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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Upside Down Show is a terrific series for preschoolers that uses silly humor, imaginative play, language play, and whimsical storylines to stimulate young minds to be curious and creative and to think critically about the world around them. The show's interactive aspect encourages cooperation and self-confidence, as preschoolers get to be "in control" while lending a helping hand.
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What's the story?
A delightfully inventive series for preschoolers, THE UPSIDE DOWN SHOW stars renowned Australian comedy duo David Collins and Shane Dundas -- also known as The Umbilical Brothers (whom many kids may already know from their often-wordless appearances on Sesame Street). In each zany episode, the energetic pair -- who talk plenty here -- takes young viewers on a rollicking journey, pausing every so often to invite kids to "control" the action via an imaginary TV remote that they "hand" to the viewer at the beginning of the episode. David and Shane play brothers who live in a fantastical house with an infinite number of quirky features, including magical doors and hidden passageways (such as an imaginary staircase or an elevator behind the sofa) that lead to bizarre rooms and other worlds, as well as everyday places beyond their living room. Each episode sends the brothers on a quest to find an object or place -- perhaps they need to track down a cowbell in order to play Puppet's "Symphony for a Cowbell," or they want to go to the art museum so they can display Shane's drawing. To fulfill their quest, the brothers have to travel through some of the house's magical passageways. Since they usually aren't quite sure how to get where they need to go, the journey involves lots of trial and error, and they're often sidetracked by bizarre rooms or locations, such as the Sticky Room, the Boat Out at Sea Room, or the Finger Painting Museum -- which makes the adventure all the more fun. At several points along the way, David and Shane ask young viewers to help them by pressing various buttons on their imaginary remote. The brothers may decide that they want to change the size of something, for example, or they may just need help out of a jam (such as getting unstuck from the walls of the Sticky Room); in any case, there's always a button on the viewer's remote that can do the trick. Occasionally, the viewer will "push a wrong button," at which point the duo suffers some unfortunate effect such as being turned sideways or upside down.
Is it any good?
Not only are David and Shane funny and entertaining, but the show's storylines are refreshingly original; each episode is filled with clever jokes, puns, music, and tons of physical humor. The fanciful world the brothers explore is sure to pique preschoolers' imagination and curiosity. Moreover, the series teaches little ones new words, life skills, relational concepts, and how to think critically, and introduces them to all kinds of wonderful things, places, and activities that exist out in the real world. Don't be surprised if even the youngest toddler is glued to the screen during The Upside Down Show.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about each episode of The Upside Down Show's theme and how each adventure unfolds. What are David and Shane looking for in this episode? Why do they want to find this particular object or place? Who helps them, and how? What happened when they finally found what they were looking for? What did you learn from this episode that you didn't know before?
Do David and Shane end up in any strange places or funny rooms along the way? How do they get out of these places? Did they ask you to help them by clicking your imaginary remote? What did they ask you to do? What happened as a result?
- Premiere date: October 16, 2006
- Cast: David Collins, Shane Dundas, Umbilical Brothers
- Networks: Nick Jr., Nickelodeon
- Genre: Educational
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Puppets
- Character strengths: Communication, Curiosity
- TV rating: TV-Y
- Available on: DVD, Streaming
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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