What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the psychedelic and sometimes creepy quality of this show is tempered by an earnest laugh-track. Though Witchiepoo is a villain, she is more clownish than scary. There are, however, some monster puppets that might frighten the youngest viewers. Expect young viewers to imitate some of the witch's name-calling and bullying language ("stupid," "idiot," "shut up").
What's the story?
Jimmy (Jack Wild) and his magic flute, Freddy, are playing outside one day when they spot a colorful boat on the lake nearby. Once they hop on the boat, they realize they've been caught in a trap. It seems that the grumpy Witchiepoo (Billie Hayes) is set upon capturing Freddy the Flute. Luckily, the boy and his instrument land safely on Living Island, where Mayor Pufnstuf and his friends help Jimmy stay clear of Witchiepoo.
Is it any good?
High-stepping, peppy musical numbers, mixed with comic witchy hi-jinx from the talented Billie Hayes make for fun flashbacks and good times. Parents who grew up with this classic might be amazed by how truly strange the images are -- a sparkly flute, books, mushrooms, candles, owls, houses that talk. Even Jack, the boy with the cockney accent, has a funny jig that he does when he sings with the rest of the crew.
But it's Witchiepoo who steals the show. She is a rare type of female character who is the bad guy, sure. But she is funny and energetic and childish. Her Vroom Broom feels more like a Formula One racer than a broomstick. And when she cackles and screeches, jumping around like an imp, she portrays more than a one-dimensional villain, but a woman who is is funny and tricky and wily. Nice change from the normal stereotypes. Parents should sit along side their kids while watching this series, since some of the humor might come off as dated, and some of the psychedelic images might be too bizarre for youngest kids.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the TV shows that parents grew up with: How have things changed? Hand-made puppets used to rule the airwarves. Now everything is computer generated -- what's the difference in the qualtiy of this show compared to newer shows, in your opinion?
Witchiepoo hits people with her wand and casts spells to trap characters. How do you think this kind of cartoon violence affects kids?
There are so many strange and imaginative things that occur in this show -- like a whole house that has allergies and sneezes, and an island where everything can talk. What are the strangest ideas that you have ever had?
Do you notice any stereotypes depicted in the show?