Lazytown: Go Go Lazytown Review
Lazytown comes back to DVD with another five episodes and released in the last couple of months coming up to Christmas. Expect this to feature in many a young child's Christmas list alongside a Stephanie wig and dress (for the girls, obviously) or a Sportacus action suit for the boys. Lazytown, like Charlie And Lola, is readying itself for a Christmas that should be just as successful as that it enjoyed last year. And, having scanned the Christmas gift catalogues that have already begun falling through my letterbox, there are Lazytown-themed toys, games and dressing-up outfits suitable for many a pre-schooler.
Once again, these don't follow the original production schedules. The first episode here, Rockin' Robbie, sees the villain hatch a plan from safe in his underground lair by pretending to be a rock musician and to use his star status to tell the kids to not only be lazy but, concluding in the same fashion as all the rotten plans always do, to demand that Sportacus leave town forever. With a diamond-encrusted rhinestone suit, his slicked-back hair and a, "Thank you very much!", Robbie brings a touch of the King of Rock'n'Roll to Lazytown. But as the kids gather on stage behind their very bendy guitars to rock out behind the rotten one, Stephanie only has a very short time to save Lazytown.
In Remote Control, Pixel invents a very special gadget, one that can not only control bats, balls and racquets but people! Stephanie and Ziggy think that its very dull to watch basketballs bounce themselves around a court but Pixel mutes, rewinds and pauses them when they try and complain. Unfortunately, there's a periscope looking over his shoulder that likes the idea of this gadget and what it could to make Lazytown quiet again. Soon, Sportacus is paused in mid-air, Stephanie is muted and Ziggy is walking backwards. What will Pixel do with his gadget? And will he learn to tie his laces on his own? Next is a favourite of long-running TV shows, Lazytown's Greatest Hits, in which Stephanie and Ziggy set off to find everyone's favourite song. Yes, it's made up entirely of bits of old shows but who cares when it includes the pink-tinged genius of Piece Of Cake.
The last-but-one episode on the disc is Little Sportacus in which Robbie hides in a purple bush - once again, everyone fails to spot that it's Robbie hiding in it - and invents a machine to turn Sportacus back into a ten-year-old boy. He calls himself Spob but he doesn't fool anyone, least of all Stephanie, and as they follow a trail of purple leaves to the hatch to Robbie's underground house, she and Spob set off to get their old Sportacus back. Finally, in Dancing Duel, Robbie worries about the upcoming dance contest in Lazytown. He thinks that if Stephanie wins, there will be dance contests every week in Lazytown...and he can't have that! His first plan doesn't go according to plan - a clockwork Robbie Rotten actually seems to be enjoying the thought of dancing - but when he plucks a doll out of a clockwork jewellery box to create Rottenella, he stands a chance of winning! All the better when Stephanie wakes up with cramp and unable to do her high kicks. Is this it for Lazytown? Will Robbie win?
Watching these episodes, it's clear that Magnús Scheving allows the character of Robbie Rotten to steal Lazytown away from Sportacus. Sportacus might have his minute or so during the pre-title sequence but thereafter, it's Rotten who stands out and not only for his blue-and-purple jumpsuit. Robbie Rotten gets the pick of the comedy, gurns at the camera and hides out in bushes, in holes in the ground and in the background. He gets all the best laughs, gets to fall over a lot and grumbles into a piece of giant chocolate cake at the end of every episode. And, to be honest, it's Rotten that I sympathise with most, typically when three screaming children are testing my patience with their running about the house inventing a game whose rules and whereabouts seem to change with every minute. I only wish that I had his figure, his knack for inventing gadgets and his chocolate cake.
Like the last Lazytown release, No One's Lazy In Lazytown, this looks very much better than previous discs with there being a good deal less mosquito noise in the picture and clearer presentation of the colours throughout. The problem with all of these earlier releases of Lazytown is that all of their problems, though not evident on a small screen, were perfectly clear on a larger one. This one, though, the fifth from BBC Worldwide, is a better-looking release. Indeed, unlike earlier Lazytown DVD releases, one has to look very closely to spot the faults in the transfer. As for the DD2.0 audio track, it's fine and exhibits no faults but it's largely ordinary. Finally, there are English subtitles.
The only extras on this disc are three sing-along songs taken from episodes outside of those included in this set. The three songs are Playing On The Playground (1m15s), Snow, Give Me Snow (1m43) and New Games Every Day (1m45s) with the middle one of these being the only feature on this disc that makes any attempt to tie into the coming Christmas season.