Tv set Critic Assessments “Higglytown Heroes”

As aunt of a preschooler and an aspiring voiceover actress (I realized all these hrs of looking at Bugs Bunny would appear in handy), I know all the kids’ displays as effectively as every kids’ DVD out there.

In my feeling, there’s no improved way superstars can recoup their outrageous salaries than entertaining and sometimes educating children. And They May well Be Giants get the “cooler than Elvis” vote for singing the theme music to just one of Playhouse Disney’s newest hits, “Higglytown Heroes,” which is also on their CD/DVD for youngsters, “Here Come the ABCs.”

For those of you not common with all points Higgly (an adjective used as much as “Smurfy” but not, thank Higgles, as a verb), the series facilities on a smaller city and four tots named Eubie, Kip, and siblings Wayne and Twinkle. Think “South Park” with better artwork and no foul mouths. The strongest language is, “Aw, pickles,” typically uttered by Twinkle (pinker than Trista Rehn Sutter!) after her fanciful strategies for resolving the kids’ dilemmas get carefully punctured by Fran, a friendly squirrel voiced by Edie McClurg.

In every single two-episode fifty percent-hour demonstrate, the Higgly Little ones knowledge common, innocent childhood functions these as locating a caterpillar, internet hosting a tv bash for the Content Hairy Higgly Monster Primetime Specific, dropping a tooth, Kip’s Grandpa locked in the lavatory, or caring for an sad hen. The little ones try to fix their problems, guided by Fran who is the voice of explanation, served by their loving families and the ever-enthusiastic oddly Invoice and Ted-ish Pizza Person…plus a person specific. Then comes the inescapable track…

“Another person special, who could it be?

This job’s too huge for you and me.

We have to have some aid!

But by no means concern-o,

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

A Higglytown Hero!”

Some of the heroes are organic decisions, specially following September 11: Law enforcement Female, Firefighter, and so forth. But how a lot of of us imagine of sanitation employees, electricians, plumbers, gardeners, mail carriers (voiced by Kathie Lee Gifford) and farmers as heroes? Or a phone operator (voiced by Cyndi Lauper)? While the heroes have movie star voices, the Higgly Young children learn that the authentic stars all around them are the men and women who address complications every single working day.

Some of the dilemmas get a minor ridiculous from an grownup perspective. For instance, when Kip climbs a tree to help save a beloved neighborhood cat and her kittens, his good friends aid him. Why, when he gets stuck, cannot they assistance him back again down? Ahem…when was the previous time you tripped and panicked? You want support in your possess lifestyle every working day without the need of wondering about it.

The magnificence of “Higglytown Heroes” is that it celebrates functioning alongside one another, “obtaining exciting with each other,” and the Higgly Youngsters as nicely as their people in no way get for granted the Heroes in their lives. The Electrician (Lance Bass) receives invited to share in the “Higgly Monsters” Tv set bash soon after restoring the circuitry for Kip’s property. The Hearth Fighter (Donald Faison) who gets Kip out of the tree shares in a birthday party for the neighborhood cat. How several of us go out of our way to thank the individuals who make our life much easier? From time to time we neglect to see them as persons with demands and inner thoughts.

We even forget about to see our very own people as heroes. Kip’s Grandmama (voice of “Golden Girl” Betty White, with Rose Nylund-like hairdo) knits the youngsters sweaters. Kip’s serious-estate agent Mom, Bitty, acts like the soul of ’50s domesticity, but receives rewarded when Kip and his good friends make her a get-properly card. Wayne’s Mother, Plunkie, reveals the kids a caterpillar and drives them to the seaside, although Wayne and Twinkle’s Uncle Lemmo cooks them breakfast at his diner and, in the Xmas special, drives Wayne and Twinkle about in his sleigh.

Curiously, Higgly families usually are not generally nuclear households, something Disney portrays as regular without having contacting consideration to it. Kip’s family is the proverbial nuclear spouse and children, with twin sisters, a infant sister, a mom and father, Fripp, (who operates a sizzling canine cart), and two grandparents who either dwell in Kip’s massive residence or check out regularly. Twinkle and Wayne’s mother looks to be a one parent (although all are African-American, no one has screamed racism yet), and Eubie is seemingly remaining raised by his Southern-accented Aunt Mellie and Uncle Zooter, with visits from his Southern-accented Grandpop Crank (a farmer).

In lots of strategies, Higglytown is idealized. No one really seems to get worried about work opportunities, money or status. People go to the library, and a Librarian is a Higglytown Hero! The children “function actual hard” and acquire accountability (gasp) by considering up methods to assistance on their own and their family members, and in each and every episode there are little ethical classes and suggestions (choose care of your animals, will not use way too substantially electric power, make someone smile) to demonstrate the kids how they can grow up to be…Higglytown Heroes!

Cynics and naysayers will deride this as kiddie pablum. I simply call it a refreshing dose of fact and a tribute to the heroes all all around us. The Disney animators are Higglytown Heroes for producing this present.

Author’s Be aware: Right after this evaluate at first made the rounds on the Internet, actor Rory Thost, who supplies the voice of “Kip,” was type adequate to be a “Higglytown Hero” and make my working day by telling me how substantially he and the cast appreciated the overview. For all of those who believe our little ones are entire troublemakers, younger Learn Rory Thost is thirteen: His showbiz occupation is already for a longer time than mine! Additional importantly, in a earth where lousy actions by celebs is regrettably the norm, this youthful man continues to be polite, mature, perfectly-educated and nicely-grounded.

Author’s Observe II: This sequence will get far better and greater. The continuity is even on a par with most primetime exhibits. Kip has adopted a dog named “Shadow,” who can make visitor appearances we fulfill Fran’s dad and mom following observing them in the Xmas particular Eubie’s Grandpop becomes a Higglytown Hero Eubie’s hen Flappy tends to make appearances from time to time. The Firefighter returns. The Electrician proposes to the Trainer, 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!

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