BunnyTown: Hello Bunniesby Chris Barry, contributing writer
- DVD Release Date: March 17, 2009
- 1.33:1 Full Screen
- Dolby Digital Sound
- English and Spanish Language Tracks
- Suggested Retail Price: $19.99
I'm trying desperately to keep my 6-year-old twin boys away from SpongeBob, Pokemon, pro wrestling and other shows that I don't care for. The simpler the better, the more innocent the better, while I still can. The same goes for my 10-year-old daughter. Luckily, they don't fight me on this endeavor. They'll happily watch PlayHouse Disney, Noggin and PBS Kids. This makes me happy and it actually makes them happy. BunnyTown is probably geared for a much younger audience, but they love it and I'll keep them watching it as long as they'll sit there. I actually think that says a lot for BunnyTown that it can hold their attention, and that I can tolerate it as well.
BunnyTown is the brainchild of David Rudman, a longtime puppeteer who spent the early part of his career working for the master himself, Jim Henson. Many of you who have children, or who are just fans of Sesame Street would recognize David's voice as Baby Bear. It's probably not so easy to recognize, but he is also the current voice of Cookie Monster, a role he took over from Muppet legend Frank Oz. I remember working with David during my time at Jim Henson Productions. He was a smart, talented and creative young puppeteer, and I've enjoyed watching his creations and characters grow and develop over the years. Spiffy Pictures, the company he formed with his brother Adam and Todd Hannert also produces Nick Jr's Curious Buddies, and Noggin's Jack's Big Music Show. BunnyTown has been in production since 2007 and lists Brian Henson as a producer and many puppeteers from the world of Sesame Street and The Muppet Show such as Eric Jacobson (who has taken over performing many of Frank Oz's characters such as Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Bert and Grover) and Muppet legend Kathryn Mullen (who has worked with The Muppets since 1978 and helped create Between the Lions.)
BunnyTown is a simple kind of show, relying more on music, brilliantly colored sets, and adorable bunny puppets rather than fully formed stories. The bunnies seem rather interchangeable, much like the Muppet Whatnots (generic Muppets that can be made into any type of character.) There are some recurring segments such as Super Bunny, Space Bunny and King Fluffy. Lessons are learned, songs are sung, and fun is had by all. Rudman has certainly learned his lessons from his tenure with Henson. The sets are very elaborate with many levels and depths of scenery and are jam packed with puppets, much like a typical Henson Muppet set. There are bunnies everywhere. They're in the windows of the buildings, driving cars, and, of course, hopping about. The intention is to give the young set of eyes plenty to look at and be stimulated by and it works on this aging set of eyes as well.
I enjoyed watching BunnyTown. I'm a Muppet fan and it's great to see David and his creations continue to have success. The show is low-tech and that's refreshing in this day and age. The songs are fun and easy to remember and the bunnies are so darned cute. Kudos to David and crew on this truly charming show.
The disc features four episodes and doesn't pretend to present them in any kind of themed group. It's basically a collection of episodes: "Hello Bunnies," "G'Day Bunnies," "Bunny-A-Go-Go," and "Bumblin' Bunnies".
Extras are pretty sparse and consist of a "learn to dance with the bunnies" segment and a DVD game.
This takes its cue from the popular dance video games. On-screen footsteps allow you to learn how to dance with the bunnies. I couldn't get my boys to dance, but I think if they were a little younger they might have been persuaded.
"It's That Time Again" Game
This is a multiple choice game that lets you help the bunnies plan their day. Very simple and fun for the youngest fans.
Audio, Video and Interface
The audio and video are perfectly acceptable. It looks great and sounds great. The menu slowly adds bunnies to it until they surround the choices. It's cute and simple to navigate.
The Final Evaluation
I have a soft spot for puppets. I grew up on Sesame Street and The Muppet Show and began my career with them. David Rudman and his team have crafted something simple and enjoyable for both kids and adults. If you have kids the right age, it's likely you already know about BunnyTown and will probably go out and buy this DVD anyway. If you're like me and your kids are on the threshold of losing that innocence, I suggest you go out and buy this DVD as well. The 6-year-olds love BunnyTown and my 10-year-old daughter thinks it's adorable, too. She watched the whole thing with me as I was taking notes, and I caught her singing along several times. Thanks David, as a dad in this day and age, I needed that.