Television Critic Opinions “Higglytown Heroes”

As aunt of a preschooler and an aspiring voiceover actress (I knew all those people several hours of observing Bugs Bunny would come in useful), I know all the kids’ shows as effectively as each individual kids’ DVD out there.

In my impression, you can find no better way celebs can recoup their outrageous salaries than entertaining and sometimes educating youngsters. And They May well Be Giants get the “cooler than Elvis” vote for singing the topic song to a single of Playhouse Disney’s newest hits, “Higglytown Heroes,” which is also on their CD/DVD for youngsters, “In this article Arrive the ABCs.”

For those people of you not acquainted with all items Higgly (an adjective employed as substantially as “Smurfy” but not, thank Higgles, as a verb), the collection facilities on a modest town and four tots named Eubie, Kip, and siblings Wayne and Twinkle. Assume “South Park” with far better artwork and no foul mouths. The strongest language is, “Aw, pickles,” commonly uttered by Twinkle (pinker than Trista Rehn Sutter!) following her fanciful strategies for fixing the kids’ dilemmas get carefully punctured by Fran, a welcoming squirrel voiced by Edie McClurg.

In every two-episode half-hour exhibit, the Higgly Children encounter widespread, harmless childhood events these as acquiring a caterpillar, hosting a tv celebration for the Satisfied Furry Higgly Monster Primetime Exclusive, getting rid of a tooth, Kip’s Grandpa locked in the bathroom, or caring for an disappointed hen. The children test to remedy their difficulties, guided by Fran who is the voice of cause, helped by their loving people and the at any time-enthusiastic oddly Bill and Ted-ish Pizza Guy…as well as an individual special. Then will come the unavoidable song…

“A person distinctive, who could it be?

This job’s as well major for you and me.

We need to have some aid!

But hardly ever fear-o,

It seems to be like a position for a…Higglytown Hero!

A Higglytown Hero!”

Some of the heroes are purely natural decisions, specially just after September 11: Law enforcement Girl, Firefighter, etcetera. But how numerous of us imagine of sanitation employees, electricians, plumbers, gardeners, mail carriers (voiced by Kathie Lee Gifford) and farmers as heroes? Or a telephone operator (voiced by Cyndi Lauper)? Though the heroes have superstar voices, the Higgly Young ones find out that the true stars all around them are the men and women who fix issues just about every day.

Some of the dilemmas get a small ridiculous from an adult perspective. For case in point, when Kip climbs a tree to conserve a beloved neighborhood cat and her kittens, his pals help him. Why, when he receives stuck, won’t be able to they assist him back down? Ahem…when was the last time you tripped and panicked? You will need assist in your have lifestyle each and every day without thinking about it.

The magnificence of “Higglytown Heroes” is that it celebrates operating jointly, “obtaining enjoyable with each other,” and the Higgly Children as very well as their people hardly ever take for granted the Heroes in their lives. The Electrician (Lance Bass) receives invited to share in the “Higgly Monsters” Television set occasion after repairing the circuitry for Kip’s household. The Fireplace Fighter (Donald Faison) who will get Kip out of the tree shares in a birthday celebration for the neighborhood cat. How several of us go out of our way to thank the folks who make our life much easier? Often we overlook to see them as people with desires and thoughts.

We even forget about to see our individual family members as heroes. Kip’s Grandmama (voice of “Golden Lady” Betty White, with Rose Nylund-like hairdo) knits the young children sweaters. Kip’s serious-estate agent Mother, Bitty, functions like the soul of ’50s domesticity, but receives rewarded when Kip and his close friends make her a get-well card. Wayne’s Mom, Plunkie, exhibits the little ones a caterpillar and drives them to the seaside, when Wayne and Twinkle’s Uncle Lemmo cooks them breakfast at his diner and, in the Christmas unique, drives Wayne and Twinkle about in his sleigh.

Interestingly, Higgly families are not normally nuclear family members, a little something Disney portrays as regular without contacting notice to it. Kip’s family is the proverbial nuclear family members, with twin sisters, a toddler sister, a mom and dad, Fripp, (who operates a incredibly hot canine cart), and two grandparents who both reside in Kip’s large dwelling or go to regularly. Twinkle and Wayne’s mom appears to be to be a solitary guardian (despite the fact that all are African-American, no one has screamed racism but), and Eubie is evidently remaining raised by his Southern-accented Aunt Mellie and Uncle Zooter, with visits from his Southern-accented Grandpop Crank (a farmer).

In a lot of methods, Higglytown is idealized. No one definitely would seem to get worried about work, revenue or standing. Persons go to the library, and a Librarian is a Higglytown Hero! The young children “perform real tricky” and choose responsibility (gasp) by considering up means to help by themselves and their people, and in each individual episode there are little moral classes and guidance (choose treatment of your pets, don’t use too much electric power, make another person smile) to display the little ones how they can expand up to be…Higglytown Heroes!

Cynics and naysayers will deride this as kiddie pablum. I connect with it a refreshing dose of truth and a tribute to the heroes all all over us. The Disney animators are Higglytown Heroes for making this present.

Author’s Take note: Soon after this review originally designed the rounds on the Web, actor Rory Thost, who supplies the voice of “Kip,” was sort plenty of to be a “Higglytown Hero” and make my day by telling me how considerably he and the solid preferred the evaluation. For all of people who imagine our kids are finish troublemakers, youthful Master Rory Thost is thirteen: His showbiz occupation is presently for a longer period than mine! Far more importantly, in a environment where undesirable conduct by celebrities is sadly the norm, this youthful male remains polite, mature, perfectly-educated and effectively-grounded.

Author’s Take note II: This sequence will get far better and greater. The continuity is even on a par with most primetime reveals. Kip has adopted a puppy named “Shadow,” who will make guest appearances we meet Fran’s mom and dad following viewing them in the Christmas exclusive Eubie’s Grandpop gets to be a Higglytown Hero Eubie’s bird Flappy makes appearances from time to time. The Firefighter returns. The Electrician proposes to the Teacher, and Pizza Guy and Fran get to be Higglytown Heroes!

Author’s Take note III: Disney has developed Higglytown Heroes Toys. This collection has, er, legs!

More From My Blog