When my 3-year-old daughter decided she was too young for the Wiggles, I quietly rejoiced, thinking I had won a reprieve from the children's programming superstars. No such luck. Shortly thereafter, my 16-month-old son caught a glimpse of the extra-chipper Aussies, and the poor kid was immediately hooked. He occasionally stumbles over the word "Daddy," but his demand to see "Wiggle, Wiggle" is clear as a big blue Outback sky. And now my daughter is back to being a fan of the group.
You know you've become far too immersed in the world of the Wiggles when you begin pondering how this foursome, who have been cranking out sprightly kids' music for more than 15 years, stack up as preschool-friendly parallels for the Beatles.
The (comparatively) dignified Murray Cook, the Wiggles guitarist, is -- of course -- George Harrison. Sam Moran, the newest Wiggle (he replaced Greg Page, who had to leave the group due to illness), even has the benign smile of a young Paul McCartney. Anthony Field, the closest the Wiggles come to edgy, is the John Lennon of the group. Jeff Fatt is the obvious Ringo. And what about the Wiggles' dutiful hanger-on, that friendly pirate named Captain Feathersword? Why, he's the Billy Preston, of course.
But I digress. Excessive chirpiness will do that to you.
And there is plenty of chirp to Sing a Song of Wiggles! , in which the Wiggles don lots of silly costumes and put their happy spin on a range of nursery rhymes and traditional folk songs. More than 30 numbers are crammed into its 86-minute running time, including such standards as "Old Macdonald Has a Farm," "She'll Be Coming 'round the Mountain," "Rub-a-dub Dub," "Rock-a-bye Baby," "Hot Cross Buns," "Old King Cole," "Baa Baa Black Sheep" and "I'm a Little Teapot."
If you or your children know the Wiggles, then you know exactly what to expect here -- bright and lively music delivered by good-natured guys with big smiles and seemingly no ego. The overall effect isn't as much syrupy sweet as it is unfailingly sunny. And all the regular sidekicks -- Feathersword, Wags the Dog, Henry the Octopus and Dorothy the Dinosaur -- make their appearances.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is that the Wiggles are still producing endearingly infectious music. Some of the songs featured here are catchier than they have any right to be, particularly "Sing a Song of Sixpence," "Over in the Meadow," "Black Velvet Band" and "Turkey in the Straw," which features Jeff suited up as the gobbler.
Come to think of it, there are far worse things I could be subjected to watch over and over (yeah, I'm looking at you, Barney).
The full-frame picture boasts subtler color saturation than recent Wiggles DVD release, but the colors are still bright and the lines bold. No complaints.
The 2.0 mix is clean and crisp, with no distortion or drop-out. There are English subtitles for the hearing-impaired, as well as a "Sing Along with the Wiggles" option for parents and children who want to test out their vocal pipes.
Wiggly Bloopers (3:51) is a rare look at sundry goof-ups from the foursome. In Dorothy the Dinosaur's Sydney Adventure (5:52), the green dinosaur with the soft spot for roses and dance gives kiddies a quick tour of major attractions in Australia's biggest city. Rub-a-dub Dub with the Soap in the Tub (1:04) is a throwaway bit with Anthony showing children how to wash their face.
Sing a Song of Wiggles! marks one of the better Wiggles DVDs to come along in recent years, although viewers of the television show won't see anything they haven't seen already. But the songs are quick and lively, the performances punchy.