Once upon a time, in a television studio in a far, far away place known as North Sydney, a producer named Monica decided she had had just about eeeee–nuff of annoying children’s TV.
Monica, in her infinite wisdom, decided to make a new kids TV show– right here in Australia, with Aussie actors, producers and crew– that would be good fun for kids, good fun to make, and, at the very least, tolerable for parents. And thus, Magical Tales was born.
If you seen the show before (Channel Nine, 3:30pm weekdays), you’ll have an idea of what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, William and Sparkles are all over YouTube– start with this clip. (”I’m on FaceBook!” Gold.)
The concept behind Magical Tales is alarmingly simple– a cute, fun, educational kids show that doesn’t rely on stereotypical characters. Monica– who actually is the producer of Magical Tales, and had a chat with me on the phone last week– hired Sparkles (spaling!!) and William with a specific energy in mind– vibrant and versatile. William is a wizard, and a typical boy. As in, a boy– the same demographic he’s appealing to. He can be tough and strong and brave, but he can also be a bit of a tool and stuff things up and cry.
As mum to a four year old without a strong male role model in his life, who is becoming increasingly obsessed with fictional characters that are full grown men with no vulnerabilities; I appreciate that.
But, given the fantastically contrary nature of little kids, it wasn’t long before the show realized it actually needed some stereotypical characters to cater for that identity building developmental stage. Cue Mr Amazing (Chop’s favorite, naturally) and the Queen of the Fairies (Whom the Lady Bump idolizes. What am I doing wrong here…?)
Sparkles the fairy, who really runs the show, was given the directive of ‘Pink for preschoolers’. And she pulls it off– I’m not entirely sure what that fairy is on, but I want some. Nay, I need some.
Sparkles’ In Real Life dad is an innately talented guy- he did the music for Priscilla, Queen of the Dessert. These days, in an act of collaborative family adorableness, he works with his daughter Sparkles on Magical Tales, and they create all the music for the show together.
Is that lovely, or what? It actually gets better– William the Wizard’s In Real Life sister features in an episode screening soon. There are various husband and wife teams, and a few siblings in different roles on the set as well. Costumes are hand sewn by Monica’s mum.
When she says it’s a “show made for families, by families”, she’s certainly not kidding around.
It’s difficult to emulate the formula of the alltime little kids TV winner, PlaySchool- that show is an institution and a right all to itself; and a lot of that is due to the inclusive, family feel of it– as a parent watching it, you get the feeling you’re part of one big, innocent in–joke… it’s the same kind of feeling you get when you work in gentle conspiracy with a shopping center clown. There is an adult world here, still, behind the scenes, with bills and relationships and dramas and all that crap; but let’s suspend that reality for a moment and just play.
If that’s what the producers of Magical Tales are aiming for, they’re doing it right. With the same simple innocence of PlaySchool and that in–joke feel propelling it, it’s kind of like old–fashioned, wholesome entertainment… but funkier.
Cheers to that. On the RRSAHM–Ranking–Stuff–Scale, I give this a four out of five jellybeans.
I ate one because… well… it’s awesome, but it’s no SpongeBob. Nothing is on par with SpongeBob. But it is way, way, way cooler than DirtGirl, which shares the timeslot in the afternoon. (By the way, you know the only thing more terrifying than watching DirtGirl…? Being followed by her on Twitter.) And, in honour of some weekend fun, I’ve got a flash giveaway for my Aussie readers…
To win one of three Magical Tales activity packs, including activity and coloring books, and fan cards autographed by William and Sparkles; leave a comment on this post telling me who is your all time favorite fairy, and why…
The answer that amuses or confuses me the most wins. My decision is final and no discussion will be entered into.
This one’s open to Australian residents only, sorry OS peeps. Next time- in fact, coming next week I have a giveaway for US residents only- and you will LOVE it. Trust me.
Entries open Saturday 19th May and close midnight Sunday 20th May.
The winner will be announced via RRSAHM’s FaceBook page and Twitter feed, and probably in the newsletter as well. Winners will be emailed and have 48 hours to respond to that email with their postal address, or the prize will be redrawn.
Comments must have a valid email address to be included in this competition.
And that’s that. Happy weekend, jellybeans. Spaling!!!