Pardon my French girls, but this is bananas! You are not 'little ladies.' You are human beings with your own ideas and interests. Blossoming flowers, not flower arrangers. Whatever happened to self-expression, progress, keeping an open mind?
Hilary Higgenbottom is the single mother of Bessie and Ben. She owns and operates a coffee shop and eatery called Hilary's Café, which sells cupcakes, cookies and other baked goods in addition to the caffeinated beverages. Hilary is voiced by Megan Cavanagh.
Hilary takes a laid-back approach with her children, usually letting them do as they please. She is a loving mother and cares deeply for Bessie and Ben. However, Bessie's excitable nature and Ben's need for attention can overwhelm her on occasion.
Little is known of Hilary's past, except for the fact that she is a longtime motorcycle rider ("Boston Beean"), was a goat herder in Berlin ("Apoxalypse Now") and that in "Name Shame" she recounts how Bessie's middle name became Kajolica: she met a medicine man from Santa Fe while pregnant with her daughter, and he wrote it in the sand for her to see. She states it has a "magical" meaning, but has since forgotten what it is.
Hilary is a hippie, a big believer in karma and exhibiting positive energy. She is reluctant to lead Honeybee Troop 828 in "Little Womyn" as authority "isn't really [her] thing" and makes it clear she is not "siding with the man" when Bessie tells her in "Artificial Unintelligence" that her atom smasher was rejected.
She has a lenient, free spirited parenting style, allowing her children to express their creativity in whatever way they find appropriate. With that being said, she is more down to earth than fellow hippies The Hippie and Rainbow, and will put her foot down if Bessie and/or Ben disobey her or put themselves in danger.
Described as "frazzled" by the Nickelodeon website's description in 2008, Hilary can be bowled over by Bessie just as much as everyone else is, as exemplified in "So Happy Together" when she finally allows her daughter to have a dog after Bessie kept rattling off pros about having one. Ben's neediness can also overwhelm her on occasion, such as yelling for Bessie to make Ben lunch while she was hard at work at the cafe ("Ben Appetit"). Overall, she loves her children very much, stating in "Li'l Orphan Happy": "I have the best kids in the world!"
She also has a tendency to be forgetful, as shown in “Apoxalypse Now,” where she forgot it was Ben who’s never had the chicken pox, not Bessie. It seems Bessie's intelligence may in part have come from Hilary, as in "Artificial Unintelligence" she takes apart Bessie's atom smasher all on her own.
Her largest role in an episode was "Little Womyn," where Bessie begs her mother to temporarily lead the Troop 828 meetings in Mrs. Gibbons' absence. Hilary obliges, but views much of what the Honeybees have to do as archaic and stifling their imaginations, resulting in Bessie's fellow Honeybees to make paintings and other activities. Bessie, preferring the original Honeybee method, does not take kindly to these changes, coming to a point where Bessie calls her own mother by her name as an act of defiance. After Bessie dresses like a hippie and Hilary as an authoritarian, mother and daughter realize they express themselves in different ways and make up.
Frequently appearing in the first season, Hilary appears less often in the second, having a speaking role in only three of the season's episodes ("Catatonic", "Bee Nice" and "Sleepless in San Francisco"). However, she is still shown operating her coffee shop throughout the second season. Her last appearance is in the series finale "C'mon Get Happy!," attending Bessie and Happy's botched friendship anniversary ceremony.
Hilary is an overweight light-skinned woman who has red hair, which is braided into dreadlocks and held together with rope. She wears a dark green dress, a black bracelet with silver spikes and brown biker boots with white socks. Additionally, Hilary has silver earrings on her ears and a red heart-shaped tattoo with a bow and arrow through it on her shoulder (this switches from left to right).
Bessie and Hilary have a strong mother-daughter relationship. Hilary deeply cares for her daughter and supports her endeavors. However, she doesn't quite understand Bessie's obsession with the Honeybees and finds herself overwhelmed whenever Bessie's zeal gets the best of her. A good example is in "So Happy Together" when Bessie lists off over a thousand reasons to get a dog and Hilary gives in so Bessie will stop talking.
Their relationship is the focus in "Little Womyn," when Hilary temporarily becomes troop leader and does away with the established rules. Bessie, who lives by the Honeybee Handbook, has a hard time accepting this until the two realize they simply express their femininity in differing ways and make up.
Being her son, Hilary loves Ben very much and cares for him greatly. Some may even call him a "mama's boy." Hilary sides with Ben in "Artificial Unintelligence" after Ben points out he came up with the concept of a robot and that he should help Bessie construct one. She worries for Ben when he is sick in "Apoxalypse Now" until it's discovered he caught the chicken pox from Gwen. Other times, Hilary finds herself bowled over by Ben's constant need for attention. Examples include "Hen and Bappy" when Ben tries talking to Hilary while the latter is on the phone with Bessie and in "Ben Appetit" where Hilary tells him to wait for lunch while she serves customers at the cafe, but an impatient Ben can't do so.
Happy and Hilary aren't often seen interacting. Hilary occasionally expresses frustration towards him whenever he eats food meant for customers at the cafe ("Hen and Bappy"). However, in "Li'l Orphan Happy," Hilary declares that Happy is a member of the Higgenbottom family and that she loves him, showing she cares about Happy just as much as the kids do. Bessie points out in that episode Hilary is Happy's mother, in a way.
Making their first interaction in "Bat Mitzvah Crashers," Hilary and Portia speak to each other for the first time in "Little Womyn." In that episode, Hilary serves as troop leader and her unique teaching method inspires Portia, so much so she plans to throw her sash in the water as Portia believes it is a symbol of patriarchal oppression. Their only other conversation occurred in "Name Shame," wherein Portia, Gwen and Penny all ask her for Bessie's middle name, which Hilary happily says is Kajolica.
Mary Frances Gibbons
Hilary and Mary Frances share their only conversation in "Little Womyn." Mary Frances offers irregular makeup to her and Bessie, which shows she looks down on Hilary just as much as she does her daughter. Hilary and Bessie at first decline, but then run towards Mary Frances' makeup bag, scaring her in the process.
In "Doppelfinger," Mr. Wu warns her and the other Higgenbottoms that they will have to wait a while due to being swamped with customers. Hilary responds with "Thanks, Mr. Wu; your food is always worth waiting for," which shows Hilary not only enjoys Mr. Wu's cuisine, but is on friendly terms with the fellow restaurateur.
Although the two are never seen speaking to each other, it can be assumed they have a good relationship. Hilary trusts Rocky to work at the register and serve customers while she is away from the cafe ("We Got the Bee" and "Toot Toot"), showing she has great respect for him.
- Main article: Hilary Higgenbottom/Appearances
- Main article: Hilary Higgenbottom/Gallery
- Although Hilary usually takes public transportation such as buses, she is shown to own a red car in "Bee Afraid."
- Enjoys reading in her free time, as seen in "Artificial Unintelligence."
- According to Bessie, Hilary likes her orange juice without pulp ("Li'l Orphan Happy").
- As temporary troop leader in "Little Womyn," her favorite topic from the Honeybee Handbook was "A Meditation on Open-Mindedness," written by Miriam Breedlove.
- Per "Little Womyn," Hilary knows how to sew. This was later utilized as a minigame in Nicktoons Superstuffed: Mini Game Mania 2.
- Hilary makes a dream catcher in "Name Shame." Bessie later mentions in "It's B's Party" that Hilary uses goose and owl feathers for her dream catchers.
- Is the only person who can say Bessie's middle name (Kajolica) without anything horrible happening, as shown in "Name Shame"; it is assumed as Bessie's mother she is immune to its bad luck, which explains her being oblivious to it being a curse.
- Bessie mentions in "Dang It Feels Good to Be a Gamester" that Hilary only checks on her children after 12 hours of not seeing them.
- Member of the Macrame Circle, as shown in "Macro Mayhem."
- Has an allergy to cats, as revealed in "Catatonic."
- "Bee Nice" reveals Hilary believes in the healing properties and "positive energy" of crystals.
- Is implied to feed her kids alternative health food, as Ben asks his mother if she means "real" ice cream and not soy in "Sleepless in San Francisco."
- Bessie mentions her mother only "sometimes" pays her taxes in "Higgenbottom's 7."
- According to a 2006 Variety article on the show's pilot (Super Scout), Hilary had a wildly different occupation: a singer at the local bar.
- Hilary's voice actress has stated the type of motorcycles her character rides are Harley-Davidson.
- Megan Cavanagh, who is herself a lesbian, views her character as one.
- Although this is not formally addressed within the series, a gag in "Super Secret Weakness" shows Bessie's father is alive, thus he and Hilary must be divorced. When Amy Poehler was asked about his absence, she gave a tongue-in-cheek answer.
- Revealed in "Little Womyn"; some sources spell the name Hillary (for example, David Perlmutter's America Toons In: A History of Television Animation) but the closing credits spell her first name with one L.
- Perlmutter, David (March 13, 2014). America Toons In: A History of Television Animation. Page 328. McFarland & Company. International standard book number 9781476614885.
- Moody, Annemarie (September 17, 2008). Nickelodeon Picks Up Two New Series, Renews Mighty B. Animation World Network. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
- Dodds, Richard (March 10, 2009). Medium in the middle. Bay Area Reporter. Retrieved May 13, 2020. Quote: "I play Amy Poehler's mom, a woman named Hillary[sic] Higgenbottom, and she's this fantastic, boot-wearing, dreadlocked, tattooed, Harley-riding mama"
- Meghan(sic) Cavanaugh. June 11, 2008. Go Magazine. Retrieved March 9, 2021.
- Weintraub, Steve (March 26, 2007). AMY POEHLER and WILL ARNETT Interviewed – BLADES OF GLORY. Collider. Retrieved July 7, 2020. Quote: "It’s about a little skateboarding girl in San Francisco and she’s a Girl Scout and she lives with her hippie single mom."
- McNamara, Mary (April 25, 2008). With 'Mighty B!' the eyes (and the lisp) have it. The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 22, 2020.
- Television: Optimistic ‘Mighty B!’ revels in joys of childhood. April 30, 2008. The Mercury News. Retrieved May 22, 2020.
- Weiss, Joanna (April 26, 2008). Cartoon kids are capable of anything. Boston.com. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
- Martin, Denise (February 15, 2006). Poehler scouting Nick gig. Variety. Retrieved May 23, 2019. Quote: "Her single mom sings at the local bar..."
- Hilary's Café, her business which also functions as a home