Bad Animals

The scariest instance of duckface on record.

The scariest instance of duckface on record.

If you watched any Nickelodeon in the late 80’s, you almost undoubtedly saw plenty of this commercial for some kind of early educational aid called “Sweet Pickles”…

tuesday tvThe commercial is the typical decades old fucked up mess I love to turn over the coals on my blog, with scary mascots that were even rejected by McDonalds, overly excitable kids who probably take candy from strangers, and parents who really think their kids won’t end up working at Mecca all of their lives.  But when I began to delve into just what in the hell Sweet Pickles was to start with, I realized that the entire concept behind the franchise was even more ridiculous than this incessantly run commercial was!

All of a sudden, my goofy characters don't seem so strange.

All of a sudden, my goofy characters don’t seem so strange.

Sweet Pickles was a fiction town inhabited by exactly 26 anthropomorphic animals of different species, which naturally led to a lot of wild and crazy cross-breeding.  These weren’t just any normal 26 critters though, they coincidentally each represented every letter of the alphabet in both their species and the fucked up name their parents gave them.  The Sweet Pickles gang all had their own personal issues, and it was through celebrating their fails that the program taught kids proper behavior better than the cast of Jersey Shore.

And they didn't give kids diabeetus like Wilford Brimley's bad advice.

And they didn’t give kids diabeetus like Wilford Brimley’s bad advice.

Note: This wound up being so long of a post, that I didn’t bother to go back and edit, so please excuse any mistakes!  You know, like you usually do when having to read my blog anyway…

And now, let’s take a look at these 26 misfits that inhabit the town with the gayest name ever….

The slumlord of Sweet Pickles.

The slumlord of Sweet Pickles.

Accusing Alligator could do no wrong.  She thought everything bad that happened was someone else’s fault.  While this attitude is very much in fashion in today’s political debate arena, back in the 80’s, most of the other critters saw Miss Alligator as a rabblerousing snitch.  One day, Accusing Alligator disappeared, and nobody was there to point out that Gangster Goat was simultaneously rocking a new pair of shoes…

You know, Bashful, you might be more sociable if you put away the damn banjo.

You know, Bashful, you might be more sociable if you put away the damn banjo.

Bashful Bear was the quiet, shy introvert of the town.  Nevermind that he could probably eat half of the townscritters for breakfast, he was still afraid of them.  It wasn’t until a talent scout came through as Bashful was crapping in the woods and gave him his current gig as the spokesbear for Charmin that he managed to come out of his shell… though the newfound fame merely went to his head and the bear wound up sharing a jail cell with Justin Bieber.  The secret tape of how he got Justin to sing “Baby, Baby” that night has just been released by TMZ…

This book comes with its own Surgeon General's Warning.

This book comes with its own Surgeon General’s Warning.

Clever Camel runs the town’s repair shop and can fix anything… except the economy, the World Series, and all of the issues with WordPress.  Camel isn’t really any more clever than a regular person with a roll of duct tape, and she could do nothing to fix her brother’s image when he got fired from his cigarette advertising gig.  She also takes every Wednesday off, which is pretty damn inconvenient…

"Fuck you and your bucket, you mangy Yak!"

“Fuck you and your bucket, you mangy Yak!”

Doubtful Dog is a walking, talking, flea scratching poster canine for shitty self esteem.  He doesn’t believe in anything, including himself.  Accusing Alligator tried to evict him for shitting on the carpet and biting Camel the repairman when she showed up to fix the chewed up furniture, but his deep psychological issues got him committed to a mental institution and a room covered in puppy pads.  At last report, Dog was doubtful he would ever be released.

Is the main course ready yet?

Is the main course ready yet?

Enormous Elephant was in the Sweet Pickles bunch because 30 years ago, it was still OK to make fun of fat people.  Back in those days, when people were bullied, instead of crying to their mommy, they fought back… and since Elephant ran the town’s supermarket, it gave her a prime opportunity to exact some sweet revenge by soaking all of the produce in a vat of laxatives.  Bashful Bear had to return from Hollywood with a truckload of TP to save the day…

Five seconds later, she found her scaly body impaled on cupid's arm atop the fountain.

Five seconds later, she found her scaly body impaled on cupid’s arm atop the fountain.

Fearless Fish was an even uglier version of Evel Knievel.  She was a living monument to the fine line between bravery and stupidity.  Though there is nothing practical about being able to do a flip on a motorcycle, Fearless Fish does it anyway just because she can…. on the sixth attempt… this time not ending up in a medically induced coma.  Her death defying acrobatics wowed the creatures of Sweet Pickles until one day an errant flip sent her sailing into Elephant’s mouth…

Mismatched socks?  Hell, this goose was ahead of her time!

Mismatched socks? Hell, this goose was ahead of her time!

Goof Off Goose was the hideous creature who emerged from the bus to scare small children and adults alike in the Sweet Pickles commercials.  Why she was chosen to perform this physical activity is odd since she was the laziest one of the whole bunch.  She couldn’t be bothered to do anything, and her house was often a fucking mess.  When asked how she wound up with a spare tire among her living room disaster area, she merely replied, “Entropy” before going back to watching her “Hoarders” marathon…

A fatass is a terrible thing to waste.

A fatass is a terrible thing to waste.

How Healthy Hippo wound up with his adjective rather than the more fitting “Hypocrite Hippo” is kind of a mystery.  I guess they figured it was OK to assault kids with the consequences of adult faults, but not four bit words yet.  Hippo was the town physician, and loved to give out health tips that he quite obviously didn’t follow himself.  Like every other overweight, chain smoking doctor, it was hard to take his advice seriously without rolling your eyes.  Alligator blamed him for contracting gonorrhea, and Dog flat out called him a quack.

The result of spending too much time in the insane asylum called Sweet Pickles.

The result of spending too much time in the insane asylum called Sweet Pickles.

Imitating Iguana was one of the worst kind of creatures you will ever come into contact with… she’s a fucking copycat.  Most people loathe those who lack originality, yet can’t resist the opportunity to steal what makes someone else special.  Here we see Iguana trying to be a zebra, an elephant, a bird, and Rod Stewart all at the same time.  Whether this bonzai approach to being a douchebag is the result of that bottle of glue she’d been sniffing, or maybe the head trauma of getting beaten up too much by those who didn’t find her imitations to be funny is unknown.



It’s kind of hard not to feel sorry for Jealous Jackal.  His species is always associated with the Egyptian god Anubis, who is like one of the coolest figures in any culture’s mythology ever.  Yet most jackals look like wolves who spent too long on the poor side of town, and even Jealous Jackal looks like one of their outcasts.  One day, Jackal went to McDonald’s and found Imitating Iguana backing under the heat lamp after she nearly froze to death pretending to be a warm blooded creature all day long.  He was so envious of her stolen good looks, and she soooo wanted to be like Anubis’ tenth cousin, 785 times removed, that the two fell in love.  Now they are the one couple nobody in Sweet Pickles wants to invite over to a party.

I no longer draw the most hideous looking kangaroos on the planet.

I no longer draw the most hideous looking kangaroos on the planet.

Kidding Kangaroo thinks life’s better with squirting flowers, whoopie cushions, and Kick Me signs.  He’s the town jackass who poured itching powder into Dog’s flea dip, drew naughty parts on all of the posters in Dr. Hippo’s office, and put sugar in gas tank of Fearless Fish’s motorcycle just before the stunt that finally fileted her.  Kangaroo’s existence continued to be jam packed with fun at the expense of others until the day he tried to imitate Jokey Smurf’s famous exploding package trick and wound off getting shipped off to Guantanamo Bay to be waterboarded along with all of the other international terrorists…

Lion needs a hug... and a bath.

Lion needs a hug… and a bath.

Loving Lion is one of those insufferable critters who can’t make it through their day without the approval of everyone else.  He loves everybody, and all he asks for in return is constant reminders that his love is reciprocated.  Besides the curly mane and a preoccupation with hearts that have led the menagerie in Sweet Pickles to believe he’s a mascot for the other team, the main reason Lion can’t find any love is the fact that his last GF had to go into hiding after he sent 8,000 texts to her in one day while she was at work asking if she really loved him.

The Moose is a Douche.

The Moose is a Douche.

Moody Moose is the life of the party one minute, then a complete asshole the next.  It’s hard to blame him after all of those years as the main attraction at Wally World made him insanely popular.  But then he was tragically assaulted by a park patron, and the next thing Moody knew, the park had replaced him while he was out on Workman’s Comp.  One moment you’re greeting the world at the entrance to America’s theme park mecca, and then the next you’re greeting customers in their pajamas and handing out smiley faces at Mecca.  Wouldn’t you be a bit moody after a roller coaster life like that, too?

Jackal looks like he's about to bitchslap someone...

Jackal looks like he’s about to bitchslap someone…

Nasty Nightingale is a fine, feathered cunt.  There, I said it.  She isn’t nasty in the same way Janet Jackson was, Nightingale’s nastiness is the kind that can only be brought on by a lifetime of heartache and bitterness.  Maybe she was dropped out of the nest as a chick, or just got tired of everyone calling her Florence.  Today, she spends her time trolling internet message boards and blogs to share the love by starting flame wars and leaving hurtful comments.

When she gets run over by the government tank, there will be a special on calimari at Elephant's deli.

When she gets run over by the government tank, there will be a special on calimari at Elephant’s deli.

Outraged Octopus doesn’t like the world, and thinks that the only way to change it is by constantly bitching about it.  She organized a rally of one to put a stop to Fearless Fish’s ozone layer destroying stunts, she laid in front of the door at Dr. Hippo’s office when she found out he was giving out suckers to the little cubs, and she chained herself to Alligator’s apartment building because the rent was too damn high.  This last incident didn’t end so well when Nasty Nightingale came by to pour a can of salt over the self-restrained octopus.  Oh well, you can’t have ch-ch-ch-ch-changes without a little suffering…

You're right!  I can smell the bacon frying from here...

You’re right! I can smell the bacon frying from here…

Positive Pig is a porcine Pollyanna that would be a ray of sunshine peeking out over the bloody aftermath of a battlefield.  Pig’s overbearing cheeriness was quite often out of place in the dysfunctional town of Sweet Pickles.  She was so goddamn happy, she literally had rainbows coming out of her pork butt.  Nobody realized she was just high on Prozac, or that she’d fall for that invitation Kidding Kangaroo gave her to the town’s luau.  It was the one night that Positive Pig actually made every critter happy… well, except for Doubting Dog who got a bad post-party case of the shits…

Hmmmm, does potato have an E on the end of it or not?

Hmmmm, does potato have an E on the end of it or not?

Questioning Quail can’t make up her mind.  Boo fucking hoo, bitch!  You live in the same village as an elephant with an eating disorder, a fish with a death wish, and an octopus that thinks the only way to accomplish things is to impede on people’s normal routines.  Nobody cares that you can’t decide between paper and plastic, or that you’ve been totally unable to finish a Choose Your Own Adventure book.  Get over yourself, already.

Excuse me, but would you happen to have the fucking time, freak?

Excuse me, but would you happen to have the fucking time, freak?

Responsible Rabbit ain’t got no time for that.  He’s a busy little bunny who is stuck in the world of banker’s hours, meaning he probably has more free time off of work than everyone else in Sweet Pickles does.  But that doesn’t keep him from being an antisocial prick who can’t be bothered by anyone who doesn’t have a banking issue for him to solve.  Sadly, when Rabbit finally dropped dead from a heart attack due to all the stress he put upon himself, the economy of the entire town collapsed, and anarchy ensued.  Accusing Alligator naturally blamed Outraged Octopus for the downfall…

That's the most ridiculous thing I ever hoid!

That’s the most ridiculous thing I ever hoid!

Smarty Stork was the town smartass.  He was a font of useless knowledge that wasn’t afraid to soak anyone unlucky enough to cross his path.  He was also the postmaster of Sweet Pickles, which makes one wonder if whoever invented Cliff Clavin’s character wasn’t being an Imitating Iguana.  Stork knew that it was going to rain today, Stork knew that Rabbit should have never invested the bank’s money in, Stork knew that one day we’d have glowing potatoes.  The reason Stork was so booksmart was the fact that due to the inability of anyone in the town to successfully breed, he had plenty of time on his hands from not having to deliver babies.  Stick a pickle in it, Stork… and make it a crunchy Vlasic…

I'd throw a fit too if Loving Lion was giving me "the look"...

I’d throw a fit too if Loving Lion was giving me “the look”…

Temper Tantrum Turtle gets pissed off pretty easily, which I guess you’d expect if you were stuck in a shell all your life, and Fearless Fish always used you to wax her motorcycle.  Besides being the only denizen of Sweet Pickles to have a middle name, Turtle was also well known for her legendary hissy fits.  When Rabbit raised the interest rate on her adjustable mortgage, she stormed into the bank and ripped all of the pens off of their chains.  When Kangaroo spray painted “TURD-LE” on the back of her shell, she whipped out her AK-47 and…. well, the town still doesn’t talk about that dark chapter in its history.  But even Nasty Nightingale was always nice to Turtle after that incident…

You gotta admit, having a carrot for a horn is pretty unique..

You gotta admit, having a carrot for a horn is pretty unique..

You might think all unicorns are the same, but not Sweet Pickles’ resident non-existent beast, Unique Unicorn.  The SP staff worked hard to make their unicorn as unique as possible… starting off by casting her as the old maid of the town.  Yes, Unicorn is the oldest critter in all of Sweet Pickles, yet she still pines for the days before her rainbow hair turned gray.  That exciting evening that she went down to the Bingo hall with Nasty Nightingale and Goof-off Goose was a real gas, right up to the moment Nightingale called Moody Moose a cocksucker for not calling her number.  Good times!

The sex symbol of the 70's.

The sex symbol of the 70’s.

Vain Vulture thinks he’s damn fine, and wants you to recognize his sexiness.  Nevermind that just a half hour ago, he was picking the flesh off of a dead possum that Fearless Fish had run over, or that he looks like a horrific cross between an alien, a Bond villain, and Tony Manero.  He has far too much self esteem about vulturely good looks, and should loan some of that self-love to Doubtful Dog, who would undoubtedly get more chicks than this freak who looks like he just popped out of John Hurt’s stomach…

Don't worry.  I will.  Especially once I get a good laugh after you fall and bust your ass...

Don’t worry. I will. Especially once I get a good laugh after you fall and bust your ass…

Worried Walrus does not subscribe to the Alfred E. Neuman philosophy.  He worries about everything.  He worries that Loving Lion’s Aqua Net is going to deplete the ozone layer.  He worries that Vain Vulture is going to steal his imaginary girlfriend.  He worries that one day, some idiot is going to blog about how fucked up he is.  Man up, piano teeth!

You and the Octopus can both go get fucked.

You and the Octopus can both go get fucked.

X-Rating Xerus was the unintentional result of the Sweet Pickles team forgetting how hard things were going to get once they reached the end of the alphabet and they had to come up with an animal AND a trait that started with X.  If you think Xerus looks like a squirrel, you are right!  The xerus is actually an African ground squirrel.  And though Xerus’ cover story was that she was a critter who spent all day making up signs telling all the long-haired freaky critters what they couldn’t do, we all know what X-Rating really means.  Google up the sex tape Xerus once made with Vulture, but make sure you have plenty of eye bleach on hand before you do!

And when you finish doing that... Bring in Doubtful Dog, and put out Loving Lion.

And when you finish doing that… Bring in Doubtful Dog, and put out Loving Lion.

Yakety Yak can’t shut the fuck up.  In a town populated solely by rejects, the last thing they needed on top of all of the daily drama was a big hairy beast with diarrhea of the mouth.  Yak was the village taxi driver, which is not really surprising given that he was an Asian immigrant and this was the still unpolitically correct 80’s.  You shoulda seen the time Nasty Nightingale got trapped in Yakety Yak’s taxi along with Smarty Stork.  To this day, neither of their bodies have been found.

I hope that isn't referring to his fly.

I hope that isn’t referring to his fly.

If you made it this far, you may as well get to know the final miscreant in the land of Sweet Pickles, and that’s Zany Zebra.  He likes to be different, and wants to make sure you appreciate his questionable lifestyle choices.  While we here at The Nest certainly encourage uniqueness and being true to yourself, there are also times when we wish people would shove their freak flags up their ass.  Because of the bluntness of his nonconformity, Zebra was ostracized from town.  For a while, he hooked up with fellow outcast P!nk, until she realized that she couldn’t stand anyone who was different other than herself.  Zebra was last scene on the reality show circuit, typically on some cable channel with a really high number that nobody ever watches…

This is what kids learned from in the 80's!?!?

This is what kids learned from in the 80’s!?!?

Now you know what was in all of those plastic little buses… the key to a city populated by critters even the Island of Misfit Toys wouldn’t take.  We lived and learned from these alliterative stereotypes, and we here at The Nest would like to take this time to thank the Sweet Pickles gang for showing us what we didn’t want to be when we grew up.  Or at least, what we would have learned had the creepy goose not been chosen to deliver the goods…

Go hide in your room, Timmy, while I bolt the door and get your Daddy's shotgun!

Go hide in your room, Timmy, while I bolt the door and get your Daddy’s shotgun!


About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
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28 Responses to Bad Animals

  1. NotAPunkRocker says:

    What the what? I do not remember this at all, but I could have used Outraged Octopus for my post today. Next time…

    Now you have me thinking about these weird puppets that were on TV for each letter of the alphabet, but I can’t remember the show or what they were called other than the letter (obviously)

    • It always cracks me up when I reference something from late 80’s Nick, and even the kids who were the same age as me have no idea what I’m talking about! I swear, the era between YCDToTV’s heyday in the mid 80’s and the debut of the Snicktoons in the early 90’s must have been the channel’s dark age that I don’t necessarily think people didn’t see, but that they just didn’t seem to want to remember! This commercial was a mainstay with the ad for Muzzy, and when I featured that one last year, it got the same “WTH is that?” reaction!

      Now those puppets don’t ring a bell to me. If you ever figure out what you’re thinking of there, let me know!

      • NotAPunkRocker says:

        I think when we finally got cable at home is when I overloaded on MTV and such, so that could be it.

        Oh, those puppets were creepy. I gotta figure it out.

        I did make a reference to Pinwheel on Nickelodeon already this week on another blog, so I haven’t forgotten *everything*. Yet.

      • Whew! Pinwheel was awesome, and had much creepier special features than Sesame Street did. And a better theme song!

      • NotAPunkRocker says:

        It started with this post, because I got Pinwheel mixed up with Rainbow (not the one with Ritchie Blackmore)

        Hmmm, wait…have you already done a post on the Wonderful World of Sid and Mary Krofft? Maybe I don’t have to research “The Buggaloos” after all…

      • I’ve never seen any of the Kroft shows before, but I did reference them in my McDonaldland tribute post back in December since Ronald and the gang were totally ripped off from HR Puffenstuff.

        And thanks to you, now I have “The Man on the Silver Mountain” going through my head… which is a good thing!

    • Serramundi8 says:

      Ayyy, you’re talking about “The Letter People!” I used to watched that… on Youtube at least. Yeah, Imma 2000’s child! I grew up in the era of “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse!” At least 4 months before it aired… but still! I know what you’re talking about.

  2. Ally Bean says:

    This is a for real TV show or books or whatever?! I’ve never heard of it. What a worrisome cast of characters. I think that I prefer thinking of the each letter of the alphabet just as a symbol. No need to confuse things with animals and attitudes… and pickles. o.0

  3. now I know why things are like they are, I’m a child of the early 80’s :o) we nearly had the same book about a lion with three tails and a mouse in the dessert who liked to do do whatever…

  4. In the 80’s I was spending my time in mindless debauchery. Hey, it was the 80’s. All the while I was always interested in children’s book illustrations and even played around drawing a lot of fantasy type illustrations. This is the first time I’ve seen Sweet Pickles and oh man, this stuff is creepy and annoying. No wonder kids stopped reading. But hey thanks for another wonderful post adding to my cultural education. Good stuff (your views, not the weird animals.)

    • I think there may have been a good reason Sweet Pickles flew under the radar. I had no idea they were really a creepshow until I checked out their Wiki page to see what it was all about!

  5. Mental Mama says:

    But, but, the Alphabet! It taught kids their letters!

  6. Where do you find this stuff? I’m pretty sure all of these people have recently visited my site. They are probably among my many baffling followers. Yikes. Nasty Nightingale is my fave 🙂

    • That was one of my first thoughts when I began reading the different personalities of these misfits… attaching them each to a commonly found internet persona. But I figured the post was going to be long enough at (yikes!) 3,000+ words. I guess I coulda split it into 26 parts and posted one each week…. 😉

  7. gentlestitches says:

    HaHa. In the top and two page spread, the unique Unicorn looks really pregnant and of course she just happens to be standing next to gorgeous but vain Vulture.

  8. draliman says:

    You know WAY too much about Sweet Pickles 😉 You’ve got all the action figures, haven’t you? Admit it.

  9. Deborah says:

    Wow! It was like a car wreck, I couldn’t NOT look until I read all of them. Clever Camel had me chuckling. I remember those commercials when my children were young. Thanks for making me twitch. 😉

  10. Aw, I was so sure there would have been a comment from Bacon on here about Positive Pig. Disappointed now. 😦

    Still, very amused at the post, and glad that my parents never bothered getting Sky TV to allow this crap into the house when I was a kid!

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