Thursday, June 15, 2017

Welcome to Noddy's World. The rest of us just live here

Lately, our son's TV show of choice has been Noddy Toyland Detective. Frankly, we try and limit how much TV he watches so a new show breaking in doesn't happen that often.

While I had heard of Noddy before, I never had that much interested in the franchise. It always looked like it was too twee for my tastes, too much like Dot and Tot of Merryland, L. Frank Baum's most sickeningly sweet book. (Seriously, it makes the Wonderful Wizard of Oz look like Warhammer 40K)

And, from what I can tell, the original books really are that twee. However, since I can't seem to find any e-books of them, I haven't read any of them yet. However, in my search for them, I did end up finding out a lot more about their author, Enid Blyton.

Enid Blyton is one of those authors like Edith Nesbit who is a household name in England and probably a lot of other countries, like Canada and Australia, but doesn't seem that well known in the U.S. Then again, maybe I am an uncultured heathen who hangs out with other uncultured heathens. 

On the other hand, A. A. Milne might be in that position if Walt Disney hadn't personally loved Winnie the Pooh. I was surprised but fascinated to learn how much work Walt had put into Winnie the Pooh even though he didn't live to see the theatrical release.

Anyway, I had vaguely been aware of who Enid Blyton was but I hadn't realized she had written the Noddy books. Not to mention more books about kids having adventures then a Hardy Boys convention. Seriously, if she really didn't use ghost writers, she was writing a book in a week. Which means she was a one-woman Stratemeyer Syndicate.

And like the Stratemeyer Syndicate, she can and was and still is accused of writing drivel that lacked literary merit and supported stances that can be sexist and racist and classist. (The Three Golliwags is the extreme example) Still, she sold a lot of books and her works still sell by the bushel so I feel like we should honestly research and critique her work.

The other thing I've discovered is that Noddy Toyland Detective is the ninth TV show about the character. The earliest one goes back to 1955! Other words, I might not know very much about Noddy but there are generations that have been invested in the franchise.

More than that, Noddy Toyland Detective is a pretty extreme reimaging of the character. He's a detective instead of a taxi driver and the entire supporting cast has either been heavily revised or flat out replaced. Which means that it is probably an abomination in the eyes of older fans.

Still, our family has been enjoying it. And I am sure, in the years to come, there will be other franchises that have revisions that we won't be able to stand either.

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