Captain Underpants is strange superhero
Cosmic forces recently intersected on Laurel Street in New Orleans. Grandson Eli, now seven, came from Milwaukee with his mother, later to be joined by his dad, for the annual spring break visit. And we got a Firestick – Fahrstick – an Amazon device that connects to the television and allows access to Internet streaming video services.
Until he arrived, we had only dabbled in the streaming possibilities. With us, technology never turns out to be as grand as the promise and besides, hooking into it – or anything cyber-digital – is always more complicated than I want to be bothered with, asking for some password that I established months earlier and long since forgotten because of the auto fill features that take over and fill it in for me.
Prior to the Fahrstick, TV reception in our house was provided by a “bunny ears” antenna, with one of the ears broken and replaced by aluminum foil rolled up and crumpled around the remaining nub. Rosemary hid it behind the television set anytime she expects company.
But, it works and in spite of my trying to replace it with a more sophisticated indoor aerial (and once with what we thought was the exact same kind of bunny ears with both ears intact), none would pick the public TV station in New Orleans with its weaker signal but stronger programming.
The Fahrstick we added with the broken bunny ears has a female voice feature hosted by somebody named Alexi or Alexis who finds stuff to watch on voice command.
Where I had conversed only with trepidation, Eli was soon very chatty with the thing and had to be monitored for his selections, both for age-appropriateness and for cost.
I won’t be sure until I see my credit card bill how many movies were rented during his visit.
But Eli vastly expanded our streaming horizons, boldly moving full speed ahead where we had only tiptoed.
What I have learned so far as that some streaming services are free, but include an occasional advertisement. Most are subscription based with “free trial” offers.
Signing up for the free trial includes providing credit card information that will allow the streaming service to charge for its subscription once the free trial ends, leaving the burden on the user to remember to cancel out.
I will usually forget to cancel until I’ve paid for a couple of months, which is what the seller counts on to start with.
The week culminated with Eli binge-watching the animated Garfield cartoons until the sound of his (actor Bill Murray’s) voice made my skin crawl.
Then there was Captain Underpants, an animated super anti-hero based on a series of illustrated, comic-style books by Dav Pilkey.
As best as I can tell, Captain Underpants’ offers endless, really dumb potty humor, and kids love it. Eli’s interest in reading has increased and during the last few days of his visit I discovered that the Captain is the talk of his generation.
When Mary took him to the neighborhood bookstore, she let him buy one new Captain Underpants book. “One Captain Underpants is all I can stand,” she said when he reached for a second.
“I know what you mean,” interjected another shopper nearby who had overheard.
Captain Underpants – today’s animated superhero as art more and more imitates life.