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Smiling Critters


♪ Smiling Critters: S M I L E, everyday!
KickinChicken: When you are down and out...
Bobby BearHug: No need to frown and pout!
Bubba Bubbaphant and CraftyCorn: 'Cuz Smiling Critters' here to say
Smiling Critters: S M I L E, everyday! ♪

Smiling Critters Intro


The Smiling Critters is a line of colorful animal plushes created by Playtime Co., each one possessing enlarged mouths and giant smiles. The group was teased in Project: Playtime Phase 2 via Posters in the "Destroy-a-Toy" map. Following this, the full toy line was later revealed in the Chapter 3 Interactable ARG. CatNap appears in Chapter 3: "Deep Sleep" as the main antagonist, while the others appear as deteriorated miniature versions as secondary antagonists, with the exception for DogDay's Bigger Bodies counterpart, although the latter assumes a secondary antagonistic role upon being possessed by the Ruined Critters.

Several other characters outside of the Ruined Critters versions have comparatively minor and indirect roles, namely the security statues of Bobby BearHug in Home Sweet Home (one active, one defunct) that serve as minor obstacles to the player and recurring motifs throughout the chapter that seemingly emphasize Hoppy Hopscotch's beneficial traits. The rest of the Smiling Critters cast play minimal roles in the story due to the lack of notable appearances and motifs.

Description[]

The Smiling Critters are small, colorful, anthropomorphic animals, each appearing as a plush toy with a zipper on the front chest, large gaping smiles, and black eyes with white pupils. Each toy has a unique pendant representing the core aspect of each of their personalities.

In addition to this, each Smiling Critter comes with the ability to emit their own unique scent via a hole in their mouths by pulling on their tails, all of which are traditionally used to aid with sleep or relaxation, being based on a specific type of fruit, herb or flower.

History[]

Backstory[]

In mid-1989, the Smiling Critters were created by Playtime Co., and to promote the launch of the toys, a cartoon of the same name would air during Summer 1989.[1] However during its air, parents were concerned about how silent and distant CatNap was from the rest of the cast, as well as finding him putting everyone to sleep disturbing.[1] During the production of the plushies, a mistake caused some CatNap plushies to emit The Red Smoke instead of the preferred lavender, making kids in the US who owned the toy suffer violent nightmares. Because of the controversy, the cartoon's reception would run afoul and turn sour[1], and as a result, CatNap was recalled from the lineup and removed from all promotional material. Following the negative reception of the cartoon, it was pulled off air and put into Playtime's vault, never to be repeated.[1]

At some point, the Smiling Critters became the main mascots of Playcare. After late 1990, the characters would be used in the Bigger Bodies Initiative,[2] with an orphan, Theodore Grambell, becoming CatNap, designated Experiment 1188, and would be housed in Home Sweet Home. On August 8th, 1995, CatNap and their plush toys participated in The Hour of Joy, killing everyone within Playcare no matter if they were innocent or guilty, and feasting on their bodies, leaving only the children alive.[3] However, the rest of the cast allegedly fought back against The Prototype's control but were eventually killed off by either him or CatNap, with DogDay being the only survivor and kept tortured within the Playhouse's prison cells. It is unclear as to whether the other Smiling Critters characters were recreated for the Bigger Bodies Initiative besides CatNap, Bobby BearHug, and DogDay, since their names are never directly mentioned in relation to the project.

Chapter 3: "Deep Sleep"[]

The Smiling Critters appear as the secondary antagonists of Chapter 3: "Deep Sleep" as miniature versions of themselves, referred to as Ruined Critters. Only DogDay and CatNap's Bigger Bodies counterparts are fully seen in the chapter, though both eventually perish. The Smiling Critters cast also make appearances in the forms of Playtime posters, their cutout boards, and statues in the center of Playcare's dome, the latter two of where audio files of them can be played. Bobby BearHug also appears as two security statues in Home Sweet Home, from which The Player must obtain Batteries. Hoppy Hopscotch does not make many direct appearances, but motifs of her enthusiastic plus cooperative personality and lightning bolt pendant both occur repeatedly within the chapter. The other Smiling Critters characters do not appear to have any special occurrences.

Characters[]

Image Name Scent Descriptions Plush
BobbyBearhug RoseScent Rose
  1. A kind, caring soul, Bobby BearHug shows compassion for everyone, and for everything. People and places and things, large or small, are all receivers of her love. Each is enriched by this attention and affection, and in turn, so is she.
  2. Orientation Notebook: Bobby Bearhug is caring and loving, and whenever any conflict is brewing among the gang, she's the first one to remind them all what great friends they are. She loves hugging and will always suggest activities that involve everyone and help build bonds among them.
Bobby BearHug Plushie
BubbaBubbaphant LemongrassScent Lemongrass
  1. Bubba Bubbaphant is the brains of the critters. Bright and attentive, he keeps his friends steady and always steers them to make smart choices, that way they all might grow up to be bright and brilliant, each in their own right.
  2. Orientation Notebook: Bubba Bubbaphant is bright and knowledgeable, and we wanted him to represent the value of studying and reading. He often makes interesting observations and loves to share his knowledge with his friends--whether they want to hear it or not!
Bubba Bubbaphant Plushie
CraftyCorn JasmineScent Jasmine
  1. A conscious observer of both color and creativity in the world. CraftyCorn understands the importance of art, and sharing it with others. Crayons, pencils, paint, or words on the page, CraftyCorn can see beauty in anything imagined given shape.
  2. Orientation Notebook: The artist of the group, CraftyCorn can be a little shy and awkward when talking to others--it's in her art that she truly expresses herself! She's all about creativity and the beauty in ordinary things.
CraftyCorn Plushie
DogDay with Spot 2.0 VanillaScent Vanilla
  1. This is DogDay, the sunny, strong, and determined leader of our critters! Each trusts him to find the bright side in any situation, and to have a friendly word of encouragement should they feel down. He'll always keep his friends going, no matter what.
  2. Orientation Notebook: DogDay is very much the leader of the group, and where CatNap is silent and reserved, DogDay is energetic, upbeat, and welcoming. He represents the values of friendship and support
DogDay Plushie
HoppyHopscotch PeppermintScent Peppermint
  1. Unafraid to hop where others might sit, Hoppy is the friend everyone needs to maintain their energy and enthusiasm. While sometimes loud or impatient, she'll always hop besides her friends, even if it means slowing up once in a while to keep their pace.
  2. Orientation Notebook: A real tomboy, Hoppy Hopscotch can be a handful to deal with--she's impatient and can be loud. But she's also energetic and positive and is a big motivator behind the gang's activities. She's designed to show the value of getting out of your comfort zone and trying something new.
Hoppy Hopscotch Plushie
KickinChicken YlangYlangScent Ylang-ylang
  1. This is KickinChicken, the cool kid of the crew, and he maintains that sense of cool through anything, even in the most tense of situations. Knock him down, and he'll pick himself up, brush himself off, and ask: "What's next?"
  2. Orientation Notebook: KickinChicken is all about having fun and being active. He's a skilled skateboarder and a very cool customer, but underneath that hip exterior, he scares easily! He faces down his fears with the help of his friends.
KickinChicken Plushie
PickyPiggy Citrus Citrus
  1. What's more important than play and learning? PickyPiggy knows the answer. A playful body and keen mind are fueled by what's put into them, which is why she encourages her friends to eat a well-balanced diet. Secretly, PB&J's are her favorite food.
  2. Orientation Notebook: PickyPiggy loves food--preparing it and eating it! While her friends go about their busy daily lives, Pig makes sure they eat properly--making food that's balanced and nutritious and urging them not to skip meals.
PickyPiggy Plushie
Napcat LavenderScent Lavender (Intended)
  1. CatNap is a calming presence for the critters and ensures he and his friends always have the right amount of sleep to jumpstart the morning's play! End of the day, there's nothing CatNap enjoys more than watching his friends sleep soundly.
  2. Orientation Notebook: CatNap never speaks but is a reassuring presence for the Critters and puts them to sleep at the end of the day.
CatNap Plushie

Gallery[]

Trivia[]

  • The Smiling Critters appear to take general inspiration from 1980s toy lines such as Care Bears and My Little Pony.
    • Their built-in scents were possibly inspired by the Strawberry Shortcake line of toys, which had scented hair.
    • Each Smiling Critter having a symbol to represent their personalities and talents was likely inspired by the Care Bears' belly badges or Cutie Marks from My Little Pony.
    • The species of the Smiling Critters could specifically be inspired by the Care Bear Cousins.
    • The Smiling Critters also bear resemblance to some characters in the 1999 web series Happy Tree Friends, a comedy and horror adult show disguised as a children show.
  • The Smiling Critters also bear resemblance to the Smile Cats created by 3D animator LIGHTS ARE OFF.
  • The first reveal of all the Smiling Critters, along with the name "Smiling Critters", was released on November 3, 2023, on Mob Entertainment's Twitter account.[4]
    • Interestingly, an hour after posting the original line-up, Mob Entertainment proceeded to post another line-up, only this time lacking CatNap.[5]
      • It was revealed in the CatNap Recall video, featuring a newscast discussing the Smiling Critters, that CatNap was removed from the toy line following reports from parents that their children experienced violent nightmares after inhaling his scent. This is likely because the mist CatNap released wasn't lavender, as stated in a prior note.
  • The Smiling Critters theme song was created by Zachary Preciado.[6]
    • There was originally going to be an intro for the cartoon showcasing all the homes designed for each Smiling Critter; Bobby BearHug's house was in the style of a beehive, Bubba Bubbaphant's house was a jungle shack, CraftyCorn's house was a castle, Hoppy Hopscotch's house was in the style of a carrot, KickinChicken's home was a chicken coop, PickyPiggy's home was a barn, and CatNap's home was an elevated house atop a cat tree. However, only DogDay's house, a wooden bone-themed shack, was used in the final short.
    • During the concept, DogDay and CatNap were originally living close to one another, due to the fact they were best friends (despite the real-life relationship between dogs and cats).
      • DogDay and CatNap's colors are opposites.
        • DogDay's pendant (the sun) is considered the antithesis to CatNap's pendant (the moon).
  • The Playtime Co. logo in the Smiling Critters' reveal images has varying differences compared to the modern logo (the "P" is straight and more sunken, and the blue color box around the Co. is darker), suggesting this image was from an earlier point in time.
  • In their Twitter descriptions, DogDay and CatNap's names are in all caps. This may point out that only DogDay and CatNap are seen alive in Chapter 3.
  • According to Amber, KickinChicken, Bobby BearHug, and CraftyCorn are the only Smiling Critters who use He/She/They pronouns.
    • Out of all the Character Descriptions, CraftyCorn is the only one not to state any particular pronoun, although it can be inferred to be a "she".
  • The cartoon versions of the Smiling Critters (not to be confused with the toy or the Bigger Bodies counterparts) are confirmed by Avalon Delaney to have no established age, allowing fans to establish their own headcanons on their ages and stories.[7]
  • Unused art of the cartoon versions of the Smiling Critters were revealed by the Poppy Playtime Chapter 3 artist Scott Forester in February of 2024, who also stated that Mob Entertainment held some of his other Smiling Critters art for possible future uses. He also expressed interest in working on a real Smiling Critters cartoon if one was ever greenlit.[8][9][10]
  • On February 14, 2024, Elijah Delaney (known also as ENDillustration) posted a Valentine's Day drawing on Twitter/X for his wife Avalon Delaney containing CraftyCorn and DogDay hugging each other and a message that reads "Happy Valentine's Day! Love ~DogDay."[11]
    • The two artworks depicting DogDay and CraftyCorn together appear to suggest some level of romantic interest between the two Smiling Critters.
  • The Bigger Bodies versions of the Smiling Critters could have experiment numbers ranging from 1180-1190, as CatNap and Bobby BearHug are numbered 1188 and 1186, respectively.
  • The zippers for each Smiling Critter could be for refilling or replacing the scent capsules for each Critter.

Navigation[]

Toys
Wuggies
Huggy WuggyKissy MissyMini HuggiesWuggies
Long Legs Family
Mommy Long LegsDaddy Long LegsBaby Long Legs
Smiling Critters
CatNapDogDayBobby BearHugPickyPiggyBubba BubbaphantCraftyCornKickinChickenHoppy Hopscotch
Swap-imals
Cat-BeePJ Pug-a-Pillar
Mascots
Poppy PlaytimeBoogie BotBronCandy CatBunzo BunnyDaisyBoxy BooMiss Delight
Rejected
Sir Poops-A-LotKick-me-PaulOwen the OvenSunni BuddiSurprise HareLove DogPet StoneBarrel o' HuggysOrange Robot Toy
Additional
The PrototypeBarryLove BugPetite PoochBucky
Scrapped
Cassie Cutie-PillarCy-DogJolly ClownLilly the FrogMonster Truck

References[]

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