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TV Series Review

Rule 1: Fairy godparents only grant wishes to kids.

Rule 2: Fairy godparents can’t be seen by anyone but the kid they watch over.

Rules three and four of Nickelodeon’s hottest new cartoon, The Fairly OddParents, specify that children aren’t allowed to blab about their fairies, and said fairies can’t mess with true love (like that matters to an 8-year-old).

I’ll add one more: OddParents grants pleasure to children, not older teens or adults. But it’s reaching a lot of tweens. The fact that its audience tops out at age 12 makes it all the more amazing that the animated series consistently captures at least five of the Top-40 slots on cable each week.

Maybe The Fairly OddParents is so popular because Timmy Turner wished it to be so. After all, he’s used to wishing for the impossible, having discovered he possesses his own personal set of fairy godparents who grant him nearly every desire that pops into his little head. Thankfully, not every fulfilled wish yields frivolous fun. When Timmy asks to be an adult his ensuing misadventures teach him not to wish for things he doesn’t understand. He quickly discovers he isn’t ready to handle grown-up responsibilities.

Each half-hour show (divided into two segments) is full of cartoonish rowdiness. A dog tears off a boy’s underpants. An evil dentist rips a singer’s teeth out. A teacher gets hit by a car. A boy battles a coyote. A cop is slapped to the ground with a giant spatula. Timmy smacks a dog in the face with a baseball. You get the idea.

As for crudities, after Timmy and his parents are transformed into battling superheroes, his mom—who uses her superpowers to morph into a shark—bites Timmy’s backside. For a moment or two, viewers are left staring at his bare bottom. After swapping brains with a dog, Timmy slurps water from a toilet at school. (Thinking he’s tough, a few of his peers follow suit.) And during a trip to the Middle Ages, Timmy witnesses a crowd of people preparing to eat a knight’s severed arm.

True to television tradition, Timmy’s real dad and his OddDad are both lovable bumblers, and it’s his mom and OddMom who hold things together. But a consistent story thread communicates Timmy’s need for quantity time with both of his folks (more a message for eavesdropping parents than tuned-in kids). Timmy also learns the value of helping others, doing well at school, living sacrificially and taking care of his teeth. After all, who wants to visit an evil dentist?

Episodes Reviewed: May 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 2004

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