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Eliza Thornberry is not your ordinary kid. It's not just because she travels the world in an RV with her parents Nigel and Marrianne, famous nature show hosts. Eliza is doubly unique because she was granted the magical ability to talk with and understand animals. Together with her teen-age sister Debbie, her pet monkey Darwin, and her wild-boy foster brother Donnie, Eliza gets involved with many different wildlife (and wild adventures). Written by
[opening lines to every episode]
This is me, Eliza Thornberry, part of your average family. I've got a dad, a mom, and a sister. There is Donnie - we found him. And Darwin, he found us. Oh yeah, about our house - it moves, because we travel all over the world. You see, my dad hosts this nature show, and my mom shoots it. Okay, so we're not that average. And between you and me, something amazing happened... and now I can talk to animals. It's really cool, but totally secret. And you know what? ...
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I am writing in defense of the best animated show on TV-Nickelodeon's "The Wild Thornberrys"-which was mercilessly slammed in two recent User Comments, one of which deemed the show "unappealing and ignorant."
I couldn't disagree more.
I discovered "Thornberrys" in May, 2001, and am now totally, hopelessly hooked! If the show has one main theme it is the proper relationship between humans and nature, a theme explored in each episode through the bespectacled, 12-year-old eyes of Eliza Thornberry, the only human, out of six billion, who can talk to animals (including her best friend, a chimpanzee) just as easily as she can to her own parents or sister. As for the animals, I think that the show's producers go out of their way to present as realistic a portrayal as possible of the many different species featured on the show. For example, one episode featured a pair of Tasmanian devils who did not-repeat, did NOT-speak in gibberish or travel in a cyclonic motion, slicing through everything in their path. Th-th-th-that's right, folks; Looney Tunes got it wrong.
Apart from the animals, what I like most about "The Wild Thornberrys" is the family-comedy aspect of the show. The Thornberrys are, after all, a quirky but close-knit family, with two loving-though occasionally frazzled-parents, two perpetually squabbling siblings (I swear that Arlene Klasky and Gabor Csupo, while developing the show, must have secretly researched my own sisters, who drove each other crazy until my older sister went away to college!), and a "wild boy" foster child. As family shows go, "Thornberrys" is light-years better than the show it used to precede on Nick's prime-time schedule, "The Brady Bunch." In conclusion, to make a long story short, "The Wild Thornberrys" rocks!
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