Https The-Happiness-Index.Com Getting-The-Most-Out-Of-Negative-Reviews TV Critic Reviews "Higglytown Heroes"

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TV Critic Reviews "Higglytown Heroes"

As the aunt of a preschooler and an aspiring voiceover actress (I know all those hours of watching Bugs Bunny are worth it), I know all the kids’ movies as well as every DVD. of the children there.

In my opinion, there is no better way for artists to make up for their exorbitant salaries than to entertain and sometimes educate children. And They Might Be Giants got the “cooler than Elvis” vote for singing the theme song to one of Playhouse Disney’s latest hits, “Higglytown Heroes,” which is also available on their CD/DVD for kids, ” Here Come the ABCs.”

For those unfamiliar with all things Higgly (an adjective used like “Smurfy” but not, thank you Higgles, as a verb), the series centers on a small town and four kids named Eubie , Kip, and brothers Wayne and Kislap. Think “South Park” with better art and no foul mouths. The strongest language is, “Well, pickles,” usually uttered by Twinkle (pinker than Trista Rehn Sutter!)

In each two-episode half-hour show, the Higgly Kids experience typical, innocent childhood events such as hunting for worms, hosting a television party for the Happy Hairy Higgly Monster Primetime Special , losing a tooth, Kip’s Grandpa being locked in the bathroom, or taking care of an unhappy bird. The kids try to solve their problems, guided by Fran who is the voice of reason, helped by their loving families and the ever-enthusiastic oddball Bill and Ted-ish Pizza Guy…plus a special man. Then comes the inevitable song…

“Someone special, who could it be?

This work is too big for you and me.

We need help!

But fear not,

Sounds like the job of a…Higglytown Hero!

A Higglytown Hero!”

Some of the heroes were natural choices, especially after September 11: Policewomen, Firefighters, etc. But how many of us think of sanitation workers, electricians, plumbers, gardeners, mail carriers (voiced by Kathie Lee Gifford) and farmers as heroes? Or a telephone operator (voiced by Cyndi Lauper)? Although the heroes have popular voices, the Higgly Kids discover that the real stars around them are the people who solve problems every day.

Some of the dilemmas are quite funny from an adult perspective. For example, when Kip climbed a tree to save a beloved neighborhood cat and her kittens, his friends helped him. Why, if he gets hit, can’t they help him retreat? Ahem…when was the last time you tripped and panicked? You need help in your own life every day without thinking about it.

The beauty of “Higglytown Heroes” is that it celebrates working together, “having fun together,” and the Higgly Kids as well as their families never accept the Heroes in their lives. The Electrician (Lance Bass) is invited to the “Higgly Monsters” TV party after fixing the circuitry for Kip’s house. The Fire Fighter (Donald Faison) who retrieves Kip from the tree throws a birthday party for the neighborhood cat. How many of us will thank the people who make our lives easy? Sometimes we forget to see them as human beings with needs and feelings.

We even forget to see our own family as heroes. Kip’s Grandma (voiced by “Golden Girl” Betty White, with a Rose Nylund-like hairdo) knits the kids’ sweaters. Kip’s real-estate agent Mom, Bitty, acts like the ghost of the ’50s household, but is rewarded when Kip and his friends make her a get-well card. Wayne’s Mom, Plunkie, shows the kids a worm and takes them to the beach, while Wayne and Twinkle’s Uncle Lemmo cook them breakfast in his dining room and, in a Christmas special, drive Wayne and Twinkle in his sleigh.

Interestingly, Higgly families aren’t always nuclear families, something that Disney portrays as normal without its attention. Kip’s family is the proverbial nuclear family, with twin sisters, a baby girl, a mother and father, Fripp, (who operates a hot dog cart), and two grandparents who lives in Kip’s big house or visits often. Twinkle and Wayne’s mother appears to be a single parent (although all are African-American, no one has yet screamed racism), and Eubie is apparently raised by her Southern-accented Aunt Mellie and Uncle Zooter, along with visiting his Southern-accented Grandpop Crank (a farmer).

In many ways, Higglytown is great. No one seems to be worried about work, money or status. People go to the library, and the Librarian is a Higglytown Hero! The kids “work hard” and take responsibility (gasp) by thinking of ways to help themselves and their families, and at each stage there are little moral lessons and advice (take care of your pets, don’t use too much electricity, make someone smile) to show the kids how they can grow up to be…Higglytown Heroes!

Cynics and naysayers will deride it as kiddie pablum. I call it a refreshing dose of reality and a tribute to the heroes around us. Disney animators are the Higglytown Heroes of creating this show.

Author’s Note: After this review originally made the rounds on the Web, actor Rory Thost, who provides the voice of “Kip,” was kind enough to become a “Higglytown Hero” and made the my day by telling me how he and the cast like the review. For all those who think our children are total troublemakers, young Master Rory Thost is thirteen: http://imdb.com/name/nm1191277/?fr=c2l0ZT1kZnxteD0yMHxzZz0xfGxtPTIwMHx0dD1vbnxwbj0wfHE9cm9ye. His showbiz career is longer than mine! Above all, in a world where bad behavior among celebrities is sadly the norm, this young man remains respectful, mature, educated and well grounded.

Author’s Note II: This series just keeps getting better and better. The continuity is the same as most primetime shows. Kip adopts a dog named “Shadow,” who makes guest appearances; we meet Fran’s parents after seeing them in the Christmas special; Eubie’s Grandpa becomes a Higglytown Hero; Eubie’s bird Flappy appears from time to time. The fireman returned. The Electrician proposes to the Teacher, and Pizza Guy and Fran become Higglytown Heroes!

Author’s Note III: Disney created Higglytown Heroes Toys. This series has, ay, legs!

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