Pi­ous pirates and re­cy­cling pups

The Press - The Box - - VIEWING GUIDE - Pat­tie Pe­gler

Sure, in an ideal world we’d all be out with our kids mak­ing forts and star­ing in won­der at but­ter­flies. But some­times you’re sick of forts and even pre-school­ers want to watch tele­vi­sion.

And, kids’ shows, hon­estly, are not that aw­ful. Odd, maybe, but not aw­ful.

Take Jake and the Nev­er­land Pirates (6.35am, week­days, TV2 and 8.25am, daily, Disney Ju­nior), a show aimed at pre-school­ers and loosely in­spired by Peter Pan.

And by loosely, I mean hardly at all.

A trio of young car­toon pirates are in charge of their own galleon and spend their time play­ing about on trop­i­cal is­lands. Their par­ents, who are pre­sum­ably bankrolling th­ese ad­ven­tures, are notably ab­sent – that’s of­ten the way.

De­spite this, Jake and his pals are sur­pris­ingly nice and kind.

The fo­cus here is on friend­ship and team work, with the odd bit of maths thrown in, as view­ers are urged to count the gold dou­bloons they col­lect for ‘‘solv­ing pi­rate prob­lems’’.

Their jolly ad­ven­tures are al­ways in­ter­rupted by the self­ish and bum­bling Cap­tain Hook. But the pirates take it in their stride, re­spond­ing in the thought­ful and shar­ing ways that pre-school­ers are so of­ten urged to adapt. Hon­estly, Jake comes across as a lit­tle pi­ous, but it’s hard to ob­ject to the moral tone here.

Like­wise, with that other preschooler favourite, Paw Pa­trol (6.40am, daily, Nick Ju­nior). Here, a young boy, Ry­der, and his pack of pups live in what looks like a dis­used con­trol tower near some sort of moun­tain range in the town of Ad­ven­ture Bay. Again, there are no par­ents about, but Ryan and the pups are al­ways help­ing out other adults in the town with prob­lems.

And they’re well placed to do so. The pups each have a par­tic­u­lar skill – some of which seem rather ar­bi­trary, like Rocky the Re­cy­cling Pup. But there’s also Mar­shall who drives a fire truck, Rub­ble who op­er­ates a dig­ger and Skye, who flies a he­li­copter. She’s the only girl pup in the pack and her he­li­copter is decked out in pink. Yep, that may look a lit­tle like gen­der stereo­typ­ing, but can’t she just re­ally like pink?

Each episode in­volves some sort of prob­lem where Ry­der has to as­sign the pups with the right skills for that par­tic­u­lar sit­u­a­tion. Think of it as a sort of preschooler course in ef­fi­cient project man­age­ment. The prob­lems can be sur­pris­ingly com­plex. In one of them there is an off­shore oil spill threat­en­ing lo­cal marine life – it’s soon cleaned up with a boom made of old tow­els, thanks to Rocky the re­cy­cling pup. I bet BP are kick­ing them­selves for not try­ing that at the Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon site. Or per­haps they did.

Any­way, if I sound slightly jaded about th­ese shows, that’s be­cause I’m a tired adult. All that bound­less en­thu­si­asm and nice­ness leaves me slightly nau­se­ated.

But, as a kid I watched car­toon an­i­mals in­flict hideous vi­o­lence on each other with anvils and dynamite. Now it’s all about team work, friend­ship and be­ing con­sid­er­ate. I think that’s a good thing.

As a kid, I watched car­toon an­i­mals in­flict hideous vi­o­lence on each other with anvils and dynamite. Now, it’s all about team work, friend­ship and be­ing con­sid­er­ate.

Their par­ents, who are pre­sum­ably bankrolling th­ese ad­ven­tures, are notably ab­sent from Jake and the Nev­er­land Pirates.

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