Paramount // 2005 // 88 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // January 14th, 2006
"Surprise! You're on mutant rabbit candid camera!"
Here we have Buster, Arthur's former sidekick, who is currently enjoying his own spin-off show. Postcards from Buster follows Buster as he and his family travel throughout the United States, his camcorder in tow, documenting different flavors of Americana. It's a PBS road trip for the kids, narrated by a soft-spoken nerd of an anthropomorphic rabbit. Seriously, Buster sounds like he could use a good beating. But I digress.
The show is a mixture of traditional Arthur animation and live-action footage. Really, though, it's mainly the latter, with the focus lying on whoever is befitting from the prying lens of Buster's video camera. The main thrust of these fact-finding expositions is to introduce knee-high viewers to the joy of diversity and all the PC goodness that only Public Broadcasting can serve up.
And you know what that means: Jewish lesbians from Vermont with interracial children!
This disc features four episodes, with all the programs clocking in at just south of 90 minutes.
Ah, yes, the most infamous episode of Postcards from Buster ever! I'm not sure if you remember this semi-controversy, but there was much hullabaloo made about the folks that Buster visits in this episode: the aforementioned Jewish lesbians.
Well, like it or not, Bust and his camera head to Vermont, where he meets them, and promptly learns about the joy of siphoning maple syrup from trees and making delicious cookies and soaking up two carloads worth of tolerance. Whatever your feelings are, Buster is still super-cheesy and maple syrup rendering still fails to excite me.
* "Meet Me at the Fair"
Blowing off the post-moderinism of Dennis Kucinich supporting of Vemront, Buster heads further inland to Knox, Indiana, where he lands on a farm. There, he meets a hard-working, cow-milking, manure-shoveling family where the kids are up and at 'em well before the crack of dawn to get their chores done.
Buster arrives just in time for the county fair, and there is palpable excitement among the livestock. Learns how hay is baled and, uh, did I already mention cow-milking?
* "The Giant Pumpkins"
In Mount Hood, Oregon, Buster imposes on a family as they prepare to enter their big-ass pumpkin into the annual big-ass pumpkin contest. Be there for the nail-biting excitement as the kids measure the pumpkin, load it up on the truck, roll it onto the scale and, well, I guess you'll just have to but the DVD to see who wins.
* "Bayou, By Me"
Clever plays on words aside, yes, Buster cruises on the bayou in this episode, which has him in Sidell, Louisiana, menacing a family of seafood eaters. Crab is the catch of the day, but Buster sneaks out at dawn with one of the kids to try and catch some catfish -- if he's not devoured by an alligator first!
You want to introduce your kids to different places of the country (and different lifestyles)? Postcards from Buster is likely your ticket. This reviewer found these discs painfully boring, but there's no reason why your little ones won't eat this up. There are kids, talking animals, the occasional round of hand-drawn animation, and freakish rabbit-people to spare. Should be an inclusive, politically correct, warm and fuzzy time all around.
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 88 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Drawing with Marc Brown
* Overview for Parents and Educators