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"A joke is a funny story; a prank is a trick on somebody, and when that somebody gets humiliated, it's not funny."
— Grandmum
Pratical Hoax
Directed by

Tom Bancroft

Written by

Kirby Atkins

Music by

Kurt Heinecke


January 5, 2008


23 minutes

Previous episode

Give & Let Give

Next episode

Comedy of Errors

Practical Hoax is the sixth episode from the second season of 3-2-1 Penguins!, which teaches a lesson about the consequences of playing pranks on others. It is the twelfth episode overall.


Jason plays a prank on his sister Michelle by dropping a bucket of water on her. Michelle doesn't take this very well and Grandmum quotes the verse, "Like a madman who throws firebrands and arrows, is the man who tricks his neighbor and says, 'I was only joking'." Jason misses the point of the verse and Grandmum has to explain to him what that means. It means that a prank isn't funny if it's mean. Jason still thinks that Michelle doesn't have a sense of humor. He and Michelle eventually get galeezeled aboard the Rockhopper for another mission.

Later, Cavitus is getting annoyed by how his henchmen aren't taking things seriously. He decides to take them to the Academy, where they can get the proper military training they need. However, the henchmen point out they can't go there because Cavitus was suspended there years ago. Cavitus responds that he has to recognized first.

Back on the Rockhopper, the Penguins have succeeded their mission in establishing a peace treaty between the inhabitants of Planet Fetch and the Border Collie Federation and everything is going well until Jason and Midgel decide to play pranks on the other crew members (eg. a whoopie cushion on Michelle's seat, replacing Zidgel's gel with avocado cream and placing Kevin's image on the glasses, gluing the furniture in Kevin's room upside down, and placing a crème pie on Fidgel's laptop). Michelle warns Jason about what Grandmum said before, but he and Midgel state that they're just harmless. Admiral Strap later informs the crew that most of the staff at the Academy are sick and they need substitutes while they're getting better. They agree that they can help since they're experts there.

In the Federation Academy, Zidgel is showing his crew pictures of himself when he was in the Academy. Fidgel hands Midgel and Zidgel their schedules. Midgel will be teaching a piloting class, and Zidgel will be teaching a leadership class. Midgel offers Jason a chance to assist him. Jason accepts the offer.

Since Fidgel doesn't have teaching duties, he and Michelle decide to investigate the school's file cabinet to see what happened to his pal, Bert Bertman. While Midgel is teaching his class, Cavitus and his minions arrive late in disguise. Jason takes a good look at them. After he realizes who they really are, he tries to warn Midgel. However, Midgel ignores him.

In the file cabinet, Fidgel and Michelle find information about Bert. They also find blueprints for the galeezel. Back at Midgel's class, Cavitus orders his minions to get a dart and place it on Midgel's chair. Midgel returns to his chair to sit down when the dart pokes him, causing him to leap off from the chair. Jason tries to tell Midgel about Cavitus and his minions, but Midgel demands to know who played the prank on him. The minute he hears Cavitus and his minions giggling, Midgel accuses them of playing the prank. Cavitus denies having anything to do with the prank. Midgel tries to walk towards him, but his foot gets stuck in some glue. Cavitus finds this prank funny and gets everyone else to laugh at him and Jason, who also got stuck in the glue when trying to get Midgel unstuck.

Meanwhile, Fidgel finds some more blueprints for the galeezel. However, he doesn't find anything that can tell him what happened to Bert. Fidgel deduces that if Cavitus had a part of the galeezel, he must have stolen it from Bert. Michelle finds some information about Bert going bad and trying to take over that Academy. Fidgel denies that Bert would ever do anything like that. Back in Midgel's classroom, Midgel and Jason are starting to figure out why everyone else was mad about their pranks. The dart that Midgel sat on earlier chastises everyone else for laughing at Jason and Midgel. Everyone else realizes what they did was wrong and help Jason and Midgel out of the glue and apologize to them. Midgel assures the class that he and Jason did the same thing to their friends yesterday. Baron von Cavitus gets outraged by this and reveals himself and his minions to the class. He proclaims his plan to make himself Honorary Dean of Evil. When the class stands in his way, he and his minions make a run for it. The entire class runs after them. Eventually, Zidgel and his class join the chase. Michelle notices Cavitus in the Academy. Fidgel fires the galeezel at Cavitus, shrinking him. He and his minions manage to escape.

Back in Grandmum's cottage, Jason apologizes to Michelle for playing that prank on her earlier. Grandmum comes upstairs with a best joke of the year award for Jason and Michelle. The joke is the verse that Grandmum told them earlier. Jason and Michelle start to understand what the verse means. When Jason and Michelle kneel down to say their prayers, Jason kneels down on a whoopie cushion. Jason and Michelle have a good laugh at that.


Fun Facts


  • A sycophant is someone who compliments those in authority in order to gain their approval.


  • The verses quoted are "Proverbs 26:18-19."
  • The episode's title is a play on the term "practical jokes."
  • This is the first episode of a couple of things:
    • The first episode to start at Grandmum's since Moon Menace on Planet Tell-a-Lie!.
    • The first time Jason and Michelle are galeezeled into the ship by someone other than Fidgel. In this case, Zidgel is the one who galeezels them both into the ship.
  • There were a few differences between pre-production and the final version:
    • According to Cedric Hohnstadt, there were different concepts on Zidgel's pompadour with guacamole.


  • It would be very unlikely that the pie can fit inside Fidgel's laptop.
  • Zidgel calls the ship the "U.S.P.F. Rockhopper," but it's actually called the "U.F.P.S. Rockhopper."


  • Just before Fidgel gets hit in the face with the pie, his eyebrows disappear.
  • The episode's description on Yippee TV states that Michelle is the one who pulls pranks on the ship along with her brother, when it was actually Midgel. On another note, Michelle is not seen pulling any kind of pranks in this episode.

Inside References

  • One of Qwerty's sound effects is heard when the Federation Academy's logo appears on Cavitus' screen.
  • At one point when Zidgel is showing everyone the picture of him in the marching band, he says "No, no." This was the same thing Jason said in the first episode, as did Bob in King George and the Ducky.
  • Fidgel mentions to Michelle about the disappearance of Bert and how there was another Matter Disperser.
  • Zidgel hums the 3-2-1 Penguins! theme song when styling his hair.
  • At the end of the episode, Michelle reads one of the comics that Jason and Kevin were seen reading in More is More.

Real-World References

  • Mahatma Gandhi was a civil rights leader in India. He is most recognized as the peacemaker for India.
  • The play Zidgel and Squid Girl were acting in one the photos is Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare.
  • Cavitus saying that the Academy teachers will make his minions "the very models of modern major grovelers" is referencing the first lyrics to Gilbert and Sullivan's Major-General song.
  • The vacuum cleaner's voice in this episode is similar to that of Mater from Disney/Pixar's Cars franchise.
  • Cavitus says "goodnight moon," which is the name of a children's book by Margaret Wise Brown.
  • Midgel and Jason painting an image of Kevin on Zidgel's glasses is similar to what Sylvester does in the Looney Tunes short "Tweety's S.O.S."