Reviews: The Fairly Oddparents
Season 10 premiere review. (Spoilers inbound)
Okay, we all know this show has undergone a massive decline in quality since it first aired. Like many, I was quite skeptical when Season 10 was announced, especially with the news that yet another new character would be joining the main cast (because adding new characters worked so well before, right?). After watching the episode, I can say that while the idea is interesting, the execution was poorly handled. Plot: Once again, the idea is interesting: Due to a shortage of Fairy Godparents, Timmy must share his fairies with new girl Chloe Carmichael. But that therein lies the problem: Why share his fairies with another new character when he could share his fairies with Chester and A.J.? You know, Timmy's best friends?! Characters who have been around since the show started? Remember those guys? The writers apparently don't. There are so many interesting plots that could've been done with those three. It would've been a great throwback to the show's golden years. Or better yet, why not share them with Tootie, Vicky's sister? There could've been some great character interaction between her and Timmy. Also, the episode came off as a Timmy Turner Torture Porn. As Timmy himself lampshades, he is essentially forced to share his fairies with a girl who is seemingly perfect in every way. I thought fairies only grant wishes to kids with miserable lives. When a character points out the flaw in a plot, something is seriously wrong. Chloe: Of course, this review wouldn't be complete without mentioning the newcomer herself. I don't like the trope, Mary Sue, because I think its an overused trope that gets thrown around a tad too liberally. But in this case, it's appropriate. Timmy said it best: She's Little Miss Perfect, a girl designed to be an obvious Foil to him. And half of the episode is spent hammering it home on how perfect she is. After her wish to make everyone share things goes horribly wrong, the episode tries to show us that she's not as perfect as she seems, but it kinda falls flat. Overall, the episode didn't make very good first impressions on me and doesn't give me much hope for the season, but who knows? Things might improve.
Fairly Oddparents is a very "Do or Die" show. On one hand, its humor can be funny and endearing, its character dynamics interesting and plots original. But on the other hand, Fo P suffers from two major flaws, its habit of stereotyping (Especially the British) and an over-reliance on Running Gags. The shows high points are its TV movies (Not the live-action ones), such as Channel Chasers and Wishology. Witch not only contain good jokes, but also emotional moments and plenty of references. However, the show also has stereotypes that would seem more at home in Family Guy. For example, in "A bad case of diary-uh!" we see Vicky's love interest, who is nothing more than British stereotypes, e.g. drinking tea, bad teeth and he constantly made remarks like "We Brits love X, they remind us of the hunt!" And the later seasons tended to carry a Running gag for too long. Being brought up as much as five times an episode. But despite these two flaws, Fo P remains a popular and well loved franchise. So if you can get past these, its a show that is well worth your time.
The Fairly Oddparents
When this show debuted in 2001, I was instantly drawn to it. The very concept was enough to get me to watch, and the humor kept me there. The adventures of Timmy, Cosmo, and Wanda were some of my favorites for a long time. While simple, the characters were developed in the earlier seasons. Cosmo and Wanda ran away from home to get married, giving their relationship some serious "awww" factor, while Timmy was a boy smarter than many around him. I was especially pleased with "The Boy Who Would Be Queen", because it looked like they were actually going to make an interesting version of The Libby. Indeed, there were hints of Hidden Depths for her throughout the first three seasons. The villains were entertaining as well. Crocker was both funny while being a threat to Timmy, and Mark made for an entertaining character. All in all, it was a great (and hilarious) series. Then season four came along, and with it, Seasonal Rot. Nearly every character was either Flanderized or had Character Exaggeration. Timmy and Cosmo became Jerkass characters who latched onto the Idiot Ball, both of Timmy's love interests (Trixie and Tootie) became unlikeable, and some of the worst episodes in the series run were released ("Just the Two of Us," "Timmy's 2D House of Horror," (these two for making above love intrests unlikeable) "It's a Wishful Life" (for its Wall Banger of a Broken Aesop)). Plus two episodes ("Shelf Life" and "Channel Chasers") pretty much use the same basic plot with different motifs and levels of seriousness. But still, some gems were still in there, like Mark's Heel Face Turn, the Musical Episode, and Norm's introduction. When season six started, it was Growing The Beard for me. Poof was born, much of the Flanderization was reversed, and, on the whole, the series got good again. The "Wishology" special (which, if you watch it again, the sixth season had episodes specifically setting things up for it) gets special mention, it would have been a great Grand Finale if not for another season. All in all, it's a great series, if you avoid most of seasons four and five.
The bad message of more recent episodes of FOP
Personally, I love The Fairly Odd Parents. From the shorts of Oh Yeah Cartoons! up to its development into a full TV series—It was great I loved the seasons throughout before Poof was born (yes, I also blame Poof's birth for the show's Seasonal Rot). In the past seasons, Cosmo and Wanda are just a somewhat conjugal family—meaning they've no kid(s). Timmy seeing that they feel a bit empty without a child of their own and always ignoring him by admiring babies, he wished for them to have one and much to his surprise, Cosmo is the carrier. After months of annoying labor, Poof was born and was discovered to be a boy in the end despite his feminine eyelashes. Also, I'm beginning to notice that once Poof joined the cast, Timmy has been in situation's where he is pushed to take care of his "godbrother"—typical sitcom thing. Also the fact that Timmy is being considered by one of Cosmo and Wanda's family. It's almost as if Timmy is starting to drift away from his real human family, I thought that idea was pretty absurd. On the other hand, I wouldn't blame him since after the Flanderization of his parents, they became so abusive that it's almost beyond beating your child with a cane. He is usually left alone with an evil babysitter that is bent on possibly destroying him or simply to torture him. In the early episodes, Vicky wasn't even that evil and she would only make him miserable by doing chores and whatnot. His parents start treating him like a neglected house pet (see "Beach Blanket Bozos") and do nothing but think of themselves (i.e. going on outings without him, competing on which is better than who, etc.) I know they did that back then but that's when things were simply mild and tolerable. When they would get in some kind of trouble, Timmy would command his fairies to wave their wands and get themselves out of it. Okay, so apparently, his parents became so useless as if they're just relics. The recent series makes no sense at all. The stereotyping of Abusive Parents within this show is Up To Eleven and the message of leaving your own family is just bad message. A kid's show? No. For families? No. It's for sadists.
The Fairly Odd Parents Wishology
The animated show, The Fairly OddParents may, ironically, be a victim of it's own success with the recent trilogy. One of the strongest points of the film was the genre savvy characterization of Timmy Turner and the character development of FOP's main and secondary characters. The return to the status quo seems really jarring in light of this recent special. Specifically, the mistreatment of Timmy by his parents is not going to fly with me, or with many other FOP fans now. It matters little that the laser guided amnesia is behind this. Mr. and Mrs. Turner's negligence of their own child leaves a very sour taste in my mouth. Timmy made a heroic sacrifice that saved parents AND his fairy godparents (the ones that should have been protecting him)as well as a number of his enemies. By returning to this status quo of abusive parents, it seems especially cruel to Timmy. An example would be the recent FOP episode, Formula for Disaster. In this episode, Crocker decides to have Timmy attend his "military school" to improve his grades (which of course is really another attempt by Crocker to capture Cosmo and Wanda). Upon hearing this, Mr. and Mrs. Turner actually celebrate THEIR OWN SON'S departure by stating that now they have a "spare room" to "rent out". This, of course, ignores the fact that Timmy's parents nearly DID have a spare room because of far more tragic circumstances. Yes, it's "just a cartoon" and played for laughs, but this is probably a grand example of a so called unfunny aneurysm moment. As a result of this, now any ill treatement of Timmy Turner by his Mom and Dad seems harsh and unnecessariy cruel. Hopefully, this will be addressed in a later episode.
An older fan's look at FOP
I've been an on-and-off follower of FOP for many years since the show first premiered on Nickelodeon networks a decade ago. It was only after Abra-Catastrophe, and later, Channel Chasers, when I truly became a fan and a dedicated follower. However, like so many others, my interest wained in the years. More interesting cartoons came and went, fan's wishes were never granted (pun not intended), and the show itself got exceedingly boring, essentially becoming a caricature of itself. Yet, like the Simpsons, Family Guy, and so many other everlasting cartoons long past their due date, it manages to recapture my attention every once and a while. I guess the best place to start at is where it all began, or rather, where it all started to go downhill. It seems many fans are conflicted, I've heard people say it should have ended at Channel Chasers, others blame Poof's birth, some even say it took as long as Wishology to start going belly up. I'm personally torn. I believe the show starting losing its comedic value the season after Channel Chasers but before Poof's birth. However, the episodes from Poof onward are absolutely terrible: they lack any real comedy, are packed full of toilet/diaper humor, and focus on lame or irrelevant characters (Dark Laser, Mama Cosma, Foop). Only the coloring work looks better, but some of the animation is still crap. The plots are all recycled from earlier, and better, episodes. Cosmo, Crocker, Timmy's dad, Jorgan, and Poof are used in pretty much every episode, and they just aren't funny anymore, they need to be given a break. The episodes were Timmy chases after Trixie are painfully boring, predicable, and unwatchable, and that "shipping" has gone nowhere in the past 10 years. But I also hear they are making a live action movie where Tootie gets hot and Timmy wants to marry her. As much as I know not to ever put stock in a live action adaption of a cartoon made by Nick ever again (AIRBENDER), I might watch this anyway because its honestly the most interesting thing they've done with the cartoon since they announced Cosmo and Wanda were having a kid (and then promptly ruined it by making it a male pregnancy...), but there are some people who are saying the live action will ruin the cartoon. Sadly it is already way to late for that. For people who are watching this cartoon off recommendation, stick with Season 2-4.
wow...this show has gone doooownhill.
Wow, stuff has changed since I was a kid, and the Fairly Oddparents shows it. They no longer do original headgags anymore, now they do either a) cheaply photoshop a crew member's head onto Vicky's body, or b) recycle the ones we've seen before. The characters have now lost their prime points of humor, make flat references, and derail their characters to pi degree with character-centric, but altogether lame jokes. Timmy and his parents have lost what made them humorous in favor of jerkass characterization—his parents pretty much sealed why I couldn't watch the show anymore around seasons 4-5-6 but stuck around anyway to see if it'd get better. It didn't, except in a few episodes here and there (plus—the birth of Poof—not the episodes after Poof, just the birth of Poof—the jokes were solid, the running gags funny, and Cosmo didn't sorely bug me) and I eventually joined the dwindling fanbase when I found out they'd make more Dark Laser episodes. His first appearance was awesome, but when Butch suddenly had a V8 and decided he, alongside Dad/Crocker/Poof/Cosmo episode spam would actually work, I had a burning itch to destroy my TV. Whose idea was it to overexpose us to these guys? Sure, they were awesome when they first appeared, but as they kept hogging episodes, I had two words to say: "Phineas and Ferb." Butch, it's time to close up shop. Until you can come up with something akin to Phineas and Ferb next time, that's where I'm headed. Also, they derailed Jorgen from a tough guard-like guy into a hulking, fat wuss who never talks about his muscles anymore. Hell, they don't even have Chip Skylark/actually funny celeb parodies anymore—which was honestly the kicker that made me stay to the show.
Seasons 1-2, golden.
The Fairly Oddparents is a show that, today especially, could be easily ignored as another "hyperactive Nick cartoon". However, I recently ran into some of the older episodes of the show and re-discovered why I loved it so much when I was 10 years old (like Timmy Turner). The characters are much more fun in the earlier episodes. Timmy uses wits more often than magic, his parents are just cute and clueless rather than outright brain-dead, and his friends have less flat personalities than just AJ the smart kid, Chester the poor white trash kid, and Trixie the rich bitch. Cosmo and Wanda in particular are probably the most flanderized characters in the entire show, and the earlier episodes are shocking to watch because of it. Yes, Cosmo was always dense, but he actually came through with some great ideas now and then. Wanda was always more responsible, but she's hardly the nag everyone makes her out to be now. The best part about the series in the beginning was how Cosmo and Wanda were made to really love and care about each other. But in the latest live-action movie where Cosmo says Wanda will still have him when Timmy's gone, she shrieks as if death is the better choice. Also suprising, Timmy's enemy in the beginning is Vicky! Yes, no Dark Laser, and much smaller doses of Crocker, Jorgen, etc. As a result, the episode plots were more based on real life situations (wanting to be older, winning competitions, trying to impress other people) and were less deranged than the new episodes about alien zoos and such. The first episodes focused a lot on actual consequences for the things that Timmy wished for, such as the video game in the first episode requiring tons of electricity. Remember the Season 2 episode where Mom and Dad thought Timmy shoplifted because they saw all the nice things he had been wishing for? Nowadays, Timmy can wish for volcanoes or fancy parties and no one's batting an eye. At its core, Fairly Oddparents is a fun concept and the early episodes were good at balancing zany comedy with some geunine heart and thought. If you're interested in the show, Seasons 1 and 2 are great starters and the rest of the series stays fairly strong, probably until around Channel Chasers/School's Out. Then you're just watching bright colors, loud noises and jokes you can see coming as far away as China.