Creepy Children’s Programming Reviews: MINI FORCE

My kid’s day care was supposed to have a Father’s Day party today, but I’m kind of pissed at my kid’s day care right now– more on that later, maybe– and so instead I picked him up early and we’ve been having a Daddy/Kenny day at home.  Which means lots of toys (there are Transformers everywhere) and lots of binging terrible Korean animated shows on Netflix.  This is probably the fastest any show has gone from “I’ve never heard of this” to “I must do a CCPR post on this immediately,” by the way.

Meet the Mini Force:

They’re little talking animals.  The pink one is a girl, which I’m sure you’ll all find tremendously surprising.  The red one is a bird, although he doesn’t seem to fly.  Other than the red one, I have no idea what kind of animals they are.  Maybe they’re all cats, other than the bird?  The blue one might be a skunk?  I have no damn clue.  Anyway, they talk.  And they live with a girl named Susie, who in animated kids’ show fashion appears to have no parents or adult influences.  Susie knows they talk and can talk back to them.  They look just like Octonauts.

Here’s how every show goes: each episode starts with a bunch of woodland animals being inconvenienced in some way, most of the time by a purple Shredder-looking dude named Pascal or some robot he’s created.  Sometimes Shredder’s boss is around; he’s dressed like some sort of Spandex-wearing supervillain and I don’t know his name.

The degree of the inconvenience varies.  Sometimes it’s special pop that makes the animals fall asleep.  Sometimes it’s a snake monster that turns them to stone.  The stakes tend to vary.

At any rate, after the animals are inconvenienced, we cut to the four Mini Force dudes at home with Susie.  They have some sort of interpersonal problem that will not be resolved and are then summoned via some sort of blinky device that one of them carries.  Where to?  Not clear at all; they run away and then are suddenly inside some sort of giant complex.  I’m not sure if Susie knows about this part of their lives; she probably wonders where they go all the time.  They meet with a hologram of a cat.  I don’t know what the cat’s name is– they just call him Commander– but he has a mustache and wears sunglasses and a Kangol.  I don’t get it.

If Pascal isn’t the villain, then the robot causing all the trouble will have -mon at the end of its name.  Every time.

Then they become Power Rangers.  I’m not kidding:

Like, the theme music even refers to them as the “Super Rangers Mini Force,” although there’s no credits for Saban anywhere and I’m pretty sure this is just a knockoff and not an official thing.  But anyway.  The very next scene after the transformation, they’ve teleported to wherever the bad guy is– no time for exposition here!– and then there’s a fight. The fights are those Power Rangers-style fights where there’s always time for lots of talking in between people shooting at one another and your weapons have to be summoned by saying very long phrases out loud.

They lose the fight, and one of them is generally incapacitated somehow.  There is a lot of grunting.  Seriously, the dialogue in this show is maybe 60% grunts.  It’s amazing.

After they lose, they summon their “Force Cars.”  Why they didn’t just drive to the fucking fight in the Force Cars isn’t clear.  I assume everyone just sits around while the Force Cars drive out to wherever they are.  The Force Cars are, no shit, Transformers:

Somewhere in here, the villain gets super large, also Power Rangers style.  And not all the time, but sometimes, the Force Cars have to– wait for it– join together to make a single, much larger Force Car.  At which point the show becomes Voltron.  And then they win, and the show ends abruptly, most of the time with no indication of whether the inconvenienced animals at the beginning of the show were ever made better or not.  Maybe they’re still asleep or made from stone or whatever; who knows?

It is impressive to have ripped off that many well-known properties so blatantly and still not have been sued into nonexistence.

Two brief daddying stories

pictureThe boy’s back in day care now that school is out.  This is his fourth day with his new group, which I can only assume has a mess of other new kids in it as well since just about everyone just got out of school.  Today was the first day I’ve picked him up, though.  As I walk in, he and another boy are a a table playing with a bunch of plastic dinosaurs.  He looks up and sees me.

“I need just four more minutes, Daddy,” he says.  And the simple fact is I ain’t really got shit to do at that particular moment, so, sure.  “You have two,” I say, because it’s not like he can tell time anyway.  And I let him play for a couple of minutes and kind of observe the rest of the kids, and then nudge him toward the door.  He doesn’t move immediately or anything, but he complies quickly enough that I don’t have to ask twice.

“You must be a really patient dad,” one of the teacher says to me.  And at first I feel like it’s either a compliment or a sign that these folks spend the day dealing with angry lunatics, but now a couple of hours later I kind of want to spend some time interrogating the boy to see if he spent the day driving them insane.


On the way home we take the new car through a car wash.  Apparently the local sparrows all got diarrhea while I was at work yesterday and were able to figure out which car was the new one, so the thing is a huge mess.  I’m a little nervous about it because he got really scared the last time we went through a car wash and I’m hoping it doesn’t happen again.

At some point he asks why I’m driving so slow, and I explain that I’m not controlling the car– that there’s a track I’ve driven onto that is moving the car for me and keeping it at the right speed for everything to work.

“Oh.  Is that like alien hand syndrome?” he says.

“Sort of,” I say.

Someone explain to me how the fuck my five-year-old knows about alien hand syndrome, please?

But maybe my standards are too high

We attended my mother-in-law’s funeral service a couple of weeks ago.  Before we left, I had a quiet word with my five-year-old about my expectations for his behavior at the cemetery, and I reminded him of those expectations once we got there.  He performed admirably.

This sort of behavior– today, at Arlington– would not have gone over well.  We would have had words, and had them quickly.  My son– who is, again, LITERALLY FIVE FUCKING YEARS OLD, is better behaved at solemn events in public than this… person.  So was every single one of the dozens of seventh and eighth grade students I have taken on tours of the place. 

It’s fucking unhealthy how much I hate him.  I thought I hated George W. Bush.  I had a shirt that said so, and I wore it! A lot!  

That was fucking tee-ball, Pampers pull-ups hate compared to this shit.

ADDENDUM: Also, it seems pretty clear that he doesn’t know all the words to the anthem.  Yes, I can be pissed about that too.

A brief, charming little story

Sure, why not.

My wife is out of town again, through Friday this time, and as he tends to do when one of us is out of town the boy has requested to sleep in the “big bed.” I put him off last night because for a five-year-old he takes up an astonishing amount of room and is somewhat less receptive than my wife to the occasional nudge if he strays past his side of the bed.

(For the record, I have no idea how receptive I am to such nudges.  I’m sure I do it too.)

My wife is reading IT for about the hojillionth time right now in preparation for the upcoming movie.  We have at least three copies of the book in the house and two of them are on her nightstand– the paperback copy she started reading, and the hardback she ganked from her parents when she realized that reading a thousand pages of the tiny print in the paperback might not be in her eyes’ best interest.

As I’m reading the boy his bedtime stories, he notices the books and asks if tomorrow I can read IT to him instead of, oh, Disney’s 5-Minute Fairy Tales or whatevertheshit.


“Why not?”

“It’s too scary for you.  You can read it when you’re old enough,” I say to him, reflecting upon the fact that my first Stephen King book was Misery, published in 1987, and therefore first read (I stole my grandmother’s copy on an overnight visit, and I was 2/3 done with it before she realized what I was reading, well past the point where she could have objected) when I was in fifth grade.  I went on a serious King bender after that and so it couldn’t have been much longer before I got to IT.

“Oh, okay,” he says.  “They taught me to read yesterday at school.  I can do that now.  Can I read it to myself?”

I think about this for a second.

“Sure.  You can start tomorrow, though.”

“Okay,” he says, and hands me the fairy tales book, apparently satisfied.

I’m really gonna feel ridiculous if he actually did learn to read yesterday, I imagine.