LazyTown, on RÚV (Iceland) / CBeebies (UK) / Nickelodeon & Nick Jr. (USA)
Amazon; BCDB; Cartoonito; IMDb; Retro Junk; TV.com; TV Tango; TV Tropes; Wikia; Wikipedia; WildBrain
For more links see television links.
This is a kids' show, made in Iceland. It's um, y'know... for kids. Preschoolers, ostensibly, though the main characters are all 8 years old (though the actress playing Stephanie, Julianna Rose Mauriello, was like 13 or 14 at the time). But, it's not mind-numbingly, brain-shreddingly unbearable like most kids' shows seem to be in recent years. It's actually pretty enjoyable, if you like weirdness...
Anyway, here's the idea: there's this town that has like three characters who are played by live actors, and everyone else is puppets. The main characters are the local superhero (or slightly-above-average hero), Sportacus; the local villain, Robbie Rotten; and this sort of "pink cheerleader" girl who just moved to town, named Stephanie. (Btw, when I call her pink, I don't mean that she is, herself, pink; I mean she wears all pink and has pink hair- obviously a wig, though I assume within the show it's meant to be her natural hair.) She's cute, and her singing is pretty catchy, and she's a decent dancer, I guess. Actually, she kinda seems to me like an anime character come to life. The puppet characters, who all seem more prone to laziness than Stephanie, except when she or Sportacus are encouraging them not to be, include 8-year-olds Ziggy (who eats too much candy), Pixel (who lives for computers and video games), Stingy (who is just plain stingy, and kinda reminds me a bit of Gollum, especially this one time when Ziggy got an automatic candy making machine), and Trixie (who, um... I dunno how to describe, maybe a bit of a tomboy; she certainly likes to tease Stephanie for being so girly and, you know, pink), and adults, Mayor Milford Meanswell (Stephanie's uncle, who if possible is even dumber than the Mayor of Townsville, from The Powerpuff Girls), and Miss Bessie Busybody (I think she might be the mayor's secretary, and potential love interest, but mostly she's just the town gossip).
Basically the point of the show is to get kids to exercise, by playing, having fun, being active, instead of... being lazy. There isn't much of a plot aside from Robbie trying to do some sort of evil thing (his schemes generally involve his donning ridiculous disguises), trying to get kids to be lazy or get Sportacus to leave town forever; and the good guys stopping him. And occasionally breaking into seriously catchy song and dance. There's also a fair amount of humor. It can sometimes be pretty hilarious, actually. And weird. Kind of trippy. Actually the whole show is kind of like a sugar rush, which is a bit ironic.
About Sportacus, he gets his energy from eating right and getting a good night's sleep (I think he goes to bed at 8:08 and gets up at 8:08, which would be 12 hours, which seems excessive, but I might be wrong about what time he gets up). But when he's awake, he's constantly running and jumping around and stuff. He can't bear to stop moving for more than a few seconds, it seems. Also, he eats "sports candy," which is what he calls fruit- mostly apples. But eating sugar instantly drains all his energy, which is weird, considering fruit contains a variety of sugar. But whatevs, at least he doesn't suggest kids not eat sugar at all, even if he can't. They just should eat it in moderation, you know? Along with healthier things. What else? He lives on an airship, which is filled with all sorts of sports equipment. And people in town can shoot him letters asking for help or whatever, but also he has a crystal on his chest that beeps when someone's in trouble. Which could be physical danger, or could just be sadness or something. So anyway, he shows up to offer advice, or play with the kids, or thwart Robbie's schemes, or whatever.
The first season aired from 2004-06, and I think I saw most or all of the episodes. The second season aired from 2006-07, and I saw some of the episodes, but I'm sure I missed several of them. The series was revived for two more seasons in 2013-14, with a new actress (Chloe Lang) playing Stephanie. Sadly, I haven't had a chance to see any of seasons 3 and 4, but I kind of hope I get to check them out, someday.