As part of my ongoing effort to entertain my superhero-crazed three-year-old son, I've started investigating some cartoons. After all, anything involving superheroes can't possibly be as annoying as Dora the Explorer... can it?
Jack and I checked out Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series, and I quickly learned that they are bad choices for him. I suspect they'd be fine for an older kid, maybe 7 or so, but they made Jack into a crazy, rammy nutbar who is incapable of not hurling himself off of the couch, getting boo-boos, crying, and repeat into infinity.
Then, I came up with a genious idea: a bootleg of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. I loved the show as a kid - would Jack agree? And would I like it for any reasons other than nostalgia?
Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends now airs on the Disney Channel's Jetix, but if you're crazy internet saavy like me, and have access to little-known sites like "Google," then you too can obtain a bootleg of questionable quality.
If you are not a child of the '80s and aren't familiar with the show, the premise is pretty simple. Spider-Man is a student at Empire State, along with his friends Iceman and Firestar - a character who was created solely for the show. Firestar not only provides powers that contrast with Iceman's, but also serves as a token female. The three of them live with Aunt May and her puppy, Ms. Lion, and fight crime when they're not in class. Plus, as a bonus, the whole thing is narrated by Stan Lee.
Jack absolutely loves this show. He geeks out at the frequent guest appearances - from Captain America to the X-Men, and all kinds of characters in between. He finds the action scenes exciting, but not scary. The bad guys in this cartoon are really not that bad - they are pretty much as evil as the gang that tried to steal gas from Steve Martin's character in The Jerk. Everything resolves neatly in half-hour installments, and there are jokes that only a kid could love.
As an adult, I find that there is considerably less to love about this show. I do enjoy watching it with Jack and explaining who Namor is, and I like that I can leave him alone to watch the show without worrying about his seeing anything age-inappropriate. But the plots are thin, the storylines are often lame, and the humor is cringe-worthy. And be warned: the music (all two instrumental pieces repeated on a constant loop) will get stuck in your head. I wouldn't watch it myself, but with a little kid, it's a lot of fun.
Jack's rating: A
My rating: C+