Charlie Karma and Friends is a Kuboian children's educational television series. The series ran for five series, airing from 1996 to 2001, and was created by both the titular character, Charlie Karma, and entrepreneur Rodrick Miles, with the intention of helping young children develop their social skills.
The first two series of Charlie Karma and Friends were aired on Bumper's Block at the beginning of 1996 and 1997, whilst the last three series premiered on KT at the end of 1999, 2000 and 2001. Reruns continued to air on KT until its closure in November 2008, though reruns began to decrease in quantity around 2004. Reruns have been broadcast on Kiddioka since August 2019.
Charlie Karma is the owner of three puppets; Blossom, Fuzzie and Cyclone. Every episode takes place at the fictional Newcliff Park, though the puppets are said to live at an unseen location called The Puppet Zoo. The first series usually only featured Charlie and at least one of her puppets. However, a selection of celebrities made guest appearances in the second series, most notably Tone Riddles and his puppet Tack the Rat. Beginning in the third series, a selection of children would make regular appearances on the show.
A typical episode would involve one of the following:
- An argument between two of the puppets (and/or children in later series).
- The group learning about and trying something new.
- One of the puppets (or children in later series) wishing for something they don't have, and getting to experience it.
Beginning in the second series, each episode has at least one musical note in it performed by the characters on the show.
Charlie Karma is the titular character and main protagonist of the series, a children's entertainer who owns three lively puppets; Fuzzie, Blossom and Cyclone. In the show, she often acts as the voice of wisdom.
Cyclone is an octopus-resembling alien puppet. It is not capable of speech, but can make certain sounds, such as "ooh-wee-bo-wee-bo". Cyclone is not always able to understand speech, and sometimes has difficulty communicating to and understanding others. Due to its limited social skills, the other characters occasionally get annoyed at Cyclone, but Charlie always insists that they understand his restrictions. It is a very curious creature, and likes to go looking for things. Cyclone is shown to be quite a hoarder.
Fuzzie is a green alien puppet, who has the tendency to talk a lot. He likes to crack jokes and talk loudly, often at inappropriate times. Fuzzie sometimes hurts somebody else's feelings if he tells a joke at the wrong time or make fun of them. Although he is occasionally rude and usually too self-assertive, Fuzzie is not mischievous. Sometimes, the other characters accuse him of doing naughty things he didn't do, which angers Fuzzie.
Blossom is a pink flower puppet, who speaks in a posh accent. She is fairly arrogant, and believes that she is the "mature" one out of her, Fuzzie and Cyclone. However, Blossom is also fairly mischievous, thus making her come off as very hypocritical on occasions. She enjoys listening to music, and likes to dance - and she believes that she is a lot better at singing and dancing than everybody else, but will apologise if her haughtiness upsets the others.
Tack, more commonly referred to by his full name, Tack the Rat, is a blue-white rat puppet. Unlike Fuzzie, Blossom and Cyclone, Tack is not looked after by Charlie, but instead by Tone Riddles. On the show, it is depicted as a "baby", similar to Cyclone, and is very reckless - it typically runs off and gets lost when nobody is watching it. It debuted in the second series as a recurring character, but only made sporadic appearances in later series due to getting its own show, Tone Riddles and Tack the Rat.
Tone Riddles, sometimes referred to by his real name, Edward Reizer, is the owner of Tack the Rat. Much like Tack, he made regular appearances in the second series, but stopped appearing so often in the third series due to getting his own show with Tack.
A selection of children made recurring appearances throughout the show's run. They were typically said to either be frequently visitors of Newcliff Park or "friends" of the puppets.
|1||13th January, 1996||30th March, 1996||12|
|2||21st December, 1996||29th March, 1997||14|
|3||17th August, 1999||14th December, 1999||18|
|4||9th September, 2000||23rd December, 2000||16|
|5||18th August, 2001||17th November, 2001||14|
According to Charlie herself, the episodes for the show would never actually have a proper transcript, and instead, all the actors were just given random lines, or were told to act out how they would react if certain events that were occurring in the episode happened to them in real life. She admitted in a 2013 interview that dialogue would occasionally be reused in multiple episodes.
Charlie Karma and Friends has received mixed to negative reviews from critics. Common Sense Media awarded the show a 2/5 rating, calling the educational value as "shoehorned". Several other reviewers and websites have criticised Charlie's conceited and hypocritical behaviour present in most episodes, and the fact that the show would often depict her as, according to one review, a "flawless token".
Other criticism has came from the unprofessional acting from most of the show's actors, including Charlie herself. Some reviews pointed out that some of the acting and dialogue was very over the top, and would frequently come off as laughable.
Controversy and criticism
In 1998, one of the cameramen for the first two series of Charlie Karma and Friends mentioned that Charlie was often dictatorial and controlling, and accused her of manipulating the children on the show (who considered Charlie a role model), to get her way. When asked about the accusations, Charlie accused the man of lying, and simply being "jealous" of her.
- Bumper's Block (1996-1997)
- KT (1999-2008)
- Vision One (22nd January 2019)
- Kiddioka (2019-present; series 3 to 5 only)
- Nine Network (1999-2002)
- El TV Kadsre 2 (1996-2001)
- TVOKids (1999-2005)
- 18Kids (2000-2009)
- PBS Kids (2004-present)
- CITV (1997-2003)
- Tiny Living (2000-2006)
- Milkshake! (2003-2010)
- Playhouse Disney on Disney Channel (2009-2018)
- PBS Kids (1999-2004)
- TCN (2002-2017)