Originally created by Roger Hargreaves in 1971, the Mr. Men series of books have existed in the public consciousness – even if at a subdued level – for almost four decades (the Little Miss series for 10 fewer years). Named for their personality or physical traits, the characters are simple to understand creations drawn in very basic fashion.
The characters have appeared in more than one television series, the most recent of which, The Mr. Men Show, is now being released on DVD. Though the two discs being made available at this point, Little Miss Sunshine Presents: Fun in the Sun! and Mr. Tickle Presents: Tickle Time Around Town, don't represent the entire first season of the series, the nearly two and a half hours of content provided between the two does make for an awful lot of silliness (and a good time as well).
Each DVD contains six episodes and approximately 70 minutes worth of The Mr. Men Show. A typical episode features the characters at the movies, in the mall, at a fair or parade, or in some other similar type of situation. The episode then explores all the different things that occur at such a place. For example, at the fair there are carnival games, a fun house, a pie eating contest, a greased pig contest, and other similar fair activities (though oddly no fried dough). Several characters then explore the various situations to see what they hold – what would Mr. Grumpy think about a fun house, how would Mr. Stubborn react to a whack-a-mole game.
The animation, though apparently done with a computer, has an incredibly simple look to it which perfectly fits in with the original books. The backgrounds are very simplistic, often just single static colors, and the characters (even if they have been slightly altered from their initial appearances) are all brightly colored, mainly round creatures with (usually) short legs and arms. Exceptions to these last characteristics exist as needed, such as with Mr. Tall who has really long legs (to make him tall) and Mr. Tickle who has really long arms (so as to better reach out and touch someone).
The show and the characters do not strive for any sense of reality, just for real characteristics. It seems clear that the characters' personality traits are meant to, in some way, educate children about such characteristics, but they also manage to be a lot of fun for both children and adults. Mr. Stubborn, Mr. Grumpy, Mr. Persnickety, and the other sourpusses may manage to briefly rain on the parade of the other Mr. Men/Little Miss characters, but when you have a name like Little Miss Chatterbox or Little Miss Sunshine or Mr. Happy, how can anyone or anything really keep you down?
The extras included with the DVD are a 16-page storybook, brief clips of the title character, segments on how to draw the character and how the character dances, and a static drawing in which the number of instances of the character has to be counted. Yes, they are all rather simplistic, basic special features, but that doesn't necessarily make them easy – whoever counted up the number of times Little Miss Sunshine appears in the drawing on her DVD did so incorrectly.
That minor inconvenience aside, The Mr. Men Show is an incredibly fun time for both children and adults alike. The characters are silly and while the situations they are put in rather normal, what they do with them is always amusing. And, if for whatever reason the viewer doesn't find them amusing, the show is fast-paced enough that any less liked portion will quickly pass by, leaving the viewer with more Mr. Men fun, and there certainly is a lot of fun to be had.