Word Up, It’s WordGirl!


Image via PBS

By Hanah Li, Editor

With the addictive Wordle game gaining popularity, it’s quite appropriate for WordGirl to be trending on social media. 

WordGirl (2007-2015) is an educational PBS Kids television show that was created to help expand children’s vocabulary, all while making it entertaining for even parents to watch the show with their children. The series features WordGirl, a superpowered girl from the planet Lexicon who fights villains and puts them in their place alongside her monkey partner, Captain Huggy Face. Common evil-doers she faces are Dr. Two-Brains, Chuck the Evil Sandwich Making Guy, Mr. Big, Granny May, The Butcher, and, of course, Tobey McCalister III. When she isn’t in action, WordGirl takes on a secret identity: Becky Botsford, an average 5th grader with “vocabulary a mile wide” who tries to balance her civilian and superhero lives.

The exact reason for this series’ sudden rise in popularity is unknown; however, there are a few, potential explanations:

  • Tobey and Becky/WordGirl – Many WordGirl viewers have been shipping these two characters since the very first episode. Although Tobey attempts to hide his feelings, his crush on WordGirl is apparent to all audiences– even the Narrator (who enjoys teasing the boy, as a result). Despite their constant bickering, whenever the two share the same screen, their moments together only feed hungry fans for more “ToBecky” content.
  • Fan Art/Fanimation – Taking their favorite moments from WordGirl, old-time fans are drawing or re-animating the series’ characters or scenes in their own style. For example, cinnamacaron, an animation channel on YouTube, had gone viral after their re-animation of a particular time where Tobey spilled his admiration for WordGirl to Becky, unaware that they are actually the same person.
  • Out-of-Context Moments – Several compilations have been posted on YouTube, featuring random clips from the show that may seem absurd or hilarious when watched without context. Though the show is from 2007, its content remains to be relevant and enjoyable; from the constant breaking of the fourth wall, to witty comebacks and sarcasm, to out-of-character moments, it’s no wonder that even parents can enjoy WordGirl with their children.
  • Dr. Two-Brains – Possibly the most tragic villain of the show. Before he became a criminal, Dr. Two-Brains was Professor Steven Boxleitner, a kind-hearted scientist who was close friends with WordGirl. However, after getting caught in a botched experiment, his brain merged with an evil lab mouse’s brain. Since then, the man struggles with following his human or mouse mind; he develops a split personality, as a result. In order to appease his rodent mind’s hunger and desires, he commits crimes (mainly stealing cheese), then justifies his actions by claiming that they’re caused by his “mouse brain.” Although Dr. Two-Brains’ moments in WordGirl are entertaining, his backstory is one that is painful and cannot be forgotten.
  • *SPOILERS* Becky and Violet Break Up?: In the final season of WordGirl, a serious event took place: Violet’s discovery of Becky’s secret identity. Realizing that her best friend had been WordGirl all along and she was lied to the entire time, Violet almost breaks off their friendship. However, the two later reconcile and continue to be best friends.

Whatever the cause is, WordGirl can be a great resource to build a list of words for your next Wordle game. Word Up!