The Backyardigans: “The Snow Fort” Review

The Backyardigans is a Nickelodeon preschool show that is enjoyed by both adults and children. We continue the series with reviewing the DVD, The Snow Fort. This week’s episode is, “The Snow Fort.”

Themes: Creativity, Friendship, Responsibility
Cost/Availability: $1.99 on iTunes. Whole DVD available on Amazon for ~$5.00]
Length: ~24 minutes

This episode takes up the same story style as the episodes before “The Key to the Nile,” with the characters dressing up, yet retaining their own personalities, to tell the tale. This time, Ski Patrollers Uniqua and Tasha prepare to rescue people in the frozen north, while Mounties Pablo and Tyrone have the enviable task of guarding the world’s largest snowball.

Backyardigans - Snow Fort

At first glance, “The Snow Fort,” seems more silly than not, as the logical part in our adult brains wonders why a snowball would need guarding in the first place. The snowball, of course, is a MacGuffin. Like the suitcase in Pulp Fiction or Citizen Kane‘s Rosebud, it doesn’t need to be explained, but remains necessary to the plot. Guarding this precious object is Pablo and Tyrone’s assignment as Mounties. Two songs, “I’m a Mountie” and “Snowball Duty,” testify to their seriousness at this responsibility. They have been given a job, and will perform it to the best of their ability.

Uniqua and Tasha have a similar obligation: rescuing anybody who is in trouble (“Ski Patrol to the Rescue”) – and giving them a healthy dose of hot chocolate afterward. They too, are determined to do their job correctly, even if there’s really no one around to rescue. The girls’ need to rescue and the boys’ desire to protect inevitably causes their story lines to converge, this time in a wonderfully silly montage of booby traps and mistaken identity.

Unlike “The Key to the Nile,” the social lesson for “The Snow Fort,” is light and soft, only casually touching upon the importance of responsibility. Yet kids will silently cheer for Uniqua and Tasha to rescue somebody, and for Pablo and Tyrone to successfully keep the snowball safe from raiders. It’s more than wanting them to do well, it’s wanting them to do their job as they’re supposed to do, never shirking responsibility.

The musical genre for this episode is a hodgepodge of polka, folk, jazz, and blues, called Western Swing. “I’m a Mountie” is set to the tune of “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain,” making it a very easy song for children to sing, and even to add their own lyrics. “Who Could It Be?” is a particularly nice number that has all the characters singing.

The next episode is also on The Snow Fort DVD, “The Yeti.”

What sort of responsibilities do you and your child share?

[Images © Nickelodeon via Viacom, Inc.]

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