Television Puppetry

Nanalan’ is having a TikTok Moment

By December 7, 2023 December 11th, 2023 No Comments
Mona, the puppet star of beloved Canadian series Nanalan’ (photo: The Grogs / Puppet Island).

The late `90s / early aughts series Nanalan’ is having a bit of a cultural moment right now, rediscovered by a new generation of fans and exploding in popularity thanks to viral videos on TikTok.

Nanalan’ is a beloved Canadian kids series built around the imagination and enthusiasm of a three-year-old girl named Mona, who plays in the backyard of her “Nana” and gleefully discovers the wonder of the world around her. The series began in 1999 as a series of charming three minute shorts on the Canadian cable channel YTV, and eventually expanded to full thirty minute episodes, which were picked up by CBC (Canada), Nick Jr. (U.S.A.) and Fox UK.

Despite being intended for children, Nanalan has always had cross-generation appeal. When the show was originally on the air in the early aughts I remember overhearing hipsters in their early twenties gushing about Mona, Russell and the “really cool” guys – Jamie Shannon and Jason Hopley (collectively known as The Grogs) – who were making Nanalan in an old warehouse west of downtown Toronto.

The series gentle appeal has never really faded, and if anything has only grown since the show first aired. Mona’s child-like gibberish and sense of wonder has been an endless source of in-jokes and ironic memes for years, and in the past few weeks Nanalan has absolutely exploded in popularity thanks to a clip of the one of the show’s songs, Who’s That Wonderful Girl?, going viral on TikTok:

Amazingly, Nanalan’s creators Jason and Jamie hadn’t hadn’t seen each other or worked together for fifteen years. In the wake of their recent viral success, they reunited this week to appear as guests on the Canadian talk show Q. In a wide ranging chat with host Tom Power, they discuss Nanalan’s history, their past collaboration, reunion, and why they think that a twenty year old puppet show for kids is especially relevant today:

Mona and her Nana made a special appearance on the show as well:

For more viral Nanalan clips and memes, you can follow Nanalan’s official TikTok account. Full episodes of the series are available to watch on the Nanalan’ YouTube Channel.

Via CBC.