|Origin||New York City|
|Associated acts||Alvin and the Chipmunks|
The Chipettes are a group of three female anthropomorphic chipmunk singers—Brittany, Jeanette and Eleanor—first appearing on the cartoon series Alvin and the Chipmunks in 1983. In this and related materials, the Chipettes served as female featured characters in their own right, starring in numerous episodes. The title of the show was changed from Alvin and the Chipmunks to simply The Chipmunks in 1988 to reflect this. In the cartoon series and the accompanying feature films, all of the Chipettes were voiced by their creator, Janice Karman, the wife of Ross Bagdasarian Jr. (son of Ross Bagdasarian Sr., the creator of The Chipmunks). Karman also wrote and voiced the Chipettes' dialogue on their studio albums, while studio singers such as Susan Boyd, Shelby Daniel and Katherine Coon provided their singing voices. In Alvin and the Chipmunks, Eleanor is voiced by Vanessa Chambers, the daughter of Ross Bagdasarian Jr. and Janice Karman and wife of Brian Chambers.
The first designs for the Chipettes were drafted by Corny Cole for their 1983 debut. These were later revamped by Sandra Berez for The Chipmunk Adventure and the later seasons of the show.
Main article: Alvin and the Chipmunks
Brittany Miller is the middle sister and the leader of the Chipettes. Brittany's favorite color is pink. Brittany was born in Australia. Brittany pushes Jeanette around a lot and takes advantage of her kindness, but deep down they love each other very much and are very loyal to each other. Eleanor always stands up to Brittany when she tries to push Jeanette around and is generally the only person that tries to stand up to her. Despite this, the two of them do share a very nice sisterly relationship. Brittany is secretly smitten with Alvin, though she covers it up by pretending to hate him. The two often quarrel, but deep down, they both love each other and know it. Brittany is known to put her hand on Alvin's shoulder as a way to comfort him when he's down.
Jeanette is the oldest sister and smartest of the Chipettes, as well as the tallest, and the skinniest. Jeanette's favorite color is purple. She was born in Australia. Like Simon, she wears glasses because of her poor eyesight. She has brown hair in a bun in the '80s show and a short ponytail in the recent films. Her eyes are green in her TV appearances and The Chipmunk Adventure but were changed to violet in the live-action/CGI films. She cares about Simon and gets along with him very well. In the third Alvin and the Chipmunks movie, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, Jeanette was given a bracelet from Simon, who was bitten by a venomous spider and turned into an adventurous side of himself. Jeanette has very strong feelings for Simon and tries to hint at him that she likes him. She is also clumsy and can be shy and insecure of herself at times.
Eleanor is the youngest sister of the Chipettes. Eleanors favorite color is green and she was born in Australia. She has a lot in common with Theodore in terms of body shape and color of attire, but she is braver, more fit and is far less naive. She is blonde with pigtails and has brown eyes in the '80s show, which changed to green in the more recent appearances. In the sequel to the first Alvin and the Chipmunks movie, Ian Hawke tells Eleanor that she has to work on getting taller, so he gives her a pair of heels to make her look taller. Theodore doesn't think Eleanor's heels are very comfortable for her. Eleanor admits that they're not and tells him why she's wearing them. Theodore then proceeds to tell her that she looks great without the heels. Then they just exchange glances of affection for one another. Eleanor is very affectionate towards Theodore. In the last Alvin and the Chipmunks movie, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip, Eleanor calls Theodore "Theodorable" and giggles as she catches up with her sisters. She also calls his dancing smooth. Eleanor loves to decorate and design clothes, and has a passion for cooking.
Miss Miller, an elderly eccentric friend of Dave and the Chipmunks, became the adoptive mother of the Chipettes in the television series. She is shown to be ditzy and talkative, but also supportive and loving to the Chipettes. Miss Miller is featured in the Chipmunk Adventure film as a babysitter for the Chipmunks but is tricked by Alvin. She is known for her fanciful manner of dress and occasionally belting out tunes from the 1930s.
The origins of the Chipettes can be traced to the 1982 Alvin and the Chipmunks album The Chipmunks Go Hollywood (RCA, 1981). On this album, Alvin sings a duet with a female character billed as Charlene the Chipette. Charlene is featured on the song "You're the One That I Want" from the soundtrack of the motion picture Grease. Charlene was depicted on the album cover as having a long, golden blonde ponytail, and seems to have been the basis for the later character of Brittany.
Like the Chipmunks, the Chipettes were created for the musical medium, and later crossed over into cartoons. According to their creator, Janice Karman, she and Ross Bagdasarian, Jr., "had been doing the albums at that point... We couldn't do the girl songs. I wanted to do female chipmunks that have counter personalities to the Chipmunks so we could do some girl tunes."
Bagdasarian also added in reference to the Chipettes characters, "It enables you to deal with issues that girls are going through that boys wouldn't necessarily be dealing with... We had a baby girl at the time. We wanted to let her know she can be president, or a soccer champion, or whatever... With the Chipettes we can handle those sorts of things."
It is worth noting, however, that the Chipettes of the cartoon series (Brittany, Jeanette and Eleanor) appeared on the small screen before appearing on any albums. Their first appearance on the Chipmunks album was on 1984's Songs From Our TV Shows which was released on March 4, 1984, nearly seven months after the Chipettes debuted on the first episode of the Alvin and the Chipmunks television series on September 17, 1983.
Although the Chipettes featured prominently on many Alvin and the Chipmunks albums, they received equal billing with the Chipmunks only on 1988's The Chipmunks and The Chipettes: Born to Rock.
The Chipettes, redesigned as far more realistic chipmunks, appear in the 2009 film Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. In the movie, Christina Applegate, Anna Faris, and Amy Poehler voice the Chipettes. "There has been a lot of talk about it," noted Janice Karman, one of the film's producers. "A lot of people have been asking about the little girls." Applegate, Faris, and Poehler reprised their respective roles in Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, which was released on December 16, 2011. The Chipettes also appeared in Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip; Applegate and Faris again voice Brittany and Jeanette, but Kaley Cuoco replaces Poehler as the voice of Eleanor.
With the exception of 1987's The Chipmunk Adventure soundtrack (LP) and 1988's The Chipmunks and The Chipettes: Born to Rock, the discography of The Chipettes consists of featured appearances on Alvin and the Chipmunks recordings.