Everything You, An Adult, Need To Know About Netflix's Teletubbies Reboot

If you're a parent, chances are you have an intimate knowledge of all things "Bluey," "Daniel Tiger," "Sesame Street," "Paw Patrol," "Arthur," "Peppa Pig," and the nightmarish curse known as "CoComelon." Pre-school programming is in a sincere heyday, and despite involuntarily flinching whenever you hear the "Hot Dog!" song from "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse," children's programming is the best it's been in years. As with all genres of entertainment, kiddie shows have also seen a resurgence in nostalgia. Millennials lost their collective minds when Steve returned for a "Blue's Clues" cameo, and all cried like toddlers once again when he gave us hopeful messages during quarantine. 

There's been some reassessment as of late regarding public opinions of beloved children's figures like "Barney the Dinosaur," but few could have predicted the return of one of the most polarizing figures in children's entertainment history. I'm talking about "Teletubbies."

For those that were too old to enjoy baby's first fever dream or too young to watch it cheebed to the gills in a college dorm room, "Teletubbies" was a British series about four gigantic creatures with televisions on their stomachs named Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa, and Po. The group hails from the idyllic Teletubbyland underneath a sparkling baby-faced sun that brings sunshine and laughter to all. They consumed Pepto-Bismol pink Tubby Custard and smiley face Tubby Toast, showed videos of real-life children on their stomachs, and sparked multiple moral panic conspiracies throughout the 1990s. It's about to become the latest nostalgia act to be revived by Netflix, because depending on your perspective, God is giving us a gift or punishing us for our insolence.

Here's everything you, an adult, need to know about the "Teletubbies" reboot, from an adult who knows an embarrassing amount of information about the show.

Here's when the Teletubbies will return

Netflix's new version of "Teletubbies" will arrive on November 14, 2022, except in the United Kingdom where the show originates. Joining the titular Tubbies (Rachelle Beinart, Rebecca Hyland, Nick Chee Ping Kellington, and Jeremiah Krage, respectively) is "Central Park" and "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" star Tituss Burgess, who will now serve as the show's narrator. The trailer also shows the return of the Voice Trumpets, so if you were starting to mourn the sound of multiple voices chanting "Time for Teletubbies!" or "Time for Tubby Bye-Bye!" repeating in the round, you have nothing to worry about.

The series will comprise 12 new episodes that show the Teletubbies learning about new things in the 21st century, and will contain a new and original "Tummy Tales" song to go along with each episode's lesson. Julia Pulo will serve as the host for "Tummy Tales," which means we'll be seeing a lot of zoom-ins onto the TV tummy screens into her segments. 

The Talking Flowers, Magic Windmill, and Noo-Noo vacuum will also be returning, but Noo-Noo is coming in a handful of new colors. Tubby Custard can also now be blown into giant bubbles, apparently, so every parent should invest in Goo-Gone in case little ones try to imitate that, stat.

How to tell the Teletubbies apart

Despite the theme song clearly identifying each Teletubby by name, some have found it difficult to differentiate between them. Fortunately, I'm here for you, so you never have to explain having "Teletubby personalities explained" in your Google search history.

  • Tinky Winky is the most easily identifiable, as the bluish-purple color, clumsiness, and gentle demeanor are hard to forget. He has an upside-down triangle on his antenna and frequently carries around a fashionable red purse. He's also the Teletubby that evangelical Jerry Falwell once wrote an entire article about in National Liberty Journal called "Tinky Winky Comes Out of the Closet," peddling the conspiracy theory that he was a giant purple gay alien trying to convert children.
  • Dipsy is the second-biggest Teletubby, has a green color, a "dipstick" antenna, and a no-nonsense attitude, but is known for his stylish cow-print top hat. Dipsy's facial "skin" tone is noticeably darker than that of the other Teletubbies, as all of the Teletubbies are meant to have canonical, diverse representations of other races. And while we wouldn't know by looking at them, all of the Teletubbies are played by racially appropriate character-suit actors. Neat!
  • Laa-Laa is the yellow Teletubby with a curled antenna and is the sweetest and bubbliest of the group. She's often seen dancing or singing, which is sort of terrifying when you realize she's nearly 10 feet tall.
  • The littlest Teletubby is Po, who is red with a circle on the tip of her antenna and is of Chinese descent. Po can speak both English and Cantonese and loves to blow bubbles. She was also at the center of a toy recall when American buyers confused Po speaking the Cantonese word for "faster" with the words "fatty" or worse, the "f-slur" often associated with the LGBTQIA+ community.

In reality, the Teletubbies are all big, sweet creatures just learning about life and trying to spread friendship, happiness, and love to all. Leave these fuzzy babies alone!

An intro to Tiddlytubbies

The "Teletubbies" show saw a revival a few years back (bet you missed that, huh?) that introduced new characters called the Tiddlytubbies. These CGI creatures are like the "Muppet Babies" version of Teletubbies, with eight in total. The trailer for the Netflix series has shown that the characters will be a part of the new season, so here's your guide to tell them all apart.

  • Ping – Pink
  • Duggle Dee – Red
  • Ru-Ru – Orange
  • Umby Pumby – Yellow
  • Daa-Daa – Green
  • Mi-Mi – Light Blue
  • Baa – Dark Blue
  • Nin – Purple

The characters also sing songs called "Sleepy Byes," which are calming lullabies that happen after the Tummy Tales segments. These characters are meant to represent the youngest Teletubby viewers, with the Teletubbies also showing great responsibility as the "older" versions. 

I know, I know, they're really creepy to look at with their CGI faces, but little kids love these characters, and watching them interact with the Teletubbies is some great modeling for how younger and older siblings can learn to play together.

Please let your children enjoy things!

Jess Smith was only an infant when she nabbed the role as the Baby Sun/Sun Baby (the correct name depends on who you ask) and has spent nearly 20 years in meme infamy. In news that is sadly unsurprising considering our current cultural landscape, there are some people who are very unhappy that Smith, a full-grown adult and someone who has not been a baby for a very long time, has been recast as the Baby Sun and replaced by two current babies.

If you're thinking to yourself, "It's because the new babies aren't white, isn't it?" I regret to inform you that you are 100% correct. Just as Falwell cried "indoctrination!" because Tinky Winky had a magical bag, current idiotic adults are crying "woke" because there are multiple Sun Babies and neither are white. To be fair, the lack of the sunshine effect of blending the face in with the sun does make it look like floating, severed baby heads, so I'll give a pass to the people who are weirded out by that, but it's clearly because the new show wants to be explicit about the Baby Sun's skin tone.

Anyone who has spent more than three seconds watching an episode of "Teletubbies" can see that the show is a completely harmless form of edutainment, filled with bright colors, big characters, and plenty of other weirdness to stimulate little baby brains. There's no conspiracy, no political indoctrination, and certainly no bad language. It's a weird as hell show that doesn't make much sense to adults who require more intellectually challenging material, but an absolute delight for younger viewers. Let your children enjoy things.