Things Only Adults Notice On The Big Comfy Couch

There were far fewer options for children's television shows in the '90s than there are today, and if you grew up in that time period, you more than likely watched the exact same programs as everyone else from the era. Among the popular options for various age groups were "Blue's Clues," "Rugrats," and "All That," and one of the cutest shows for kids was "The Big Comfy Couch." 

"The Big Comfy Couch" followed a clown named Loonette as she navigated life in Clowntown with her friends Molly, Major Bedhead, Granny Garbanzo, and more. Loonette was known for tidying up, stretching, and taking naps.

Anyone who watched this show as a child likely has a nostalgic affinity for "The Big Comfy Couch," but let's get real — while we'll always hold a special place in our hearts for it, this show was bananas. As the title suggests, most of it took place on Loonette's comically large couch, as that's where she seemingly spent the majority of her time. 

If you haven't watched it recently, you probably only remember the recurring bits. While those alone are a little bizarre, they pale in comparison to some of the odd details you'll notice upon rewatching it as an adult. Here are some things only adults notice when watching "The Big Comfy Couch."

Birthdays are referred to by a different name

Those of us who aren't clowns and don't exist in the universe of "The Big Comfy Couch" refer to the occasion that marks another year of life as a birthday. And in the early days of the bygone children's show, it did as well. In the episode "Pinch to Grow an Inch," Loonette helps Molly celebrate her birthday. "Someone's having a party, it will be very jolly. Birthday fun, hope you can come, from your pal named Molly," Loonette reads at one point in the episode. The pals celebrate another year of Molly's life with streamers, balloons, hats, and games, and they call the occasion a birthday.

Later in the series, the annual celebration comes around again, but this time, it's not referred to as a birthday. In an effort to learn where clowns come from, particularly where she came from, Loonette seeks answers from Major Bedhead and Granny Garbanzo, and the two share with the clown her origin story. "That was your mirthday," Major Bedhead says to Loonette during the episode "Where Do Clowns Come From?" 

From that episode on, birthdays are referred to as mirthdays in Clowntown. "It was such a happy night, full of mirth," Major Bedhead continues, giving some context for why the clowns have a different word for birthdays than humans.

Molly doesn't speak

Aside from Loonette, the character that fans of "The Big Comfy Couch" are probably most acquainted with is Molly, Loonette's doll. Molly lives with Loonette, and while she doesn't accompany Loonette everywhere, she's in many of the show's scenes. 

Molly does not speak; rather, she communicates through gestures and thought bubbles. For example, at the end of the episode "Molly's Bellybutton," while Loonette and Molly are cuddled on the couch for a nap, Loonette asks Molly what they should dream about, and Molly suggests something that starts with the letter "L" and then reveals she's thinking of a "lion" through thought bubbles. 

Though it's simple to understand how Loonette can understand Molly's gestures, it's a little more confusing to grasp how Loonette is able to understand Molly's thought bubbles.

Some children did notice that Molly didn't speak, and while it was something many viewers just accepted as a child, some have since reevaluated this trope as adults, seeing it as more than just a harmless quirk on a children's show. As one therapist has pointed out since rewatching the show, Molly not speaking could make her be seen as less important than Loonette. 

"She could not verbally advocate for herself, and I saw that as making her less human, less capable, less interesting (her status as a doll notwithstanding)," therapist Sydney Schoen wrote in a blog post. "Loonette should have stated every episode ... In whatever mode of communication serves you — I'm listening," she added.

The background in the room changed colors

There are certain images from "The Big Comfy Couch" that will stay with viewers forever: Loonette stretching across her clock rug, Major Bedhead standing outside the homes, and of course, Loonette and Molly sitting on the titular piece of furniture. 

It's quite possible viewers don't have a recollection of the scene beyond that gigantic couch — it did take up quite a bit of space, after all — but those with an eidetic memory will remember that the wall behind the big comfy couch was pink ... for part of the series, that is.

If you remember the wall behind the couch being painted something other than pink, you're not a victim of the Mandela effect. You're correct. At the beginning of the series, the color of the wall behind the couch was blue. 

Not long into filming, the wall behind the couch became pink, and it stayed pink for much of the series until it changed to a peachy orange. (If you remember a color other than those three on the walls, however, we regret to inform you that you are indeed a victim of the Mandela effect.) 

Every character in The Big Comfy Couch was a clown

In case you missed it as a child, every character on "The Big Comfy Couch" is a clown. Looking back, perhaps that was obvious — they all have big red noses, they all wear clothing with bright colors and mismatched patterns, the theme song tells us to get ready to clown around, and they live in Clowntown — but as a kid, it didn't necessarily register. 

Even the characters that you wouldn't expect to be clowns are clowns, like Molly the dolly and the dust bunnies that live under the couch. Even the sun in Clowntown has a red nose. It is a truly unique town.

Perhaps part of the reason not every kid noticed that all the characters were clowns is because the show didn't focus on clowning around. Loonette and Molly were dealing with issues that every kid faces, not just clowns. As Alyson Court, the actor who played Loonette on "The Big Comfy Couch" said to E! News, "[Loonette] didn't have to be good at those stereotypical clown things. It was her journey interfacing in the world where she was a bit of a klutz and just a regular, awkward kid."

The Big Comfy Couch is full of puns

As it's a common trope in children's shows, there are tons of puns in "The Big Comfy Couch." One of the most prominent is Molly's belly button. Molly is a doll, so of course she doesn't have a belly button like humans; however, Molly's belly button is an actual button sewn onto her belly. In the episode "I Feel Good," Loonette asks Molly what her favorite body part is, and Molly shares that it's her belly button. Loonette lifts up Molly's shirt to reveal that her belly button is, in fact, an actual button. "It's right smack dab in the middle of everything," Loonette says. "That's a good reason to like it best."

Belly buttons aren't the only pun in the show. There's also a character named Major Bedhead, a clown with unruly hair whose name is a pun based on his own bedhead. There's also a character named Auntie Macassar. The word auntie is pronounced with a short "a" sound rather than an "aw" sound so her name sounds like the word antimacassar, which is what those lace pieces of fabric that are used to cover the arms of couches and chairs are called. While kids could pick up on Molly's belly-button pun, the antimacassar pun likely went right over their heads (and the heads of some adults).

Loonette's hair changed during the show

From the very first season of "The Big Comfy Couch," we got used to seeing Loonette the clown in a signature outfit: pink overalls, a long-sleeved T-shirt with a duck print, black-and-white striped tights, clogs, and a purple hat. While her outfit stayed the same throughout the series (more on that later), something else changed: her hair. Loonette started the show with long, dark pigtails sticking out of her hat. Her pigtails were looser, and while they were curly, they still had some serious length.

But as the seasons went on, Loonette's hair changed. Her hair stayed styled in her signature pigtail look, but the pigtails gradually got shorter and a little poofier. By season 6, Loonette's pigtails barely touched her shoulders, and they were far more voluminous than they were at the beginning of the series. 

The other members of Clowntown must not have been as familiar with the hairdresser as Loonette. Molly the doll's hair stayed the same throughout the series, as did Major Bedhead's and Granny Garbanzo's. There was one episode, however, where Major Bedhead had to get his hair cut after letting it grow out too long. Granny Garbanzo does the honors, and we see Major Bedhead without his helmet on, revealing that his hair is attached to his helmet and not his head.

The 10-second tidy wasn't 10 seconds

"The Big Comfy Couch" became known for several recurring bits. You probably remember Loonette's clock stretch — where she moved her body around the clock rug with astonishing flexibility — but you might also remember the 10-second tidy. 

The 10-second tidy was exactly what it sounded like, as Loonette spent 10 seconds tidying up her space. "Wait a minute, who made this big mess?" Loonette asked herself on the show. "Well then, I have to clean it up. It's only fair," she added after realizing it was she who made the mess. 

Many a parent was thankful for the 10-second tidy because it encouraged children to recognize they made a mess and spend a short amount of time tidying up their space. Kids could do it while watching the show, but parents could implement the practice outside of television, too.

Particularly observant parents, however, appreciated the 10-second tidy for a different reason: The 10-second tidy lasted longer than 10 seconds. The exact amount of the 10-second tidy took varied, but it didn't require a stopwatch to realize that it was more than the marketed amount of time. For parents, that hopefully meant an additional few seconds that children spent cleaning up real messes near their televisions.

None of the proportions made sense

The universe in which "The Big Comfy Couch" existed was a strange one to figure out. As noted, time wasn't kept correctly, walls magically changed colors, and birthdays were mirthdays. However, those weren't the only odd aspects of "The Big Comfy Couch" — far from it. The proportions of the furniture were nonsensical, too. 

Per the name of the show, the couch was enormous, but it was so enormous it dwarfed Loonette, who was a seemingly average-sized person. Behind the couch were baseboards that appeared to be almost half the size of the couch, and next to it was a lamp that was taller than the couch but still seemed completely out of place size-wise. How big was this room? How big was Loonette supposed to be? We still have many questions.

What we do know is that the couch was truly enormous. In an interview with E! News, Alyson Court, the actor who played Loonette, Court shared, "[The couch] really is big. It's seven feet tall, 10 feet wide, and five feet deep." And there wasn't just one big comfy couch throughout the series. There were multiple that were used, and when the series was over, Court took one of the couches with her, and she still has it to this day.

Loonette's age is ambiguous

Loonette, who was played by Alyson Court, was the star of "The Big Comfy Couch" from 1992 to 2003. She was just shy of 19 when the show first aired, making her a teenager when the show began and an adult the entire time the show was on television. This, however, led to some confusion over what age Loonette was supposed to be. 

Though she looked like a teenager, Loonette seemingly lived alone (not once were her parents mentioned, and she had to ask Major Bedhead and Granny Garbanzo where she came from). To add to the confusion, Loonette took regular naps, was best friends with a doll, and was continually learning lessons that someone who lives on their own should know. 

However, Loonette was growing up on the show. During the early seasons, Loonette was too young to go to Clowntown by herself, but she eventually reached the age where she was able to.

Loonette wasn't the only one who was growing up. Court was, too. As she told E! News, after a few years of filming "The Big Comfy Couch," Court was ready to stop clowning around. "I wanted to live my life and enjoy being a young adult. I was finding it was very oppressive because I'd never experienced that kind of control before," Court said.

Loonette doesn't change clothes

As noted, Loonette the clown had a signature look. Her mismatched patterns and colorful pieces became a staple of the show. Loonette rarely had on anything but that signature outfit. 

Every now and then she would add pieces to her ensemble, like in the episode "Molly's Bellybutton" when she wore a headband with cat ears and animal print gloves while she pretended to be a cat. She also wore the occasional tutu and sometimes wore a costume, but aside from those rare moments, Loonette was in the same outfit all the time. While that's commonplace in animated shows, it's rarer to see in a live-action series.

Loonette wasn't the only person in Clowntown who wasn't doing laundry. The other main characters kept the same outfits on, too. Major Bedhead wore striped tights with an orange tank top and pink biker shorts while Granny Garbanzo had on a yellow polo and a floral apron with a green cardigan (though she didn't always have on the cardigan). 

Funnily enough, the character who perhaps changed their clothes most often is Molly the dolly. While she is typically seen in a blue dress, there are a few episodes of the show where she has on a yellow dress instead.

The show addressed mental health

Much to the credit of the writers, many children's shows are adept at teaching children life lessons in an authentic way. "The Big Comfy Couch" was no exception. Although it focused more on keeping spaces tidy and being sure to stretch, the show addressed other issues, too, like mental health. 

One episode called "Juggling the Jitters" showed both Loonette and Major Bedhead struggling with anxiety as it related to clowning. Loonette had anxiety about performing while Major Bedhead had anxiety about coaching Loonette. The episode had other characters share their experiences with clowning anxiety and how they overcame it, and it showed Loonette and Major Bedhead coping with their nerves and eventually finding confidence.

Kids weren't the only ones who learned some life lessons through "The Big Comfy Couch." Alyson Court, the actor who played Loonette, learned a few things by playing the beloved clown. As she said in an interview with E! News, "Be good to each other. A promise is a promise, even to yourself. Do your best to stretch every day. No means no. Sometimes you need to be by yourself. And, love you like a crazy, always and forever."