Ever since I’ve had a little girl in my life, the amount of kids’ programming I’ve gotten to review has mushroomed. This is by no means a complaint; if anything it has helped me bond with her. Granted, at times all the kids’ shows can quickly grow to be as grating as nails to a chalkboard, but when shows like Dragons and The Amazing World of Gumball come along I’m not sure who gets more excited, her or myself. When I reviewed The Mystery DVD I wasn’t sure what I was getting into, but quickly I found myself pleasantly obsessed with Gumball Watterson and the trouble he would get himself into. As for the new DVD The Party, well, I can happily say I wasn’t disappointed.
The Watterson family I think would best be summed up as a more family-fun version of The Simpsons. You have the loving mother, the doofus father, the son always getting into mischief, and the bright daughter that seems to have been adopted. With the target audience being younger kids, the subject matter may not be as crude, but nevertheless it still is entertaining for any age.
What separates this from most kids’ shows is how willing the creators are to be bold and break the traditional rules of animation. The live footage and animation are blended well and help establish the world of Gumball. The logic of blue rabbits, going to school with a T-rex and a robot isn’t something to be dwelled upon; just accept the quirkiness.
Jumping out as the most notable episode is The Date. What Gumball first believes is his dream come true, a date with his beautiful classmate Penny, turns out to be a complete misunderstanding on the part of Gumball, when instead he is asked to be at a funeral for Penny’s deceased pet Mr. Cuddles. Things only manage to get worse for Gumball when he discovers the truth behind Mr. Cuddles (let’s just say he’s anything but cuddly). The sweet awkwardness of Gumball is something most kids can relate to when thinking about their first crush, and, well, if Gumball can survive this first “date” it should give everyone the confidence needed to talk to that special girl two desks over.
Things also manage to get a little out of hand in The Prank, after the kids manage to get into a prank war with their father. It’s hilarious how this escalates to the point where it seems the kids have driven their father over the edge and he may possibly want to kill them. I know, a bit extreme for a kids’ show, but how it gets resolved is classic, and I feel of all the episodes this one has the most replay value in my book.
The writers of the show have done a great job at capturing the imagination of children and delivering something unique and relatable. Heck, the reaction of Gumball after he accidently gets planted with a kiss on the mouth by a relative is brilliant. The horror Gumball goes through reliving that moment and doing everything he can to wipe that memory from his mind is hilarious; I think all of us have a childhood memory we wish we could wipe away.
This is a set that for me is a blast to watch and is fun to sit back with the little one and enjoy. Every episode has its moments that manage to get me to laugh and smile, which really isn’t as easy as you would think. Sure, some of the humor is cheesy, but it works. I still have giggle fits remembering the banana character running through a chain-link fence, then after falling apart mutters, “I’m a banana split …”. I can’t help it; it’s just that kind of funny.
So if you’re looking for something new to check out, this is high on my list of recommendations Everyone should at least take part in one amazing adventure with Gumball if they have any kids around, and if you don’t have a kid you should still give it a chance.