OK, maybe I just have a thing for talking dogs.
April 25, 2013 10:45 AM   Subscribe

"Recall that the core structure of the series as a whole is about comparing the flashback to the Oakdale plot and in one way or another demonstrating how they're the same story, or at least share a not-insignificant overlap. Wishbone straddles both spheres, the only character to exist in both simultaneously. This, combined with his ability to transcend the entire show to speak directly to the audience is incredibly revealing: By placing Wishbone here, the show is essentially saying Oakdale is really just as theatrical as the flashbacks. He's the character who can remind us that despite its intriguing and tempting pretensions, Oakdale is still ultimately a performative work that's partially children's entertainment and wholly a story of its own, just like the plays he and his troupe put on for us."
(or at least, that's the pullquote for the post I was making that happens to be open in another tab, having just been previewed.)

In case anyone wants to watch the entire series, it happens to have been uploaded to youtube in its entirety in nice, digestible, 10-minute segments.
posted by ChuraChura at 10:54 AM on April 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

The best episode is either Shakespaw (for reasons explained in the article), Bone of Arc (because watching Sam be awesome was awesome!), or A Tale of Two Sitters (because the switch between human Sidney Carton and Jack Russell terrier Charles Darnay is played totally straight).
posted by ChuraChura at 10:58 AM on April 25, 2013 [3 favorites]

(sorry churachura, thanks for the additions)
posted by emjaybee at 10:59 AM on April 25, 2013

Aaaaand the themesong is stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

♫ ♪ C'mon Wishboooone. What's the story Wishbone? ♪ ♫
posted by Wretch729 at 11:12 AM on April 25, 2013

For some reason while reading this Zot came to mind, because the shorter slice-of-life comics feel a lot like how he's describing Wishbone: a small town drama about a group of teenagers with one outsider character with a seemingly magical ability that seems, from the audience's perspective, to be completely out of place in a mostly normal universe.
posted by NoraReed at 11:20 AM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

I loved Wishbone - both the show and the dog - enough to wait in line for an hour to see the star and some of the human actors live at Water Tower Place in Chicago. I also still have my stuffed Wishbone in Elizabethan costume (actually, it's held in trust at my Dad's house for visiting youngsters, but I may just reclaim it).
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 11:22 AM on April 25, 2013

Such a big imagination. . . for such a little pup.
posted by General Tonic at 11:22 AM on April 25, 2013

When Wishbone came out on video I was working in a place which played kids' videos non-stop, and I must have seen the Hound of the Baskervilles episode five. zillion. times. NO WISHBONE DIDN'T TIP OVER THOSE GARBAGE CANS IT WAS THAT STUPID STRAY DOG ARRGH.

And yet it held up extremely well. Much better than that rubbish "Pagemaster" film starring Macaulay Culkin or whichever Mighty Ducks sequel we had. I looked forward to Wishbone on constant loop. He did look very cute in his little deerstalker cap and all.

I also saw A Goofy Movie more times than any human being should. We don't talk about it.
posted by Spatch at 11:30 AM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

There's a distinction to be made between public service and a desire for actual material social progress

I wish the author had expanded more on this, I'm not entirely clear on what they are saying.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:37 AM on April 25, 2013

I can't believe there's somebody else in the world that is going on and on about the tremendous natural acting of the Mom on Wishbone as this was an ongoing point of discussion between an ex and myself. It's kind of freaking me out.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:37 AM on April 25, 2013 [8 favorites]

Judging by how much Joe matured during the run of the show, I thought Wishbone ran more than 2-3 seasons. I guess that kids that age can just change quickly.
posted by tippiedog at 11:38 AM on April 25, 2013

the tremendous natural acting of the Mom

She really likes baklava. I don't know why I think of her whenever I think of or see baklava. Something about a treadmill.
posted by cmoj at 11:42 AM on April 25, 2013

I'm the blogger who attempted a redemptive reading of Scooby-Doo that turned it into a bristling piece of displaced early 60s youth radicalism by way of German Expressionism so, you know, consider the source.
Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:43 AM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

My son (7) occasionally catches this show and always displays astonishment at the fantasy bits..."He's a dog!"...but is also enraptured. We had a cool discussion on Joan of Arc (one of my favorite episodes) thanks to the show.

I will admit that unlike Marsfelder, I never found the actors all that compelling. The suspense of "how will they make a tiny dog + voice actor portray this literary role?" was the real hook for me.
posted by emjaybee at 11:44 AM on April 25, 2013

Loved this show. Especially that they took the time to explain stuff like Foley and what a gaffer does - who does that?! (Plus in one part of my brain, Mr. Darcy will always be an adorable little woozums)
posted by Mchelly at 12:00 PM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh man, Wishbone as Mr. Darcy was kind of lifechanging for me. Also, why is this show not on Netflix? Doesn't it seem like it would be extremely perfect for being shown on Netflix?
posted by a fiendish thingy at 12:20 PM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

My 5-y.-o. has been making her way through the show on YouTube, and I've been reading her the Wishbone adapted classics; she is sitting still for "Don Quixote," and positively loved the adaptation of "Treasure Island." As a quick and dirty way to get her familiar with the basics of some classic literature, I'll take it, imaginative talking dog and all.
posted by MonkeyToes at 12:25 PM on April 25, 2013

I not sure why I'm so tickled about the fact that someone did such a detailed writeup of a long defunct PBS kid show. Maybe because it's well deserved.
posted by 2N2222 at 12:26 PM on April 25, 2013

I never watched Wishbone - I was not of the right age to fully appreciate its intricacies - but there's a giant carved wooden door on one of the art studios in the warehouse where my friend keeps her own studio. It was a prop from the show, at least according to its owner. Anyone here remember a giant carved wooden door? A giant carved wooden door from the PBS television series Wishbone. Anyone?
posted by item at 12:29 PM on April 25, 2013

Anyone here remember a giant carved wooden door? A giant carved wooden door from the PBS television series Wishbone. Anyone?

Daughter's guess is that it involves the Trojan horse/a visit to the vet. Perhaps "Homer, Sweet Homer"?
posted by MonkeyToes at 12:40 PM on April 25, 2013

There's a distinction to be made between public service and a desire for actual material social progress

I wish the author had expanded more on this, I'm not entirely clear on what they are saying.

I think the author's talking about the idea of the creators thinking "oh, this is good for kids, giving 'em synopses of classic lit" versus taking that base idea and also loading it down with other stuff that's good for kids too that's more subtle (like the good gender roles and such). Basically the difference between an OK teacher and a great one, if that makes sense. Going above and beyond.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 1:21 PM on April 25, 2013

I was probably a bit old for Wishbone, but I still loved it. The cute dog gets you in the door, but the show really was very well done, better than you'd think it'd be. It's really a high-water mark for truly good Children's Television.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 1:23 PM on April 25, 2013

Wishbone was one of my great delights whilst I was a university student. Yes there was the inherent comedic value of a dog in an Elizabethan ruff playing the straight man, but the choice of text and the manner in which it was played... just so clever! I too have a wishbone toy still living at the family home for posterity.

And for the record, Wishbone as Ariel in The Tempest was BRILLIANT.
posted by Alice Russel-Wallace at 5:25 PM on April 25, 2013

(I should point out that I was 30 years old when I waited in that line to see Wishbone/Soccer. Just to be clear.)
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 6:02 PM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

I always thought the kids were such nice examples of how kids can be friends with each other without being all snarky and sarcastic all the time. That's tough to find on kids' tv these days.
posted by Biblio at 6:42 PM on April 25, 2013

I posted this on google+ this afternoon - Josh Marsfelder stopped by to say that this was one of his favorite things he's written, and he's really happy that it was so resonant with people who also love Wishbone!
posted by ChuraChura at 7:12 PM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

During English class in Jr high and high school I looked back on all these episodes and felt like I understood the novels much more than I would have if my best friend and I hadn't obsessively watched Wishbone as seven and eight year olds.
Especially Great Expectations.
posted by missriss89 at 7:13 PM on April 25, 2013

Wishbone used to be on tv right when I got home from middle school. Considering those years were some of the worst of my life, and I am still around to remember them, the healing power of a cute dog in costume telling great stories is unmeasurable. If anybody came into the room while I was watching it, I'd change the channel and deny any knowledge of Wishbone's existence, but there's no question that the distraction and depth provided by that show kept me afloat on numerous occasions.
posted by Mizu at 2:07 AM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

I was in my late-twenties, working a publications job that allowed me to be home most every afternoon, and the only station we got decent reception of was the local public television (which suited us just fine). I watched a lot of Wishbone in its original run. Not every day, but I did know when it was on and would tune in. IT WAS REALLY GOOD, OKAY? (Also, Joe was an idiot. Go away Joe, your dog is smarter than you.)
posted by D.C. at 1:13 PM on April 26, 2013

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