Bath-time toys come to life in new Nick Jr. TV show

Times Staff Writer

"Rubbadubbers," Nickelodeon's new weekday Nick Jr. show for preschoolers, beginning Tuesday at 9:30 a.m., turns bath-time into a cozy fantasy land of stop-motion animation, populated by a colorful cadre of imaginative, childlike bath toys (though no rubber duckies), who come to life when real kids aren't around.

A British import from the "Bob the Builder" folks, its strengths are its simplicity, sweetness and the child-savvy relationships between the toy pals: Tubb, a pink frog with leadership skills; Sploshy, an impatient starfish sponge; Winona, a sweet, wordless-but-squeaky lavender whale; and Finbar, a tough-talking wind-up shark with an inner nice guy.

Terence is a timid, crocodile-shaped bottle of bubble bath; battery-operated robot Reg has a computer brain to help with problem-solving; and Amelia, a flying submarine, soars above the action.

Each show consists of two short episodes and two long ones that begin in the nifty, shiny-clean bathroom setting and segue into playful fantasies as the toys work out such child-development issues as sharing, cooperation, feeling afraid, being tidy and showing off.

In the series opener, Tubb won't give anyone else a turn driving a model train that has been left on the bathroom floor; a sink overflows, Sploshy has a bad case of the "if only's" and Winona turns into a "pink towel monster."

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