Caillou
Caillou logo
Created byHélène Desputeaux
Christine L'Heureux
Based onCaillou by Hélène Desputeaux[1][2]
Voices ofBryn McAuley
Jaclyn Linetsky
Annie Bovaird
Brigid Tierney
Jesse Vinet
Jennifer Seguin
Pat Fry
Pauline Little
George Morris
Johanne Garneau
Jonathan Koensgen
Graeme Jokic
Sophie Uretsky
Amanda Tilson
Holly Gauthier-Frankel
Ellen David
Country of originCanada
South Africa (season 5)
Original languages
  • French
  • English
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes92 (352 segments)
Production
Running time22 minutes (3–4 5-minute segments)
Production companies
Original release
Network
ReleaseSeptember 15, 1997 (1997-09-15) –
October 3, 2010 (2010-10-03)

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) – with the first episode airing on the former channel on September 15, 1997 – until the fourth season. After that, it moved to Treehouse TV for season five. The series finale aired on October 3, 2010. It also aired on PBS and the PBS Kids Channel.

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 the CINAR Corporation (later Cookie Jar Entertainment), while the fifth and final season was produced in association with the South African studio Clockwork Zoo.[3]

In 2023, it was announced that the show would be rebooted. It was originally set to premiere on Peacock with 52 11-minute episodes some time in 2023, but ultimately began streaming on February 15, 2024, with a batch of seven episodes.[4]

Plot

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

Each episode in seasons 1 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

Major characters

Caillou

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 from 1997 to 2000, then Jaclyn Linetsky in 2000 until 2003, and then, due to Linetsky's death, Annie Bovaird from 2003 to 2010. 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

Caillou and his family from left to right: Rosie, Daddy, Caillou, Mommy

Caillou's friends and neighbours

Caillou and his friends: (back) Clementine, Sarah – (front) Gilbert, Caillou, Leo, Rosie

The puppets

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.

Episodes

Caillou consists of five seasons[11] of 92 half-hour episodes,[12] as well as the 90-minute Christmas film Caillou's Holiday Movie.[13]

Caillou series overview
Season Episodes Segments Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 13 65 September 15, 1997 July 5, 2000
2 20[14] 80 September 4, 2000 July 2, 2002
3 13[15] 52 November 15, 2002 October 7, 2003
4 20[16] 60 April 3, 2006 March 26, 2007
5 26[11] 78 September 11, 2010[17] October 3, 2010

Production

Caillou books have been published by Chouette Publishing Inc. since 1989.[18]

The series was originally broadcast in French in Canada, and the episodes were later translated into English. The original books were also in French. Caillou was designed primarily for toddlers. It was created by child developmental psychologists. In 1997, 65 five-minute episodes of Caillou were aired in Canada and in selected markets worldwide, including the US. In 2000 there were 40 30-minute episodes of the show, containing a mixture of the five-minute episodes plus new stories, songs, real kids segment and puppets. This was followed by another 16 30-minute episodes containing all-new stories in 2003. The film Caillou's Holiday Movie was released on October 7, 2003. On April 3, 2006, a new set of 20 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 second and third season in 2003,[19] and later a fourth season. The fifth season was animated by South Africa-based studio Clockwork Zoo.[20]

On November 14, 2012, the fourth season of the series was pre-sold to PBS Kids in the United States.[21]

Reception and controversy

Critical response

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."[22] 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."[23] 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".[24]

Controversy

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.[25] One example of Caillou's bad behavior is in the episode Caillou Joins the Circus, in which he throws a tantrum after his father informs the circus wasn't until tomorrow. 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.[26] 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.[27]

As Caillou appeared as a much younger child in the original line of children's books, he originally had no hair.[28] When illustrators found that adding hair made him look unrecognizable, it was decided that Caillou would never have hair.[29][30] This decision led to an internet meme asserting that the protagonist has cancer or pediatric alopecia.[31]

Broadcast

Caillou first aired on Canada's French-language Télétoon channel on September 15, 1997, and was the first show aired on the English-language Teletoon when it launched on October 17 of that year.[32] The series was moved to Treehouse TV in 2010. Caillou made its US debut on PBS Kids on September 4, 2000, and ran on that network until December 27, 2020. Reruns started airing on PBS Kids Sprout (later known as simply Sprout) on its launch on September 26, 2005. While Sprout rebranded into Universal Kids on September 9, 2017, the show remained on the channel until it was taken off the line-up at the beginning of April 2019.

On January 5, 2021, PBS Kids announced on Twitter that they would no longer broadcast reruns of Caillou.[33] Deadline Hollywood reported that many parents and viewers celebrated the news of the cancellation, as they have complained that Caillou had taught their kids bad lessons and encouraged them to be bratty and whiny.[34] On August 16, 2021, it was announced that Cartoon Network had acquired the US-broadcast rights to the show after PBS' rights expired, with reruns of the series airing on Cartoonito from September 13, 2021 to May 4, 2022 in its HD remastered form.[35][36] PBS ultimately sold the rights for US$6.4 million.[37] In Canada, Family Jr. continues to broadcast reruns since February 5, 2018. PBS Kids currently retains the physical media and streaming rights for the original series. Comcast/NBCUniversal acquired global streaming rights for the reboot series (via Peacock) as of 2022.

Home video releases

In the United States, Caillou videocassettes and DVDs have been released by PBS Distribution (Originally distributed through Warner Home Video until 2004, and then Paramount Home Entertainment from 2006 to 2010, and now self-distributed). From 2003 to 2006, the DVDs with puppets and Jaclyn Linetsky were compilations from 2003 through 2006, and one of them is in memory of Linetsky herself.

For the franchise's 25th anniversary, a DVD/book combo pack reissue of Caillou's Family Favorites was released on October 14, 2014, by PBS Distribution,[38] while a DVD reissue of Caillou's Holiday Movie was released on November 11, 2014 by NCircle Entertainment.[39]

In Canada, Sony Wonder originally released Caillou on VHS and DVD, and after the closure of the division by Sony, were moved to Vivendi Entertainment Canada. Since 2012, Caillou DVDs are distributed by Entertainment One and after their purchase of Phase 4 Films in 2015, are released through the KaBoom Entertainment label.

Music from the series

In 2003, an album titled Caillou's Favorite Songs was released by Kid Rhino under the Cinar Music imprint.[40]

Revival

YouTube series

Beginning in late 2016, a new Caillou web series for YouTube premiered on the official Caillou channel and was later released onto Amazon Prime.[41] 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.[42]

In August 2021, it was announced that Cartoon Network licensed the series for broadcast on US television.[43]

Reboot and specials

In September 2021, WildBrain announced the production of five new 45-minute specials based on the franchise for Family Jr.[44] These specials are the first Caillou related media to be produced in CGI animation, and will[needs update] focus on Christmas, Halloween, Family Day, Summer Vacation and National Anti-Bullying Day. The specials will be produced by WildBrain Studios, with animation provided by IoM Media Ventures.[45]

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.[46] 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 would later be confirmed to stream on February 15, 2024.[47]

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.[48]

The second special: Adventures with Grandma and Grandpa, which focuses on Caillou visiting his grandparents for a sleepover at their beach house, premiered on Peacock on August 25, 2022.[49]

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

The fourth special: The Silver Knight, which focuses on imaginative play, premiered on Peacock on November 13, 2022.

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

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "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. ^ a b 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.
  4. ^ "WILDBRAIN AND PEACOCK PARTNER ON CAILLOU FOR NEW CG-ANIMATED SERIES AND FIVE FAMILY SPECIALS". WildBrain. June 24, 2022. Retrieved May 4, 2023.
  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. ^ a b c d e "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"
  10. ^ "Caillou – Caillou's Discoveries". KET. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  11. ^ a b "Animation Portfolio: CAILLOU • Sea Monster". Seamonster.co.za. Archived from the original on December 24, 2013. Retrieved December 22, 2013.
  12. ^ "DHX Media – Distribution – Caillou – Catalogue – Pre-School". Distribution.dhxmedia.com. Archived from the original on January 17, 2014. Retrieved December 22, 2013.
  13. ^ "DHX Media – Distribution – Caillou's Holiday Movie – Catalogue – Pre-School". Distribution.dhxmedia.com. Archived from the original on March 24, 2014. Retrieved March 25, 2014.
  14. ^ "Come Learn With Caillou! – Free Online Library". Thefreelibrary.com. Archived from the original on December 24, 2013. Retrieved December 22, 2013.
  15. ^ "Caillou . Parents & Teachers . Episodes Descriptions . Season 3". Caillou.com. Archived from the original on October 10, 2013. Retrieved February 8, 2014.
  16. ^ "New Caillou" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on January 14, 2007. Retrieved December 22, 2013.
  17. ^ "For the Kid Inside!". The Cookie Jar Company. September 8, 2010. Archived from the original on November 18, 2011. Retrieved December 22, 2013.
  18. ^ "Caillou – Creation". Chouette Publishing. Archived from the original on September 23, 2015. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
  19. ^ Ball, Ryan (February 10, 2003). "Caillou Back for Season Two". Animation Magazine. Archived from the original on May 21, 2022. Retrieved May 24, 2020.
  20. ^ [1] "Clockwork Zoo begins key animation on Caillou | Animation SA"
  21. ^ "DHX Media sells fourth season of Caillou to PBS Kids". KidScreen. Archived from the original on June 27, 2022. Retrieved January 22, 2013.
  22. ^ EW Staff (August 1, 2012). "Caillou". EW.com. Archived from the original on April 15, 2020. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  23. ^ "FOR YOUNG VIEWERS; Sharing the Small Stuff". The New York Times. October 7, 2001. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on April 15, 2020. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  24. ^ Heffley, Lynne (September 4, 2000). "Kids' Series Give Gentle Life Lessons Television Review". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on March 22, 2020. Retrieved March 22, 2020.
  25. ^ Hopper, Tristin (May 1, 2017). "Caillou is an aggressively bad show ruining the world's children … and it's all Canada's fault". National Post. Postmedia Network. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  26. ^ "This Is How Much People Hate 'Caillou'". HuffPost. April 3, 2017. Archived from the original on November 6, 2020. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  27. ^ "Net Neutrality: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver". YouTube. June 2014. Archived from the original on September 25, 2022. Retrieved September 25, 2022.
  28. ^ "Why Doesn't Caillou Have Hair – Why He's Always Remained Bald – Screen Rant". Screen Rant. April 18, 2022. Archived from the original on June 28, 2022. Retrieved June 28, 2022.
  29. ^ Public Broadcasting Service. "FAQ". PBS. Archived from the original on August 26, 2018.
  30. ^ Chouette. "Why is Caillou bald?". Chouette. Archived from the original on September 23, 2015. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
  31. ^ "Why Is Caillou Bald?". HuffPost Canada. December 8, 2015. Archived from the original on November 7, 2020. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  32. ^ "CORPORATION CINAR CÉLÈBRE LE 5e ANNIVERSAIRE DE CAILLOU À LA TÉLÉVISION" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 14, 2003. Retrieved December 22, 2013.
  33. ^ Madden Toby, Mekeisha (January 5, 2021). "Caillou Cancelled at PBS Kids (as Parents Everywhere Rejoice)". TVLine. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved January 5, 2021.
  34. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (January 6, 2021). "Caillou Canceled By PBS & Parents Couldn't Be Happier". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on January 27, 2023. Retrieved January 27, 2023.
  35. ^ Stalcup, Jamie (August 16, 2021). "WarnerMedia Sets Cartoonito Launch Date & Slate". TVKIDS. Archived from the original on August 16, 2021. Retrieved August 16, 2021.
  36. ^ "WarnerMedia Kids & Family Sets Sept. 13 for Cartoonito Preschool Block on HBO Max and Cartoon Network" (Press release). WarnerMedia. August 16, 2021. Archived from the original on September 10, 2021. Retrieved September 10, 2021.
  37. ^ "2021 PBS Financial Report" (PDF). PBS.org. p. 16. Archived (PDF) from the original on November 12, 2022. Retrieved November 11, 2022.
  38. ^ Zahn, James (September 4, 2014). "25th Anniversary of Caillou: CAILLOU's FAMILY FAVORITES DVD/Book Combo Pack due in October..." Archived from the original on October 21, 2014. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
  39. ^ "Caillou's Holiday Movie – NCircle Entertainment". Amazon. Archived from the original on October 18, 2014. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
  40. ^ "Caillou's Favorite Songs – Caillou – Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Archived from the original on October 13, 2016. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  41. ^ "Watch Caillou's New Adventures | Prime Video". amazon.com. Archived from the original on May 21, 2022. Retrieved January 22, 2021.
  42. ^ "New Caillou Webisodes | Animated Cartoons for Kids". YouTube. Archived from the original on May 21, 2022. Retrieved January 23, 2021.
  43. ^ "WildBrain Reports Q4 and Full Year 2021 Results". Investors – WildBrain. Archived from the original on September 16, 2021. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  44. ^ "New family animation for WildBrain Television gets greenlit". September 2021. Archived from the original on July 7, 2022. Retrieved July 7, 2022.
  45. ^ "Peacock Slates CG 'Caillou' Reboot, 'L'il Stompers'; 'The Bad Guys' Streams Friday". June 28, 2022. Archived from the original on July 7, 2022. Retrieved July 7, 2022.
  46. ^ "WILDBRAIN AND PEACOCK PARTNER ON CAILLOU FOR NEW CG-ANIMATED SERIES AND FIVE FAMILY SPECIALS". Yahoo! Finance. June 24, 2022. Archived from the original on June 24, 2022. Retrieved June 24, 2022.
  47. ^ Swift, Andy (June 28, 2022). "Caillou Is Being Rebooted in CGI Form, Whether You Want Him Back or Not". TVLine. Archived from the original on June 28, 2022. Retrieved June 28, 2022.
  48. ^ "CAILLOU: ROSIE THE GIANT | Trailer". YouTube. July 8, 2022. Archived from the original on July 13, 2022. Retrieved July 13, 2022.
  49. ^ Swift, Andy (August 22, 2022). "Caillou Prepares to Take the Plunge in First Look at New CGI Special". Yahoo! News. Archived from the original on September 15, 2022. Retrieved September 15, 2022.
  1. ^ Known as CINAR Corporation for the first three seasons. Produced as Caillou Productions Inc. (S1), Four Me Productions Inc. (S2-3), Caillou IV Productions Inc. (S4) and Caillou V Productions Inc. (S5)