|An Off-Beats Valentine's title card.|
|Date Ran||February 12 & 14, 1999 - February 13, 2000|
|Directed/Written/Created By||Mo Willems|
|Produced By||Curious Pictures|
They nervous, they nebbish, they small, and the Populars don't like 'em at all. It don't matter, they hip, they got their own friendship, but when love is in the air, it can cause quite a scare. And sometimes it's hard to define, what goes down on Valentine's.
An Off-Beats Valentine's is a special episode of Mo Willems' traditional animation segment The Off-Beats, presented on the first two seasons of the Nickelodeon animated anthology series KaBlam!. Produced in 1998, it was aired during the Nickel-O-Zone programming block on February 12, 1999, and later reran on February 14, 1999, and February 13, 2000.
Valentine's Day is drawing near and everyone is getting prepared for it, in one way or another. Grubby Groo is holding a dance party at his café. Tommy of the Off-Beats and Beth of the Populars have a crush on each other. September reminisces about a female cat named February he was in love with. Repunzil tries to get September a new crush and an escaping Tommy a valentine gift. August tries to figure out how to get a girlfriend without the use of technology.
Tommy is walking around and singing, when he suddenly encounters the Populars. Tina aggressively demands that he read her poem. The poem turns out to be a bad pun against him, and Tina then tasks Beth to destroy the evidence. While doing so, she and Tommy look each other in the eyes and suddenly fall in love. To prolong their time together, Tommy shreds his hat (revealing that he is bald).
August, September, Betty Anne Bongo and Repunzil see a poster advertising for a Valentine's dance party at Grubby Groo's café, Ad Hoc. Repunzil comments at how romantic the event is, while Betty Anne dismisses it as being overly schmalzy. She then asks August for his opinion and hopes he won't get a valentine with one of his gadgets. August says he wouldn't dream of it and will try to find love the "natural way, unplugged." Being annoyed by their answers, Betty Anne also asks September, expecting a more mature response from him. Instead, he just sheds a tear and walks away. Tommy joins the conversation without his hat and when he gets questioned by August as why he's not wearing it, he turns red in the face and says nothing happened to it. When he asks what they're up to, Betty Anne says that August and Repunzil are going "goo-goo" about Valentine's Day. Tommy then shouts that "Valentine's Day is very important!" and it knocks the group off their feet. Repunzil says Tommy is "so cute when he yells."
Alone, September is starting to cry when Tommy visits him and asks for some advice, but is told to ask his shrink. Tommy then clarifies that he likes this girl, but it's a "forbidden love." September then shows him a framed photo of his long lost girlfriend, a cat named February, and tells a story about how they met a year ago when in Paris. As September took his lunch hour under a big tree in a yard, February fell from it head on and the two fell in love (despite September's dog friends not understanding). But, when the Great War broke out they had to flee from Paris. September waited at the train station for February so that they could escape together, but she never showed. When Tommy asks what this story has in common with his situation, September responds saying not to let anything stand in the way of true love, and love is "the greatest thing that can happen between two beings." He also tells Tommy not to date cats, because they're very "fickle."
Later on, Tommy is writing a note to Beth if she wants to be his valentine, using a pigeon to send the message. Shortly after, Beth gets the message and had time to read it, because she took a "bathroom break." She presents a gift to Tommy, a new hat. They then declare their love for one another, but promise that it'll remain a secret from everyone else. Beth has to go (go to the bathroom that is), but she gives a kiss to Tommy before leaving. Repunzil comes by, hinting this year a certain special "cutie pie" is going to get a very special valentine. Tommy has a feeling what she means, so he runs away. When Repunzil comes back with a huge chocolate heart, Tommy is gone. A chase scene engulfs, with Tommy trying to hide, while she is looking for him, Tommy holds a sign saying "I Am Not Tommy."
Betty Anne Bongo notices Tommy and Repunzil chasing after each other and is relieved that August hasn't gone "totally-in-love crazy" yet, but she then finds him sitting on a tree branch and practicing his kissing (referring to the "sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G" song). August says if he's going to get a girlfriend, the "unplugged" way, he's going to need training and persistence. The tree branch snaps and August falls to the ground, as he asks Betty Anne if she could help him, which she declines at first, but changes her mind after seeing at how hopeless his situation really is.
Inside a basketball gym, August exercises on a human sized doll. First, he holds a hand and reaches in to kiss it, but the doll's head falls off. Next, he is opening the door for the doll, but knocks himself out. Finally, he and the doll sit together but the couch tips over. Betty Anne then suggests August simply send a card.
A lovestruck Tommy talks with Betty Anne. Wondering who his girlfriend might be, she asks but Tommy says he can't say. Betty Anne says that's okay and she respects the girl's privacy. Tommy then shouts out Beth's name multiple times. Betty Anne is surprised that he's dating a Popular, and says if Tina finds out, then he is dead meat. Tommy laughs nervously and is aware.
Being fearless, Tommy manages to meet up with Beth several times as she's walking with her peers. They even share a kiss! However, Tommy starts finding his romance to be unfulfilling.
During his next move, Tommy's trying to contact Beth via phone call, while he's camouflaging himself as a fire hydrant. He then tells her how unsatisfying their romance has become because they can't see each other in person. As an apology, they arrange a date at 9 p.m. by the fountain in the park. After they hang up, a dog comes up to Tommy in an attempt to take a leak on his fire hydrant outfit, but he tells it to go away.
Repunzil asks Betty Anne Bongo where her self-proclaimed sweetheart Tommy may be. Betty Anne tells her that he likes another girl and that falling in love makes one stupid. As they are talking, they meet with Grubby Groo and he introduces his nephew Brad, who is helping out with getting the Valentine's dance organized. Betty Anne suddenly becomes lovestruck over Brad, as she stutters while trying to speak to him. As Repunzil comments about Brad being kind of cute, Betty Anne yells and violently shakes her because she's thinking that Repunzil may steal him first. Betty Anne then storms off.
February is continued to be missed by September. August then shows him a fancy outfit for wearing to the Valentine's dance. September gives advice, saying that August should stay true to himself. August takes that literally, and undresses down to his underwear, starting his love quest. Repunzil, having heard September's story, comes with the idea of introducing her animal friends as possible dates for him. She brings forth Widows the duck, much to his dismay, and asks if he sees the romantic possibilities, but September says he'd rather be "neutered," walking away.
At 9 p.m., Tommy and Beth meet up for their date in the park. Even then, an unhinged August and the sleeping Populars nearby make it difficult to enjoy their time together. Being sick of pretending to hate each other (for each's friends), the couple plan to slow dance during the Valentine's party to show each other's peers that the two love each other. February then shows up in her iconic way by falling on her head, and is searching for September.
The next day, August (while still undressed) and September walk towards the Valentine's party, with August optimistic of finding a date just by being himself. To his misfortune, he and September encounter the Populars. Realizing that, August quickly goes away to get his clothes. With Tina the only one whom he could ask for a date within his rules, he presents his Heartometer 4000 for his proposal. To his dismay, Tina quickly crushes the machine and the group drags August along with them for his punishment. September follows, just before February falls on her head once again, looking for him.
At the Valentine's party, Tina is still angry at the idea of the Off-Beats trying to date one of them, while Beth is agreeing slyly even when Tommy is waving to her. Tina then remarks that the selection of music is so lame, that even her dog could provide better one, while September (playing the DJ) comments that her's isn't heartbroken. Betty Anne Bongo, not surprised seeing August stuck inside the punch bowl, and him both greet Repunzil who snarks at her mother for having stuck her hair up so high, that she can barely walk. She asks what's wrong with September, saying he's usually a "good doggy DJ," but Betty Anne says he still has love for February. Suddenly, the Populars under Tina threaten to leave the party, if September continues playing the "lame" (as earlier mentioned) music, when suddenly, February lands on his turntable, and the two are finally reunited. September then plays an upbeat track and everybody starts dancing. Meanwhile, Betty Anne is asking out Brad if he wants to dance with her. With him saying yes, she becomes unconscious. August brings forth a dancing robot for himself, while Tommy stares at Beth. As the music stops, August and Repunzil find Betty Anne unconscious before pouring a glass of water on her to wake her up. She asks if her dancing was good, with them saying that it was great.
September and February introduce the slow dance, but most of the kids shy away. Tommy tries his move with Beth, but at the last second, she like the rest of the Populars, laugh at his proposal, leaving Tommy speechless. Repunzil saves the situation by shouting at the Populars to lay off her friend, and drags him away.
When they are alone, Repunzil questions Tommy if he's okay. Even as he wants his time for thinking at his situation, Tommy thanks Repunzil for saving him. After she left, he takes the jump into the Young Lover's Leap (referring to a cliff or high point from which disappointed and despairing lovers plunge to death). Beth then comes by, trying to apologize for before. Even after this, she's still thinking that even with their friends never truly understanding their romance, they could remain together. Tommy is against the idea, saying that he needs someone who could follow him, even when someone else is against him. With that said, he says farewell to Beth and she leaves.
After the party, as the Off-Beats come together, they conclude that Valentine's Day isn't just about falling in love, but about spending time with the friends that you love, even if you're not in love with them. But, September reminds of the day's true origin, commemorating Saint Valentine, the patron saint of beekeepers who was martyred in 273 A.D. Everyone else dismisses that, instead wanting to celebrate their friendship by dancing.
- The Populars (Tina, Beth, Billy, Paul, Gordon, Virgil)
- Betty Anne Bongo
- Grubby Groo
- Various partygoers