Monday, February 25, 2008
REBORN! The Mr Men Show, Five, Mon-Fri 7.30am
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Is it a dream, a parallel universe or another planet? Is it a bold new re-imagining or a parade of distorted foetuses flaunting their personality quirks in the name of entertainment? Or is it just another rebrand? Yes, that sounds a bit nicer, let's go with that.
So! This week marks the UK premier of the brand new re-imagined TV rebrand of the perenially popular Mr Men and the slightly less perenially popular Little Miss in The Mr Men Show (not to be confused with Mr Men, Little Miss - later broadcast together as Little Miss and Mr Men - or Mr Men and Little Miss, also shown on Five back in those crazy 'Channel 5' salad days). What it basically means for you, the viewer, is that around 56% of everything you thought you knew about the Mr Men and the Little Miss has been quite literally THROWN OUT OF THE WINDOW, with the morality tales of yore replaced by a sketch-show format, the temperament-based locations (inconsistently switched with the occasional and possibly metaphorical setting of Misterland) replaced by a Kosovoesque Brand New Country Or Place called Dillydale, and the vast, sprawling, repetitive original cast pared down to a tidy twenty-five key figures. Some have been renamed, many redesigned, a couple have had their gender reassigned and one or two have been plucked out of thin air and apparently created to enhance and complement their friends and colleagues.
While old favourites such as Mr Bump, Mr Grumpy, Little Miss Sunshine and (obviously) Mr Happy have survived the transition unscathed, others have been subtly modified. Mr Tickle's long arms are now retractable! Mr Strong's arms are massive, as is his big, sexy, V-shaped back! Little Miss Naughty has candyflossy hair! And the changes don't end there. Mr Lazy is now green, not pink! Mr Quiet is now light blue, not light brown! And he's doing yoga! Mr Nosey doesn't have a long nose any more! And he's fat! And he's got bad posture and a little tie that makes him look like a character from Top Cat! And he's gay, and living in an observatory with Mr Small for no apparent reason! And Mr Small's orange! And wearing a very tall top hat! And then there's the accents: Geordie for Mr Nosey, West Country for Little Miss Naughty, French for Mr Rude (hmmm) and retarded for Mr I'm-not-a-woman-anymore Scatterbrain. The whole cast, and their sordid/exciting exploits - including the pretty astonishing sight of Mr Strong flexing and kissing his mighty biceps - can be seen on the official site.
The Mr Men Show has already been airing on Cartoon Network in America for several weeks, and was almost entirely redubbed from American into English for a UK audience. The British voice-over artists include such luminaries as Simon 'Michael from I'm Alan Partridge' Greenall, Jo 'Natella from Bromwell High' Wyatt and Tim 'Angelo from Mike and Angelo' Whitnall, although the class-factor is enhanced considerably by the presence of Simon Phillip Hugh Callow CBE, who steps into Arthur Lowe's shoes as the narrator. Each episode features a particular theme (this morning it was Going To The Hospital To Have A Carrot Removed), and it's on every weekday morning, so there's no excuse for not having a look (unless you really just can't be arsed, or always found the Mr Men a bit frightening). Welcome back!
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Don't forget Mr. Bounce, Mr. Noisy, Little Miss Chatterbox, and Little Miss Scary; which they have been untouched.