Odd Squad Wiki
Zero Effect
Season 1, Episode 1a
Production Information
Air DateNovember 26, 2014 (US)
June 22, 2015 (UK)
Written byAlex Fox
Rachel Lewis
Guy Toubes
Directed byJ.J. Johnson
Episode Guide
Previous Next
N/ABad Luck Bears

Zero Effect is the A-plot of the first episode of Odd Squad Season One.


Olive and Otto must stop a number hog from stealing all the zeroes in the world before Otto turns 1 year old instead of 10 years old on his 10th birthday.[1]

Olive's Random Slide

This...is what I had for lunch today.

Learning Goal

  • Numbers & Counting: understanding place value.

Plot (contains episode spoilers)

The episode opens with Olive and Otto sitting at a dining room table with a woman. The two agents are silently staring her down and she appears nervous. Suddenly the woman hiccups and a glass vase in the corner of the room shatters, causing everyone to jump. Olive informs the woman that she has exploding hiccups, and Otto pulls a glass of green glowing liquid out of his suit. He slides the glass across the table and assures the woman that the drink cures the ailment every time. She thanks the agents, and they exit behind a tapestry. The woman pauses, perhaps psyching herself up to drink the liquid, then hiccups once again, causing the glass in her hands to explode and send beverage everywhere. She mutters a quiet "Uh oh...", then hiccups once more, setting off a car alarm outside.

Olive and Otto return to Odd Squad headquarters via the tubes. They step into the tube lobby and are greeted by O'Brian (one of the tube operators). As the two agents walk toward the main hall, Otto reaches into his pocket and pulls out an invitation, which he hands to Olive. She reads it out loud: it states that Otto is turning 10. She questions her partner's age in disbelief, and he states that he's tall for 10. Olive fires back that she's short for 12, then says that she would be happy to attend his birthday party. After the exchange, the agents briefly pause and survey the room. Olive remarks that it's a quiet day at the squad, and the camera pans to show that there are tons of odd creatures and happenings in the main office space. There is a shout from above, and the pair turns to see Ms. O (the head of the squad) loudly beckoning them into her office. Otto remarks that their boss seems to be in a better mood than usual.

Olive and Otto step into Ms. O's office and she tells them that something very odd has happened. Otto stops her and asks who the stranger is in the office, then points to a man dressed in a colorful apron. The man waves cheerily at the kids with a bright smile, and Ms. O introduces him as Glenn, who's opening a new cupcake shop in town. Glenn steps forward and gushes that he plans on having one million, billion, trillion flavors to choose from. He starts listing off flavors, but Ms. O interrupts and dismisses him. The man leaves, and Ms. O briefs the agents on their new case. She pulls up a photo of the giant ball of gum in the town museum that is made up of 1,000 wads of chewed bubblegum. The ball has inexplicably shrunken down to one wad, and the sign has been changed as well. Otto ponders what has happened, and Olive believes she has a hunch. The duo heads out to collect more evidence.

The agents whoosh through the tubes and arrive at Polly Graph's hot chocolate stand. The girl hands the agents their usual hot chocolate and they thank her, then ask if she has any graphs that could help them with the case. Polly presents a bar graph showing how much money she made in the previous days, and points out that she hasn't made nearly as much that day. Olive observes that the price of Polly's hot chocolate has dropped, and points to the sign. Polly is appalled, and claims that the sign used to say fifty cents instead of five. She asks what happened to the zero, and Olive informs her that zeros have been disappearing all over town. Otto cries out in anguish, but then backtracks and asks why that matters, since zero stands for nothing. Olive corrects him and says that zero only stands for nothing when it's by itself. She uses Polly's mini marshmallows as an example. Starting with 1000, Olive removes one zero and the group drops to 100 marshmallows. She removes a second zero, leaving 10 marshmallows, then drops that one, leaving only 1 marshmallow. Olive wonders out loud why the zeroes are disappearing while Otto contently munches on an armful of mini marshmallows. Polly asks the boy if he's aware that he has to pay for the fluffy goods that he is consuming.

Back at HQ, Ms. O arrives at the conclusion that the zeroes are disappearing due to a number hog. To elaborate, she summons Oscar (a bumbling scientist at the squad). The bespectacled agent explains that a number hog uses so much of one number that they start sucking it up from other places. If the team doesn't find the number hog, he or she will use up all of the zeroes in the world. Otto begins to panic as he comes to the realization that if the number hog isn't found, he'll turn 1 instead of 10. He also says he doesn't want to turn into a baby. Olive promises her partner that they'll find the person responsible, even if they have to swim the deepest oceans or climb the highest mountains, they will. However, Oscar says he could use his number-hog-finder gadget to help locate the suspect and hands it over to them.

The pair arrives at the location that the gadget leads them to (8 Main Street), and the agents are confused to find themselves in a park. Otto says that it's over and thinks he is going to be in diapers tomorrow. Hearing what Otto said, it dawns on them that the directions are missing zeroes because zeroes are disappearing, so they must figure out where to go by getting help from the math room. The math room draws up maps of the town and shows that 80 Main Street would put them at the town lake, but 800 Main Street is the address of a cupcake shop. Olive remembers Glenn --the cupcake shop owner that they had met earlier-- and how he mentioned wanting to sell one million, billion, trillion different flavors. The math room generates the number and the agents are aghast at how many zeroes it contains. With the evidence in hand, they head to the cupcake shop to confront Glenn.

At the shop, Glenn admires a sign the length of the wall showing how many cupcake flavors his shop sells. He excitedly welcomes Olive and Otto as they burst through the front doors, but they don't share his enthusiasm. The agents accuse the man of being a number hog, and rip the sign from the wall, stomping all of the zeros off of it. As Olive stomps on the sign, the zeroes start returning around the world and the squad celebrates. Ms. O congratulates Olive and Otto via phone on a job well done. This also includes Otto's next age, where he is once again turning 10 tomorrow. Glenn apologizes to the duo and says that he had no idea that he was hogging the numbers and is embarrassed by the event. Olive assures him that it happens to everyone and that there are no hard feelings. The man wonders how he'll attract new customers without his sign, and Otto mentions that he needs cake for his birthday party. Glenn is ecstatic over the idea.

The whole squad shows up to Glenn's cupcake shop to celebrate Otto's birthday. Olive brings her partner a cupcake, then rushes off to get her own. While she's away, Oscar joins Otto at his table and says that he's glad to have the boy on the squad. He continues and says that Otto is "sooooo much better than Olive's last partner." Curious, Otto asks who Olive's last partner was and Oscar freezes then distracts him by pointing out that Agent Orson is going to town on a pile of cupcakes. The distraction works, and while Otto looks away, Oscar ducks under the table. Otto turns back around and notices that Oscar has disappeared. Agent Orson giggles, and the episode ends.


  • This is the first episode of Odd Squad.
  • It is based on the plot of the original series pilot that was used to greenlight the show.
  • In this episode, the agents borrow a phone to call Ms. O instead of using their badge phones, and Ms. O answers from a phone handed to her on a silver plate. This is one of the few times that such a thing occurs.
  • The title is a reference to the 1998 film Zero Effect.
  • Aside from the main four characters, the only recurring characters that appear in this episode are Polly, Math Room, Orson, and O’Brian.