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Work It Out Wombats!
GenrePreschool
Created byKathy Waugh
Marcy Gunther
Robby Hoffman
Marisa Wolsky
Voices ofIan Ho
Mia Swami-Nathan
Rain Janjua
Yanna McIntosh
Theme music composer
  • Bill Sherman
  • Nina Woodford-Wells
Opening theme"Work It Out Wombats!"
Ending theme"Work It Out Wombats!" (instrumental)
Composers
  • Asher Lenz
  • Fabiola Mendez
  • Stephen Skratt
  • Stephen Salas
Country of originUnited States
Canada
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes24 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producersMarcy Gunther
Marisa Wolsky
Production companiesGBH Kids
Pipeline Studios
Original release
NetworkPBS Kids
ReleaseFebruary 6, 2023 (2023-02-06) –
present

Work It Out Wombats! is a children's animated television series that premiered on February 6, 2023, on PBS Kids. The series is produced by GBH Kids and Pipeline Studios.[1] The podcast premiered on January 4, 2024.[2][3]

Plot

The series follows Malik, Zadie, and Zeke, creative marsupial siblings who live with their grandmother (Super) in her treehouse apartment complex, known as the Treeborhood.[4] Every episode features them encountering a problem of some kind and using computational thinking to solve it.[5] In-between each of the episodes is a 90-second music video.

Characters

The main and supporting cast of the series. From left to right: Louisa, Duffy, Quique, Sammy, Leiko, Mr. E, Ellie, Super (holding Malik, Zeke, and Zadie), JunJun, Gabriela, Kaya, Kat, Cece, Amado, Carly, Kit, Clyde

Episodes

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
code [14]
1"Snout and About"
"Zadie's Shell Shuffle"
Jeff BarkerKathy Waugh
Jiro C. Okada
February 6, 2023 (2023-02-06)103

"Snout and About": Zeke loses his beloved stuffed animal, Snout, so the wombats retrace their steps to find it.
"Zadie's Shell Shuffle": While playing hide-and-seek, Zadie messes up Mr. E's shell garden, so she needs to rearrange it in the specific pattern that it was in.

Song: "Cause and Effect": Super sings about cause and effect. Written by Randy Rogel.
2"Junior Supers"
"Measure for Measure"
Jeff BarkerMonique D. Hall
Deanna Oliver
February 6, 2023 (2023-02-06)101

"Junior Supers": Zadie and Malik are tasked to clean the Starlight Room while Super is attending to other things.
"Measure for Measure": Ellie's hat flies away, so the wombats help make her a new one. However, they need to measure how big her head is so they can make a hat that fits just right.

Song: "Break It Down": The wombats make a sandwich by breaking the jobs down into little jobs. Written by Joe Fallon.
3"Special Delivery"
"Campout Confusion"
Jeff BarkerSherri Stoner
Kathy Waugh
February 7, 2023 (2023-02-07)104

"Special Delivery": Sammy is sick, and Malik wants to deliver ice cream to him. He needs to find a way to stop the ice cream from melting.
"Campout Confusion": Zadie wants to host a fun campout, and invites the crab kids to it. Things don't go the way she wanted because she didn't plan ahead.

Song: "The More I Try, The More I Know": The wombats try out different scents for Super's bubble bath. Song by Andrea Leon-Ramos.
4"Snout Wash Day"
"A Super Recipe"
Jeff BarkerCusi Cram & Peter K. Hirsch
Nida Chowdhry
February 8, 2023 (2023-02-08)102

"Snout Wash Day": Snout is very dirty and needs to be washed, but Malik accidentally spills soap on the instructions.
"A Super Recipe": The wombats want to make cornbread for Grandma Super, but when they lose the cookbook, they need to create the recipe by other means.

Song: "What Do You See?": Mr. E, Ellie, and Zeke sing about how they view art differently. Written by Sofia Geck.
5"Summerweenie Halloweenie"
"Make It Snow"
Jeff BarkerDeanna Oliver
Michael Olmo
February 9, 2023 (2023-02-09)110

"Summerweenie Halloweenie": The wombats go trick-or-treating in summer, and learn how to organize their treats by size and color. Mr. E doesn't like Halloween at first, but he grows to love it when he joins the wombats.
"Make It Snow": Zeke wants to play in snow, but it's not winter. After Mr. E shows the wombats a snow globe, they decide to make their own giant snow globe, and search for materials that could stand in for snow.

Song: "Mystery Box": JunJun and Malik try to guess what's inside Louisa's mystery box. Written by Andrea Leon-Ramos.
6"Crab Quakes"
"Hopping Helpers"
Jeff BarkerDeanna Oliver
Crescent Imani Novell
February 13, 2023 (2023-02-13)106

"Crab Quakes": The crabs are scared by something scary they heard, so they run away to the wombats' house to seek refuge. The wombats take it upon themselves to solve the mystery of what made the noise. They figure out that the noise came from a wind-up dragon toy.
"Hopping Helpers": Malik, Zadie, and Zeke realize that it feels good to help others, so they become the "Hopping Helpers" and try to help everyone in the Treeborhood. But with all the tasks they have to do, they realize that even helpers need help sometimes.

Song: "What's Going On?": The wombats find out what's making a scary shadow in their room. Written by Glen Berger.
7"Brother Day"
"Cafe Chaos"
Jeff BarkerDarnell Lamont Walker
Cooper Sweeney
February 14, 2023 (2023-02-14)107

"Brother Day": Malik learns the key to a successful brother day; ask the brother in question, Zeke, what he wants to do.
"Cafe Chaos": After Duffy sprains her ankle, Zeke and Louisa become waiters at the Eat N' Greet. However, waiting so many tables at once proves to be difficult for them, and they keep screwing up the orders. Quique helps them memorize the steps to being a waiter. With Zeke and Louisa's help and newfound waiter skills, Mr. E's luncheon with Ellie goes great.

Song: "Collaborate": The wombats work together to get a box to the top of the hill. Written by Stacey Greenberger.
8"The Sleepover"
"Secret Tunnels"
Jeff BarkerGlen Berger & Peter Ferland
Chuck Tately
February 15, 2023 (2023-02-15)109

"The Sleepover": Zeke attends a sleepover at the Creation Station with Louisa and the crab kids, but the activities at the sleepover are nothing like his usual bedtime routine.
"Secret Tunnels": When the wombats want to deliver books to the crab kids, Super shows them a secret network of passageways in the underbelly of the Treeborhood. Zeke loses his book, so the wombats have to navigate the tunnels to find it.

Song: "One Part at a Time": Ellie teaches Malik the steps to a dance. Written by Sofia Geck.
9"The Mighty Zeke"
"Gift For a Fish"
Jeff BarkerMichael Olmo
Kathy Waugh
February 16, 2023 (2023-02-16)105

"The Mighty Zeke": Malik and Zadie help Zeke overcome his fear of riding a two-wheeler.
"Gift For a Fish": The Fishmans had their babies, and the wombats were invited to their baby shower. The wombats come up with the perfect gift for the fish babies.

Song: "Sandcastle Song": The crab kids try different ways to get their sandcastle to stay up. Written by Pierce Freelon.
10"Me Time"
"Zadie and the Really Big, Really Loud Noisy Thing"
Jeff BarkerCusi Cram & Peter Hirsch
Sherri Stoner
February 20, 2023 (2023-02-20)108

"Me Time": After they find out that Super takes time off for herself every day, Malik and Zadie set out to create the perfect "Me Time."
"Zadie and the Really Big, Really Loud Noisy Thing": Zadie needs a place where she can make lots of noise.

Song" "Pattern Song": Super sings about patterns. Written by Randy Rogel.
11"Talent Turmoil"
"Zeke's Collection Selection"
Jeff BarkerCooper Sweeney
Darnell Lamont Walker
February 21, 2023 (2023-02-21)114

"Talent Turmoil": The Treeborhood holds a talent show, and Zeke is in charge of everyone's props. Trouble arises when the props are put in the wrong order.
"Zeke's Collection Selection": The Treeborhood is holding a collection bonanza, so Zeke tries to create his own collection.

Song: "Same But Different": Zadie and Malik sing about similarities and differences. Written by Randy Rogel.
12"Helper For the Day"
"Racecar Wombats"
Jeff BarkerDeanna Oliver
Jessica Tsou
February 22, 2023 (2023-02-22)113

"Helper For the Day": Zeke helps Mr. E sort things at the Everything Emporium.
"Racecar Wombats": The wombats want to participate in the Treeborhood Derby, but struggle to get their homemade box race car out in time for the race.

Song: "The Clean-Up Song": The wombats clean their room. Song by Ron Holsey.
13"Sparklepants"
"Game Changer"
Jeff BarkerGlen Berger & Peter Ferland
Sherri Stoner
February 27, 2023 (2023-02-27)111

"Sparklepants": While preparing for Ellie's welcome home party, Mr. E accidentally orders 200 pairs of Sparklepants. It's up to JunJun and Zadie to figure out what to do with the pants before Ellie gets home from her vacation.
"Game Changer": No one has time to play with Zadie, so she decides to play with the crab kids. They all try to find a game that they can all enjoy. Meanwhile, Zeke and Malik collect umbrellas.

Song: "Set the Table": The wombats learn to set the table before they eat. Song by Ron Holsey.
14"Bake It Til You Make It"
"Zoom In Zadie"
Jeff BarkerRachel Reuben
Atul N. Rao
February 28, 2023 (2023-02-28)112

"Bake It Til You Make It": Zeke and Louisa sell mud pies in exchange for stickers, but they need to figure out how to bake the perfect pie.
"Zoom In Zadie": Mr. E has never been able to paint a square. Zadie tries to get the others to help but realizes that she needs to take a good picture to send to the Treeborhood newsletter.

Song: "Step It Out": The wombats go over the steps they need to get ready for the beach. Song by Ron Holsey.
15"Moo Moo Choo Choo"
"Lake Bellyflop"
Jeff BarkerSherri Stoner
Crystal Villarreal
July 24, 2023 (2023-07-24)119[15]

"Moo Moo Choo Choo": The wombats unstick a stuck train.
"Lake Bellyflop": The group goes to Bellyflop Lake.

Song: "The Wombat Wiggle": The wombats show a dance called the Wombat Wiggle. Song by Ron Holsey.
16"3,2,1 Lift Off!"
"Moon Magic"
Jeff BarkerNatalie Vazquez
Kathy Waugh
July 25, 2023 (2023-07-25)118[16]

"3, 2, 1 Lift Off!": The wombats look for unicorns on the moon.
"Moon Magic": Louisa commands the moon to change its shape.

Song: "Get Things Going Your Way": The wombats encourage Leiko and Duffy to keep trying, even if they fall. Song by Glen Berger.
17"Color Fun"
"A Super Invention"
Jeff BarkerDarnell Lamont Walker
Deanna Oliver
July 26, 2023 (2023-07-26)122[17]

"Color Fun": The wombats invent a color game.
"A Super Invention": Super invents a Huggyback rider.

Song (repeat from episode 1): "Cause and Effect": Super sings about cause and effect. Written by Randy Rogel.
18"A Sleep Story for Ellie"
"Super's Super Mug"
Jeff BarkerSherri Stone
Mercedes Brazier-Thurman
July 27, 2023 (2023-07-27)121[18]

"A Sleep Story for Ellie": Zadie soothes Ellie to sleep with a story.
"Super's Super Mug": The wombats fix Super's favorite mug.

Song (repeat from episode 5): "Mystery Box": JunJun and Malik try to guess what's inside Louisa's mystery box. Written by Andrea Leon-Ramos.
19"JunJun's Wake Up Call"
"Stack 'em Up"
Jeff BarkerCheyenne "Casper" Lynn
Rachel Reuben
July 31, 2023 (2023-07-31)120[19]

"JunJun's Wake Up Call": Zadie comes up with a plan to make sure sleepy-head, JunJun makes it to Ice Cream for breakfast.
"Stack 'em Up": Zeke tackles cleaning Super's closet.

Song: "It's Pancake Day": The wombats choose pancake toppings. Song by Ron Holsey.
20"A Boxful of Snout"
"Postcard from Snout"
Jeff BarkerChuck Tately
Deanna Oliver
August 1, 2023 (2023-08-01)117[20]

"A Boxful of Snout": The wombats lose Snout while helping Mr. E wrap boxes.
"Postcard from Snout": Snout sends a postcard to Zeke.

Song: "The Day is Over, Night is On its Way" The wombats sing a lullaby to the Treeborhood. Song by Kathy Waugh
21"Amazing Adventure"
"Kayatastic Split"
Jeff BarkerCrescent Imani Novell
Jehan Madhani & Sherri Stoner
August 2, 2023 (2023-08-02)116[21]

"Amazing Adventure": The wombats go on a treasure hunt.
"Kayatastic Split": Kaya has to get creative for her Kaya-tastic Banana-tastic Halo-Halo Split cooking class.

Song: "Don't Cry Little Fishes" Ellie babysits the Fishman's children. Song by Pierce Freelon
22"The Treeborhood Photo Album"
"Runway Recycling"
Jeff BarkerSherri Stoner
Tavashia Berry
August 3, 2023 (2023-08-03)115[22]

"The Treeborhood Photo Album": The wombats learn the history of their beloved tree.
"Runway Recycling": Mr. E judges a sculpture contest.

Song: "Drip, Drop" The wombats wait for a few days until the rain stops. Song by Andrea Leon-Ramos
23"The Treeborhood Harvest Day"
"The Treeborhood Thankfulness Stew"
Jeff Barker & Andrea GerstmannKathy Waugh
Sherri Stoner
November 13, 2023 (2023-11-13)130[23]

"The Treeborhood Harvest Day": Harvest Day might be canceled due to fog, so Zadie and Malik help Mr. E find some fog googles.
"The Treeborhood Thankfulness Stew": Zeke and Louisa make a stew while the other kids play the game.

Song (repeat from episode 7): "Collaborate" The wombats work together to get a box to the top of the hill. Written by Stacey Greenberger.
24"The Treeborhood Parranda"
"Happy New Acorn Year!"
Jeff Barker & Andrea GerstmannNatalie Vazquez
Michael Olmo
December 4, 2023 (2023-12-04)133[24]

"The Treeborhood Parranda": The Treeborhood celebrates a parranda.
"Happy New Acorn Year!": The wombats try to stay awake on New Year's Eve.

Song (repeat from episode 8): "One Part at a Time": Ellie teaches Malik the steps to a dance. Written by Sofia Geck.
25"Yo-Ho-Ho: A Sandwich for Mr. E"
"Balloonie for Youie"
TBATBATBA129[25]

Development

The themes and ideas of the show were previously covered in Aha Island, a WGBH multimedia project about monkeys who use computational thinking. Some elements from Aha Island were recycled for Work It Out Wombats, such as the existence of the Everything Emporium.[26] The series was greenlit in October 2020, under the working title of Wombats![27] Wombats were chosen as the species of the main characters because they are underused in media.[28] Early-career writers were granted fellowships so they could bring diverse viewpoints and BIPOC representation to the series.[29] The production team worked to ensure authentic representations of names, language, and some of the cultural origins found with the animals themselves, while keeping in mind that animals are not a proxy for race and ethnicity. For example, JunJun and his family are Philippine eagles, while Ellie is a moose; an animal not found in Jamaica.[30]

Casting

The producers deliberately sought out voice actors that match the ethnicity of the characters to ensure authenticity.[31] Rain Janjua, the voice of Zeke, originally auditioned for the role of Malik for being asked to try out for Zeke. To create the voice, Janjua tried to recall how his voice sounded at five years old.[32]

Animation

The series is animated in Toon Boom Harmony. The characters are animated using complicated rigging systems that allow the animators to draw things by hand, thus giving each character their own nuances and walk cycles. The designs of the characters and settings are rounded in order to create a friendly, welcoming feel. Curvilinear perspective and hazing is used for the backgrounds to make the characters stand out.[33]

Reception

Audience viewership

Work It Out Wombats achieved 23 million streams on PBS Kids video platforms within its first two weeks, as well as over 1.7 million views on YouTube.[34]

Critical response

The series was praised for its positive messages, educational value, and high-energy characters. Writing for Common Sense Media, Diondra Brown rated it a 5/5, saying "The show's quality matches -- actually, exceeds, the high expectations viewers have for PBS Kids programming."[35]

Controversy

The lesbian characters of Leiko and Duffy caused the series to be controversial among anti-LGBT crowds. In May 2023, the Governor of Oklahoma, Kevin Stitt, vetoed a measure to provide state funding to Oklahoma Educational Television Authority for three years, due to their broadcasting of Work It Out Wombats! (and of Clifford the Big Red Dog (2019 TV series), which also features same-sex parents) and the claims that it "overly sexualizing" kids.[36]

Accolades

Year Award Category Nominee Result Ref.
2024 GLAAD Media Awards Outstanding Children's Programming Work It Out Wombats! Pending [37]

Marketing

To promote the series, a walkaround mascot of Zeke traveled to different places in the Boston area from February 22 to February 24, under the title "Zeke's Big Boston Adventure." Zeke went to the Boston Children's Museum, the Franklin Park Zoo, and the Boston Public Library. The Mayor of Boston, Michelle Wu, declared February 21 as "Work It Out Wombats Day."[38]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Work It Out Wombats! . Work It Out Wombats! . Home | PBS KIDS | PBS KIDS". pbskids.org. Retrieved June 29, 2011.
  2. ^ "Work it Out Wombats! Podcasts Station News WQPT PBS". wqpt.org. January 2024. Retrieved February 1, 2024.
  3. ^ "Facebook". www.facebook.com. January 3, 2024. Retrieved February 1, 2024. You're invited to a playdate with Malik, Zadie, and Zeke! WHEN: Starting tomorrow...
  4. ^ "PBS KIDS Announces New Series, WORK IT OUT WOMBATS! Debuting Winter 2023". About PBS – Main. Retrieved February 8, 2023.
  5. ^ "New PBS KIDS Series, WORK IT OUT WOMBATS!, Premieres February 6, 2023". CPB. Corporation for Public Broadcasting. July 26, 2022. Retrieved February 10, 2023.
  6. ^ Work It Out Wombats! [@WombatsPBS] (January 2, 2023). "Malik is the oldest of the Wombats, and he's been known to make a careful list of pros and cons. ⭐ Meet Malik FEBRUARY 6th, 2023 on @PBSKIDS! #WombatsPBS ⭐ https://t.co/rPOvT5WuTM" (Tweet). Retrieved February 23, 2023 – via Twitter.
  7. ^ Work It Out Wombats! [@WombatsPBS] (January 4, 2023). "Zadie doesn't have just one idea, she has eight. Twelve! A hundred! She's looking to get more patience— somewhere and immediately. ⭐ Meet Zadie FEBRUARY 6th, 2023 on @PBSKIDS! #WombatsPBS ⭐ https://t.co/QQnJvrFjbD" (Tweet). Retrieved February 23, 2023 – via Twitter.
  8. ^ Work It Out Wombats! [@WombatsPBS] (January 6, 2023). "Zeke is the youngest of the Wombats, and he is rarely spotted without his stuffy Snout— who is better than Zeke at keeping secrets. ⭐ Meet Zeke FEBRUARY 6th, 2023 on @PBSKIDS! #WombatsPBS ⭐ https://t.co/MCe9zQlF8L" (Tweet). Archived from the original on February 10, 2023. Retrieved February 23, 2023 – via Twitter.
  9. ^ Work It Out Wombats! [@WombatsPBS] (January 13, 2023). "Super is the squishiest, huggiest grandma you'll ever find. But, where can you find her? ➡️ She might be under the sink, fixing a skateboard ramp, or even hang-gliding. ⭐ Meet Gramma Super FEBRUARY 6th, 2023 on @PBSKIDS! #WombatsPBS ⭐ https://t.co/QO3tWw7CbA" (Tweet). Retrieved February 23, 2023 – via Twitter.
  10. ^ Work It Out Wombats! [@WombatsPBS] (January 21, 2023). "While cleaning the Everything Emporium, Mr. E might accidentally knock over boxes, topple displays, and then fire himself for incompetence. ⭐ Meet Mr. E FEBRUARY 6th on @PBSKIDS! #WombatsPBS ⭐ https://t.co/2uOtLym45P" (Tweet). Archived from the original on February 10, 2023. Retrieved February 23, 2023 – via Twitter.
  11. ^ Work It Out Wombats! [@WombatsPBS] (February 3, 2023). "Never running out of things to do, Ellie is a rock for the Treeborhood. ⭐ Meet Ellie on @PBSKIDS starting FEBRUARY 6TH! #WombatsPBS ⭐ https://t.co/SUixstDYGX" (Tweet). Archived from the original on February 10, 2023. Retrieved February 23, 2023 – via Twitter.
  12. ^ a b "WORK IT OUT WOMBATS! Creators on new PBS Kids animated series – Exclusive Interview – Assignment X". February 6, 2023.
  13. ^ Work It Out Wombats! [@WombatsPBS] (February 4, 2023). "Why is Sammy so cool and thoughtful? Because that's how his Dad, Quique, is! ⭐ Meet Sammy and Quique on @PBSKIDS starting FEBRUARY 6TH! #WombatsPBS ⭐ https://t.co/NEgC9lVHaV" (Tweet). Retrieved February 23, 2023 – via Twitter.
  14. ^ "Episode of Work It Out Wombats!". tv.azpm.org. Retrieved February 10, 2023.
  15. ^ "Schedule Program - WGTE Public Media". wgte.org. Retrieved May 16, 2023.
  16. ^ "Schedule Program - WGTE Public Media". wgte.org. Retrieved May 16, 2023.
  17. ^ "Schedule Program - WGTE Public Media". wgte.org. Retrieved May 16, 2023.
  18. ^ "Schedule Program - WGTE Public Media". wgte.org. Retrieved May 16, 2023.
  19. ^ "Schedule Program - WGTE Public Media". wgte.org. Retrieved May 16, 2023.
  20. ^ "Schedule Program - WGTE Public Media". wgte.org. Retrieved August 2, 2023.
  21. ^ "Schedule Program - WGTE Public Media". wgte.org. Retrieved August 2, 2023.
  22. ^ "Schedule Program - WGTE Public Media". wgte.org. Retrieved August 3, 2023.
  23. ^ "Schedule Program - WGTE Public Media". wgte.org. Retrieved October 19, 2023.
  24. ^ "Schedule Program - WGTE Public Media". wgte.org. Retrieved October 19, 2023.
  25. ^ "Schedule Program - WGTE Public Media". wgte.org. Retrieved October 24, 2023.
  26. ^ "AHA Island". Aha Island. Retrieved February 21, 2023.
  27. ^ "CPB and PBS Awarded Ready To Learn Grant from the U.S. Department of Education". PBS. Retrieved February 10, 2023.
  28. ^ Miller, Bruce R. (February 5, 2023). "Wombats help pre-schoolers think through problems in new PBS series". Culpeper Star Exponent. Retrieved March 14, 2023.
  29. ^ "Work It Out Wombats! Scriptwriting Fellowship Brings Diverse Perspectives to New GBH Kids STEM Series". WGBH. Retrieved February 10, 2023.
  30. ^ Morales, Wilson. "Exclusive: Creative Producer Kareem Edouard, Ph.D. talks animated series 'Work It Out Wombats!'". BlackFilmandTV.com. Retrieved February 10, 2023.
  31. ^ "Filipino characters featured in 'Work It Out Wombats!' cartoon series on PBS KIDS". TheFilAm.net. Retrieved February 13, 2023.
  32. ^ "Problem Solving". Spotify (Podcast). The Children's Hour. February 26, 2023. Event occurs at 12:01. Retrieved March 14, 2023.
  33. ^ ANIMATION: Behind the Scenes of Work It Out Wombats! on PBS KIDS (Video). Work It Out Wombats!. March 13, 2023. Retrieved March 14, 2023.
  34. ^ Northrop, Daphne (March 23, 2023). "It's Hard Work Being a Wombat". GBH. Retrieved March 29, 2023.
  35. ^ Brown, Diondra. "Work It Out Wombats! TV Review". Common Sense Media. Retrieved March 29, 2023.
  36. ^ Forman, Carmen (April 28, 2023). "Stitt vetoes OETA bill, accuses network of trying to 'indoctrinate' kids". Tulsa World. Retrieved May 4, 2023.
  37. ^ "GLAAD ANNOUNCES NOMINEES FOR THE 35th ANNUAL GLAAD MEDIA AWARDS". GLAAD. January 17, 2024. Retrieved January 19, 2024.
  38. ^ "Tuesday, February 21". WGBH. February 21, 2023. Retrieved February 23, 2023.