Thursday, March 22, 2007

Trivia - Home Turf

There's a lot of speculation about why Pablo, Uniqua and Tyrone are seen in every Backyardigans episode and used so much in the marketing, but Austin and Tasha tend to be left out, much to the dismay of their fans. In working on this picture, showing where each Backyardigan lives, I noticed something interesting that might explain that (at least from the perspective inside the Backyardigans world - I'll leave out speculation about marketing decisions for now.)

Looking closely at the Backyardigans' houses, you can see that there are fences around Tasha's backyard and Austin's backyard. Pablo, Uniqua and Tyrone, however, live next to each other, with no fences separating the backyards. This area then becomes a sort of mega-backyard, an effect heightened by the unusual depth of the yard. In fact we can see the back fence is almost at the back door of the barely seen house behind the play area.

Austin, as we saw in the "Castaways" episode, goes into the main play area from his backyard through a gate in the fence. Tasha doesn't appear to have a direct route from her backyard to the main play area. Instead, she's more than once been shown to enter the play area from the front yard ("Key to the Nile", "Viking Voyage").

Could this be one of the reasons why we have seen so many episodes with Pablo, Uniqua and Tyrone, and fewer with Tasha and Austin? After all, if you can just walk into your backyard and start playing with the kid next door, you're going to be playing together a lot, if only because he's there every time you go outside. If you have to go around a high fence to get to the house of the kid next door, though, you're going to have days when you just play in your own backyard and never see them.

Interestingly, all the kids seem to feel equally comfortable playing in the common backyard, even though the play area technically belongs to Pablo, Uniqua and Tyrone. In "Cave Party", for instance, we see Austin and Tasha enter the play area with a clear lack of intent to play with the other three kids. Their decision to invite the other three to a party is an afterthought. In "High Tea", Tasha is sitting quite contentedly on Uniqua's picnic table, ignoring the other three, showing every sign of feeling as at-home as if she was in her own backyard.

It seems as if the common backyard shared by Uniqua, Pablo and Tyrone functions more as a sort of park for the five children than as a conventional private backyard. Tyrone, Pablo and Uniqua are seen there more than Austin and Tasha only because it is the only backyard easily available to them. Tasha's backyard and Austin's backyard are, because of the fences, typical backyards, where the children probably only play when invited by Tasha and Austin. It is worth noting, too, that while we see evidence of the kids playing in Austin's backyard occasionally, to which there is access through the gate ("Cave Party"), we never have seen any indication that they have been playing in Tasha's backyard, to which there is no such easy access.

So, is there any great conspiracy involved in leaving Tasha and Austin out of so many episodes? Not at all. It is simply that those two Backyardigans have two backyards available to them, while the other three only have the one common play area.

(And does this topic really deserve this much attention? Of course not! But it's fun, isn't it?)

Monday, March 19, 2007

Four New Episodes Premiering This Week

Don't forget that there are four new Backyardigans episodes playing this week on Nick Jr.! Won't be home when these air? Horsing Around can be found on the The Legend of the Volcano Sisters DVD, and the rest will be available on the upcoming Movers and Shakers DVD, scheduled to be released May 29, 2007.

Monday, March 19 - Horsing Around
Pablo, the world's fastest jockey, and Uniqua, the world's best rodeo stunt rider, race through the Kentucky countryside to determine who rides horses the best, this side of the Mississippi. If they're not careful, a determined Tyrone, his donkey, and a slow and steady approach might win the day. The music genre featured in the episode is Klezmer.

Tuesday, March 20 - Movers of Arabia
Tyrone, the new Sultan of Arabia, hires movers Uniqua and Pablo to safely transport his magical treasures from a desert cave to his new royal palace. Surf music sets the action as the gang enlists the help of a Genie played by Austin who gives them three wishes.

Wednesday, March 21 - Cops and Robots
It's a robotic chase through space, as The Bad Bots, Tasha and Pablo, travel to the Floating Robot Factory to reprogram all of the world's robots to be bad. However, cops Uniqua and Tyrone are on a mission to catch The Bad Bots and bring them to justice. The music genre featured in the episode is Jug Band.

Thursday, March 22 - Save the Day
Tasha is the world's most determined fisher-lady who is oblivious to the dangers of the sea. Although harbor patrollers Uniqua, Tyrone and Pablo have repeatedly saved Tasha from sharks and sinking boats, she insists upon going to the most dangerous places to catch fish. The music genre featured in the episode is Psychedelic Soul.

Nick Jr. will rerun each episode Friday, March 23, in a two hour block.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Quote of the Week

"You two row. I'll supervise."
Tyrone, Viking Voyage

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Nickelodeon Theme Park

The Mall of America and Nickelodeon announced that they're going to be creating a new Nickelodeon themed park, part of a re-branding of the Mall's seven-acre amusement park. The grand opening is expected for spring, 2008.

From the press release (emphasis added):

As part of the partnership, Nickelodeon will bring an assortment of its top characters, interactivity, and its signature iconic green slime to Mall of America. The newly revamped park, and the first ever Nickelodeon theme park, will feature new rides, live shows, attractions, retail, games and entertainment, and food service establishments themed with top ranking network properties including: SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, Go, Diego, Go!, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Danny Phantom, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, The Backyardigans and many more. Costumed characters and live interactive entertainment from these Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. shows will also find a home at the Mall.

Nickelodeon will also establish its largest retail presence in the world at Mall of America, with a brand new Nick store occupying more than 4,000 square foot space, offering consumers items such as branded tee-shirts, souvenirs, novelties and more. And the network will introduce healthy dining options throughout the parks' eateries, in line with its four year old health and wellness pro-social initiative for kids and families, Let's Just Play.