The first bad show on Cartoon Network, but... is not the worst.
Remember when I said this was Cartoon Network's first bad show? Yeah, I can't believe I'm saying this, but.... I was too harsh on it. But I think it's time I give you my current thoughts on the show. I still really do not like this show, likely because it was a live-action show on CARTOON Network, but I will admit that there may be aspect that made this show not as harmful as that of Out of Jimmy's Head or any of Cartoon Network's other live-action atrocities.
I'll admit, it did have an interesting concept. The principal Muppet character is Chelli, a puppet dog who is joined by his best friend Bag. Chelli and Bag run a general store. They live on Main Street in an unidentified town with their human friend Molly and a variety of other animals named for their species. Two sock puppets named Lyle the Sock and Argyle McSock work as stockroom boys and often interact with the main cast. In 1997, a humanoid Muppet character called Sofie was introduced. The first season features frequent interaction with a large cast of human regulars, including an assortment of child friends and colorful locals.
Together, they encourage children to carry a bag, containing a pair of socks, two spoons, a hat, and a cardboard tube, and use them alongside the characters. There are also various animated segments, including Ace and Avery by Courage the Cowardly Dog creator John R. Dilworth. I suppose this WASN'T the worst of Cartoon Network's classic shows. And that show is still Out of Jimmy's Head.
It teaches kids to share, explore, dance, etc. Although, there was an episode where Chelli and Elmo revealed to be Pen Pals. Yeah, this was made by the same team behind Sesame Street. This was long before we had CN Real and Tickle U. It's still a bad show, but again, that's because it's a live-action show on Cartoon Network. Admittedly, they do have some acting talents, including Cullen Douglas, and Gilbert Gottfried, but they couldn't get Carlos Alazraqui? Oh, well.
Big Bag could've worked well as a kids show, if it was on a network that is not Cartoon Network. Why not give it to PBS or Nick Jr.? I know there were localized versions that aired on Yorkshire TV and Canal J, but the one that aired in the most countries was the one on Cartoon Network.
I get that it wanted to teach kids to use their imagination, but why put it on Cartoon Network? I'll admit that I do like how they got actual kids in the show, although Ace is voiced by who I assume is the actress that played Molly in the live-action segments.
Of course, this show aired only on early Sunday Mornings, so that explains why people were not very familiar with it, because most people were asleep on early Sunday mornings. It aired alongside Small World, also on Cartoon Network. While most of the shorts were boring, Soupe Opera still terrifies me.
If Big Bag was pitched to another channel like say.... PBS Kids, Fox Cubhouse, Nick Jr., anything but Cartoon Network, then it would've been fine. But at the end of the day, it was just disappointing in execution. It's certainly not the worst of Cartoon Network's live-action shows, just because it was still unnecessary to put it on CN. It could've handled better in the right hands. If you still enjoy it, that's okay. It's not even the worst thing to come from Cartoon Network. We already know that goes to the Problem Solverz.
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