The everyday life of Arnold, a 4th-grader in a nameless city that resembles Brooklyn, New York, who lives in a multi-racial boarding house with his grandparents and a motley assortment of neighbors and friends.
Jamil Walker Smith,
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Comic tales of a group of good friends, 4 boys and 2 girls, during breaks in primary school, as they grow up, relate to each other, and have brushes with authority. Written by
Cynan Rees <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I first encountered this great series a short while back when babysitting, and can only regret that it wasn't around when I was at school! Sharper, wittier and more acerbic than standard Disney fare, it still packs a healthy dose of Disney morals and lessons into each episode without being overwhelmed by them, thank heavens.
The idea is simplicity itself: a group of tight-knit ten-year-old friends battle to overcome problems and enemies (often in the shape of an authority figure!) within the confines of school, the playground, the odd field trip and of course, the daily doses of Recess. The fun, however, lies in the outrageous situations that spring up, the even crazier solutions, and the delightfully extreme characters that populate the school.
At the centre of it all is the gang of six: the leader T.J (a sort of pre-teen Fonzie) who always has a plan (or six) and enough moral fibre for the whole playground, hot-tempered, feisty Spinelli, Gretchen, the smartest girl in school (and possibly the nation) gentle giant Mikey, ultra-cool sports fanatic Vince, and pint-sized, fearful Gus. Together they take on dilemmas ranging from bullying and what to do about it, to unfair teachers, playground fads and classroom snitches (not to mention the savage kindergärtners!) Characterisation as aforementioned is delightfully extreme - kudos to whoever came up with Gretchen and Spinelli in particular! Gus is a constant source of humour - Vince and Mikey are solid support, but T.J, who combines the wisdom of Huckleberry Finn and the coolness of the Fonz, along with a mischievous streak that would do Bart Simpson proud is a continual stroke of genius. 10/10!
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