Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Lazy Town


Call me crazy, but my kids and I are hooked on Lazy Town.

On what, you ask? Lazy who?

Lazy Town is a Saturday morning live action series. It's an action – adventure – musical – feel good – do good – eat right and exercise kind of Saturday morning show.

A who? Exactly. It's entirely unlike anything you've seen on Saturdays.

I'll try.

Lazy Town centers on the adventures of Stephanie, a quirky eight – year – old (with pink hair and invariable pink clothes) who has come to Lazy Town to stay with her uncle. Everyone in Lazy Town is, well, lazy. Together with Sporticus, the hyperactive superhero, they set about to get the town off of it's colelctive butt and out into the air. Robby Rotten is the evil bad guy who just wants to lay around, and tries to thwart their plans.

To let the folks over at Nick Jr. tell it:

Stephanie, an optimistic 8-year-old with bright pink hair, comes to live in LazyTown and meets a zany mix of townspeople including the world’s laziest super-villain, Robbie Rotten. Fortunately for Stephanie, LazyTown is also under the watchful eye of Sportacus, an athletic, super-fit, slightly-above-average super hero, who runs, jumps, flips and flies in his incredibly futuristic Airship to help the inhabitants of LazyTown battle Robbie’s latest lazy schemes.
LazyTown aims to INSPIRE and MOTIVATE kids to get them to make healthy choices in their lives.

And the show's creator says:

Really, when you get down to it, LazyTown is a state of mind. We've all been to LazyTown. When we decide to go "veg-out" on the couch, you could say you're "in LazyTown." Even me. It's a place we all go.

In a funny way, LazyTown reflects characteristics that you see in yourself or in people around you. These characteristics are universal: It's that dynamic of opposites.

For instance, in the show, Sportacus is a driving force. He's fit, agile, and an amazing athlete who's patient, kind, and understanding. He encourages kids through example. He doesn't take the low road. Conversely, his adversary, Robbie Rotten, is all about easy solutions and pulling the group down to his level. Then there's Stephanie, the lead kid character, a wide-eyed optimist who believes she can make a real difference; while Pixel, a boy character, can conquer every video game, but when the situations are real, he has a harder time.

Just like in real life, nobody's perfect and LazyTowners are constantly trying to find ways to understand and improve themselves. I guess that you could say that LazyTown explores the opposing forces that we encounter in our own daily lives.

With a combination of green screen special effects, puppets, live action and hopped up mid-nineties techno bop, Lazy Town manages to entertain and energize. The best thing about is that my kids cannot sit still and watch it. They're up dancing, doing jumping jacks and sit-ups and stretches and running and trying to do handstands: it's a joy to watch them watch the show.

The acting by the human characters is wonderfully over the top, with Stephanie mugging for the back rows and Robby Rotten absolutely stealing the show with his solid mane of jet black hair and enormous (prosthetic) chin. Robbie's chin and Sportacus's needle spring mustache must be seen to be believed.

It's pretty clear that the main characters have had training, and Stephanie and Robbie especially shine. They've both done stage work in the past. Robbie takes his mugging straight from the Jim Carrey School of Flexible Faces, and then takes it up a couple of notches. Stephanie is constantly cute and adorable, and they both manage to sing well enough.

Lazy Town just announced the filming up eighteen more episodes. If I had Tivo, this is the one the kids would make me record. And I'd probably record it anyway, for myself. Too much fun.

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