America's funniest home videos about animals
This brings us to Mark Marderosian.
I am trying very hard to not cast any aspersions on Mark, the host of Drawing with Mark, but it's hard, as an adult, to watch him on this DVD and not think, this guy is a bit "off". It may be the act he's putting on--the standard non-threatening, wonder-filled man-child act of the kids-show host--or perhaps it's just his Massachusetts accent, but he sounds a bit like a kook. I can't knock him for the way he talks to the kids watching, as it's similar to so many other hosts, but it's still weird (especially when he's coming from "the magical attic.")
Ostensibly, as one would guess from the title, the show is about drawing, however, that makes up only half of each episode, with two drawings completed in each, including a pig and a sunflower. Marderosian is talented when it comes to drawing clean, cute images, building them out of basic shapes, but the lessons move slowly, and he uses language, like "bearing down" and "shading" that may not resonant with little ones. Simplifying the language would help, as would drawing a bit faster. The illustrations are a bit too meticulous (with unmentioned adjustments and clean-ups hidden by transitions), which could frustrate kids unable to replicate his creations.
When not drawing, Mark is out on a farm in Massachusetts, teaching the kids watching some new info, with the episodes on this disc focusing on farm life, including animals and plants. His chemistry with the farmer is tentative as best, but the info shared isn't half bad. The thing is, combining this meandering view of life on the farm, especially when talking about kid-friendly topics like heirloom tomatoes and currents, with the slow drawing sessions, makes for a molasses-pace episode. And when, in the second episode, Mark says how nice it is to meet him, even my seven-year-old said, "Wait, didn't he already meet him?"
In between these segments, some cartoon interstitials fill the breach, with farm trivia, dialogue-free, point-free shorts and weak jokes. The animated bits feature a team of animal angels from the aforementioned "magical attic" who don't say a word, which again led to a bit of frustration for my daughter. For me, I wondered if this was some sort of subliminal sign of the whole thing having a religious bent, which led to me noticing a cross on the floor at one point, which further led to me paying too much attention to the potential of more signs ("He said pray!") Either way, the show didn't work for either Rizzo watching along.
The straightforward audio is presented in center-balanced LPCM 2.0 tracks and it's not the finest presentation ever captured on disc. Volume is up and down throughout, though it's never overly low. Everything is pretty clear, but like the video, there are some questionable edits that result in sync issues.
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