TV Tuesday: Team Umizoomi

“Team Umizoomi” is one of those rare children shows where I actually feel like my child is learning something while she’s watching it, but something about it bothers me every single time. I absolutely hate it when the computer animated characters meet up with real children to help them solve a problem. I know this is the whole premise of the show so by saying I hate this makes it seem like I hate the whole show, but that’s not it. What I hate is that the people they use for the show are real instead of computer animated when the characters are computer animated.

For some reason computer-animated characters with living actors look completely wrong to me even though I grew up loving the cartoon plus people portions of “Mary Poppins” and “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”. It is whimsical when Roger Rabbit, who is clearly a 2D drawing, hangs out with the disgruntled detective, but it is creepy when a member of Team Umizoomi sits on a little girl’s shoulder.

Maybe it has something to do with scale. The members of Team Umizoomi are absolutely tiny. They look bizarre hanging out on the shoulders of real children. Roger Rabbit was smaller than the actors in his movie, but he looked big enough to at least be talking to them. Team Umizoomi’s characters look roughly the size of butterflies. How often small things the size of butterflies talk to you?

It could be that the computer animation is supposed to look 3D, but when you put the characters into the real world they look even more fake. They somehow look even more fake than the drawings in “Mary Poppins”.

I think the show would work much better if they animated the children Team Umizoomi was helping. The creep factor would disappear and everyone would look correct together.

I don’t know why drawings work better with real people than computer animation, but they just do. So don’t mess with it, Nickelodeon!

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