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Year: 2007, 2008
Genre: Kids, Cartoon, TV series
Country: United States
Starring: Dannah Phirman, Chris Parnell, Patton Oswalt, Fred Stoller, Jack D. Ferraiolo, Cree Summer, Pamela Adlon, Ned Bellamy, James Adomian, Jeffrey Tambor, John C. McGinley, Peter Graves
Creator: Dorothea Gillim
Run time: 100 minutes
DVD distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment
I really like Word Girl. This is the best PBS kids show I’ve seen yet (although that’s faint praise – what I’m really saying is that at least this one isn’t Martha Speaks or Dinosaur Train). What I like most about the show is that it doesn’t talk down to kids. Although every now and then they’ll focus on a particular vocabulary word, like articulate, Word Girl usually talks eloquently and properly without preaching. The show is also remarkably self-aware, for a kids show. When something ludicrous happens (and it’s a show about superheroes, so the ludicrous is the everyday), Word Girl has no problem calling attention to the leaps in logic created by its own plot.
Word Girl does battle with a series of super-villains (who, really, are not terribly “super” – they’re just particularly villainous). She has a monkey sidekick who doesn’t do much, but does have the fantastic superhero sidekick nickname Captain Huggy Face. Much better than Robin don’t you think? In Tricks And Treats, out August 24th from Paramount Home Entertainment, Word Girl and Captain Huggy Face do battle with Birthday Girl, The Butcher, Tobey (hilariously voiced by Patton Oswalt), Chuck the Evil Sandwich Making Guy (Fred Stoller), and The Coach (Ned Bellamy). All of it works, all of it makes me laugh, and I was willing to keep watching this DVD even after the kids went to bed.
One complaint – the constant use of the phrase “worrrd up!” was irritating. I get that Word Girl needs a catchphrase, and it must have to do with grammar or vocabulary. And I understand that “iammmmbic pentameter!” might be a little bit cumbersome, or that “dannnnngling paaaarticiple!” might go over the heads of some of the kids in the intended audience. But “worrrd up!” makes me feel like I’m watching a cheesy late-80s rap video. Like in the next scene, DJ E-Z Rock is going to show up. This show is bonkers enough, though, that an appearance by DJ E-Z Rock wouldn’t come as a big shock. And that’s why it’s great.