Today on Blogcritics
Home » DVD Review: Gerald McBoing Boing Vol. 1 & 2

DVD Review: Gerald McBoing Boing Vol. 1 & 2

Please Share...Print this pageTweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

Now that this Caballero has a small child, the world of entertainment for kids has taken on much greater significance. Gone are the years of gleefully ignoring Barney, Teletubbies, and Elmo while pursuing my grown-up Snobbish delights. As I enter the frightening, uncharted world of children’s programming, it’s a small solace to gravitate toward any familiar characters such as Gerald McBoing Boing.

Unlike most other present-day kiddie cartoon characters, Gerald McBoing Boing has an impressive pedigree. The character and his story were conceived by the great Dr. Seuss for an animated short that went on to win an Oscar in 1950. This led to a few additional shorts and a TV special, but then the character disappeared from animation for the next 50 years. Oddly, the original short and two of its successors showed up as bonus features on the Hellboy special edition DVD release in 2004, which first brought the character to my attention. The concept was resurrected last year for a new series airing on Cartoon Network as part of their Tickle U. block of weekday morning children’s programming, leading up to these new DVD compilation releases.

Gerald McBoing Boing is a normal young lad with one exception: whenever he tries to speak, only sound effects come out. This leads to all manner of comic misunderstanding while Gerald tries to communicate with others through an array of squeaks, honks, and clanks. While this made for an interesting idea for the initial short, it becomes tedious for adults over long exposure to the new series.

Each episode apparently contains a rhyming short that follows the Seussian blueprint of the original, a couple of annoying “sound checks” that presumably act as commercial bumpers during TV broadcasts, and another non-rhyming short. Gerald is joined on his adventures by his dog and two other normal children who assist him in making his intentions known, as well as his clueless parents who never seem to be able to figure out what he’s trying to convey.

The show has a great look, especially the backgrounds. While the original short had a minimalist, fluid art approach to both character design and backgrounds, the new series gives the characters a slick, static look that pays homage to the original character designs but places them firmly in this century. However, instead of using realistic, modern backgrounds, the series hews closely to the original minimalist and surreal approach (also favored by the best of the Looney Tunes library), drawing in just the basic necessities and taking pains to color outside the lines to keep the look fresh and intriguing.

The series is aimed at children ages two years and up, and based on the episodes on these DVDs that appears to be a fair approximation of the audience that can tolerate the repetition of its concept. Older children will not be interested, and adults may find themselves dozing off during extended viewing, but Gerald’s arsenal of amusing sounds and situations should appeal to the toddlers. Gerald always finds a way to succeed in the end, so the show acts as a worthy lesson on overcoming obstacles.

As an added bonus, each DVD includes a mini Golden Book adaptation of the original Dr. Seuss story, perfect for story time and a proper introduction to the origin of the character. Buy these DVDs with confidence for the youngsters in your life; just make sure you’re not in the vicinity for long when they watch them.

Written By Caballero Oscuro

Powered by

About Gordon S. Miller

Gordon S. Miller is the artist formerly known as El Bicho, the nom de plume he used when he first began reviewing movies online for The Masked Movie Snobs in 2003. Before the year was out, he became that site's publisher. Over the years, he has also contributed to a number of other sites as a writer and editor, such as FilmRadar, Film School Rejects, High Def Digest, and Blogcritics. He is the Publisher of Cinema Sentries. Some of his random thoughts can be found at twitter.com/ElBicho_CS
  • pacific pearl

    It is just as well the reviewer admitted to having suffered adult snobbery, nay terrible fear treading the waters of children’s television.

    Obviously those of us who care, monitor shows we consider appropriate for our children. I learned many years ago that Sesame Street was crafted in such a way as to have sufficient entertainment value for ‘grown ups’ whose selfishness would otherwise have them flipping, to not change the channel.

    Others, while looking down through won’t-sustain-me eyes of disdain, at least they are happy for their young ones to immerse in relatively harmless edu/tainment or media babysitting as is simply often the case.

    So yes, the critic is not writing to a child audience, they afterall, don’t have a voice. Unless you call being manipulated by marketers into persuading parental consumer practices a ‘voice’. Which plays into our true lack of connection etc.

    Maybe we should get kids to review kids shows – what excites them, why and what is relevant, has currency etc. Get the feedback and at the same time redress the imbalance that goes overwhelmingly in the other direction – they the passive bombarded recipients. We blithely leave this to powerful companies to cull this information to then hit us in the pockets. How will declarations such as frightened snob ever bridge the gap that leaves us blindfolded to the nuances behind how, why & what our children consume? Including the subtlety of the messages. The critic is not of the clueless camp yet distances themself from this aspect of childhood input. At least they were able to decipher it does in fact contain moral tales, unlike elsewhere where there was a complete denial of this, labelling it as corrupt, going as far as to tell children it was evil!

    I was introduced to Gerald McBoing Boing by my four year daughter, who is intrigued by the show. (In 19 years of parenting there has only been one show aired on this (commercial free) station that I really objected to and my child had the capacity to know how meritless it was herself.) So while the aspects I raise that I see in this production are lost on my younger daughter (which of course will bring up PG in action), I have seen nothing of the sort in any ‘reviews’ elsewhere and post here because there was a reasonable critique.

    First of all, these adult critics complain of the repetition of sound bytes as annoying. Gee as annoying as titling and credits we don’t question? Well I would suggest no more than hearing ourselves harp “speak up”, “pick it up”, “are you listening?” etc in the necessarily repetitive manner that is the teaching/learning process.

    How jaded and easily bored are we when we can’t tolerate repetition which is actually part and parcel of the iconic stylization of this product? We dismiss this technique yet expect our children to wear repetition in many forms – audience to serial upon serial, just one of them. If there is an acknowledgement that the show would be viable for as young as two year olds, why then devalue the very facets and rhythms that make it so? Even then, these storylines are best appreciated by a slightly older comprehension.

    Now that I’ve pondered why some are so scathing about this program, I think that it really does show up how intolerant and impatient and skewed our world has become. Did it ever occur to anyone that Gerald’s sounds are also a stand in for people with a variety of differing abilities and therefore heightened senses? That when we are so vocally narrative dependant/dominant that we lose in other modes of communication? That his delightful other take provides space for relief of this reliance and reflection on how else communication takes place?

    What I applaud Gerald McBoing Boing for is it comes out of the surrounds and to the fore with the medium’s most powerful emotion manipulation tool: sound. What we take for granted, our youngsters should be given an opportunity to appreciate for it’s own production values.

    Another aspect I absolutely love is Gerald’s dark skinned mother and friends. This production is doing more than update with the times – it is streaks ahead the plethora of children’s media fare in actually portraying the reality of many, our world.

    With an understanding that the critic is a more recent parent and therefore forgiven their ignorance, as in, we also ignored; Teletubbies was straight out facile nonsense, which again, my child pointed out to me. It did reek of repetition that was mind numbingly brain dead. If that’s what they served up as age appropriate, it’s another reason why we shouldn’t be encouraging babies or two year olds to watch the box anyway.

  • pacific pearl

    It is just as well the reviewer admitted to having suffered adult snobbery, nay terrible fear treading the waters of children’s television.

    Obviously those of us who care, monitor shows we consider appropriate for our children. I learned many years ago that Sesame Street was crafted in such a way as to have sufficient entertainment value for ‘grown ups’ whose selfishness would otherwise have them flipping, to not change the channel.

    Others, while looking down through won’t-sustain-me eyes of disdain, at least they are happy for their young ones to immerse in relatively harmless edu/tainment or media babysitting as is simply often the case.

    So yes, the critic is not writing to a child audience, they afterall, don’t have a voice. Unless you call being manipulated by marketers into persuading parental consumer practices a ‘voice’. Which plays into our true lack of connection etc.

    Maybe we should get kids to review kids shows – what excites them, why and what is relevant, has currency etc. Get the feedback and at the same time redress the imbalance that goes overwhelmingly in the other direction – they the passive bombarded recipients. We blithely leave this to powerful companies to cull this information to then hit us in the pockets. How will declarations such as frightened snob ever bridge the gap that leaves us blindfolded to the nuances behind how, why & what our children consume? Including the subtlety of the messages. The critic is not of the clueless camp yet distances themself from this aspect of childhood input. At least they were able to decipher it does in fact contain moral tales, unlike elsewhere where there was a complete denial of this, labelling it as corrupt, going as far as to tell children it was evil!

    I was introduced to Gerald McBoing Boing by my four year daughter, who is intrigued by the show. (In 19 years of parenting there has only been one show aired on this (commercial free) station that I really objected to and my child had the capacity to know how meritless it was herself.) So while the aspects I raise that I see in this production are lost on my younger daughter (which of course will bring up PG in action), I have seen nothing of the sort in any ‘reviews’ elsewhere and post here because there was a reasonable critique.

    First of all, these adult critics complain of the repetition of sound bytes as annoying. Gee as annoying as titling and credits we don’t question? Well I would suggest no more than hearing ourselves harp “speak up”, “pick it up”, “are you listening?” etc in the necessarily repetitive manner that is the teaching/learning process.

    How jaded and easily bored are we when we can’t tolerate repetition which is actually part and parcel of the iconic stylization of this product? We dismiss this technique yet expect our children to wear repetition in many forms – audience to serial upon serial, just one of them. If there is an acknowledgement that the show would be viable for as young as two year olds, why then devalue the very facets and rhythms that make it so? Even then, these storylines are best appreciated by a slightly older comprehension.

    Now that I’ve pondered why some are so scathing about this program, I think that it really does show up how intolerant and impatient and skewed our world has become. Did it ever occur to anyone that Gerald’s sounds are also a stand in for people with a variety of differing abilities and therefore heightened senses? That when we are so vocally narrative dependant/dominant that we lose in other modes of communication? That his delightful other take provides space for relief of this reliance and reflection on how else communication takes place?

    What I applaud Gerald McBoing Boing for is it comes out of the surrounds and to the fore with the medium’s most powerful emotion manipulation tool: sound. What we take for granted, our youngsters should be given an opportunity to appreciate for it’s own production values.

    Another aspect I absolutely love is Gerald’s dark skinned mother and friends. This production is doing more than update with the times – it is streaks ahead the plethora of children’s media fare in actually portraying the reality of many, our world.

    With an understanding that the critic is a more recent parent and therefore forgiven their ignorance, as in, we also ignored; Teletubbies was straight out facile nonsense, which again, my child pointed out to me. It did reek of repetition that was mind numbingly brain dead. If that’s what they served up as age appropriate, it’s another reason why we shouldn’t be encouraging babies or two year olds to watch the box anyway.