Last weekend I found myself unexpectedly sitting in a theater watching Smurfs: The Lost Village. My daughter had been invited to one of her kindergarten classmates’ birthday party and I went along, thinking that I would simply drop her off and maybe hang around for the food-and-cake portion. Instead, on the way there, she asked if I could stay and I didn’t really have anything better to do, so I stayed. Continue reading
DC Super Hero Girls is here and I’m already a big fan! The cross-platform initiative plans to take many of DC Entertainment’s popular female characters, re-envision them for a younger crowd and make them easily accessible to kids, specifically young girls. The general idea was announced in the past few months, but USA Today scored the first look at the roll out this afternoon.
DCSHG will come to life in a variety of arenas. There’s a cartoon presented in webisode chunks (the first one is here) from WB Animation plus a line of toys from Mattel, comics from DC, books from Random House and a variety of other offerings that will presumably make themselves known through the official website.
As you can see in the aforementioned animation, the general conceit here is that all of these young heroes attend the same high school where they’re trained how to use their abilities for good. It sounds like a mix of Ultimate Spider-Man and Monster High or the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls movies.
From checking out the character page of the official site, it looks like Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Batgirl, Katana and Bumblebee will take center stage, but others like Catwoman, Cheetah, Hawkgirl, Star Sapphire, Beast Boy and Hal Jordan will also appear. Follow the link at the beginning of this paragraph to go through each of them, read through their bios and even click around to see their specific powers and abilities.
The characters will also make their way to toy aisles thanks to Mattel’s action dolls. USA Today got the first look at these. Above you can see the foot-tall versions of Wonder Woman and Supergirl alongside the 6-inch takes on Harley and Bumblebee!
As a lifelong fan of comic books — specifically the ones published by DC — I’m very excited about the track that DC and WB are taking with this concept. Ultimately, I wish we didn’t have to make such a big effort to create entertainment that doesn’t alienate girls from the world of super heroes, but this seems like a really solid move. My daughter already has a good deal of comic-related toys in her ever-growing collection, but the fact that more will be aimed specifically at her is aces in my book!
Hi Gang, welcome to the 100th episode of The Pop Poppa Nap Cast. I have an awesome guest with me this time and it’s my amazing wife Emily! This episode follows a brand new format and I think it’s pretty snazzy! If you want to compare this episode the first one, you can listen to it here.
Here’s a behind the scenes look at the outline we were working on off of the big board:
And this is a picture of what my wife calls a Boyfriend Pillow, but what Target calls a Bed Rest Pillow.
Meanwhile, Bedknobs and Broomsticks is far more entertaining than Babes In Toyland.
I thought Adventures Time Season 5 was parentally informative, but Em’s still not a big fan of our 4 year old watching it. We’re both not sure about Monster High.
Book-wise, I’m a big fan of all three of these, even if Jack thinks books should all have touchscreens. Frozen Fever: Anna’s Birthday Surprise, Joy’s Greatest Joy/Simply Sadness and Oh, The Thinks You Can Think! are aces in my book.
Unfortunately, these two have seen better days, so I’m going to try cleaning them up with some Clearasil Stayclear Vanishing Acne Cream as suggested on this site. I’ll let you know how it goes.
This week’s Pop Poppa Seal Of Approval goes to Jack’s favorite toy, the Kid O Hide and Seek Discs!
I realized something today: I’ve never properly written about Adventure Time here on Pop Poppa. I’ve compared everything from other cartoons and comics to the longrunning series created by Pendleton Ward, but haven’t really gotten into it much over here. I also reviewed the Blu-rays of the first two seasons, but that was over on UnitedMonkee.
In that post, I talked about how I first heard about the show and how much I appreciated and even loved the big, bright elements seen thanks to the fantastic Blu-ray presentation. That’s all still here in the fifth season, which originally aired between 2012 and 2014 in addition to the rad friendships and relationships between our heroes Finn and Jake.
I also mentioned how much my then-2-year-old daughter liked watching the first two seasons, which is still the case, though she’s far more taken with the larger number of kids channels we have after moving into a house last year. She still asked to put the Season One and Two Blus in from time to time, which raised a few eyebrows from my mom who watches the kids over here on a daily basis. When she was 2 I wasn’t worried about some of the heavier material, especially the stuff between Marceline and her dad or the episodes featuring the ultra spooky Lich because so much of that flies over their heads at that age. I would frequently ask if she was okay with what she was seeing and she’d say yes, so it didn’t seem like a big deal. Continue reading
For the past six years parents have been half-watching the misadventures of Oso, a yellow bear who works for an organization known as U.N.I.Q.U.E. (The United Network for the Investigation of Quite Usual Events). He helps children figure out basic tasks like brushing their teeth and cleaning their rooms using Three Simple Steps. Kids love how Oso struggles with the same problems as their cartoon counterparts, but upon repeating viewings, it has become clear to me that the world of Special Agent Oso features some incredibly disturbing and potentially disastrous elements. Let’s discuss the five most prominent, shall we? Continue reading
For several months last year, I did weekly interviews with some of the people who make the Disney X D Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon. It was a really fun experience that resulted in some fantastic interviews over on CBR. Thanks to some scheduling shifts, I’m not doing those at this point, but I still have a soft spot in my heart for this cartoon that started bringing all kinds of alternate universe Spideys into the mix. Of course, this makes for a great deal of fun toy opportunities that license-holder Hasbro has started fully taking advantage of with their Web-Slingers line.
A month or two back, I received a box of toys for review from Hasbro that included the basic Spider-Man figure, Agent Venom Figure with ATV vehicle, Iron Spider Blaster glove and the Trickshot Showdown playset. The overarching action feature for this line is a series of stretchy rubber webs that hook onto parts of the toys and launch into various targets. Even though my nearly-four-year-old tried to get me to open them up for weeks, we didn’t get to it until last week. I figured it would be fun to record the whole thing with my Flip camera and post the results which you can see here. I would have cut the nearly 10 minute video down, but every time I looked to edit, the kid started doing something cute.
Since recording the video, I’ve placed all these toys back in the box they came in (you can see it in the video) and Lu has taken them out to play with about once a day. It’s funny, she kept asking me what every little part was for — the sticker that looks like steps on the playset, the rubber webs, the shooters, the targets, the crane — but after I told her they’re just they’re to play with, she hasn’t been as caught up on those things.
As a long-time action figure collector and fan, I do have a few comments. First off, these toys look like they fell right off the TV screen which is crucial when dealing with toon-based toys. The figures themselves are a little stiff, but that goes away the more you play with them. The only one that wasn’t is the Venom ATV toy which, contrary to what I said in the video, doesn’t have much in the way of articulation. The knees are permanently bent, which I didn’t notice at the time. I know more joints equal more cost, but I personally love my Spidey figures to be as flexible as possible. Lu doesn’t seem to care about any of that, but it’s something I noticed.
I also love how the ATV rolls around on our carpet and the playset is super fun. Even without shooting the webs, this fairly simple set offers plenty of play potential whether your kid is like mine and just likes to have a setting for her figures to run around on or if you’re like me and want to bash through some doors and swing around. It actually reminds me of the classic Karate Kid dojo set that I loved as a kid.
I don’t know if I’m just inept or what, but the stretchy web things just do not work for me. I saw the man do them with ease at Toy Fair and figured I could do it myself, but that has not been the case. The kid’s gotten it a few times, but no luck on my end.
On another level, I wish this line had some female toys for my daughter to play with. This might be part of that age-old idea that female action figures don’t sell or might go back to the TV series (not sure if any female Spideys are on there), but it’s a bummer. I passed my daughter a box of JLU toys I’ve had for years and she immediately pulled out all the ladies and started playing with them, so clearly there’s interest there.
Even though I had some problems with these figures, I think that overall they are rad playthings for younger kids. They seem sturdy enough to withstand the kind of strenuous playing that younger kids can and should put their toys through. I’m seriously thinking about tying a string to them, sticking one end up high and just swinging them around!
We’re pretty big fans of Disney’s Tinker Bell movies and shorts in this house. I wasn’t sure what to expect when my daughter started watching Tinker Bell, Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure, Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue and Tinker Bell: Secret of the Wings almost non-stop on Netflix in the past few years, but I’ve come to find these bits of animated goodness to be packed with fun adventure stories with heart and compassion at the center of them. So, when The Pirate Fairy came out last year, we were all pretty excited to see what would happen in that one.
As anyone who watches any of the Disney channels knows, they do a stellar job of getting kids excited about these things months in advance, so by the time we finally did see it, it was a big deal. The same can be said of this year’s Tinker Bell and the Legend of the Neverbeast which came out last week, but we haven’t seen it yet.
With all that in mind, here’s a variety of images and videos I’ve been sent along with the movie’s official synopsis if you haven’t seen anything about it. Like Christina Hendricks and Tom Hiddleston did in Pirate Fairy, Ginnifer Goodwin and Rosario Dawson both join the cast that includes regulars Mae Whitman, Lucy Liu, Raven-Symoné, Megan Hilty and Pamela Adlon.
The heartwarming story explores the ancient myth of a mysterious creature whose distant roar sparks the curiosity of Tinker Bell’s friend Fawn, an animal fairy who’s not afraid to break the rules to rescue the NeverBeast before time runs out. The fairies meet Gruff who is a massive creature and the subject of an ancient Pixie Hollow myth. Hidden in a dark lair on the fringes of the fairies’ beloved home, Gruff is discovered by curious and empathetic animal fairy Fawn, who sees something special in his glowing green eyes. His penchant for stacking rocks mystifies Fawn and her friends—but Gruff’s true purpose is the real surprise.
Here’s a series of concept art pieces that give you an idea of what you the movie and Gruff will look like:
And now you can check out Nyx (Dawson) and her rad-looking Scout Fairies. Here’s hoping this gang gets a spinoff where they go on black ops fairy operations (or something).
There you have it. What do you think? Are you looking forward to NeverBeast as much as we are? I’m still not sure when we will get a chance to see it, though. As I mentioned above, the Blu-ray and DVD sets are available for purchase, but we usually don’t buy these movies because they wind up on Netflix eventually. I can’t quite remember how long it took for Pirate Fairy to debut on Disney Channel, but I’m sure we’ll know when as Disney Junior is on for several hours a day while our daughter plays and hangs out with her brother and grandma.
My review of *deep breath* My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic Adventures Of The Cutie Mark Crusaders can be found here. *whew*
Miles From Tomorrowland is on the Disney channels all the time, but you can also give it a look on Watch Disney Junior.
Over the past few years, I’ve tried to embrace the world of My Little Pony Friendship is Magic to see if it’s something my 3-year-old daughter responds to. At first, she didn’t seem all that interested, but since that first introduction she has become a huge fan of the spinoff series Equestria Girls and also watches the regular series when it pops up on TV. Since we moved last fall, we’ve got much better cable which increases her choices and also allows for us to tap into On Demand. Not long ago we caught an episode called “Call of the Cutie” which focused on three younger ponies named Sweetie Bell, Scootaloo and Apple Bloom who don’t yet have their cutie marks, the symbol that appears on the horse’s flank that indicates their special skill. So, when I got an e-mail asking if I’d be interested in reviewing My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: Adventures Of The Cutie Mark Crusaders I was very much on board.
Since then, my daughter has watched this five episode disc all the way through several times. The other day I asked her what she likes about it and she essentially said that she appreciates seeing young ponies going on adventures. I thought that was really interesting, but it makes sense considering how young or youthful all her favorite main characters from animation are. It just makes sense that she’s appreciate younger characters with manes!
“The Cutie Mark Chronicles,” “The Cutie Pox,” “Flight To The Finish,” “Pinkie Pride” and “Twilight Time” are all quality episodes that aren’t too on-the-nose about their themes which deal with lots of growing-up issues. The whole idea of not having cutie marks yet is a great metaphor for development that I think can be useful in the future. I’ve come to realize that, while some elements of these shows might go over the kids’ heads at this young age, they can be used as points of reference later on when you’re trying to explain aspects of life to your kids. I recommend sitting down and watching these episodes with your children and taking mental notes for what might be useful later on.
My only complaint about this DVD is that it doesn’t include “Call Of The Cutie” which sets the whole thing up. That’s just me though. I like context, but I’m pretty sure my kiddo doesn’t care.
Last week I reviewed a copy of the Steven Universe: Gem Glow DVD and mentioned that I also received a review copy of Clarence: Mystery Piñata. Now that we’re closer to the 12-episode compilation’s Feb. 10th release date, it’s the perfect time to talk about the show my daughter refers to as Flarence for reasons untold.
Like Steven Universe, Clarence is a series that comes from an Adventure Time alum, in this case Skyler Page. Unlike those other two shows, though, this one does not revolve around any kind of supernatural or sci-fi elements. Instead, Clarence focuses on the title character, a boy who lives with his mom and step-dad and hangs out with his friends Jeff and Sumo.
When I first saw the ads for Clarence, I wasn’t sure if I would like it because it seemed like the title characters was a bit too doofy for my liking. However, after going in on deep dive thanks to Mystery Piñata I’m glad to say that, while he’s not the smartest kid in the world — that’s where his buddy Jeff comes in — he’s got a huge heart and a lot of genuine enthusiasm. On either side of him you’ve got the complete craziness of Sumo and the overly intellectual Jeff which makes for a nice balance that I remember from my own childhood.
My three-year-old daughter loves the silly antics on this show, but I’m fond of it because I love the kid-based lifestyle it represents. These are kids who run around in the woods and play outside, going on adventures and whatnot. That’s the kind of life I had as a child — I grew up right across the street from a small city park — and I worry that it’s becoming extinct in a world that’s become overly paranoid and worried.
While I enjoyed all of the episodes on this DVD, I think “Pretty Great Day With A Girl,” “Clarence’s Millions” and “Jeff’s New Toy” are favorites right now. In the first Clarence realizes that girls are pretty cool and fun to hang out with. It deals with a lot of gender issues without smashing you over the head with them. The middle one finds Clarence developing a kind of currency that winds up taking the school by storm. In the last, Jeff gets a flying toy based on a robotic Supreme Court justice that he wants to just keep on a shelf. Clarence can’t handle not playing with a toy and gets into some shenanigans. Both episodes not only show off the characters well, but also remind me of situations my friends and I got into in grade school.
Here’s the episode list, along with the chronological order of appearance according to Wiki!
“Fun Dungeons Face Off” (Episode 1)
“Pretty Great Day With A Girl” (Episode 2)
“Lost In The Supermarket” (Episode 4)
“Clarence’s Millions” (Episode 5)
“Jeff’s New Toy” (Episode 7)
“Zoo” (Episode 11)
“Rise ‘n’ Shine” (Episode 12)
“Average Jeff” (Episode 18)
“Slumber Party” (Episode 16)
“Dream Boat” (Episode 15)
“Too Gross For Comfort” (Episode 23)
“Neighborhood Grill” (Episode 21)
The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 90 might sound a little echo-y because of the new computer, but it covers Guardians of the Galaxy, snowy days, Steven Universe and way more.
For over a year, my daughter stuck to PBS and The Disney Channel when it came to her viewing habits. In the past year or so, she’s migrated away from public television (I’ll always love you Sesame Street, I’ll see you again when Jack’s older!) and now prefers On Demand and Cartoon Network. I’m cool with this for the most part, especially because CN has a variety of cool shows from wildly creative people like Steven Universe and Rebecca Sugar. Continue reading
Follow the links for my posts on last week’s menu, How To Train Your Dragon 2 and the books I mentioned that were written and drawn by comic folks if you’re interested.
The TTT video I mentioned that I was reminded of while watching The Goldbergs can be seen here.
Check out the Babes In Toyland post I wrote here.
WebMD has a solid post on Fifth Disease.
Littlest Pet Shop Season 1 gets a big thumbs up from me!
The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 86 covers Christmas, sickness, sleep and Sh-Ra with a surprise appearance by Lucy!
For more information on Watts Christmas Wonderland, check out their site. Above you can see a shaky shot of the light-filled neighborhood we discovered and the solid Santa at the Newburgh Mall.
My First Disney Princess Frozen Snow Glow Elsa Singing Doll was a big hit with Lu. She also got Frozen stickers, jammies, jelly beans, slippers and more.
Above you can see She-Ra – Princess of Power – Season One, Vol. 1 as well as Lu brandishing her paper roll She-Ra sword!
A few weeks ago, my buddy Brett White and I started talking about our love of all things Christmas so we decided to record a podcast about it! You might notice I sound like I’m a little under water for the first 20 minutes or so. This is the first time I’ve recorded via Skype with the monitors on which was throwing me off like crazy. Also, I thought about cutting my daughter’s quick appearance, but it was just too cute.
And now for some show notes!
I highly recommend checking out Brett’s appearance on Hear Me Out. It’s even Christmas-themed!
The Santa’s Workshop LEGO set Brett mentioned can be seen here.
Dig my list of non-traditional Christmas movies over on Topless Robot.
For what it’s worth, right after recording, I saw that one channel shows The Santa Clause 1 and 3, while another shows 2.
Don’t believe me about Eggbert? The New York Times did a story on him a few years back.
I mentioned the MiniMate Christmas village from a few years ago which you can see above. Shot on my very first “smart” phone, I believe. As if you couldn’t already tell.
Here’s Muppet Family Christmas, which Brett mentioned and I haven’t watched yet, but I want to!
I thought I’d talked about the Mickey Christmas specials I mentioned on Netflix, but apparently I haven’t. They are Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas and Mickey’s Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse, or as my daughter calls them Mickey Christmas Red and Mickey Christmas Blue.
Charlie and Lola, Vol. 2 and I can’t seem to find the exact Hello Kitty DVD after minimal searching.
You can’t tell me this Bubble Guppies song isn’t catchy as all get out.
If you’re curious about why I posted so little in October, you can check out all the links to what I wrote that month over on my pop culture blog UnitedMonkee.
I’m a big fan of Every Cowgirl Needs a Horse after reading it just the one time so far.
The movies I mentioned are My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: Spooktacular Pony Tales, My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks and Planes Fire and Rescue which were all are great. Still waiting to watch Maleficent.
The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 79 covers Jack’s continued teething problems, Lu’s new school friend and me sharing my thoughts on the #HeForShe campaign.
Most of the horror movies I mentioned seeing were done during kiddo nap time, though a few were watched after everyone went to bed. If you only see one newer scary movie this year, make it Resolution!
The book I mentioned really enjoying on my phone is R.L. Stein’s Red Rain. Great stuff so far.
Disney’s Sleeping Beauty: Diamond Edition is fantastic. Pre-order a copy or just wait until it hits stores next week on Oct. 7th.
Here’s a video of Emma Watson’s UN speech as well as the blog post supporting stay at home dads by Aaron Gouveia over at Time.com. And, for a funnier view on the whole thing, read Dead and Buried’s “Just Say No To Parenting Equality.”
The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 76 kicks off a new weekly release schedule, gives an update on the house stuff and chronicles Lu’s first kinda-sorta first day of school.
Tom by Tomie dePaolo is a pretty weird book that creeps me out, but my kid loves it.
Over the Hedge and My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: Spooktacular Pony Tales both get the thumb’s up from Lu and the Pop Poppa Seal Of Approval from me. If you’re interested in my original thoughts on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, check them out here. The MLP movie I mentioned that’s on Netflix is called .
The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 74 recaps the last two weeks, including our trip to New Hampshire (Jack’s first long car ride), a solid house update and a special appearance from this week’s co-host, Lucy.
I should note that when I said I was thinking of going to the store on Tuesday, I said “alone,” but meant “with the kids.”
If you’re in the area, keep an eye out for Tumblebus.
Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir by Liz Prince is fantastic. A funny, witty, clever and emotional personal story that I think all parents should read. It gives an interesting look behind the curtain of a young woman dealing with gender issues.
The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 73 gives a few house updates and gets into important subjects like Plastic Man cartoons, the state of Scooby-Doo and how I turned a laundry basket into a baby bathtub.
Scooby-Doo! and the Witch’s Ghost, Scooby Doo and the Weird Water Park and Scooby-Doo and Aliens, Too! aren’t the best Scooby-Doo offerings ever, but Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated is pretty fantastic. Check it out on Netflix.
Here you can see my makeshift kitchen sink baby bath. It’s just a smaller laundry basket with an inflatable, waterproof back rest. It won’t work once he’s a bit taller, but for now, it’s just the ticket. Also if you check out the Photo Diary from April 6th, 2011 you can see the pool noodle tub solution I mentioned.
The Pop Poppa Nap Cast 69 not only features a guest host in Jack Dietsch, but also gives an update on the moving situation and talks about kiddie troubles.
Here’s Lu playing with her new Avengers toys!
Batman: Brave & The Bold is the best kid-friendly Batman cartoon in ages. Check it out on Netflix or buy it on Amazon through that link.
The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 63 bestows the virtues of Aarón Sánchez’s cookbook, the Vanderbilt mansion property, Joovy strollers and Barbie, while grousing about crummy internet and nap frustrations.
The fantastic Aarón Sánchez cookbook is called Simple Food, Big Flavor: Unforgettable Mexican-Inspired Recipes from My Kitchen to Yours, check it out if you’re even remotely interested in Mexican cooking.
The Vanderbilt Mansion is actually a National Historic Site. Check out this site for more information.
The stroller we got is called the Joovy Caboose Ultralight , ours is orange.
Let’s talk Barbie links! Barbie Life In The Dreamhouse can be seen here. It’s also on Netflix Instant. The exact doll Lu got is called the Barbie Bedtime Princess Doll. As you can see, Lu was very happy with hers. Finally, the two movies I talked about are Barbie: A Perfect Christmas and Barbie Fairytopia Magic of the Rainbow. I fully support all but the Fairytopia movie which wound up feeling a lot like the far better Tinkerbell flicks from Disney that are also available on Netflix Instant.
The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 53 runs down our recent trip to the playground, the end of car troubles and the million and one things that have been making me crazy lately. Fun stuff!
Not much in the way of notes this time around, just me talking about myself.
The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 32 covers a recent parental visit, new yard sale-purchased toys and some of the more difficult aspects of parenting I’m experiencing these days.
According to This Old Toy, the Little People Farm we got was the one that came out in the late 90s. The Farm and Little People also earned the Pop Poppa Seal Of Approval.
The Shining is still freaking me out! When I’m done, I’ll write up a review over on UnitedMonkee.com.
Please, don’t let this dumb-dumb bear be your kid’s main teacher.
The Dad and Buried post I talked about is called “Phasing Out Phases” and can be found here. I’m becoming a huge fan of Mike Julianelle’s writing which earned him the Pop Poppa Of The Week.
My apologies for the lack of episode last week and this one’s lateness, but life tends to get in the way of all my internet aspirations. Anyway, the 27th episode of the Pop Poppa Nap Cast runs down our recent vacation to Ipswich, gives an update on our house hunt and gives the Pop Poppa Of The Week to one of my favorite authors!
Tangled is a reimagining of the Rapunzel story. It’s pretty cute, but just about everything loses its cuteness after the 300th viewing.
I thought I’d done a post about my dislike of PBS’ Sid the Science Kid, but apparently I hadn’t. Basically, no other kid show bothers me this much. Even though the general message is “science is cool,” something I completely agree with, it just seems incredibly dumb and filled with one-note characters. Bleh.
Here’s the Geek Mom article about the new season of Sesame Street! Thank Henson for new content.
Jill Thompson’s excellent The Little Endless Storybook and Delirium’s Party: A Little Endless Storybook earned the Pop Poppa Seal Of Approval. I also recommend reading the actual Sandman comics either in regular trade form or the exquisite Absolute editions.
And, finally, Brad Meltzer easily earned the Pop Poppa Of The Week, not just for writing a series of novels I’ve gotten hours of entertainment out of, but also reminding me how important it is to tell your story to the world. Seriously, check out The Book of Lies, it’s pretty darn great. I wrote a review of it a few years back over on UnitedMonkee, check it out!
The 23rd episode of The Pop Poppa Nap Cast deals with keys, phones, potties and more!
Above you can see my keys and the dog leash swivel clip I was talking about. Like I said, any clip-type key chain will work!
Lu thought THIS guy was Superman! I’m gonna have my work cut out for me with this kid.
If you have a kid at potty training age who also likes Elmo and Sesame Street, do yourself a favor and buy Sesame Street – Elmo’s Potty Time.
This week the Board Book Photo Album – Black gets the Pop Poppa Seal of Approval!
And congrats to Elmo’s dad for earning the Pop Poppa Of The Week!
I’m not sure about your kid’s viewing habits, but when mine isn’t watching a Disney DVD or Blu-ray, she’s got her eyes glued to the Disney Channel. She started off as a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse fan which lead into her watching and enjoying all the other animated offerings the network has including Sofia The First and Doc McStuffins. She’s even become quite familiar with the live action shows like Good Luck Charlie, Jesse and the rest. In the past month or so, Disney unveiled a series of new shorts featuring classic characters like Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy and Goofy. At first I wasn’t sure what to think because the cartoons looked so different than what I’m used to, but I’ve got to say, I’ve become a huge fan and here’s why in a handy list format!
1. It’s Made By Quality Creators
I did a little looking around and discovered that the new Mickey Mouse shorts are executive produced and directed by Paul Rudish. Rudish’s isn’t a name I knew at first glance, but one look at his resume and you understand why these mini-toons are so good. He helped create Dexter’s Laboratory. And Samurai Jack. And The Powerpuff Girls. And Star Wars: Clone Wars. Rudish also put together a solid writing staff that includes Ramon Sanchez (Count Duckula, Tales From The Crypt), Derek Dressler (Kick Buttowski), Aaron Springer (Samurai Jack, Spongebob Squarepants) and Clay Morrow (Dexter’s Laboratory, Chowder). That’s a lot of talent that have come together to create a series that mixes the old and new in terms of the visual, audio and thematic side of things, concepts that make up the rest of the list.
2. It’s Not Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
All due respect to the long-running show that my toddler and millions of others could watch all day long, but the sugary sweet niceness of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse doesn’t exactly go out of its way to be even remotely entertaining to the parents who find themselves watching along. Plus, as good as that show looks with its computer generated animation, it’s so great seeing Mickey and his pals drawn in a more traditional animated style. If you’re worried that your kid might not understand the difference between the two, take this bit of anecdotal evidence into consideration: my two year old loves both versions.
3. It Looks New
Speaking of the new style, I like it. I get that the more exaggerated look might not appeal to everyone, but I’m glad Disney took a chance on something we haven’t seen before. And, trust me, we’ve seen a lot of different takes on these characters, so that’s saying something. This reminds me of the spirit Walt Disney had where he was always looking for new ways to do things. Whether intentional or not, this shift in style is an homage to Walt.
4. It Sounds Familiar
Since they decided to take a chance on the look of the series, it makes sense that Rudish and company decided to go with the classic-sounding voices for stars Mickey, Donald, Minnie and Goofy. While the looks of the characters have changed over the years, the voices have stayed relatively the same or at least similar. We’re used to seeing different versions, but we’re not used to hearing wildly different takes. It’s important to have some kind of connection to the legacy of these characters that’s recognizable. In this case, it’s the voice actors who happen to be the same folks who do Clubhouse, aside from Mickey performer Chris Diamantopoulos who replaced Clubhouse‘s Bret Iwan as the titular rodent.
5. It’s Funny!
I can’t tell you how rare it is for me to actually laugh at something seen on Disney Channel. Sometimes there are cute little moments on the cartoons or the occasional so-incredibly-stupid-it’s-laughable gag on one of the over-the-top live action shows. But, these new Mickey Mouse shorts keep me in stitches the whole time. If you’re a fan of the old Disney cartoons, classic Looney Tunes shorts or any of the shows the staff worked on previously, then I can almost guarantee you’ll get a kick out of Mickey and the gang.
6. It’s Not TOO Nice
Going back to the first point here, these shorts aren’t squeaky clean. The one I just saw, called “Stayin’ Cool,” found Mickey, Donald and Goofy trespassing on several different locations for a perfectly selfish reasons: beating the heat. The characters aren’t dark and gritty by any means, but Mickey’s back to his more mischievous roots which you can see if you go back and watch older Mickey cartoons. It’s another nod to the past that also honors what came before it.
The shorts run on Disney Channel at random times, but you can also head over to the Disney Shorts YouTube page to watch all the ones that have been released.
The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 16 runs the gamut from parental visits and Father’s Day fun to Lu’s upcoming first trip to daycare.
If you want to read the first entry in my recurring “Ultimate Spider-Man” interview series, click this link.
Above you can see the three books I mentioned in the podcast: If I Ran The Circus, The Disney Junior Encyclopedia Of Animated Characters and The Amazing Spider-Man Look and Find. Follow those links to Amazon if they sound like something you’d like to check out.
The Adventure Time Blu-ray review I mentioned can be seen here. If you want to buy them for yourself, click the following links:
And here’s the short piece I wrote for Spinoff Online about Girl Meets World getting officially picked up by Disney.
As a kid, I had a My Little Pony toy or two. I’m not sure how they made their way into a toy collection that mostly consisted of action figures, cars and weapons, but there they were. And, while I didn’t exactly tell everyone I knew about them, I still played with them with some consistency. So, a few years ago when I started hearing all this hubbub about Bronies — usually described as adult male fans of the new series My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic — it didn’t seem like that big of a deal. It’s great that a bunch of dudes are into MLP. I wasn’t sure if it was the kind of thing I’d be into, but that’s never made me want to stop other people from enjoying something. The whole, “I don’t like it! It must die!” internet mentality needs a good flush down the toilet.
For a while that was the end of my experience with the property that launched back in 201o, but then I started hearing more and more about it and my interest was piqued. First, I heard Princess Twilight Sparkle herself, Tara Strong on Kevin Smith’s Caped Crusader-based podcast Fat Man on Batman. From there I eventually discovered Talkin’ Toons With Rob Paulsen where longtime voice actor Paulsen interviews his friends and fellow people in the biz. I’m still way behind on episodes, but I noticed a solid pattern of people being really excited about working on MLP: FIM. When creative people get together and enjoy what they’re doing so much, that’s a very good sign.
So, when the ridiculously great people over at Shout Factory asked if I’d be interested in reviewing My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: Princess Twilight Sparkle, I was very interested. The disc contains five episodes — “Games Ponies Play,” “Magical Mystery Cure,” “Mmmystery On The Friendship Express,” “Magic Duel” and “Lesson Zero” — which kind of acts like one of those chocolate sampler boxes.
In addition to being curious about a cultural phenomenon, I was also interested to see how my two year old daughter would react to the show. She seemed to dig it. The super bright colors and a talking horses definitely seem to hit buttons in children of a certain age. However, she’s the type of kid who likes to watch the same thing over and over again, so it can be hard to get her eyes on something new. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve put on a brand new DVD or Netflix Instant show only to hear how much she wants to watch Mickey Mousse Clubhouse Road Rally for the umpteenth time. Still, on a few occasions, I was able to get her to watch a few episodes of MLP and she seemed to like it, but it hasn’t quite made its way into the regular rotation yet, but I think its earning a spot.
As far as I go, I can see why people get a kick out of this show. It’s big and bright and colorful and filled with mostly upbeat, likable characters who you wouldn’t mind spending time with. But, more than that, it’s actually really well put together and thought out. “Games Ponies Play” features Princes Twilight Sparkle and her crew of ponies getting on a train. I was curious how non-anthropomorphized horses were going to get around and do things and was pleasantly surprised to see that not only do they wear fashionable saddle bags, but also have unicorn horns that allow them to move things around telekinetically.
They’re also clearly having fun with some older cartoon elements that you don’t see as much these days. In the episode “Mmmystery On The Friendship Express,” there are several silent movie references (a moustache-twirling villain trying someone to the train tracks) but also a horse ninja. It’s pretty cool seeing a mix of what used to be cool and what will always be cool in the same thing. It reminded me of watching old Looney Tunes cartoons where they’d have caricatures of Humphrey Bogart and I’d kind of vaguely understand who they were, but was also interested in learning more.
I liked what I saw, but it’s just not the kind of thing that’s for me. But, that should in no way reflect negatively on the show. It’s like listening to a band that you know is good, but just doesn’t hit your internal sonic buttons. I know MLP: FIM is a great show with fun plots that work both for adults and kids, but it’s just not my thing. So, while I guess I’m not a Bronie, I could be in a Friends of Bronies group. Is that a thing? Even though it’s not for me, I recommend giving it a shot either for yourself or your kids because it is a really well made show.
I should also note that while this Princess Twilight Sparkle disc is a good sampler, it might not be the best introduction to the property. These episodes come from the second, third and fourth seasons and don’t spend a lot of time explaining what’s going on. Just pushing play on this disc and jumping in left me a little bit confused here and there, but I caught up pretty well as things went on. However, if you want to start from the beginning, it might make sense to start off with the Friendship Express DVD which features the series opening two-parter.
As the weather goes from great to grey, I talk about everything from nice weather memories and Mariah Carey to Mickey Mouse coloring books and how the movie Spring Break holds up as a good lesson on how to be a worthwhile person.
Here’s my wildly uninformed Sesame Street post from last year.
If you’re interested in checking out Sesame Street: Old School – Volume One (1969-1974) pick it up from Amazon.
And here’s a few images if you’re curious to see what Big Bird and Oscar looked like originally.
When I said that they hung out in a junkyard on The Cosby Show, I meant Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids – The Original Animated Series, Vol. 1 (with Bonus CD). I’m fairly certain Rudy and Theo never found themselves digging through trash.
The inimitable Mariah Carey singing “Always Be My Baby.”
The latest installment of The Pop Poppa Nap Cast focuses on a recent trip to New Hampshire for Easter, the many cartoons I want to share with my daughter and a big thumbs up for a new sitcom and my favorite diaper bag.
The episode of The Big Bang Theory I mentioned that inspired Lu to sing “Soft Kitty” is called “The Adhesive Duck Deficiency.” I live blogged it back in 2009.
You can check out the piece my friend Sean Collins wrote about He-Man over on Vorpalizer.
While I’m linking to my pals, here’s the piece my buddy Rob Bricken wrote about the wacky He-Man/She-Ra holiday special that he wrote for io9.
As I mentioned in the episode, I’m trying something new with a little bit of advertising. If you’re interested in any of the products or DVDs I mentioned in the show follow these links to Amazon. It’ll help the show for sure, so thanks in advance. Here’s what I talked about this episode The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Third Season, Big Bang Theory – Soft Kitty Head Plush, DuckTales – Volume 1, Walt Disney’s Uncle Scrooge: “Only a Poor Old Man” (Vol. 12) (The Complete Carl Barks Disney Library), Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Collector’s Box Set (Vol. 1-2) (Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse), Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers – Volume 1 and Plastic Man: The Complete Collection.
And of course, I’ve got to separate out the recipient of this week’s Pop Poppa Seal of Approval winner, the Diaper Dude Diaper Bag, Black, the best diaper bag for guys around.
Recorded while fighting through a sore throat and cold, this week’s Pop Poppa Nap Cast features talk of being sick while watching a toddler, a few new things in Lu’s life and a guy named Arnold Schwarzengger taking home the Pop Poppa Of The Week.
Get more information on the Munchkin Shampoo Rinser on the Munchkin website.
And if you’re interested, here’s my 2008 review of Commando.