The Chipettes are a fictional group of three female anthropomorphic chipmunk singers first appearing on the cartoon series Alvin and the Chipmunks in 1983. In this and related materials, the Chipettes served as female featured characters in their own right, starring in numerous episodes. The title of the show was changed from Alvin and the Chipmunks to simply The Chipmunks in 1988 to reflect this. In the cartoon series and the accompanying feature films, all three of the Chipettes were voiced by their creator, Janice Karman, the wife of Ross Bagdasarian, Jr. (son of Ross Bagdasarian, Sr., the creator of The Chipmunks). Karman also wrote and voiced the Chipettes' dialogue on their studio albums, while studio singers such as Susan Boyd, Shelby Daniel, and Katherine Coon provided their singing voices.
The first character designs for the Chipettes were drafted by Corny Cole for their 1983 debut. These were later revamped by Sandra Berez for The Chipmunk Adventure and the later seasons of the show.
Brittany is the lead singer and the oldest sister of the Chipettes, and is the female counterpart of Alvin. She has a great spirit and never gives up on her sisters. Brittany is often very sassy and vain, even to the point of not caring about the effect her actions have on those around her. She has ginger hair which is seen in a high ponytail, sky blue eyes, and her favorite color is pink.
Jeanette is the middle sister of the Chipettes, and is the female counterpart of Simon. Jeanette has a high amount of intellect which she is often not afraid to use, and is considered the lovable klutz of the Chipettes. Her klutzy personality is shown in her outfits, and is often seen with her shoelaces untied, a strap on her dress shoulder crooked, etc. Like her counterpart Simon, she wears glasses due to her extremely poor eyesight. She is very shy and soft-spoken, and is often pushed around because of it. Jeanette has dark brown hair in a bun (changed to a ponytail in The Squeakquel and Chipwrecked), however, in the CGI movies, depending on how the light is reflecting on it, it can be justified as a reddish-brown. Her favorite colors are purple and royal blue. In the 1983 TV series, Jeanette's eye color is sea green; however, in the live-action/CGI films, her eye color changed to violet.
Eleanor is the youngest sister of the Chipettes. She is considered the female counterpart of Theodore, but she is shown to be much more athletic. Out of the three Chipettes, she is the one who is most likely to willingly take part in a sports activity. Still, she is the chubbiest of the sisters due to her love for food. Eleanor is much less timid than Jeanette, and is always happy to stand up to Brittany when she thinks something is not right. She is also very creative, and likes to design and create clothes/costumes. Eleanor has blonde hair with twin pigtails, and her favorite color is spring green. Her eyes were brown in the 1983 TV series, but the live-action/CGI films portray her to have green eyes, probably to colour co-ordinate her facial features with her outfit.
The origins of the Chipettes can be traced to the 1982 Alvin and the Chipmunks album The Chipmunks Go Hollywood (RCA, 1981). On this album, Alvin sings a duet with a female character billed as Charlene the Chipette. Charlene is featured on the song "You're the One That I Want" from the soundtrack of the motion picture Grease. Charlene was depicted on the album cover as having a long, golden blonde ponytail, and seems to have been the basis for the later character of Brittany. She may have made a visual appearance in 1990, in Rockin' with the Chipmunks, where she danced and lip-synced in the music video for "Crocodile Rock" by Elton John, but that also might have been Brittany as she had that exact appearance on the inside cover of When You Wish Upon a Chipmunk.
Like the Chipmunks, the Chipettes were originally created for the musical medium, and later crossed over into cartoons. According to their creator, Janice Karman, she and Ross Bagdasarian, Jr., "...had been doing the albums at that point... We couldn't do the girl songs. I wanted to do female chipmunks that have counter personalities to the Chipmunks so we could do some girl tunes."
Bagdasarian also added in reference to the Chipettes characters, "It enables you to deal with issues that girls are going through that boys wouldn't necessarily be dealing with... We had a baby girl at the time. We wanted to let her know she can be president, or a soccer champion, or whatever... With the Chipettes we can handle those sorts of things." A good example of this is The Brady Bunch.
It is worth noting, however, that the Chipettes of the cartoon series (Brittany, Jeanette and Eleanor) appeared on the small screen before appearing on any albums. Their first appearance on the Chipmunks album was on 1984's Songs From Our TV Shows which was released on March 4, 1984, nearly seven months after the Chipettes debuted on the first episode of the Alvin and the Chipmunks television series on September 17, 1983.
Although the Chipettes featured prominently on many Alvin and the Chipmunks albums, they received equal billing with the Chipmunks only on 1988's Born to Rock.
The Chipettes appear in the 2009 film Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. In the movie, Christina Applegate, Anna Faris, and Amy Poehler voice the Chipettes. There has been a lot of talk about it, noted Janice Karman, one of the films producers. A lot of people have been asking about the little girls." Applegate, Faris, and Poehler reprised their respective roles in Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, which was released on December 16, 2011.
Fictional character history
Like their counterparts the Chipmunks, the Chipettes seem to have been born in a single litter, or in human terms, as "triplets".
The Chipettes spent their infanthood in Australia without any parents to raise them, but were instead cared for by an orphan named Olivia who resided within an orphanage owned by a selfish woman named Miss Grudge, who was in constant search of children with musical abilities in order to showcase them for money. After first learning about the musical talents possessed by the Chipettes, she made it her main priority to exploit them before the baby chipmunks managed to escape from the orphanage.The damage, however, had been done : the girls did not see Olivia again for some years, and lived alone as vagabonds.
The girls sailed on a boat to America and spent the remainder of their early childhood trying to support themselves with menial jobs, but soon decided to try to start a musical career after an advertisement captures their attention. Albeit at first they found difficulty trying to appeal and grab the attention of an employer, he had a change of heart upon hearing their voices and hired the sisters. The girls tried to label their band as the "Chipmunks," unaware of the fact that the name had already been taken, but this angered Alvin, Simon, and Theodore and started conflict against the two groups and led to a bet that nearly resulted in the girls winning permission to title their group as the Chipmunks until misled audiences brought the trio to renaming the band as "the Chipettes."
After the arguments over band names had ended, the Chipmunks befriended the three girls, who came to live in a feminine tree house in town. They met Olivia again, but did not resume being her wards.
The situation remained this way for a while. However, due to Brittany's Alvinish stunt to pose as her own mother, going awry, the school learns about the girls' lack of parents and may send them away into foster care and possibly be broken up among different families. Dave adopts them briefly, but 6 quarelling chipmunks in one house proves too much for everybody's nerves. Fortunately, however, an elderly woman named Miss Miller adopts the three, thanks to being persuaded by Alvin and albeit at first the Chipettes do not get along with her, this changes after learning about Miss Miller's fondness for music.
In Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, which reboots their history, the Chipettes arrived at JETT Records inside of a FedEx package. They met Ian Hawke, who now lives in the basement after the events of the first film, and impress him with their singing talents. Ian hires them as a plot to get revenge on the Chipmunks, sent them to the same school Dave had enrolled the Chipmunks in and revive his career. Alvin warns Brittany that Ian is using her and the other Chipettes to overwork them like he did to Alvin, Simon and Theodore, but Brittany refuses to believe him. the Chipettes are soon imprisoned in a cage but Alvin shows up to rescue them, and they arrive just in time to perform at the contest their school was holding. After they win the contest, Dave allows the Chipettes to stay with him and the Chipmunks.
In Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, The Chipettes, along with Dave and the Chipmunks board a cruise ship which soon results in Alvin creating havoc around the ship (with Simon trying to stop him, but he finds himself gambling in the attempt) and the Chipettes attending the disco on the ship, Dave finds them and tells them that if they keep behaving like this, they will not perform at the International Music awards. The next morning, he tells the Chipmunks and Chipettes that they are allowed to shuffle board as their only activity but the six get into a situation with a kite and blown away from the ship (although Dave quickly goes after them) The two groups fall into the water, but they wash up on shore on an island. The next day, the six meet a lady named Zoey who becomes friends with them, who takes them to her treehouse. When they get there, Eleanor falls from a very high height, breaking one of her legs and Simon gets bitten by a spider causing him to think he is French and called Simone, "Simone" is shown to be brave and flirty to Jeanette. Once Dave reunites with the six, they plan to get off the island using a raft, however "Simone" and Jeanette are ambushed by Zoey who knocks "Simone" out with a ping pong ball, restoring his memory as Simon and takes Jeanette, forcing her to collect treasure in a cave for Zoey. Thankfully Dave and Alvin (with help from Simon) rescue Jeanette from Zoey, who tries to make Dave fall to his death, but is convinced by Ian to save Dave and the three escape the island with the Chipmunks and Chipettes. The Chipmunks and Chipettes perform at the International Music Awards and then board a plane with Dave for home.
Unlike their male counterparts the Chipmunks, the Chipettes have no fur covering their entire bodies but instead possess humanlike hair on their heads, which can be styled into different hairstyles for each girl; a stylized ponytail for Brittany, a bun for Jeanette, and two pigtails for Eleanor. However, in the Squeakquel, the Chipettes had to be redesigned yet again so they would better resemble real chipmunks, so they were given full fur coats, but their animators and designers still left a small amount of humanlike hair on the girls' heads, though the Chipettes' hairstyles differed slightly from their usual hairstyles in the animated series. Now Jeanette had a ponytail that was slightly shorter than Brittany's and on top of her head more, but each Chipette's new fur coat was made the same color as their hair in the series, though not exactly the same shade. The Chipettes also each have their own signature color in attire, Brittany wear shades of pink, Jeanette wears blue and (mostly) purple and Eleanor wears green. They were also given eye colors different from each other's, blue (Brittany) green (Jeanette) and brown (Eleanor). Although Brittany kept her eye color in the live-action/GCI films, Jeanette's eyes became purple while Eleanor was given green eyes.
With the exception of 1987's "The Chipmunk Adventure" soundtrack (LP) and 1988's "Born to Rock", the discography of The Chipettes consists of featured appearances on Alvin and the Chipmunks recordings.
- 1982: The Chipmunks Go Hollywood
- 1984: Songs from Our TV Shows
- 1987: The Chipmunk Adventure
- 1988: The Chipmunks and The Chipettes: Born to Rock
- 1988: Solid Gold Chipmunks
- 1990: Rockin' Through the Decades
- 1991: The Chipmunks Rock the House
- 1992: Chipmunks in Low Places
- 1994: Here's Looking at Me!
- 1994: A Very Merry Chipmunk
- 1995: When You Wish Upon a Chipmunk
- 1996: Club Chipmunk: The Dance Mixes
- 1998: The A-Files: Alien Songs
- 2004: Little Alvin and the Mini-Munks
- 2009: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
- 2011: Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked: Music from the Motion Picture
- 1994: "I Don't Want To Be Alone For Christmas (Unless I'm Alone With You)"
- 1996: "Macarena"
- "Put Your Records On"
- "Hot n Cold"
- "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)"
- "So What"
- "The Song" (feat. Queensberry)
- "No One" (feat. Charice)
- "Whip My Tail"
- "We No Speak Americano"/"Conga" (feat. Barnetta Dafonseca)
- "Call Me Maybe"
- Alvin and the Chipmunks (1983-1990) - TV series
- Alvin and the Chipmunks and the Amazing Computer (1985) - Stage Show
- The Chipmunk Adventure (1987)
- Rockin' Through the Decades (1990)
- Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman (2000)
- Little Alvin and the Mini-Munks (2004)
- Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009)
- Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (2011)
- ALVINNN!!! and the Chipmunks (2015) - TV series
- Regarding the first and subsequent appearances of the Chipettes on television http://www.tv.com/alvin-and-the-chipmunks/show/2827/episode.html
- Regarding Janice Karman as the primary voice actress for the Chipettes http://www.tv.com/alvin-and-the-chipmunks/show/2827/cast.html?tag=tabs;cast
- Regarding the history of the Chipettes on The Chipmunks TV series and in the Chipmunk Adventure http://www.chipmunks.com/history.php
- Regarding the Chipettes creation for the musical medium and their discography http://www.roctober.com/roctober/chipmunks.html
- Janice Karman and Ross Bagdasarian Jr. on their inspiration for creating the Chipettes http://www.mediavillage.com/jmentr/2006/09/11/Jacki-09-11-06/
- Janice Karman on the possibility of the Chipettes appearing in a sequel to the recent Alvin and the Chipmunks film http://moviesblog.mtv.com/2008/01/09/alvin-the-chipmunks-to-meet-chipettes-in-sequel/
- Regarding the fictional character history of the Chipettes as outlined in various episodes of the television series http://www.tv.com/alvin-and-the-chipmunks/show/2827/episode_guide.html