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Fairly Odd Parents - Season 6, Vol. 1
Just like the evil babysitter Vicky who returns again and again to torment poor Timmy Turner in The Fairly OddParents, the show itself has gotten more than one second lease on life, returning to Nickleodeon for a sixth season after being supposedly cancelled and on hiatus for almost a year. The series, which comes close at times to equaling the madcap insanity and satire of its network-mate SpongeBob SquarePants, details the travails of young Timmy, eternally hassled not only by Vicky but by his teacher Mr. Crocker, who manages to find at least a little solace in the magical charms of his "Fairly OddParents" (AKA fairy godparents to you people who speak regular English), Wanda and Cosmo, two characters who can, of course, grant his every wish (within reason). This sixth season also saw the introduction of Baby Poof, a "Fairly OddBaby" who, like baby Tabitha in Bewitched, hasn't quite mastered the art of transmogrification.
In fact, this sixth season starts off with the longer form "Fairly OddBaby," in which Cosmo and Wanda decry (literally) their babyless fate, until Timmy wisely asks why he can't just wish that they had one. That of course sets off a chain of events that actually sustains the series for most of the rest of the season, with Baby Poof wreaking havoc in a variety of forms and settings. But Timmy's errant wishes also always have unintended consequences, which actually provide fodder for several running gags throughout the series. When Timmy seeks to escape his father's butchering haircuts, for example, he ends up with a headfull (and then some) of hair that takes on a life of its own and is soon threatening the entire town of Dimmsdale.
Fairly OddParents is a rather relentless cartoon, manically funny a lot of the time, with zinging cultural references, a lot of which I expect zing right over the heads of its target audience, but which probably accounts for its growing legions of adult fans. Therefore you'll get musical cues that are obvious parodies of everything from "Chariots of Fire" to "The Mod Squad" (believe it or not), neither of which I would expect your average 10 year old to instantly recognize. The show is also incessantly self-referential as so many modern cartoon series are, as when Chief Fairy Jorgen (who sounds like a kind of hyperkinetic Arnold Schwarzenegger) tells the audience that the camera is about to zoom in menacingly on him, and then starts screaming, "Too close! Too close! Back up."
From a design standpoint, this is a sharp and colorful series, very reminiscent of PowerPuff Girls, with angular characters galore and over the top environments in which everyone lives. Due to the repeated shape shifting of the OddParents and OddBaby, there's ample opportunity for some fun and funny sight gags. In fact, for you Simpsons fans who like to keep track of the subtle changes in each week's title sequence, The Fairly OddParents does something similar with a different "head gag" at the end of each title when Vicky's head transforms into something else that is usually at least tangentially related to the episode at hand.
This is certainly one of the more consistently funny, if at times too noisy, cartoons currently on Nickleodeon, and if you're a fan of the still superior SpongeBob SquarePants, chances are you'll find a lot to like in The Fairly OddParents. Though it seems directed at an attention deficit disorder audience at times, there is enough real humor here to keep even relatively calmer people engaged.
OddParents' full frame image is colorful and sharp, though I did notice some occasional compression artifacts from time to time. This is a standard television presentation, with excellent color and detail but nothing that's going to set your eyes agog.
Likewise the standard stereo soundtrack is good by television standards, with some fun effects dotting the aural landscape and a very smart and funny underscore, which may remind some of the classic work of Carl Stallings. No subtitles are available.
None are offered.
These 15 episodes (plus "OddBaby") have an abundance of energy (a little too much at times for we semi-elderly folk) and a lot of very smart comedy. OddParents isn't quite at the consistent comedy level of SpongeBob, but, as it does in the ratings, it's a close second, with a subversive point of view that makes it as much fun for adults as for children. Recommended.
"G-d made stars galore" & "Hey, what kind of a crappy fortune is this?" ZMK, modern prophet