27, 2000
2 16[18] January 2, 2003 January 23, 2003
3 20[19] April 1, 2006 August 12, 2006
4 42[20] September 18, 2006 November 14, 2006
5 26[11] March 11, 2013[21] April 15, 2013

Production change

Caillou books have been published by Chouette Publishing Inc. since 1987.[22]

The series was originally broadcast in French in Canada, and the episodes were later translated into English. The original books were also in French, and English. Caillou was designed primarily for toddlers. It was created by child developmental psychologists. On September 15, 1997, 13 30-minute episodes (65 5-minute segments) of Caillou were aired in Canada and in selected markets worldwide, including the US. On August 26, 2000, there were 20 30-minute episodes of the show, containing a mixture of new stories. On September 4, 2000, there were 40 30-minute episodes of the show, containing a mixture of the five-minute episodes plus new stories, songs, real kids segments and puppets. Those were followed by another 13 30-minute episodes containing all-new stories on January 6, 2002, and another 16 30-minute episodes containing all-new stories on January 2, 2003. The film Caillou's Holiday Movie was released on October 7, 2003. On January 13, 2006, and April 1, 2006, a new set of 20 30-minute episodes finally premiered after a three-year hiatus. Caillou started attending preschool and there were new themes and a new opening. The show was renewed for a first, and second season in 2000, and a third season in 2003,[23] and later a fourth season in 2006, and a fifth season in 2013. The fifth season was animated by South Africa-based studio Clockwork Zoo.[24]

On November 14, 2012, the fourth season of the series was pre-sold to PBS Kids in the United States.[25]

Reception and controversy change

Critical response change

Caillou initially received generally positive reviews from television critics and parents of young children. The staff of Entertainment Weekly wrote that its protagonist "embellish[es] everything he sees with his rich imagination."[26] The New York Times wrote "Caillou looks at the world through the eyes of its 4-year-old namesake [and] takes life's not-always-so-simple lessons and presents them in a way preschoolers can understand."[27] while Lynne Heffley of the Los Angeles Times wrote that "each animated episode is an unusually realistic reflection of a preschooler's daily fun, family interaction, challenges, disappointments and misunderstandings as Caillou grows and learns to make sense of his world", also describing it as "a virtual guidebook for parents and caregivers".[28]

Controversy change

As the years progressed, however, the show drew criticism for the perceived incorrectness of the lessons gleaned through numerous events, mostly from the first season, as well as some episodes from the second season and third season. In a National Post column, writer Tristin Hopper identified Caillou to be "quite possibly the world's most universally reviled children's program." A common criticism towards the series is that the titular character behaves like a spoiled child and suffers no consequences from his parents for his behavior.[29] One example of Caillou's bad behavior is in the episode Caillou Joins the Circus, in which he throws a tantrum after discovering the postponement of a planned circus event. Another episode, Big Brother Caillou, features Caillou being jealous of the level of attention received by his baby sister Rosie to the point where he pinches her; most considered this to be a minor improvement over the original book the episode was based on, in which Caillou bit Rosie. When the show started airing on Cartoonito in 2021, the pinching scene was cut out.

Hopper once said: "Unlike most children's programming, Caillou makes almost no attempt to educate its young audience. There are no veiled math problems, spelling lessons or morality tales; it's just calm, non-threatening, bright-coloured people navigating everyday tasks." These criticisms of the show's titular character have been echoed on online platforms.[30] Last Week Tonight host John Oliver referenced Caillou in a comparison of boring things against net neutrality, going on to insult Caillou for its themes.[31]

As Caillou appeared as a much younger child in the original line of children's books, he originally had no hair.[32] When illustrators found that adding hair made him look unrecognizable, it was decided that Caillou would never have hair.[33][34] This decision led to an internet meme asserting that the protagonist has cancer or pediatric alopecia.[35]

Broadcast change

North America change

Home video distributors change

North America change

Music from the series change

In 2003, an album titled Caillou's Favorite Songs was released by Kid Rhino under the Cinar Music imprint.[36]

Revival change

YouTube series change

Beginning in late 2016, a new Caillou web series for YouTube premiered on the official Caillou channel and was later released onto Amazon Prime.[37] These shorts are mainly remakes of older episodes and are produced by WildBrain Spark Studios, a subsidiary of WildBrain that produces original content for their WildBrain Spark network. However, the videos were not made available to YouTube users in the United States until 2021.[38]

In August 2021, it was announced that Cartoon Network licensed the series for broadcast on US television.[39]

Reboot and specials change

In September 2021, WildBrain announced the production of five new 45-minute specials based on the franchise for Family Jr.[40] These specials are the first Caillou related media to be produced in CGI animation, and will focus on Christmas, Halloween, Family Day, Summer Vacation and National Anti-Bullying Day. The specials will be produced by WildBrain Studios, Splash Entertainment, and Mainframe Studios, with animation provided by IoM Media Ventures.[41]

In June 2022, WildBrain announced they teamed with Comcast's streaming platform, Peacock, to produce a new series of the show, consisting of 52 11-minute episodes to go along with those specials.[42] It was set to premiere in 2023, with IoM also providing animation production as the specials are. Despite the specials being released on Peacock, it is now confirmed to stream on February 15, 2024.[43]

The first special: Rosie the Giant, which focuses on the effects of bullying, simultaneously premiered in Canada and the United States on Family Jr. and Peacock respectively on July 10, 2022.[44]

The second special: Adventures with Grandma and Grandpa, which focuses on Caillou visiting his grandparents for a sleepover at their beach house, premiered on Family Jr., and Peacock on August 25, 2022.[45]

The third special: The Bravest Wolf Boy, which focuses on Halloween, premiered on Family Jr., and Peacock on October 15, 2022.

The four special: The Silver Knight, which focuses on imaginative play, premiered on Family Jr., and Peacock on November 13, 2022.

The fifth special, Caillou's Perfect Christmas, which focuses on Christmas, premiered on Family Jr., and Peacock on December 2, 2022.

Notes change

  1. Previously known as CINAR for the first three seasons

References change

  1. 1.0 1.1 "At last, the 2005 Caillou agreement is made public" Archived March 27, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. Regroupement des artistes en arts visuels du Québec. Retrieved on November 2, 2015.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Baillargeon, Stéphane (October 8, 2015). "L'entente secrète de 2005 dévoilée". Le Devoir. Archived from the original on April 11, 2022. Retrieved November 3, 2015.
  3. "Clockwork Zoo begins key animation on Caillou | Animation SA". January 22, 2010. Archived from the original on January 22, 2010. Retrieved July 18, 2021.
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  5. "Caillou & Stars Red Trick-Or-Treat Bag". PBSkids.org. Archived from the original on May 6, 2017. Caillou is surrounded by stars on a personalized swag bag that's ready for Halloween treats. The Prince of Imagination is here to make it a Happy Halloween!
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 "About". Caillou.com. Archived from the original on March 31, 2016. Meet Caillou, the lovable four-year old
    Meet Caillou's little sister, Rosie! At 2 years old, Rosie is a giggly little girl who loves to play tricks on her big brother.
    Meet Caillou's Mom, Doris! Although some know her in the workplace as Doris, she's known as Mommy in Caillou's household.
    Meet Caillou's Dad, Boris!
    Meet Caillou's Grandpa! Grandpa always takes Caillou on fun adventures – like fishing, riding the bus through town and camping! He is Caillou's Daddy's father
  7. Caillou Episode – "Caillou the Chef" (Season 4)
  8. Caillou Episode – "Caillou's Hiding Place"
  9. Caillou Episode – "Caillou's Marching Band"
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