I’ve been watching a lot of Netflix, recently. Not that I had to pay anything, you understand. I’m so poor that when I walk through town, the tramps give me money, no joke. I got a birthday card from the Inland Revenue with a fiver inside!
My brother has a Netflix account, you see, and he doesn’t mind at all who’s using it when he’s not, so I get to watch for free. And a good thing, too, because I’ve come to the conclusion that Netflix is a load of rubbish. You’d find a better selection of films in a charity shop. No, you’d find a better selection of films in the bin outside the charity shop.
It’s flabbergasting. Their inventory consists mostly of poor sequels to better films and the type of thing that Channel Four shows at three o’ clock on a weekday afternoon, like The Nutty Professor and Angel Dog. Think of any film, anything at all, and you can bet they won’t have it. In three months, I have yet to have a single positive search result. Worse, it knows what you’re looking for and comes up with ‘suggestions’ to placate you. For example, type in “Blazing” and it’ll come up with “Films related to Blazing Saddles: Spaceballs”
So what have I been watching? The Kid’s section, of course. It’s actually pretty decent. Not great, but good enough that children or the childlike will be entertained for a while.
They have full seasons of ’90s staples like Power Rangers, Big Bad Beetleborgs and Goosebumps, plus cartoons like The Magic Schoolbus and Adventure Time. And also something called iCarly, which I found – unexpectedly – to be absolutely hilarious.
I had a bit of a hissy fit when I discovered that their Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake episodes are the recent CGI versions. I hate CGI animation in kid’s TV; it’s cheap and lazy. The older, traditionally-animated shows are available for free on YouTube, though. I suspect that might be the reason they’re missing from Netflix.
Speaking of Strawberry Shortcake, I wrote about her adventures a few months ago. I mentioned how much I loved the theme song, but had no interest in the show whatsoever. It was asinine and sweetly patronising, but did nothing for me.
Well, for some reason I went back to it and kinda… watched the entire series. This worries me. And my parents, who’ve stopped asking if I’ve met any nice girls recently.
My friends are forever bugging me to watch their favourite TV series; Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Firefly et cetera. And I just can’t motivate myself to watch any of them. There’s a lot happening on Planet Adam, you see. I have a lot of hobbies and interests and stuff to think about, and a finite amount of mental resources to dedicate to them.
And yet I found myself immediately hooked on Strawberry Shortcake. It’s banal and infantile, but so damn cheerful I couldn’t tear my eyes away. I find that as I watch, my thoughts begin to wander, and before long I’m thinking about what it would be like to live in Strawberry Land. Here in the “real world” we have rent to pay, taxes to dodge and debt to accrue. Wouldn’t we all like to get away from that?
The inhabitants of Strawberry Land (which, by the way, has very few strawberries) seem to be stuck in a sort of limbo. They live on their own, as adults, yet clearly they are children. Or maybe they’re just really youthful-looking – I suppose when you have no responsibilities and all the berries you can eat, you get that way. They play games, make things, put on shows and burst into song at a moment’s notice. They each have a pet to take care of, most with suitably punny or alliterative names like Pupcake or Cola Chameleon.
There’s very little trouble or strife at all. The closest thing to conflict came when Custard the cat, in a jealous rage, tried to bump off Pupcake by taking him into the woods and leaving him to die of exposure. Stone cold, man.
It was several episodes in when I discovered that Custard the cat was supposed to be a girl. She’s pink, and wears a little bow, but I just assumed he was a bit metro. I liked the character better when I thought he was a dude, but we’ll stop there. My therapist wants a new car, so I better save all the good stuff for later.
Anyway, I think perhaps the wish is father to the thought and deep inside I yearn for a carefree life. I could pack up my worldly possessions (three T-shirts, two pairs of He-Man pants, a Super Nintendo and a soiled copy of Twilight Sparkle’s Big Boob Daibouken), jet off to Strawberry Land and live inside a giant gooseberry. I’d eat pie all day long, my friends would forever shower me with platonic affection and sweet dessert treats, and the sun itself will look down and smile as I go about my business.
That’s the life for me.
“Watching the kids”