Sheep in the Big City

Sheep in the Big City
Genre Alternative comedy
Created by Mo Willems
Written by Mo Willems
David Wain
Joey Mazzarino
Directed by Karen Villarreal
Maurice Joyce
Sue Perrotto
Tom Warburton
Voices of Kevin Seal
James Godwin
Ken Schatz
Stephanie D'Abruzzo
Mo Willems
Christine Walters
Ruth Buzzi
Bradley Glenn
Fran Brill
Joey Mazzarino
Jerry Nelson
Narrated by Ken Schatz
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 26 (and 1 pilot) (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Mo Willems, Steve Oakes, Susan Holden, David Starr and Richard Winkler (for Curious Pictures)
Linda Simensky, Jay Bastian and Khaki Jones (for Cartoon Network)
Producer(s) Kris Greengrove
Running time 22 minutes
Production company(s) Curious Pictures
Original network Cartoon Network (2000-2002)
Original release November 17, 2000 (2000-11-17) – April 7, 2002 (2002-04-07)
Related shows The Off-Beats

Sheep in the Big City was an American animated television series created by Mo Willems for Cartoon Network, and the 9th of the network's Cartoon Cartoons. The series' pilot first premiered as part of Cartoon Network's "Cartoon Cartoon Summer" on August 18, 2000.[1]

Created by Mo Willems, who previously created The Off-Beats for Nickelodeon's KaBlam!, the bulk of the show follows a runaway sheep, Sheep, in his new life in "the Big City". It also features several unrelated sketches and shorts, similar to The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show and The Fugitive. With an emphasis on more "sophisticated" (in particular, literal) humor, using multiple forms of rhetoric from the characters to the plots, it was more popular with older audiences. It was also unusual in featuring many comic references to film-making and television broadcasting.

At the time, the premiere of Sheep in the Big City was the highest-rated premiere for a Cartoon Network original series.[2]


Sheep lives happily on a farm with his friends. Unfortunately, a Secret Military Organization, led by General Specific, needs Sheep for its Sheep-Powered Ray Gun (with a sheep-shaped hole in it).

General Specific will get Sheep at any cost, and, knowing that the farm is at stake, Sheep is forced to leave for the big city. Now Sheep is on the run from General Specific, who is assisted by his henchmen, Private Public, the Angry Scientist (who in the show is often wrongly referred to as "Mad Scientist"), a bunch of other military types, and the Plot Device.

In addition, Sheep has to come to grips with the Big City and trying to romance his love, Swanky the Poodle. All the while, he has to avoid the attentions of a host of unwelcome characters — Lisa Rental and Swanky's owner, the sheep-hating Lady Richington, wielding a stainless-steel wig.


A common running gag used throughout the first season was that, whenever the phrase "hold the phone" was said, there would be a cut to this still. This did not appear in Season 2.

The show usually begins with a completely unrelated clip, which turns out to be a show that Sheep is watching. Sheep presses a button on his remote to change the channel, which segues into the theme song.

Each episode is divided into three chapters; each one's title, as the narrator once quipped, is "some pun on the word 'sheep' or something": in the episode "To Sheep, Perchance to Dream", one of the chapters was actually named "Some Pun on the Word 'Sheep'".

Fake advertisements are in between the chapters, and sometimes short skits, such as the Sombrero Brothers. The fake advertisements are usually of products from Oxymoron with Victor the spokesperson promoting it. Each product is usually of low quality, contrary to what one may think or painful.

The show's most unusual characteristic is its frequent breaking of the fourth wall. For instance, the vast majority of the characters make references to the show's structure, script, and, occasionally, its premise. For example, in the episode "Agony of De-Bleat", when General Specific finally captures Sheep, the Angry Scientist states that he didn't actually have the Ray Gun ready, thinking that they would never capture Sheep due to it "being so contrary to the set-up of the show". The Narrator is also a pivotal character, frequently interacting with the characters via voice-over (and sometimes directly, when other characters unexpectedly show up in his studio). He also criticizes the television medium itself (such as the fact that two-thirds of the final episode of the first season was actually composed of dream sequences) and the script, occasionally ad-libbing when he doesn't quite get the script. He also tells the viewer to "just go with it" when the script seems to make no sense.

Literal humor is also important to the show's style. Phrases and expressions such as "Hold the phone!" or "wild goose chase" are usually followed by literal interpretations of the phrase mentioned. A running gag in the show, for example, is that whenever a character exclaims "Great Scott!" a Scotsman appears out of nowhere, saying, "Yes?".

Whenever the phrase "Hold the phone!" is said, it would cut to a still of Lisa Rental holding a phone. The first time the still is shown, it is in the episode "Baa-ck in time".



Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
Pilot episode August 18, 2000
1 13 November 17, 2000[3] July 29, 2001[4]
2 13 December 2, 2001[5] April 7, 2002[6]

Pilot: 2000

Title Directed & Written by Original air date Production
"In The Baa-ginning"Mo WillemsAugust 18, 2000 (2000-08-18)[7]000

Sheep leaves Farmer John's farm in pursuit of a happy life in the big city.

Guest Stars: Christine Walters

Season 1: 2000–2001

No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date Production
1"Be Still My Bleating Heart"Karen VillarrealMo WillemsNovember 17, 2000 (2000-11-17)[3]101

Sheep falls in love with a poodle called Swanky, and coincidentally, Swanky's owner hates sheep.

Guest Stars: Christine Walters
2"To Bleat or Not to Bleat"Mike de SeveMo WillemsNovember 24, 2000 (2000-11-24)102
A girl named Lisa Rental saves Sheep from General Specific so that she can keep him as a pet.
3"Belle of the Baah"Maurice JoyceDavid WainDecember 1, 2000 (2000-12-01)103
Sheep gets more than he bargained for when he accidentally swallows a diamond and receives much of the town's adoration and attention.
4"Going Off the Sheep End"Sue PerrottoJoey MazzarinoDecember 8, 2000 (2000-12-08)104
Sheep tries to grab Swanky's attention by making changes to himself.
5"Home For The Baa-lidays"Karen VillarrealMo WillemsDecember 29, 2000 (2000-12-29)107
Sheep returns to the farm for the holidays.
6"Can't Live Without Ewe"Karen VillarrealMo WillemsJanuary 12, 2001 (2001-01-12)105
While Sheep goes into a fake sheep convention set up by the military wearing a mustache, Farmer John misses him, and hires the German Shepherd to bring Sheep home.
7"15 Muttons Of Fame"Maurice JoyceMo WillemsJanuary 26, 2001 (2001-01-26)106
When an agent for a dish washing commercial discovers Sheep, Sheep decides to become a model to avoid General Specific. However, he might have to give up his friends.
8"Agony of De-bleat"Sue PerrottoMo WillemsMarch 2, 2001 (2001-03-02)108
When General Specific actually captures Sheep, he fires all of the people that work at the Secret Military Base. However, the crew decide to free Sheep to get their jobs back.
9"Baa-ck in Time"Karen VillarrealJoey MazzarinoMarch 23, 2001 (2001-03-23)109
Sheep escapes through time to find a better life.
10"Fleeced to Meet You"Maurice JoyceMo WillemsJune 10, 2001 (2001-06-10)110
General Specific hires X-Agent to befriend Sheep and entrap him so they can use him for the sheep powered ray gun. X-Agent successfully entraps Sheep but later changes his mind because he realizes that friendship with Sheep mattered more.
11"A Star Is Shorn"Maurice JoyceDavid WainJune 24, 2001 (2001-06-24)111
Sheep gets a job in a hip club as a waiter but soon General Specific finds him and almost knocks over the plates sheep was carrying. Sheep catches the plates and starts spinning them hypnotizing General Specific and while this happens Farmer John appears and convinces Sheep to go pro with his plate spinning act.
12"Mistaken Identi-sheep"Sue PerrottoJoey MazzarinoJuly 8, 2001 (2001-07-08)112
A sheep-like creature robs the town, while Sheep is blamed.
13"To Sheep, Perchance to Dream"Karen VillarrealMo WillemsJuly 29, 2001 (2001-07-29)[4]113
This episode is all about the nightmares of people in the Big City.

Season 2: 2001–2002

No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date Production
14"Wish You Were Shear"Karen VillarrealStory by: Mo Willems
Weird Bits by: Joey Mazzarino
December 2, 2001 (2001-12-02)[5]201

Sheep gets adopted by Lisa Rental. Meanwhile, Lady Richington takes Swanky to the Greyhound Race Track.

Guest Stars: Fran Brill, Christine Walters
15"Baah-dern Times"Sue PerrottoMo WillemsDecember 9, 2001 (2001-12-09)202

With the entire cast of "Sheep in the Big City" sick, the audience shall instead, watch an old black-&-white silent film featuring the ancestors and relatives of the cast.

Guest Stars: Fran Brill
16"Flock, Up in the Sky"Mr. WarburtonMo WillemsDecember 16, 2001 (2001-12-16)203

X agent returns and swears to protect Sheep from General Specific.

Guest Stars: Christine Walters
17"My, How Ewe Have Changed"Karen VillarrealMo WillemsDecember 23, 2001 (2001-12-23)204
Sheep is invited back to Farmer John's farm for a reunion.
18"Party of the Shear"Sue PerrottoMo WillemsFebruary 10, 2002 (2002-02-10)206
To escape the clutches of the secret military organization Sheep goes into a dance club which General Specific is not cool enough for.
19"The Wool of the People"Mr. WarburtonMo WillemsFebruary 17, 2002 (2002-02-17)205
General Specific cannot capture Sheep because of the new law put up by the mayor of the Big City.
20"Daddy Shearest"Karen VillarrealMo WillemsFebruary 24, 2002 (2002-02-24)207

Private Public gets a visit from his dad, General Public.

Guest Stars: Jerry L. Nelson
21"The Wool Is Not Enough"Sue PerrottoStory by: Mo Willems
Weird Bits by: David Wain
March 3, 2002 (2002-03-03)208
Tired of the Angry Scientist's failures, General Specific hires Doctor Oh No No No to help him capture Sheep. However, the Doctor has own his agenda.
22"Beauty and the Bleats"Mr. WarburtonMo WillemsMarch 10, 2002 (2002-03-10)209
Sheep is turned into a half human half sheep by a Genie to get in Swanky's new apartment.
23"An Officer and a Gentlelamb"Karen VillarrealMo WillemsMarch 17, 2002 (2002-03-17)210

Sheep cannot hold a steady job because the Top Secret Military Organization is always pursuing him.

Guest Stars: Ruth Buzzi, Christine Walters
24"Oh, the Ewemanity"Sue PerrottoStory by: Mo Willems
Weird Bits by: Joey Mazzarino
March 24, 2002 (2002-03-24)211
General Specific cannot capture Sheep because he is too small for his net, so he blows him up using an enlarging ray.
25"Here Goes Mutton"Mr. WarburtonStory by: Mo Willems
Weird Bits by: Joey Mazzarino & Mo Willems
March 31, 2002 (2002-03-31)212
Farmer John becomes a football player, while Sheep gets amnesia from a hit on the head.
26"Baa-hind the Scenes"Karen VillarrealMo WillemsApril 7, 2002 (2002-04-07)[6]213

This occurs when the cast is done filming an episode and now Sheep and his manager have a lunch meeting with the head of the network. General Specific does not like that, so he decides to ruin the meeting so Sheep will not get another show. In the end because of him (and the Angry Scientist's new invention), Sheep is turned pink with big eyes and is now perfect for another show!

Guest Stars: Christine Walters


The first season was available on iTunes. However, it was taken off of iTunes for unknown reasons. In the UK, 3 episodes (excluding the pilot) have been released on a DVD.[8] The pilot is on the Powerpuff Girls "Powerpuff Bluff" DVD and also on the Powerpuff Girls "Dream Scheme" VHS tape (although there was a mistake on the back cover of the tape saying it has a bonus cartoon of Courage the Cowardly Dog).


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