I Wanna Be Like Bandit!

I realize that the title of this blog (and the picture above) may be misleading, because it is not about Burt Reynolds. In my defense, they say that having a good blog title will make people want to read it – and here you are! So just what is this blog about? A cartoon role model.

Never Heard of It

The age difference between my oldest boy and my daughter is 18 years. The difference between my youngest son and my daughter is 13 years. Kids shows are constantly changing. Sure, some of the same shows my oldest watched were still on when my youngest was born. However, it seems that outside of Sesame Street, there are always new shows on. PBS is barely recognizable now outside of Sesame Street and Curious George (to me anyway).

Let me say before I go on that the TV is usually background noise. I do not plant my daughter in front of it and use it as a babysitter. In fact, the things she likes most are the theme songs. Once they are over, she’s off playing with her toys or bringing me books to read. The only show that she really watches is Bubble Guppies. I think she likes it because of the bright colors and the fact that there is a lot of music in the show.

Bubble Guppies

When Ella gets up in the morning, I usually give her a sippy cup of milk and turn on the TV. Most mornings I turn on Disney Channel. There is a show on there about a family of Australian dogs. It’s called Bluey. I had never heard of this show until recently. If I had to compare it to another show, I would say it is kind of like Peppa Pig, but better. So why I am writing about this silly little cartoon? And who could possibly be a role model on the show??

The Show

The show revolves around the Heeler Family – Dad (Bandit), Mum (Chilli) and the kids (Bingo and Bluey). The show was created by Joe Blumm, who based much of the show on raising his two daughters. He said that many of the story ideas were directly based on watching his daughters play. The program’s scripts show how children can use gameplay to learn lessons and integrate the world of adults into their own; Brumm noticed how his children would recreate interactions such as visits to the doctor, through roleplay. On the show, he wanted to portray the importance of imaginative play. His creative aims were to make children laugh, and show parents what children can learn while engaged in play.

The Role Model

Bluey’s Dad, Bandit, is a true role model for fathers. He is “all-in” as a dad. The reason I chose to write about him was that I noticed just what a fantastic dad he is! He doesn’t have his head in the newspaper, or his phone in his face while his kids are playing – he gets right in there with them. When the kids tell him what character he is – he becomes that character. Maybe he is a baby in the supermarket, or getting a shot at the doctor. Maybe he is a crazy robot or a garden gnome, whatever the role, he embraces it and plays the part like he is working toward an Academy Award!

Through it all, there are lessons to be learned as well. In one episode, Bluey finds a bird that is injured. She tells her dad who, rather than blowing it off or telling her to go talk with mommy, takes the bird to the vet. They wait for news at the vet, and find out that the bird died. He is there for her as she processes the new concept of death. There’s nothing funny about this, and there is no punch line (as you might see in a sitcom with your stereotypical sitcom dad). Bandit is a truly wonderful dad.

One thing parents tend to forget is that your time becomes your kid’s time. What do I mean by that? Simply this – if I want to sit down and watch a Detroit Tigers game on TV and Ella wants to play “Tea Party,” then I need to play with Ella! That’s that! Bandit is that way! If he is in the middle of mowing the grass and Bluey wants to play, the grass can wait! The kids are the priority! They get his full attention!

Looking back, I feel bad. I know there were many times that my boys asked me to do something and I was in the middle of something else. I found myself putting them on “hold.” The problem with that is – they keep growing and growing fast! By putting them on hold, you miss out on bonding and moments you will never get again. That being said, I turn to Bandit as my role model!! Maybe I need to ask myself in those instances “What Would Bandit Do?”

Do yourself a favor, especially if you are a parent – watch the episode of Bluey called “Take Away”. After watching it, you will see how wonderfully this cartoon shows the joys of parenthood and the occasional chaos that goes with it. If you don’t learn something from how Bandit handles the frustrations of the situation from this short cartoon, you missed something!

Almost every TV show today shows the dad as a goofball. Oh sure, they have their “moments” where they have the heart to heart talk with their kids and the lesson is taught, but most of the time TV dad’s are comic relief. Bandit is the dad that most of us dad’s should strive to be like.

Tunes from Toons

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I spent a lot of time in the car with my sons this past weekend.  My oldest son asked me if I remembered some of the shows he used to watch as a kid.  We began listing the shows he and his brother watched and had many laughs as we remembered specific episodes.  This led to us talking about songs from shows. With every song we recalled, the more I thought about the possibility of it being a topic for a blog.

The picture above may be a little misleading.  The Beatles cartoons all featured a Beatles song.  There were cartoons that were about bands like Josie and the Pussycats, Jabberjaw, Butch Cassidy, The Banana Splits, The Archies, and The Chipmunks.  I am not talking about these cartoons.  This blog is about songs that were featured in cartoons NOT about bands.

The songs I wrote down are all songs that I remember instantly when I think about these cartoons.  They are NOT the theme songs to the cartoons themselves, although many of those theme songs are just awesome.  Some of these songs will stem from cartoons my kids watched, while many will be from toons I watched growing up.

I also want to point out that these songs are NOT from movies.  Almost every Disney film has 2-5 songs that come from them.  Yes, they are animated cartoons, but I am specifically talking about non-movie songs.

Let me start with a classic.  In the Bugs Bunny cartoon “Hillbilly Hare”, an innocent square dance becomes a physical brawl between two brothers (thanks to Bugs).  This scene and song was something my morning show partner and I talked about on the air one day!

My brother grew up watching Animaniacs.  We always laughed that they had a character based on Perry Como, who they called Perry Coma. Anyway, they have a few songs that stand out – one naming all the countries in the world, another naming all the presidents (up to Clinton, if I remember right), and one naming the all the states and their capitals.  I wish I had this song to memorize when I was growing up.

There was a season of Scooby Doo where they would play songs during the “chase scenes”.  There was always one song that stood out for me.  I never knew the name of it until I found it on an album of Scooby Doo songs.  It was called “Tell Me, Tell Me”.  Remember this one?

My boys watched a lot of SpongeBob Squarepants.  There were some episodes that were very funny, and others I found extra annoying.  One song from this show that my boys just loved was “Sweet Victory”, which they performed at the “Bubble Bowl”

They weren’t all “Rock” songs, but the Flintstones certainly had a few that stick out to me.  Hoagy Carmichael (one of the great songwriters of all time) appeared as himself on the show and sang “Yabba Dabba Doo”, there was the Soft Soap jingle, “Listen to the Rockin’ Bird”, and my favorite – The Bedrock Twitch, sung by Rock Roll (or in this clip, Fred).

There are some who would argue that the best song from the Flintstones came from Pebbles and Bamm Bamm, so here is that one.

There was one song from the Jetsons that I always remember.  Judy loves singer Jet Screamer (played by Howie Morris).  Elroy’s secret code gets sent into a song writing contest and becomes his next hit record.  Remember Eep Opp Ork Ah Ah?

An earworm that drove parents everywhere crazy came from the Ren & Stimpy Show.  Time to get Happy Happy with Stinky Wizzleteats…

The Simpson’s has had their share of amazing music in their over 30 years on the air.  There have even been albums of just music from the show.  There is one little gem that I can’t get enough of – and it is only about 45 seconds long.  Homer becomes a Stonecutter and they have their own song!  Yes, I often hit repeat when this comes on the iPod.

Ok, technically, this entire cartoon is a song.  I have to include it on my list, because, well, it’s my list and I love this!  Stan Freberg tells the story of the Three Little Bops with music by Shorty Rogers!

If I had to pick one cartoon that I LOVED watching with my kids, it would be Phineas and Ferb.  If you have never seen the show, its just plain fun with a new song in almost every episode.  Candace is always trying to bust her brothers (Phineas and Ferb – who make the most out of every single day of summer) while Perry (their pet platypus – who is also a secret agent) tries to save the Tri-State area from the evil scientist Dr. Doofenshmirtz.

There are many songs I could pick from (My Undead Mummy and Me, My Nemesis, My Goody Two Shoes Brother, Busted, S.I.M.P – Squirrels In My Pants, and Perry’s Theme), but I will turn to one of their early episodes for my favorite.

In one episode, Flop Starz, they decide to write a hit song.  Their mom explains what a “one hit wonder” is and they are off to write it!  The result – Gitchee Gitchee Goo.  The song itself has been reviewed by critics who have said that the song could have easily been a hit song!

Your turn.  What songs do YOU remember from your favorite cartoon shows?

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