Was still feeling a little glum this evening (for different but not very clear reasons), so after I had dinner I decided to watch the DVD of Kim Possible: The Secret Files that I rented the other night. Boy, was it the right choice. It's very difficult to maintain glum while watching this show.
The only place I'd ever heard of the show was in a preview on the Spy Kids DVD that I rented in mid-2002. The preview was fun and charming, but I figured I'd probably never get a chance to see the show. But this DVD collects three episodes (apparently at random) from the series, and adds a new episode that apparently hasn't ever been broadcast.
The premise is that Kim Possible is a fairly normal teenage cheerleader who's also a world-famous adventurer and hero. Her mother is a brain surgeon; her father is a rocket scientist. With the help of her best friend Ron Stoppable, Ron's pet naked mole rat Rufus, and a geek kid named Wade who can do anything with computers or gadgets, Kim saves the world from giant robots, killer Cuddle Buddies, and unstoppable mad scientists.
The show is quirky and laugh-out-loud funny and utterly charming. The occasional morals are a little heavy-handed, but the show is so much fun I don't mind. It looks like the core fans are in the 9- to 13-year-old range; I'm actually a little surprised that kids like it, but they do seem to. (I'm not as surprised, though, as I am that kids like Daria; I would think the core audience for that would be kids who were too blasé and world-weary to be interested in watching TV.)
I'm not sure KP quite manages to pull off the balancing act between making Kim a normal girl with normal problems and making her a superhero, but it comes pretty close.
Dr. Drakken (a mad scientist bent on world domination): I AM DOCTOR DRAKKEN!
DNAmy (a villainous geneticist): M.D. or dentist?
Drakken: I am quite capable of creating a genetically enhanced super-army by myself, thank you.
Mr. Barkin (a teacher): If you do not like your partner, you can ask for a change. .... I will of course say no. It's part of the "life is unfair" theme I'm working into all curricula.
Ron (talking about going to a dance): We always go together.
Kim: Yeah ... but that's as, you know, friends. And this time I was thinking about lining up a, y'know—
Ron: —An enemy?
Kim: A date!
Ron: —A date! Right!
Drakken (as Kim leaps to safety): Why did she have to be a cheerleader? If she was on the debate team, I would've vaporized her by now!
And in case those aren't as funny on the page as they are in context (the delivery and the visuals help a lot), here are some more enticements:
Giant robots! Snowboarding! Sexy kick-ass female villain sidekick! Plush animal toys! Lasers! Cheerleaders! Scientists and other smart people portrayed as positive role models! (Also as world-conquering mad scientists!) Patrick (The Tick) Warburton as Mr. Barkin! A catchy song called "Naked Mole Rap" playing over the closing credits! The Genetic Zipper DNA fusion machine!
Go rent it. You won't be sorry.
Unless, y'know, you hate fun.
(I should note that the second episode on this DVD, "Downhill," didn't seem to me nearly as funny or as much fun as the others, perhaps because it relies fairly heavily on humor-of-embarrassment. But it's worth watching because it introduces one of the villains. I should also note that the first episode of the series is inexplicably relegated to the "special features" section of the DVD; I think I'd recommend watching it before watching the three that are lumped together as the main feature part of the DVD.)