Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cats, Dogs, and GARFIELD DVD Review

When I was growing up, my parents never let us have a pet. First of all they had to worry about making enough money to feed us and second, my mom had been bitten by a dog as a child so was deathly afraid of them. When my parents finally advanced themselves financially enough, my mother found out she was allergic to animal fur when she tried to buy a mink coat. She actually did buy it, but then had to return it when her neck broke out in hives and she had trouble breathing. My father is a Buddhist and unable to kill any living creature. My mom has to kill all the spiders and bugs that come into the house. There is no way that my father would be able to handle having to euthanize a sick old dog or cat, so to avoid the situation he can never have a pet. So for all these various reasons, I grew up without a great love for dogs or cats or birds or any creature that could be a pet.

When I went to college, I trained myself to like dogs. One of my best friends had an illegal dog in her dorm room and there was no way I could go over there if I didn't like dogs. After college, the few encounters I had with cats (a roommate's cats came to live with us for a few weeks and I cat-sat for a friend during law school) left me with the distinct impression that cats are not friendly and want only to scratch my eyes out. And of course it didn't help that, in the first house we bought, there was a corner of the hardwood floor that was completely disintegrated because it had been the previous owner's cats' favorite place to relieve themselves. For some reason, dogs seemed friendlier. H&R have always had a great affinity for dogs. H would go up to the biggest dogs in Manhattan and put his hand in their mouth. The only stuffed animal he ever picked out in a toy store to buy was a Gund puppy. R's nickname is R-Dog, so we've conditioned him to love dogs.

Where am I going with this? We've just moved into a townhouse complex in the San Jose area. Our next door neighbor has five adult CATS, one of which recently had a litter of kittens. (Yes, she's older than me and unmarried. I can only imagine how many cats are actually living inside her home.) She also feeds a stray cat that comes by every day. I did not have a good feeling about this. I thought for sure H&R would say things like, "I'm scared of cats. I don't like cats. I only like dogs." I thought they would run away from the cats. But no, they LIKE the cats. They always look for them and want to see them sitting on the eaves of the roof next door. They want to pet the cats and feed the cats. I think they would even play with the cats if the cats ever allowed H&R to catch them. Instead of saying, "woof, woof," now R says, "meow, meow." I can only think of one reason why they are suddenly displaying such affection towards cats: GARFIELD!

When we moved to San Jose, we were in corporate housing for a month. The apartment was furnished and came with cable. The only kids show that they could watch after dinner was back to back episodes of Garfield on the Cartoon Network. At first they were scared of it--after all they had never had any positive experiences with cats. Then they tolerated it. Then they started to like it. I think the show helped them incorporate cats into their everyday consciousness. So when the boys and I were given the opportunity to review the new Garfield DVD, I had to say yes.

Jim Davis’ classic cartoon cat is back in action (or is it inaction?) in “The Garfield Show: Odie Oh!”, which pounced on DVD October 5 from Vivendi Entertainment. Named one of the best new kids’ shows by People magazine and voted favorite comic strip by Nickelodeon magazine readers, “The Garfield Show” offers a fresh and funny look at Garfield’s day-to-day life, blending the modern look of CG animation and the familiar humor of Garfield, Odie the dog and Jon Arbuckle. Currently airing on the Cartoon Network, the vivid series follows the lasagna-loving, Monday-hating fat cat as he gets in and out of sticky situations, learning important lessons along the way.

“The Garfield Show: Odie Oh!” DVD contains six episodes. Parents might want to preview the episodes before showing it to children who are sensitive viewers because a couple of the episodes could be a bit scary for the littlest viewers (R kept saying he was scared but at the same time he wouldn't stop watching). In "Pup in the Pound," Garfield finds trouble after accidentally getting Odie sent to the pound and learns what friendship. "Odie in Love" is an endearing episode in which Odie falls in love with a very unusual object. "From the Oven" and "Neighbor Nathan" are perfect for some Halloween-scary, innocent fun. "Up a Tree" teaches some good lessons about the dangers of negative stereotyping, and "Flying Dog" shows the importance of having dreams. H's favorite was "From the Oven" because he loves baking cakes! For me, one of the great aspects of the show is that it is not a closed universe. New characters can appear in each episode, which makes it seem more like real life.

I'm glad Garfield was able to change my boys' attitudes towards cats. Without that change I think living here would be pretty difficult because cats are everywhere. They even come into our garage and stare at us if our door is open. The Cat Lady Next Door already offered us a kitten, which I politely declined citing my mom's allergies. I really hope she finds homes for them instead of keeping them herself. For now, I'll stick to watching a pretend cat that I can turn on and off and not have to worry about feeding. MEOW!

I did not receive compensation for this post. I received a product sample for review purposes. Cat photo obtained from Flickr, taken by Luis Miguel Bugallo Sanchez from Santiago de Compostela, Galicia.

1 comment:

JoycetheRockStar said...

omg. Is that picture of a real cat your neighbor's cat? How frightening!