Here’s the deal, fathers. If you have daughters—or sons who don’t care about outmoded gender roles (and if so, good on you, man)—there is a 90 percent chance that at some point during your day, you’re going to have to watch something with unicorns in it. The key is to find a unicorn-based entertainment which your picky-as-to-unicorns children and you, a reasonable adult, can watch together and enjoy as much as possible.
It’s actually not that hard. My Little Pony – Friendship is Magic: Royal Pony Wedding comes out on DVD from SHout! Kids on August 7. A two-hour length special miniseries of five episodes from the shockingly popular, actually pretty hip and funny The Hub channel’s 2010 reboot of the fanciful ’80s series, it’s both unicorn heavy (the way MLP always should have been!) and high on the drama.
Reflecting and condensing the recent English royal wedding fervor for children, the plot concerns Shining Armor’s impending nuptials to Cadance, the well-heeled niece of Princess Celestia. Shining Armor’s sister is, of course, Twilight Sparkle, so this marriage is one of romance, but also at least somewhat politically motivated, as this royal marriage will certainly consolidate power and join two of the most powerful families in the city-state of Ponyville. It’s also worth mentioning that these are some great unicorn names.
There are songs, rainbow-haired unicorns in wedding dresses, and lots and lots and lots of pink. It’s kind of ridiculous, but totally fun. Shout Kids! has graciously offered us up a giveaway: a brand-new DVD of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: Royal Pony Wedding. If you think you’ve got the pony magic to bring this one home for you or your kids, leave a comment below. A random respondent wins! Dadnabbit is magic!
Warm milk. A bath in lavender soap. An old episode of the ‘80s TV adaptation of Babar. These are the three things that every parent knows can relax and put to sleep even the fussiest of toddlers. Glory be, as Nelvana’s Babar, long a mainstay of VHS, the early morning hours of family-friendly cable channels, and on-demand services, is now available on DVD in full-season collections.
Originally airing on HBO, Babar: The Classic Series is the finest of many adaptations of Jean de Brunhof’s long-running, 80-year-old picture book series about Babar, the elephant made king by introducing civilization to his brethren. And while the books feature a now dated and mystifying undercurrent of imperialism and taming the “otherness,” the series is nothing but sweet and gentle, quiet and happy. Perhaps it’s the crisp, soothing tenor of William Daniels (the voice of KITT from Knight Rider, Mr. Feeney on Boy Meets World), or that twinkling piano theme song that sets the tone for Babar’s adventures that explore morality, understanding others, and just trying to be a good person (or elephant), who no matter who you are.
As a bonus, the whole thing has been re-mastered, so it’s far more lush and less scratchy looking than I remember, yet still retaining that simple, hand-drawn, thick-outlined storybook quality. Babar: The Classic Series: Season 1 offers 13 episodes on two discs, and you can even watch it in French, which is, of course, the native language of Babar, the elephant king.
Live long enough, and you’ll figure out that every generation has its own young girl freakout. Perhaps owing to our accelerated digital culture, I think we’ve seen three over the last 15 years or so: the hubbub over Reviving Ophelia, the ruckus over Oprah’s discovery of “rainbow parties,” and our collective national cluck-clucking over the “Chris Brown could beat me” memetweetawfulthing.
But if you actually happen to have a young girl in your home, you know they’re impossibly complex creatures, impossible to lump into nationwide movements, hard not to worry about one moment, hard not to strangle the next. And if for some reason you’re feeling anxious about a young girl in your life, here’s a ray of sunshine for you: A BoingBoing report on how sewing — yes, sewing — is the hot new tween trend. (Complete with 21st century tech twist: the article talks about LilyPad Arduino, an open source project involving “sewable lights, motors, and temperature sensors.”)
It’s a fun, encouraging, interesting read — not only if you’re interested in sewing, but as an example of just how wonderfully smart, strong, and complicated our young women are — and as an example of how kids are using tools to create even as we wring our hands over our perceived national drift toward lazy consumption. Maybe the future won’t be so bad.