Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Things I learned this week: I'm a captain and Batman's a parrot

So as mentioned in my previous post, Lily is on a bit of a "Jump" kick. But she doesn't limit herself to one obsession at a time. 

This morning I asked her to remove Jovie's baby doll from the dog's crate (I don't know where she's getting these parenting techniques from). 

"Aye Aye Captain Mom!" she said.

The other day, while lying on my bed she stretched her hands toward the ceiling.

"Oh no mom! I can't reach it!" she whimpered.

 "Can't reach what honey?" 

"Up there. I need pixie dust!" 

And every time we drive past the nearby putt-putt course, which features a mini-castle she gets excited.

"Mom! Look! It's a castle!" she says. "That's where the Pirate Princess lives." 

I think, perhaps, she's watching a little too much "Jake and the Neverland Pirates" -- a show that ranks only slightly ahead of "Mickey Mouse Club House" in terms of adult watchability after 500 or so episodes. But -- save for the Pirate Rock ...

... it's still pretty insufferable. (And the fact that Pirate Rock is what makes the show more watchable is just a testament to the irritating state of the children's television that Lily likes.)

Brad made an interesting observation about the problem with "Jake" -- there are no real character flaws or defining traits in the three main protagonists. They're all incessant do-gooders who like to skip around collecting gold doubloons while teaching kids about manners and doing the right thing. 

"They never struggle with anything and they just pixie dust their asses out of there," Brad said. (Pixie dust  is only to be used in emergency situations and, as Brad pointed out, their definition of "emergency" is a little more lenient than the average person -- in one episode they use pixie dust to put a hat on Captain Hook's head.)

And it's true. Captain Hook is perpetually trying to steal their treasure and, in general, be kind of a pain and the ass, and they never get angry or frustrated. 

While I suppose it's a good thing that Lily is learning to be kind to others and* persevere in spite of creepy, scheming old men who should probably have something better to do than stalk three little kids, it's bad storytelling. The foundation of a good story is conflict and how can there be conflict when your characters are perfect and armed with magical glitter that allows them to fly away at the first sign of trouble? 

Maybe I'm over-thinking a show intended for preschoolers. I don't know. But I think Lily can handle a little high-stakes problem solving. I mean the girl did figure out how to score an extra bag of fruit snacks yesterday (as it turns out, Lily's pixie dust is just asking me over and over again at increasing volume). 

What the show lacks in character flaws it makes up in celebrity voices. 

It seems as if the Disney Channel is a veritable smorgasbord of has-been, quasi-famous and totally legit famous people. Here's the skinny:

Yesterday, while watching "Raising Hope" I told Brad I thought the guy playing Ricardo sounded a lot like Handy Manny. He disagreed, and as is always the case when he disagrees, I turned to Google, where I discovered that the guy playing Ricardo was Wilmer Valderrama, who, according to Wikipedia, has been the voice of Handy Manny since 2006.

This reminded me that I wanted to find out who did the voice of the Wise Old Parrot on "Jake," so I looked that up to (It's Adam West of "Batman" and "The Family Guy" fame ... kind of a strange resume). 

But it goes way deeper than that. 

David Arquette is Scully the parrot, Tori Spelling is the Pirate Princess, Lisa Loeb is Winger the parrot (she's also shows up on "Doc McStuffins" as Millie the Microphone), Sharon Osbourne is Mama Hook, Jane Kaczmaerk is Red Jessica, Josh Duhamel is Captain Flynn, Tiffani "I dropped the Amber" Thiessen ("Saved by the Bell" and "90210") is Misty the Mystical Witch, Jerry O'Connell is Pip the Pirate Genie, Rhys Darby is Percy the Penguin and Catherine O'Hara is Miss Jacques. Ariel Winter (who plays Alex on "Modern Family" is the voice of Marina the Mermaid and she plays Princess Sofia on the new show "Sofia the First." 

Also on "Sofia" is Tim Gunn of "Project Runway" fame (the voice of Baileywick -- who appropriately, offers etiquette and fashion advice) and Wayne Brady is Clover the rabbit.

The Disney Channel is apparently where actors looking to start or resuscitate their careers go to torture innocent parents.

This is Captain Mom, signing off.

* Full disclosure, it was at this point in writing this post that I stopped typing, sighed heavily and said to Brad, "I don't know what I'm writing. This is a dumb post." Sigh. The blogging gods are not pleased with me tonight.


  1. Maybe "pixie dust" IS the character flaw. The characters have the choice to either escape the situation, thereby making no difference, or to stay, grit it out, and figure out how to really address the Captain Hook issue. No guts, no glory.

  2. Jim that is an astute observation! The pixie dust is like the duct tape of problem solving - a short-term solution.