Judge Dylan Charles thinks every kid ought to tour a boat-building school—at least now that he's safely out of adolescence.
The journey's as fun as the destination!
Like most other people, I enjoy traveling. So much so, that I decided to review TripFLIX in the hopes that I'd get some groovy tips about where I might want to spend my spring break.
TripFLIX can be your guide, too, as a pair of wacky teens (Emily Woodhouse and Alex Fast) go all over the United States and find the hot spots that can turn your family vacation from Dullsville to NotDullsville.
The first thing, the most important thing, to know is that this DVD is geared more to children of the elementary and middle school variety, not to full-grown college students whose childhood innocence has crusted over with the black bile of cynicism. I did not know this. I thought this was a travelogue for grown-up people because I don't do research beforehand. I am not bitter that I sat through two hours of hokey skits and cheesy humor laced with some of the most offensively inoffensive puns ever conceived.
Now, really, this is fine for the target audience. I can see my younger self laughing at the jokes and wacky situations. The hosts are bouncy and cheerful and they work with what they're given. The material is presented in a fun way and they even have the random pop quizzes laced with trivia that's either fun (They used to make celery flavored jello) or just educational (The state capital of North Dakota is not Fargo). The two hosts also manage to drop as many state facts as humanly possible throughout their bits, so at the very least the kiddlings should learn a little something about the country we live in.
But it's a bizarre range of tourist traps that they pick. Each section is divvied up by region, i.e., The South (Present!), New England, The Boring Bit in the Middle, and so on. Then a few states per region are represented by a single feature. One of the neatest features of the disc is the ability to choose your starting region and you're at your destination. It'll then show you all the clips about the areas you'll be passing through.
However, this format makes for a bit of lopsided weirdness. There are fifty states, but only a grand total of twenty-five different places covered. Of all the places in New York, they could only come up with Coney Island? Maine gets a boat building school and my state doesn't even get a mention! California, the entire state of California, is represented by Sea World. There are a number of constraints on the number of places they could go, but only twenty-five in the whole goshdarn country seems a bit spare. Maybe they'll cover North Carolina in the inevitable sequel.
While we're talking about boat-building schools, I'd like to know what kid would want to go there. TripFLIX seems tailor-made for children in most ways, but some of the places they pick would have given me the cold shivers when I was ten, like Plymouth Rock. It doesn't help that Alex and Emily aren't even that impressed by the smallish lump of rock that the pilgrims crashed into. They also focus on no less than three different baseball-themed areas. I can understand Louisville and going to see the Baltimore Orioles, maybe, but the Augusta Greenjackets? If your kids want to see a minor league team play, I don't think they need to drive all the way out to Augusta to do so. But TripFLIX does have a lot of fun places that most might not think of off the bat, like Metropolis, Illinois, which has turned itself into some kind of shrine to Superman.
There are extras here, a fact which startled me. There's a run-of-the-mill blooper reel and a tutorial of the Tripflix Cha-Cha-Cha. The TripFLIX Cha-Cha-Cha is a dance, of sorts, that I'm assuming was improvised by Mr. Fast. Only the dance's creator could talk about it with the zeal that he does in this alarmingly extensive breakdown of the dance. The fact that I've had the little song stuck in my head for the last six hours has in no way influenced my opinion of the TripFLIX Cha-Cha-Cha.
All in all, TripFLIX does what it sets out to do: deliver a lot of information about traveling through the United States and in a relatively fun way. Even the dance and its tutorial are something that lil' Dylan might have enjoyed before a life of alcohol and debauchery had hardened his soul. But the sometimes loopy places they choose is a problem, as is the leaving out of North Carolina. Come on TripFLIX, we have Winston Salem and the Durham Bulls are thirty times more interesting than the Augusta Greenjackets.
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