Paramount // 2005 // 82 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // January 26th, 2005
Hey Vicky you're so so icky
Just the thought of being around you makes me oh so sicky
-- Chip Skylark
One of Nickelodeon's flagship cartoons spits out this seven episode compilation, which finds young Timmy Turner, aided by his wish-granting fairy godparents, belly-flopping into trouble.
The Fairly Oddparents is one of Nickelodeon's longer-running, highly successful cartoons, probably second in fame only to the mighty SpongeBob. For those not in the know, the show revolves around Timmy Turner (voiced by Tara Strong) and his relationship with his quirky fairy godparents, Cosmo and Wanda. Each episode has Timmy making different wishes that come into his impulse-driven mind, and reaping the inevitable catastrophes that come with those wishes.
Timmy must also contend with the antics of his neurotic real parents, known only as Mr. and Mrs. Turner, as well as the usual gallery of school bullies, goofball friends, and the soulless evil of babysitter Vicky. Each half-hour installment of the show is made up of two 12 minute episodes; seven of these episodes (five plus two bonus episodes) are packaged together on this disc, with no rhyme or reason behind their selection. Marketed as "Timmy's Top Wishes," these seem to be a batch of creator Butch Hartman's favorites.
I really dig The Fairly Oddparents. This is a smart, funny cartoon. While obviously geared toward the younger, shorter crowd, it still generates some hearty laughs for us adults, and is, for my money, much better than its more ubiquitous comrade, Mr. Squarepants' show. The writing is sharp and witty, and there is a good amount of satire interwoven with the usual slapstick of kiddies' animated fare. In short, this is one of my favorite cartoons out there, one that I always stop at if I stumble across it while channel-surfing.
Consider this disc a compilation of episodes with no connection. While a previous offering, The Fairly Oddparents: Superhero Spectacle tied episodes together with a comic book twist -- and is very funny, top to bottom, by the way -- this installment is purely seven random episodes.
Thankfully, most of these episodes are very good. While The Fairly Oddparents can sometimes show flashes of brilliance, it is still an uneven show. Some episodes can be just killer (like the Jay Leno-voiced "Crimson Chin" shows), but some can be mediocre. This set replicates the pedigree: there's some great stuff here and not-so-great stuff. Let's take a look.
* "Knighty Knight"
Timmy finds the Dimmsdale Camelot Festival a bore and wishes to go to the real Middle Ages. Unfortunately, his parents are accidentally sucked back in time as well. Timmy must now keep them safe while also guiding a young, insecure King Arthur towards legend status.
This episode has some funny moments, particularly with Arthur's
transformation into a hulking Adonis, and boasts a few grimly amusing scenes.
Not the best of the set, but a solid little jaunt.
* "Where's Wanda?"
When Wanda goes missing, Timmy transforms into a black-and-white private eye and sets out to track down his fairy godmother -- while a shadowy figure tracks him.
This one starts out sharp, with a nice parody of film noir, but kind of
peters out at the end. Again, some funny moments, but not among the top tier.
* "Power Pals!"
This is what I'm talking about! After his friends realize that Timmy treats them like crap, they decide to bar him from their group. An indignant Timmy wishes for the coolest friends he can think of: superheroes! Turns out they may not be as cool as he thought.
These superhero episodes are a real strength of this cartoon. And this
episode is one of the funniest. A take off on Superfriends, complete with
quasi-Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman, the jokes fly fast and the
parody is dead-on. The Aquaman-like guy takes it the worst (as he should). Great
* "Who's Your Daddy?"
When Mr. Turner is incapacitated, Timmy must find a fill-in for a father-son competition for the "Squirrelly Scouts." He systematically tries out each one of his friends' dads with unimpressive results.
This is a funny episode. Timmy's interactions with the wildly different dads
is great, particularly with "Mr. Sweater-vest." Some snappy writing in
this one makes for a fun-filled twelve minutes.
* "Boys in the Band"
Angry that his parents forgot his birthday and opt instead to see a Chip Skylark concert, Timmy wishes ill will on pop-star boy-toy Chip (voiced by 'NSync band member Chris Kirkpatrick). But Chip embarks on a journey of nightmarish proportions when the evil Vicky decides to marry him.
These Chip Skylark episodes are an amusing satire of boy band hysteria, and
Kirkpatrick always delivers self-deprecating performances with gusto. This
episode features the "Icky Vicky" song. I'm guessing this must be some
kind of milestone.
* "Chip off the Old Chip"
Another Chip Skylark episode. Here, Timmy, smitten with the love of his life, auditions for the school musical. His atrocious singing voice keeps him from the part, so he wishes for Chip's voice instead -- and unwittingly destroys Chip's livelihood.
Another good Chip Skylark episode, but not as funny as its brethren.
* "Pipe Down"
This innovative episode finds Timmy wishing for worldwide silence. No sooner does noise cease to exist when a meteor heads straight for Dimmsdale. With no way to warn people, Timmy must find a way to make a wish using only charades.
You know, I can appreciate the uniqueness of this episode, but in the end I
found it rather irritating. All the motions and actions were aided by grandiose
sound effects. The finale was a nice wrap-up, but a ten minute exercise in
getting the most out of you sound board was a tad on the tedious side.
Overall, this disc doesn't boast the strongest episodes I've ever seen, though a few bright spots -- "Power Pals!" and "Who's Your Daddy?" -- lift it above the level of mediocrity. That being said, I'm sure most kids will love this disc anyway, and even the lesser episodes will still prove entertaining for the adults who may be pressed into watching along.
Technically, the look and sound of the disc are both adequate. Video comes in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio, and does a good job of transferring strong colors and a crisp picture. The stereo sound is fine, and robust enough to transmit the sugar-coated craziness associated with cartoons. The latter two episodes were included as "bonus episodes," though that's kind of a cop-out. It would have been nice to hear a commentary track by Butch Hartman or see an interview -- these are his "picks" after all -- but that doesn't happen. A disposable slideshow of the different Fairy Godparent costumes finishes out the extras.
The Fairly Oddparents is one of the funnier cartoons on the airwaves today, and any compilation is a good one. Too bad this disc didn't boast the stronger episodes that I know are out there.
The meager extras hurt it, but the accused is released. Court adjourned. Now pass me the Cocoa Puffs.
Review content copyright © 2005 David Johnson; 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 (French)
Running Time: 82 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Two Bonus Episodes
* Fairy Disguises