%judge thinks that creepy puppets, Dean Cain, and Ed Lauter in a dew-rag make for bad kid's television.
"A sharing, caring place to belong." (from Grandpa's Place theme song)
Grandpa's Place is an obscure children's series that, as far as I can tell, lasted four episodes which may or may not have ever been broadcast. This DVD consists of the latter two of those episodes and answers the question: "why did it only last four episodes?" but not: "why bother putting out a DVD?"
Little Jason (Cody Arens) goes to the home of his grandfather (Ed Lauter, The Longest Yard) while his mother is at work. Initially disappointed to learn Grandpa doesn't have video games, he learns to use his imagination and create his own fun. Three toys come to life in a brightly colored playroom, and they put on skits, sing songs, and tell jokes with Grandpa and Jason. Incidentally, these toys—Miles the Cat, Sally Squirrel and Captain Dog—are the creepiest-looking puppets I've ever seen in children's television.
Both episodes, "Tornado of Talent" and "Dean Cain Drops By," contain very unfunny knock-knock jokes and uncatchy songs, including cringe-worthy raps. The educational content is so miniscule as to be microscopic. There seems to be a 20-second rule in operation here. There is a 20-second discussion in the first episode about when it's not good to share (toothbrushes, for example), and another 20 seconds on working out misunderstandings with friends. In episode two, Dean Cain (Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman) stops by for about 20 seconds to explain that "every day can't be the best day."
I barely remember the time when I was the target demographic for this series, and with no guinea-pig kiddies around to test this theory, I'll go out on a limb and say your educational children's video money could be better spent elsewhere (though it would almost be worth a rental to see tough-guy Ed Lauter singing "word…peace out" while wearing a dew-rag and Bono-style sunglasses). But what do I know about your kids' taste? I think Barney and Teletubbies are incomprehensible too. I'll tell you a little secret about DVD Verdict: sometimes we judges pick the films we review, and sometimes we don't. Guess which category Grandpa's Place falls into?
Technically, the picture is probably quite faithful to the low-budget original source material. The lighting is terrible, which compounds some harsh color contrast problems, and the mono sound is as basic as you can get…but then I had no desire to hear the musical numbers in stereo surround. No extras are available, thank goodness for small favors.
My verdict? So guilty, it hurts.
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