If you are old enough to remember Howie Mandel when he had hair, you may be familiar with Bobby’s World. The cartoon series ran from 1990 to 1998 on the FOX Kids Network. The MoonScoop Group have recently acquired the rights to the series and have released all eight seasons of the series on DVD through Amazon’s CreateSpace program. These are manufacture-on-demand releases, available exclusively through Amazon.com.
The first season of Bobby’s World ran during the 1990-1991 season, and all 13 episodes are now available as a three-DVD set. The world was introduced to Bobby’s World with the episode titled “The Visit To Aunt Ruth’s.” Mandel had the format he would use for the run of the series down cold from the beginning. The show opens with a short live-action segment featuring Howie, next to the cartoon image of young Bobby. Howie then becomes a cartoon himself (as Bobby‘s dad), and tells us that we are about to visit Aunt Ruth. The opening credits then roll, to a catchy theme written by none other than John Tesh.
As Howie Mandel has admitted, many elements of the Bobby’s World stories are semi-autobiographical in nature. In “The Visit To Aunt Ruth’s,“ Bobby does not want to go, in fact he is dreading it. By the end of the half-hour (with commercials) program, Bobby discovers that he likes Aunt Ruth after all, and in the end is looking forward to seeing her again.
One of the fun things about the show are the puns of then-current popular films. Some of these include “Uncle Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” (Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure), “Adventures in Bobby Sitting,” (Adventures in Baby Sitting), and “Me and Roger,” (Roger and Me).
In the ending of “A Visit To Aunt Ruth’s,” Howie again appears in a live-action/cartoon segment. In this he and Bobby wrap-up the episode, and Howie “breaks the fourth wall,” by talking directly to the viewers.
Besides the mini-mullet Howie Mandel sports, and some of the references, Bobby’s World has aged well. There is always some sort of a moral to the story, although it is never ham-fisted. For example, the moral of “The Visit To Aunt Ruth’s” is simply that youngsters may actually find themselves enjoying spending time with their relatives, rather than being totally bored. While it is certainly not ground-breaking, it is a nice thought.
Bobby’s World was a fine children’s show, which I suppose is reflected by the fact that it ran for eight seasons. Not all of them do, as we know. For us older folks, there is the nostalgia factor going as well. In other words, Bobby’s World is fun for the whole family.