Hello, Spongey here
I think it’s no secret that shows targeted at little kids suck. For the most part, they’re stupid. The characters are annoying, the lessons are either shoved in your face or nonexistent, and if they have songs, they suck too.
Famous examples include Barney, Dora, and Teletubbies. I hate all of them.
Yes, I know they’re meant for very little kids, but that’s no excuse. Sure, kids aren’t too smart, but you can at least pretend they have a brain.
Some “kids” shows today (as in shows targeted at 8-11 year olds at least) are hella lot smarter. They provided references, jokes, and stories that are just as great for adults as they are for kids. However, they lean on the adult side more than the kid’s side. So really little kids won’t like them too much, though there are many 5 year olds that like some of this stuff, but the amount of great shows target right at really little kids is too few.
However, there are a few kids’ shows that are actually good. You know some of the obvious ones (Blue’s Clues).
The other, is The Backyardigans.
On the outside, this looks like just another kid’s show. However, there’s actually a lot of good stuff to be found here.
It does look weird, but if you watch it, you may be entertained.
Here’s the skinny on the premise.
We open on one or more of the characters in the backyard playing “pretend”, setting up the scenario for the viewer.. Then things segue into a sort of holodeck-style fantasy — whether in the kids’ imaginations or literally isn’t quite clear — in which the backyard is transformed into the setting of the story and the characters dressed in appropriate costumes. From here the quest is treated entirely as if it were real…albeit clearly based off a child’s logic.
The characters include enthusiastic yet sometimes frenetic Pablo the penguin, Deadpan Snarker Tyrone the moose, Genki Girl Uniqua the… something, Tasha the hippo, and initial Shrinking Violet, later Smart Guy Austin the kangaroo.
Many episodes feature typical kiddie fantasy scenarios — cowboys, superheroes, pirates, explorers — but some are more sophisticated, several are full-on parodies of adult action-adventure: Bond, Star Trek, Indiana Jones etc. This leads to why I like it.
The creative premises, funny moments, and awesome songs make this show a standalone winner.
Oh and each episode features at least 4 songs. Surprisingly they never get annoying. They do what songs do: use singing to tell the story. And each episode features a different musical general. This can range from ragtime, to roller disco and even psychedelic rock. You heard me.
So today we look at one episode. Why? It was on today and I got bored. This episode is odd, so it’ll be fun to poke fun at.
This, is Ranch Hands from Outer Space
The episode begins in the backyard as normal. We meet our main character for this episode, Tasha. Here, she is a rancher. We see her drop some stuff, and she tells us she has a lot of work to do
“I’ve Gotta Paint the barn, fix the house, and sweep the fence! Wait…”
That was amusing.
And of course this leads us into our first song, “I Gotta get to work’
The genre for this episode is 60’s Italian pop. How fitting for such an odd episode. Plus the writer is named “Rodney Stringfellow”. The odd-ness does not end here.
The first song is pretty good, and catchy. But the best song has yet to come. So thus our imagine segment starts. She heads to her ranch to do all that shirt. She approaches one of her horses, Ralphie
“You’re my favorite horse in this ranch!”
Way to pick favorites, bitch
She heads inside and-
A spaceship crashes.
Wut. And from the spaceship comes Zablo And Zuniqua.. (Pablo and Uniqua). It seems they have crash landed on Earth.
“We are out of Zum-zum!”
“Zum Zum makes our ship fly!”
…what the hell is that?
So they see the rancher’s house and think she may have some…Zum-zum.
They approach Rancher Tasha, and they say this.
What the hell is that, you may ask? They never explain. I assume it’s a greeting of some kind. This episode is weird.
They ask for some Zum-Zum and seeing as Tasha has no idea what the fuck that is; she offers some pancakes if they can help her out.
“Whoa, first of all. We call these pancakes”
…Zum-zum is pancakes
So let me get this straight. This episode is about Aliens who crash land on a ranch, and do some work, to get pancakes to power their spaceship.
Okay, how much pot was used to come up with this?
Anyway, this leads to song 2, “We will work for pancakes” The song is catchy as hell…but it’s weird. Also it has this line.
“We call them Zum-zum”
“You sure want some some!”
BAD RHYME ALERT
And some of the lines make them seem like they have a fetish for it. They just need to power their ship, not…anything else. And right after that song, they walk away and the horse shakes his head.
This horse is badass.
So Tasha tells them to build a tall fence.
“Let’s do it the way we do it on planet Zorbidor”
And how do they do it? By making the fence just go all the way into the sky, of course!
Sure, why not. Also, they have alien powers that can make stuff move around. That’s how they make the fence.
Tasha comes back and is of course un-happy they made the fence like that. Sure, don’t question how they did it in like a minute.
Tasha face palms and while she’s not working, The aliens make the fence the way it should be. She’s happy they did right, and doesn’t question anything. So it’s on to the next task!
So they head to the barn, where she asks them to move the horses
And they do it the way they do on their home planet. They shrink the horses to move them. …Okay
So they move the horses outside, and Tasha is none the wiser.
“What do we with them?”
“Let’s do it the way we do it on planet Zorbidor!”
Here we go. What do they do?
Put the horse on their head…and sing about it!
They sing about having horses on their heads. The song is called Zoid Zoid. Why do they say it now? Before, it was a greeting. Now it’s…not.
“I have a horse and she’s in my hand, my hand is where my horse has made her stand. Her pretty mane and her pretty little neigh are in my hand and I hope they both stay.”
How high was the writer? This weird song ends, and Tasha comes out. They head into the barn.
So yes, the song came out of nowhere, had nothing to do with plot, and after it happens, no one ever mentions it again…
BIG LIPPED ALLIGATOR MOMENT!
Seriously, what the hell?! While Tasha is not looking, they un shrink the horses and put them back.
And of course, Tasha doesn’t ask how the horses got moved.
“We are happy to horse around with your horses”
And yes, Ralph continues to be amazing. So one last chore to go!
She asks them to make the house orange.
“I’ve never met anyone like those two. it’s like they’re from outer space!”
It’s funny cuz it’s not.
So of course…they turn the house into an actual orange. Which is weird cuz it is.
Tasha sees this and …just says oh My.
And sings about it too! The song is of course called Oh My.
“There is something that’s not quite right!”
So they turn your house into an orange…and you don’t ask how the hell they did it?
During the song they turn the house into other fruits, which has the same effect on her.
If I saw this, I wouldn’t say “Oh my” I’d say HOW THE FUCK DID YOU DO THAT.
So the song ends, and Tasha is still dumb as a rock. She tells them how to do it right, and they paint the house orange.
And she stills asks no questions.
“You really had me going there!”
“We are happy to have you going there”
Eh, that’s a little funny.
So they finally get the pancakes. While Tasha is in the house, they take the pancakes, without saying thank you or anything.
They head back to their spaceship, and Tasha comes out to see it. She reacts the same way she reacts to everything. Yes.
They give the plate back to Tasha, cuz they see her hiding, as they are not idiots!
“These ranch hands ARE from outer space!”
I should have known when they turned my house into an orange!
So after she says this, Uniqua’s stomach rumbles, which always signals the end of the episode. So yea, that’s it.
Well that’s it for the main part. As usual, they go back to the normal backyard, and we get the line Tyrone says, but he’s not here. So Tasha says it.
…Wait, they don’t say it?!
They’re supposed to say “That was an excellent ___ Adventure!”
What a load! So they head into their house and the episodes ends,
Short, but every episode feels like this, despite being 20 minutes long.
This episode is Weird, odd, and makes no freaking sense…
And I love it! It’s so odd its fun to make fun of it for its odd-ness. The songs are catchy, there are some funny lines, and it’s just so…fun and imaginative. Like most of the show
It may not be the best episode, but it’s still pretty decent.