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Case Number 11668: Small Claims Court

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Charlie And Lola: It Is Absolutely Completely Not Messy

BBC Video // 2005 // 84 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Mike Pinsky (Retired) // July 11th, 2007

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All Rise...

Appellate Judge Mike Pinsky thinks the world would be a better place if we could all share a glass of pink milk.

Editor's Note

Our reviews of Charlie And Lola: My Little Town (published February 14th, 2007), Charlie And Lola: I Really Really Need Actual Ice Skates (published October 7th, 2010), and Charlie And Lola, Volumes 1 And 2 (published November 13th, 2006) are also available.

The Charge

"Yes, Charlie—I like saying yes! Yes!"—Lola

The Case

Like an impatient child, BBC Video jumps right on ahead with the second season of Charlie and Lola before it finished out the first season on DVD.

• "You can be my friend": Meet Marv's little brother, Morten. He's a little shy, but maybe Lola can draw him out of his shell.
• "Too many big words": Lola is only just learning to read. But as usual, she is too impatient to learn actual words. "I'll learn words when I am bigger," she insists. She's having a little trouble with numbers over ten as well. It might be time for the Sonner parents to pick up Hooked on Phonics.
• "It is absolutely completely not messy": Why clean up? After all, Lola's bedroom is not really messy, "it's properly spread out for playing." That's why I always say about my computer desk, too.
• "I will be especially very careful": Lotta's new coat is "fluffy as a kitten." Lola wants to borrow it for a while and trades it for her clippie handbag. But Lotta's coat may not stay clean and white for very long with Lola around.
• "Can you maybe turn the light on?": Charlie reads a scary bedtime story to Lola, which leaves our favorite little girl very nervous about the dark. So Charlie teaches her all about nocturnal animals. Then he turns on a night light and searches the room for monsters. Will Lola ever get to sleep?
• "Yes I am, No you're not": Lola says she is not actually very small. And she is not funny but rather very clever. And she can crunch louder than her brother. And she has some trouble sharing. If she and Charlie can't stop squabbling, they will have to sit in the Simmer-Down Chairs all day.
• "Please may I have some of yours?": It is time for a trip to the zoo. But Lola gets too excited about raiding her lunchbox before the trip and trying out her camera. Will there be anything left later, or will she have to borrow from Charlie?

I have to admit right away that I watched this latest entry in the lighthearted and playful series, Charlie and Lola, Volume 4: It Is Absolutely Completely Not Messy, while my daughter was out of town. Longtime readers will recall that I have compared my four-year-old, in her bubbly disposition and ability to imagine all sorts of spontaneous adventures, to little Lola Sonner. Indeed, while many Disney Channel shows have slid off the cable network's Playhouse Disney programming block to make room for the latest noisy franchise players (does Pooh really need to wear a cape and solve mysteries?), Charlie and Lola persists and continues to draw fans. Its low-key, almost delicate, charm makes it a nice way to wrap up the morning.

We've made note of the show's strengths in previous reviews: the loose and rambling dialogue, the realistic depiction of childhood behavior (even Charlie is not perfect, as shown by his temperamental behavior in "Yes I am, No you're not"), and childlike artwork, based on the work of Lauren Child. I have long suspected that Child's work here was inspired by the 1970s work of animators John and Faith Hubley (especially "Cockaboody," which I was reminded of the first time I saw Charlie and Lola). In any case, the show's second season changes very little. The only notable difference is a change in voice casting. Daniel Mayers steps in as Charlie, replacing Jethro Lundie-Brown, while Masie Cowell's sister Clementine takes over the role of Lola. Your kids may not notice the change, but I thought the new voice of Lola lacked some of the energy of the first season's Lola. The difference is perhaps too slight to really affect the show much.

There are fewer extras on this volume. The main menu lacked the Easter eggs present on the previous discs. We still get two very brief outtakes from the recording sessions, as well as a music video about being down on the farm. This original song is the first single from the recent Charlie and Lola music CD.

If you have been keeping up with Charlie and Lola, these second season episodes are up to par with the rest of the series. I am a little disappointed that the extras are so slim—this might discourage parents from continuing to collect new volumes in the series. But nothing diminishes the fun of watching the Sonner children's whimsy and imagination brought to life. Given that the series is now gearing up for a third season in the United Kingdom, I guess there are plenty of others that agree with me.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 90

Perp Profile

Studio: BBC Video
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• English
Running Time: 84 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• All Ages
• Animation
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Music Video
• Outtakes

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