Nickelodeon // 2005 // 98 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Jim Thomas // July 2nd, 2008
Diego and animals. You know the drill.
Iman N. Eptdoofus, Director
Department of Child Welfare
July 02, 2008
It has come to my attention that an 8-year old boy named Diego has been roaming the globe, chasing and even interacting with wild animals without any adult supervision whatsoever. He has repeatedly been seen in the presence of a baby jaguar; not only does that place Diego in extreme peril should the mother jaguar return, but the baby jaguar, continually taken out of its natural habitat, will never develop the skills needed to survive in its natural habitat. Instead of taking steps to curb Diego's reckless behavior, his guardian, Nickelodeon, has in fact been exploiting the young boy, releasing DVDs that chronicle the youth's adventures.
I was able to procure the most recent DVD, Go Diego, Go!: Great Gorilla. This release has four separate sequences:
* "Gorilla Fun" -- Diego goes to Africa to search for two missing baby Mountain Gorillas supposedly destined to become the "Gorilla Kings." Even leaving aside the normal dangers inherent to travel in Africa, the dangers of interacting with species as volatile as gorillas speaks for itself. The boy could just as easily been beaten to death with his own arm. And who doesn't realize that leaving two kings on the throne will inevitably lead to gorilla warfare?
* "Egyptian Camel Adventure" -- In this installment, Diego styles himself as a rain god, traveling to the Great Pyramids in order to find some "Golden Cloud" that will bring rain to a herd of thirsty camels. Camels may be adapted to life in the desert, but an 8-year-old boy most certainly is not. Decency forbids me from speculating what sort of showers might emerge from golden clouds.
* "Save the Giant Tortoises" -- Easily the seediest of the lot, the hapless 8-year-old becomes an unwitting panderer, finding a mate for the self-styled "Lonely Louie." After much travail, a female tortoise is located atop a giant hump -- in the words of the late George Carlin, you don't need to be Fellini to figure that one out. The presence of Diego's younger cousin, the so-called "Dora the Explorer," complicates the matter even further.
* "Super Flying Squirrel to the Rescue" -- A nest of baby birds falls into a river; instead of allowing nature to takes its course, Diego enlists the aid of flying squirrels, rodents that are known to spread rabies.
I have contacted Nickelodeon on several occasions; they insist that Diego is but an animated character on a popular children's show (the aforementioned Go Diego Go!), which has run on both Nickelodeon and Univision since 2005. Ignoring my legitimate concerns, the PR flack who responded to my calls for action insisted that the show is intended for preschool kids, and that the repeated exhortations for the audience to respond to the on-screen characters is not some sort of cult brainwashing, but is a means to encourage audience participation (Six of one and half a dozen of the other, if you ask me). Furthermore, the catchy songs, the simple yet colorful animation, and the formulaic stories are designed to capture the children's attention. "Capture" indeed! After I pointed out that Diego's support system, including a mysterious talking camera and an eleven year-old park ranger, we're but one step removed from the no-adult anarchy of Lord of the Flies, the PR rep got positively hostile, and made a number of suggestions as to how I could fold and insert my numerous letters of protest.
Thus I am left forlorn. My children, swayed by the disc's siren song, want to watch it again and again; my 2-year-old toddles up, insisting "Diego, Daddy!" My wife and I despair, as the disc's repetition drives us insane. Such is parenting in the 21st century.
Those wanting a disc that will keep their spawn entertained for hours on end may well be advised to purchase this disc. As for me, the people who deprogrammed Patty Hearst may be able to help...
In the meantime, I beg that you investigate the matter.
Judge Jim Thomas
PS: It's rather distressing to look at the packaging and see that "Full Screen Format" is listed as a Special Feature.
[Editor's Note: Judge Thomas is a foster parent. He may be projecting a wee bit.]
Review content copyright © 2008 Jim Thomas; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)
Running Time: 98 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* "Yo Gabba Gabba!" Music Video
* Wikipedia: Go, Diego, Go!