Creepy Children’s Programming Review: SPECIAL AGENT OSO

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This is, I believe, the fastest I’ve ever written one of these things, as my son just discovered this terrible program last night.  I banned it forevermore before he went to sleep, only to get up this morning and discover him watching it again, apparently because my wife overruled me.  I shall have my revenge, I swear it.  Because Special Agent Oso is godawful, and I will not have any of its stupid songs running through my head.

Lets start with the theme song, which is like 20 minutes long.  First of all, Oso’s last name is Special.  Oso Special.

GET IT IT’S A PUN DO YOU GET IT HE’S OSO SPECIAL THAT’S A JOKE DO YOU GET IT.

Oso is a special agent for some unnamed agency, and the names of the episodes always contain James Bond references, which is the only interesting thing about the show, because it’s not like any of the kids watching the show will get any of them so they’re clearly the result of the writers trying desperately to entertain themselves.  This special agency hires stuffed animals– yes, Oso is a stuffed bear, and the theme song specifically describes him as such.  He’s not a real bear. He’s an animated toy.  What dark magic allows his limbs to move is also left unclear.

At any rate, the episode always starts with Oso doing some secret agent shit, which would be cool if it weren’t for the part where Oso does not know how to do even one thing.  It’s amazing that he can even breathe given how dumb the show represents him as.  But they’ve got him doing all sorts of stuff.  He was in freaking outer space in one episode:

At some point the show will cut away from Oso doing his secret agent shit and find some kid on Earth who has a completely random problem.  This problem is always terribly minor on a level reminiscent of Super Why.  At that point the doohicky on his wrist will vibrate and Mr. Dos will let him know that he needs to drop everything and go solve this kid’s problem.  This is true no matter what he is doing or where he is.  Including outer space.  Go help this kid find the library or tie his shoes or whatever.  LEAVE OUTER SPACE FOR THIS.

You may wonder how they find the kids who have the problems, because these kids never actually contact the agent themselves.  It’s because this horrifying organization has the entire world under drone surveillance.  Think I’m kidding?  I’m not kidding:

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The drones, who are always watching you, tell a floating space station that there’s a kid with a minor inconvenience, and then Oso is notified.  He finds the kid and then begins asking questions that make it clear that he has no idea what the hell he’s doing and shouldn’t be a secret agent.  For example, on TV just now, he asked what a circle was.  Secret agents should be able to identify circles.

And then the worst part happens.  He asks his chest computer, who is called his Paw Pilot, what his “three special steps” are to solve the kid’s problem.  There are always three steps, and, underpants gnome style, the second is always “do the thing.”  For example, if the problem is you need to find a book at the library, the second step is “find the book.”  Need to wrap a gift?  The second step is “wrap the gift.”  It’s fucking weird.

Also fucking weird?  The floating animated head that is the Paw Pilot sings a terrible song and looks like nothing so much as Mystique giving birth:

You see it I KNOW YOU SEE IT
You see it I KNOW YOU SEE IT

Let’s pause for a moment to let that image sink in.

So, yeah.  Initially he will know literally nothing about how to solve the problem without help, but spoiler alert: he’s gonna solve the problem, whatever it is.  He solves the problem, Paw Pilot sings another terrible song, and then something about whatever he just did helps him with whatever his special agent shit was at the beginning of the episode.

They also always manage to contrive some way to have a 10-second countdown at the end of the episode as Oso is trying to solve the problem.  Is Oso trying to write his name on a library card?  10 SECONDS UNTIL THE LIBRARY CLOSES.  Is Oso trying to wrap a present for someone’s little sibling?  MOM WILL BE DOWNSTAIRS IN 10 SECONDS.  Kite Day starts in 10 seconds.  It’s never anything where could ever possibly matter if the thing he’s doing takes 12 seconds.  Ever.

I hate this show.

The things they tell me

I do a little activity with the kids at the beginning of the year where I ask them to tell me ten facts about themselves.  I just rediscovered the pile of papers and I thought I’d share a few of them.

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Someone did not get the message that the facts were supposed to be true, perhaps.  I’m translating this as “My brain is a ruler, I play two guitars, and my cat has three ears.”  One of them maybe, all three?  Somebody missed the memo.

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Hmm.  I’ve been pondering this for a couple of days and don’t know what a “nethfil” is.

A surprising number of them wanted me to know their favorite superheroes; they’ve got me figured out already:

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Crossing my fingers that #9 here is just an omitted plural and not a favorite food or something:

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And this one gave me a favorite villain. I also like #4, which thus far I find to be accurate.  She’s been trying to get me to call her “Bacon” instead of her actual name.

Trying hard.

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And I will be the last:

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I strongly enjoy colorful language:

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Because “blue” is too generic:

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Some of them are impressively talented:

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And some of them have crazy people as parents.  There’s no way this one can see over the steering wheel:

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Some of them are sad and/or scary:

FullSizeRenderThis could be an abusive parent or it could be a haunted house.  The question is which I’d actually prefer.  The haunted house, right?  It’s the haunted house.

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Do the math.  Mom got pregnant in middle school, apparently.  Mental note to keep a close eye on this one.

And the worst one:

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Sigh.

In which I have a shitty kid

Shut up, that’s a pun.

No, really.  My kid got suspended from preschool for two days today because he’s continuing to shit himself.  The following expresses both my reaction to and willingness to deal with this situation at this time.

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The end.

Creepy Children’s Programming Reviews: SLUGTERRA

imagesI’m actually pretty sure I… like this one?  We have a new hotness in the Siler household, the latest of any number of new hotnesses, and this time he’s plucked a thing called SLUGTERRA out of the Netflix queue to mildly obsess over for a few weeks.  SLUGTERRA is interesting; it’s the first show he’s ever really liked that I thought “Oh, this show is designed to sell kids a bunch of dumb shit,” except since we watch it on Netflix we don’t see any commercials and so– ha!– we evade Disney X D’s(*) capitalist clutches.  That said, before I realized the show was designed to sell kids shit, I’ll freely admit that I thought Man, this would make a fun turn-based video game.

So there’s that.

Anyway!  The premise.  It’s weird.  The show is set… underground, I think?  Maybe under the real world?  And there are people, but also trolls (they’re blue!) and whatever the mole dude is:

Our heroes.
Our heroes.

They’re called “slugslingers.” They shoot at bad guys with guns.

The ammunition for their guns is slugs.  These dudes:

UnknownWhen the slugs get shot out of guns, they twirl a little bit and then they can spin a web, or set themselves on fire, or freeze stuff, or turn into spinning blades, or any bit of nonsense you can imagine, and sometimes they punch each other out of the way, and sometimes they just explode, which seems kinda lazy, and they’ve only got one of each kind of slug that they have and so once they’re shot I guess they just wander back to their owners for some reason.  There’s probably something complicated behind it because this show has a Goddamn wiki but my kid is four so he’s not too into the details.  Oh, and also they ride around on mechanical animals.  There was this one episode where a dude was riding a robo-snake.  I approve of robo-snakes.

The sound design, believe it or not, is the coolest thing about the show.  The little slugs make cool noises when they’re being fired at each other.  I like the sounds they make.

There are bad guys.  This is Dr. Blakk.  Yeah.  Blakk.

Your name is a stupid name.
Your name is a stupid name.

Ooh, scary.  This is Dr. Blakk’s henchman.  His name is– I am not making this up– El Diablos Nacho.

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Your name is a REALLY stupid name.

He’s actually scarier-looking than Dr. Blakk, but his name is Nacho and there’s a grammar error in the first two words of his name and plus there’s no Spanish in this world anyway so why the hell is his name El Diablos Nacho and I refuse to worry about it.

(See the little red canisters on his shirt?  And the blue ones on the good guys up above? They have to slam the slugs into those before shooting them, then put the canisters into the gun, then fire the shot.  It’s very 1800s.  I want to know how the hell this ecosystem evolved, and who realized you could shoot these things.)

It’s a fun show.  I like the characters, and the setting is pleasantly weird, and like I said the sound design is stellar.  I just can’t get behind calling a dude El Diablos Nacho, though.

(*) Why is that space in there?  Because if you take Disney X D’s name and you write it without a space, WordPress turns it into Disney XD, which isn’t a word, and wait, is that why it’s called Disney X D?  How do you say that?  And how do you turn off the substitution in WordPress?  OMG OLD.

Creepy Children’s Programming Reviews: THE SUPER HERO SQUAD SHOW

The-Super-Hero-Squad-Show-Season-2-Episode-24-Soul-Stone-Picnic-I was all ready to do a review of Avengers Assemble! when the boy noticed The Super Hero Squad Show on Netflix, and he hasn’t watched an episode of anything else since.  There were only two seasons of this show for some reason, and both seasons are on Netflix.  I think we’ve watched everything at least once by now.

This is actually a pretty good show, believe it or not.  The premise: There are two cities, Super Hero City and what I believe is called Villainville, and they’re separated by a giant wall.  All the people and all the superheroes live in Super Hero City, and the villains do villain stuff so that the heroes have to fight them.  The first season is obsessed with finding and controlling little broken bits of a magic sword and the second season is all about what happens when the sword gets put together and is a lot more cosmic in tone.

There’s a rockin’ theme song, too.  It has no right to not be a Bowling for Soup song.  Check it out:

The cool thing about Avengers Assemble! was how seriously it took itself– and there’s a pretty good chance that I’ll still be writing a piece on that show soon enough.  The Super Hero Squad Show takes absolutely nothing seriously, and that’s the genius of the show, because it knows it’s goofy as hell and runs with it.  Particularly fun are the portrayals of Captain America and Thor; Cap (who is a side character, surprisingly) is convinced he’s still in the 1940s and talks like a dad from a sitcom from that era, and Thor has the Norse nonsense turned up to 12– the episode from Season 2 where Beta Ray Bill is introduced is especially funny.

Hulk calls the Falcon “Bird,” which absolutely never ever stops being funny.

My one beef with the show?  It occasionally kinda treats its female characters like crap, and flat-out sexual harassment is a bit more of a theme than it ought to be, in that sexual harassment is a thing that happens and it shouldn’t ever be.  There’s a bit where Mr. Fantastic is proud of Ms. Marvel for having a good idea and he kisses her on the cheek as a reward.  It doesn’t surface all that often but when it does it’s really jarring and annoying, and Ms. Marvel is frequently a part of it; she’s frequently portrayed as a ditzy girl and it’s really obnoxious.  She ought to be Captain Marvel anyway, dangit.

(It’s a boys’ show, you say?  Shut up, I respond.  Boys need to see females who aren’t doormats and aren’t going to take time during world-saving to squawk “You think I’m cute?” like Starfire does to Human Torch at one point.  Boys need feminism too, goddammit.  And that’s before we get to the part where girls watch superhero shows too.  Even if no women or girls ever watched the show, the show needs to portray women better anyway.)