Once I’d read the news of a study that found the male mind is more accepting of animation or cartoons. I don’t remember all of the specifics regarding the ‘scientific explanation’ as to why; rather, I can only recall the person interviewed clearly saying that men and/or boys were drawn (pun intended) to that particular form of storytelling. Watching only a few episodes of TOTALLY SPIES!, I’m not so sure that the male mind was what these showrunners had in mind, though I suppose the light action and/or spy elements might create a passing fancy. But as for all of the fashion, make-up, and accessory references? Meh. I guess not.
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and characters. If you’re the kind of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last three paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
Sam, Clover, and Alex are three kinda/sorta Valley Girls of the Beverly Hills variety; but they also happen to be teenage spies for the World Organization of Human Protection (WOOHP). As anyone will tell you, girls just wanna have fun … but these three can be downright deadly when they’re up against some nefarious ne’er-do-wells who happen to interrupt their social lives.
TOTALLY SPIES! would appear to be “da bomb” for ten-to-twelve year old girls. Certainly, some of the humor tends to gravitate toward puns and/or wordplay of a variety that only the young (or maybe the young-at-heart) would find truly funny. (I’d imagine my eight-year-old niece would get most of the jokes, but she’d probably be lost on all of the shopping references.) As for this old dog? I was only able to make it through a handful of episodes in order to know that this just wasn’t for me, nor was I its intended target. Still, I appreciate wordplay more than most, and I’ll admit that SPIES had some nice writing. My chief problem with it – well, despite my not being a ten-year-old girl – is that, like so many other toons from my youth, it suffers from some uneven writing: the girls are all ‘Action Jackson’ only when the script truly calls for it. Otherwise, they tend to run screaming from any sign of danger chiefly because it’s funny (to the viewer) … but it kept me wondering why they get all Sylvester Stallone once they put on their spy outfits.
Must be a chick thing.
TOTALLY SPIES! SEASON TWO: FAME & FASHION (2002) is produced by Marathon Productions and TF1 Films Productions. DVD distribution is being handled through Cinedigm. As for the technical specifications? Well, this is an entirely animated production, so the audio and video are pretty top notch. As is often the case when older shows find modern release, there are no special features to speak of, not that this program’s target audience will miss them.
RECOMMENDED. Look, ladies, if this floats your boat, then I’m going to be the last person to tell you to find something else. This is perfectly acceptable, harmless, and benign entertainment … all around. You could a lot worse than explore the adventures and misadventures available here for Alex, Clover, and Sam on these two discs (episodes 14 – 26 of the second season). Besides, there’s almost five hours of silliness, and time’s a wastin’!
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Cinedigm provided me with a DVD copy of TOTALLY SPIES! SEASON TWO: FAME & FASHION for the expressed purposes of completing this review.
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