CITV Premiered Mar 11, 2006 Between Seasons


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Show Summary

Originally aired in Spain. Pocoyo is a pre-school animated cartoon series about a young boy who dresses in blue and who is full of curiosity. Viewers are encouraged to recognize situations that Pocoyo is in, and things that are going on with or around him.

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Season 2 : Episode 52

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  • Pocoyo is an expertly-written and sensationally-crafted program for pre-school children; it is smart, adorable, well-animated, overflowing with wit and charm, and narrated by the legendary Stephen Fry.

    Most shows for young children these days fail to articulate that exact charm that appeals to everyone who watches it. Shows like "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" and "Dora the Explorer" are decent for the very young, but don't do much for anyone else. Not because they're aimed at young children, but because many of today's pre-school shows don't give off that lovable, sophisticated wit that makes them a guilty pleasure for the older. As there are many run-of-the-mill toddler programs produced annually, there are now only very few modern programs for this demographic that are able to distinguish themselves to become a delight to watch for all audiences. Pocoyo is one of those rare bounties.

    The genius of Pocoyo comes from its simplicity. The show is made up of just a few colourful characters that exist in oblivion with few pieces of scenery and scattered objects. At first it seems rushed - it does give off that impression. But only until you really watch Pocoyo do you understand that this simplistic set design is actually put to very good use. The concept of oblivion means limitlessness. This means that, quite simply, anything can happen in this universe. It proves that you don't need fancy backdrops and set-pieces to create a believable world. Pocoyo's world creates itself. The objects in it, as well as the characters that roam through it, build the scenario. Okay, there are a few cases where there is an obvious background (such as where the characters go underwater or into space) but having backgrounds once in a while is a great way to give viewers a break from the usual white space.

    The series is about a playful 4-year old, blue-clad child called Pocoyo, who loves nothing more than adventure, games, and learning what things are. His friends include Pato, a sensible but easily-frustrated gardener duck; Elly, a large pink elephant that ballet dances and rides a small scooter despite her size; Loula, Pocoyo's pet puppy; the forever-snoozing Sleepy Bird and her son Baby Bird, and numerous other supporting characters. Many of the characters are very well created, and all have great quirks about them; for example, Pato's beak has the uncanny ability to spin 360 degrees whenever he chooses it to, while Elly can fit in small gaps and behind small objects despite towering over the other characters. While not all of the characters are particularly memorable, such as Caterpillar, this isn't a problem at all; not every character has to be in-your-face and taken to their obvious extreme. Pocoyo himself is a very well-developed character, and arguably one of the best modern character creations. Unlike the one-dimensional lead characters from most of today's pre-schooler toons, Pocoyo's character design is terrific, inside and out. Aside from the fact that he is unfailingly cute, his enviousness, egotism and cheeky disobedience is what makes him both lovable and hilarious at the same time. Pocoyo proves that the titular character does not have to be the perfect role model. Rather than being a goody-two-shoes like Mickey Mouse or Dora from their respective pre-school shows, Pocoyo is friendly but at times cruel in the cutest ways; ways that we can all relate to.

    Most Pocoyo episodes are about what he learns in his world through playing and exploring. No, he doesn't learn ABCs. He doesn't learn numbers. He doesn't learn why a triangle is different from a square or the nine planets from the Sun. If you're looking for a typical basic skills education program, you've come to the wrong place. What Pocoyo teaches is life skills; things that young children will need to know in order to make (and keep) friends, stay healthy and deal with life's little difficulties. It teaches young ones to tell the truth, accept that accidents happen, obedience, playing fairly, tolerance, why jealousy is wrong and multiple other important things. It's not told strictly so that the message is gotten across cleanly in a balanced way, with many of these lessons shared between episodes to remind young viewers of the valuable things Pocoyo learnt in previous escapades. The show also teaches its viewers what things are and how to use them, and why certain things in life can help everybody, such as what a radio can do or why horses are such useful creatures.

    But what would Pocoyo be without its narrator, Stephen Fry? Every show for young kids needs a great narrator, and Stephen Fry works perfectly. His grandfatherly tone of voice and his good sense of humour keep the show lively and directed. As he talks to both the characters within the show and the audience, it means the kids will never be alone when watching, and will make the little ones feel as if they're part of the action too. Just the sound of his relaxing voice when he greets the main characters opens the show in the finest way.

    And mixed in with all of this are oodles of joy and laughter. The colourful character design, tuneful and varied music, emphasis on enjoyment and teamwork, and humorous situations that the characters get themselves into all contribute to the experience. There's also the occasional fun episode where the characters dance off at a party, take a ride in the Vamoosh (Pocoyo's form of transport) or just have a good time in general. It all fits together so well. Although multiple episodes feature similar scenarios, the show still manages to bring something new to the table with every episode in great ways, whether it's meeting aliens in space, a mystery that Pocoyo has to solve, Pocoyo finding a strange device with wondrous effects (one, for example, allows him to merge two different objects into one in humorously surreal ways), or just light-hearted role-playing, among many other tasty treats.

    Pocoyo is, quite simply, a divine cartoon for both young children and older audiences, and one of the most ambitious I have seen in years. It is a perfectly unique and intelligent blend of fun, discovery, humour, craftiness and emotion, and narrated by the talented Stephen Fry who does a bang-up job of speaking to and guiding the characters as if they were real and right in front of him. The large range of things it offers makes it endlessly rewarding, and recalls all of the memories of past shows such as Pingu, Rosie and Jim, Mopatop Shop and the original Fireman Sam. Its short length of just 7 minutes an episode makes it so children won't get bored and will look forward to the next one. As long as the planned third series goes ahead (and if possible, a planned movie) Pocoyo will go farther than any pre-school program can, because it really, really deserves to.

    Ten out of ten.moreless

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