I want to talk about Craig of the Creek; I think it’s probably one of the best kids’ cartoons airing on the three major networks and I honestly don’t hear a lot about it, which is sad. It doesn’t have the most creative premise in the world, not by the least bit but everything about it feels so genuine.
A lot of shows now aren’t episodic these days and while Craig of the Creek has a couple of overarching characters and nemesis, and no negative continuity, each episode pretty much stands on its own with its own issues and problems.
And I think a show that does something like that expertly doesn’t happen a lot anymore. Also, unlike Teen Titans Go! Or Spongebob Squarepants, the show isn’t primarily a comedy. It’s a slice of life tale about what a bunch kids and what they do in their free.
It’s kind of like a combination of Recess and Codename: Kids Next Door, but a lot closer to Recess. The three main characters: Craig, Kelsey and JP balance each other out and bounce off each other well. I’m glad that in this show, Kelsey isn’t necessarily the voice of reason.
TV shows tend to make the main female character the sane one, to prevent accusations of being sexist and “give girls role models” but it only ends up kind of repeating the same characters and giving a weird notion that boys can’t be competent at certain things. (Hint, hint: Boys pick up on these messages too)
Sure, Kelsey can cook (precisely one dish) and is actually capable of taking care of herself, but she is still a little girl and spends much of her time in a fantasy world of her own creation. And let me tell you, having been that child for a good portion of my life, it’s great. Like having the nerdy “bookish” girl be into her own mind most of the time and not blabbing about facts and figures or reading solely romance or classic novels is great.
Kelsey is wonderful.
Craig is also great; as a character, Craig is kind of a rarity, a nerdy African-American boy but unlike others of his kind, he isn’t a super genius. Just in a higher-level math class. He’s got a knack for adventure, but is very down to Earth. He’s likable, without being bland and obviously has a lot of things he needs to work on as a person.
Admittedly, I’m not a huge fan of JP; he’s kind of annoying and I’m not fond of his character type. The ignorant one can work really well in certain cases (Jason Mendoza in The Good Place) but JP just frustrates me. I feel like he’s very flat and I don’t understand him enough as a character. He’s just kind of obnoxious and has gross out moments for no reason and his design bothers me.
But still, he plays off well with the other characters.
The cast at large is great and you have an interesting set of characters with different motivations and personalities. I also haven’t seen anyone mention how nearly all facets of the Creek life are led by girls. Part of me thinks that great; it’s not overt or in your face. It just is.
That’s the way it should be.
There are many characters whose sex doesn’t change much or any of their personality: The Sewer Queen could easily be the Sewer King, Handle-Barb is decidedly not feminine at all, Yustice the leader of the Ninja Kids is also a girl but that’s not noticeable, and same with Turner. Which is awesome.
And Eliza, the leader of the Tea Partiers is a nice change from the typical mean rich girl.
It’s very obvious that a lot this experience is based on the writers’ reality and it’s awesome even if it’s not as relevant: are horse girls still a thing? Are weeb-y ten-year olds still a thing? Like the way they’re weeby is reminiscent of the 2000s.
I don’t know how modern weebs act.
But it all works out because everything is genuine. The mocking is done with utmost love and affection. Nobody is ‘weird’ in the Creek. Sure you got a kid who likes to live under the bridge and tell bad riddles, but he enjoys it and doesn’t mean any harm.
Nearly everything the show has done has been done before; in some aspects it does things better, in others fine, but it’s lightly different updated for the modern day and just done with such warmth that it’s an enjoyable show.
And that’s the scoop!
Series Score: 8/10
Year of release: 2018
Length: 40 episodes (11 minutes each)
Creators: Matt Burnett, Ben Levin
Directors: Martin Ansolabehere, Stu Livingston, Eddy Houchins
Producers: Eddy Houchins