Buzzing about Nickelodeon’s “The Mighty B!”

Please send an ambulance and a hearst.  I’ll get into the one that comes first.  It doesn’t really matter anymore. I’ve completely lost my mind and self respect. (The loss of my self respect began over two weeks ago when I started watching the VH1’s “Ego Trip’s Miss Rap Supreme”, a contest for budding female MCs. Jesus take the wheel, please!)

I am ashamed to admit this (and you know that I am as shameless as they come), I had been waiting, in earnest for the premiere of the new Nickelodeon cartoon, “The Mighty B!” (Saturdays, 10:30 a.m. EDT).

Yes, I said Nickelodeon. I love SpongeBob of “SpongeBob Squarepants” (Look at me talking about a big yellow sponge as if he was a real person) and the crazy cast of characters from Bikini Bottom. I watch the show at least once a day (Okay three times, but please don’t tell anyone. Your thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated.) When I heard that one of the writers from Spongebob teamed up with comedic actress and Saturday Night Live cast member Amy Poehler to create and produce “The Mighty B!”, I was all in and ready for a good time.  

Watching the promos, I began to bond with the hapless Bessie Higgenbottom, a 10 year old who is missing a tooth or two , (and a lot good sense), so devoted to her scout troop, the Honeybees, and to getting all 4584 badges that she wears the uniform day and night.  And in times of trouble, she purportedly morphs into “The Mighty B!” — a superhero of her own creation complete with wings and a stinger. 

I thought if the show was a good as the promos. surely it wouldn’t disappoint. But it did, just a bit. In the first episode, we formally meet Bessie who lives in San Francisco (Yes, I real city!) with her beleaguered single mom, who either owns or works in a coffee shop and her tag-a-long brother little brother.  We also meet Portia and Gwen snobby members of her scout troop and learn that Portia’s mom is hosting a dog show in which the winner receives a scout badge.  

Well, you know our girl Bessie, had to get a dog and fast. But first, she had to get her mother’s permission. We see Betsy in the coffee shop with her mother rattling off in rapid succession the reasons why she should have a dog.  Betsy keeps talking and talking–on the trolley home, and in her mother’s bedroom as her mom tries to sleep. Finally, Bessie’s mother relents and agrees to the dog, much to Betsy’s delight. 

Bessie ropes, literally, an abandoned mutt she names Happy into being her dog. On the day of the event, Happy abandons Bessie. Feeling guilty, he later returns to save the day and puts on a performance of a lifetime complete with a breakdancing number with Bessie working the 1s and 2 as DJ.

But the contest is rigged for Portia’s mom has paid off the judge. Although Happy is the clear winner, the judge says he will give the award to the owner of the pure bred dog.  He opens Portia’s dog’s mouth to expose teeth which are broken and ragged. As it turns out, Portia’s dog is a rat.  Happy wins and Bessie is awarded the animal appreciation badge. What?  I was bit confused. The dog is really a rat?  My willing suspension of disbelief was violated and for a minute I  began to question how and why such a thing could happen. I live in NYC and have seen a rat or two in my day — roaming the City parks at night, traveling along the subway tracks trying to get home (oh wait, that is there home) — and I have never once mistaken them for a dog. 

I also take issue with the pace of the show which is a bit fast even for me — someone for whom minutes seem like hours.  Also, of the four new episodes that I viewed (two on Saturday, two on Sunday), I saw Bessie transform into her Mighty B persona only twice. When it happened, it was quite brief and did not advance the story nor add to its humor.  

I guess you are wondering why should Nickelodeon or anyone care what a grown woman thinks about a cartoon?  Well, “Spongebob Squarepants” isn’t the ratings success it is solely because a lot of children are tuning in.  Yes, they watch the show but I also know many adults who watch it as well. 

Honestly, I am no longer enthusiastic about the program. I am glad that it doesn’t include too much wink and a nod, snarky adult humor but it does at times it tries to be a bit too pseudo-intellectually funny. Maybe I like my cartoons more escapist. Tales of a sponge who lives an adventure-filled life on the bottom of an ocean is much more suited to my taste.

So, what are my final thoughts about “The Mighty B!?

 Cute?  Yes.  Funny?  No?  Appointment viewing?  Not. Will tune in when I get a chance?  Yes.

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