With the Oscars drawing near this weekend, I thought it prudent to do a review of the movies that I saw over the past year. But then I realized the only movies I saw were Batman v. Superman (which I loved) and Deadpool (which I loved). We also watched Star Trek, X-Men, and Hunger Games On-Demand, and, I loved all those too, except for Hunger Games, which was ok. Actually, in retrospect, none of the Hunger Games were any good. They actually sucked. So that sums up the movies I watched last year, and none of them are suitable for children. Well, Deadpool is perfect for kids but don’t tell their parents. So instead I am going to do my review of kids shows that I have discovered to be part of my daily regimen and that Olivia appears to like. Or she merely feigns interest in order to punish me in some cruel fashion.
- Paw Patrol: This is a favorite for a lot of children. The amount of money in toys we have spent because of this show is insane. But it’s a great show. Some teenage boy has an endless budget of money and access to technology that would make even Delta Force jealous. He has a robot dog fly a plane and drive a bus for him while he ushers around a group of talking dogs that each have their own unique ability to do what local law enforcement, fire departments, transportation, waste management facilities, and even post offices cannot do. Apparently adults are so incompetent they need dogs to do everyday tasks for them such as fixing a broken heel. But it is an awesome show. However, while it comes with a whole hearted message of community and working together, there are some drawbacks. Mainly, the evil mayor from the neighboring town has attempted on numerous occasions to usurp the local mayor’s authority and even cheated in attempts to get his way. He does illegal activities that puts others in harm in order to get monetary gain. Yet each time he screws up and needs help, the Paw Patrol is there to bail him out, and they even encourage him to call them again the next time he does something nefarious and illegal. He never pays any consequences and they even tell him they are friends. They are not friends. This guy is a douche. They should just let him die and move on. Secondly, the local dare devil has continued to put himself in compromising situations, and even gone to grand theft auto to complete a daredevilish act. Again, the Paw Patrol saves his ass when they would be better served to just let him fatally injure himself during his stunts. However, this show would be amazing if they tweaked it just enough and aired it on Adult Swim with Ryder as the Team Leader and pups re-branded as almost an ODA of grizzled war veteran dogs that go on missions around the world totally destroying terrorists and dictators. Would be so good. Better than that garbage SIX on the History Channel.
- Sofia the First: Girl who use to be a peasant suddenly becomes a princess when her single mom marries the single king. Has a step sister and step brother and wears a magical amulet that lets her do pretty much anything she wants to do as long as she is not a bitch. Sings a lot of songs that are maddeningly annoying and catchy. Things always have a way of working out in her favor. Goes to the ritziest princess school in history where fairies are the teachers. Learns magic, ballet, and how to paint paintings that they can later go inside of. All in all pretty much the snobbiest princess cartoon in history but still good. Main gripe: Cedric, the sorcerer, continually tries to steal Sofia’s amulet in an attempt to take over the kingdom. Even though she is nothing but nice, bails his butt out of countless jams, and tells him he is her friend when he has no other friends. He just acts like a dick and still tries to take it from her. It gets old. Also, Disney hates parents. The king’s wife is MIA and Sofia’s Dad is MIA and we don’t ever know why. But knowing Disney, just like in every other movie, they are probably dead. Which has me worried because we are going to Disney World soon. So if you don’t see any more posts from me after this, just assume Disney murdered my wife and I and Olivia is now part of It’s A Small World.
- Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Pretty much the bane of human existence. Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, Pluto, and Daisy. Mickey is perfect; Goofy is THAT friend that just screws everything up and is probably mentally handicapped but not diagnosed; Donald has anger management issues; Pluto is a dog; Minnie is the ditsy girlfriend that really offers nothing; and Daisy likes shiny things and bows. Why any of them are friends is beyond me but God help me if that Hot Dog song isn’t catchy and Olivia loves the show. Main gripe: teaches extortion. Basically, any trip or adventure the group goes on usually ends up with an encounter at a checkpoint with big ole Pete (who is a cat, did you know that?). He blocks their path as he immediately sets up a checkpoint out of nowhere, and before they can pass, he forces them to pay whatever amount he decides on the spot. They have a name for that: terrorists. Or drug lords. Every time this happens I can’t help but think of my time in Colombia when we weren’t even allowed to drive the main roads at night on the way to Bogota because of the fear of these checkpoints, where you are extorted out of loads of cash, possibly kidnapped, or even murdered. But Mickey and the crew flaunt this as a good opportunity to teach kids about counting. Pete is a bad guy. A really, really bad guy.
- Elena of Avalor: Mexican princess who was stuck in an amulet (the one Sofia wears, as it was) for like 40 years is finally released, defeats the sorceress who put her there, and then goes on to rule her kingdom. But she’s still 16 in real life years so she has to have the help of her grandparents and her jackass cousin who worked with the evil sorceress and is pissed that his cousin is the heir to the throne. Flying tigers, killer tunes, and magic. All in all, a good show. Plus Elena is kinda hot.
- Peppa Pig: British pig. Olivia just started liking this one and we are going to put the kabosh on that real quick. Only thing she needs to know is that Peppa is going to be on her breakfast plate real soon.
- PJ Masks: This one grinds my gears. Chalk this up to another show where I just don’t get why these kids are friends. Two boys and a girl fight crime at night in their pajamas. Except, they discover the crimes taking place during the day at school. But they wait until bedtime to fight the criminals. So, like, what are they doing the rest of the day? Just chilling at school, then go home, do some homework, eat some dinner, watch a lil TV? Meanwhile, these idiot criminals should be finishing their job of taking over the world, but yet it seems for some reason they just wait so the PJ Masks can try to apprehend them. Which they never do. They thwart the same three criminals over and over, but never actually take them into custody. Meanwhile, we spend the whole time knowing one of the three is going to do something stupid that messes up their attempts to stop the criminals. They bicker, fight, argue, etc. Then they realize the screw up, scream “It’s time to be a hero” (why not just be a hero from the beginning and be done with it) and then save the day, er or night. Rather, rinse, repeat. I really don’t know how much Liv likes this show but it does grow tiresome. But she likes the pajamas so she wears those. Again I don’t know why any of them would want to be friends with the other, because they are three of the most annoying kids on earth. But maybe it’s because no one else will be friends with them. So they’re stuck with each other.I really try to give them the benefit of the doubt. But I just really wanna punch each of them in the face.
- Mickey and the Roadster Racers: This one is a new one. It’s everyone from the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, but this time they race roadsters against each other and some chosen “villain” driver from whatever city they are racing. Far superior to the clubhouse and far less annoying. The theme song is super catchy and the roadsters are neat, altho Goofy drives a bathtub for reasons never quite explained. Main gripe: One episode has the gang using “Goofy Gas” which is a concoction of Goofy’s to supe up the roadsters. This is clearly a metaphor for PED’s and telling kids that the only way to win is to do whatever it takes to enhance your performance. Hey, if you ain’t first, you’re last, right?
- Spongebob Squarepants: Still the greatest cartoon ever made. Never a bad choice.
- Miles from Tomorrowland: This kid Miles flies around space with his family. Killer soundtrack makes this one a winner. Smart, informative, and fun. No gripes.
- Bubble Guppies: A bunch of mermaid kids in school who are sometimes in water and sometimes not in water, I think. Teach about history. Interesting one that Liv occasionally watches. It’s well-intentioned. Haven’t really spot-checked their history lessons but they seem to be on point. Have some quick, quirky songs and a goldfish who is their teacher that reminds me way too much of Chef from Southpark. Good one for the kiddos though.
Winner: Doc McStuffins: This show is just perfect. Little girl plays doctor to her toys. I mean, it’s like ER without all the melodramatic crap. She knows her stuff. Good lead song, Doc is extremely charismatic, the toys are fun, and the scenarios are clever. Perfectly sums up what it is like to pretend to play with your toys and try to do triage with them. I mean, what kid doesn’t do that? She teaches valuable lessons including how best to take care of your toys so your parents don’t need to keep going out and buying replacements. Not only that but it encourages little girls to enter into the sciences and medical professions. Can’t beat that. Where the princess shows just teach you how to pretend to live, this show actually tries to prepare you for childhood and beyond. Love it.
So there you have it. A Stay At Home Dad’s guide to cartoons that you have absolutely no control over whether you child will like or not. My best advice: Don’t get a cable package that has Disney Jr. or Nick Jr. on it. Then just watch Animaniacs on Netflix. Also, Archer technically is a cartoon. Just sayin’.