I don’t write TV reviews often. When I do, it’s because a show that my kids watch is either surprisingly good and speaks to me in some way or because it’s annoying as fuck. The only thing surprising about the Bubble Guppies is how little sense it makes. If you plan on commenting (OR EVEN THINKING) “who cares? It’s a kids’ show,” get out now. Leave. You’re not going to like this article. Try a different one. I know it’s a kids’ show. I know it doesn’t have to make sense. Maybe I’m expecting too much from children’s television. Or maybe I just want to write a snarky post about how much Bubble Guppies annoys me. Yes, it’s a kids’ show, but sometimes I have to watch the damn thing, too.
The titular Bubble Guppies are classmates in a school of fish. Haha. Get it? Well, they’re not actually fish, more like fish-people. They’re merkids with human torsos and heads, odd colored hair and big anime eyes, but cute little fishy bottoms. They have names, but I don’t really care what they are. Each of them is equally irritating, some more than others. (Trust me, that statement makes more sense than the show.) There’s also a fish with a dog head or a dog with a fish butt (I’m not sure the exact biological breakdown). His name is Bubble Puppy. It’s almost like he’s one of the Bubble Guppies, but not quite. Their teacher is just a regular old fish, Mr. Grouper.
But here’s the thing. The thing that pisses me off and I can’t get over. There is no reason for any of it. There is no point to them living under water or being weird fish-human hybrids. There is no point, other than marketing. I can just imagine the pitch: This isn’t like all those other educational(ish) shows with kids who can walk around and breath oxygen. In this show…wait for it…the kids have friggin’ fins, and well I guess also breath oxygen. I wasn’t sure. I had to Google it. Doesn’t really matter. Did you hear me? They’re part fish! But all the lessons are about stuff that happens on the land. It’s like the Bubble Guppies “want to be where the people are, they want to see want to see ’em dancing!” Or maybe I’m confusing them with someone else.
The Guppies learn about campfires. Underwater. They learn about farms. Underwater. They learn about ducks who live in ponds next to giant oak trees. Way the hell under the water! Why? If they’re going to be in the ocean, how about some aquatic lessons? Octanauts, another ocean-based children’s show, has issues of its own (like, what the hell is with the turnip?) but at least it attempts to teach kids about marine biology.
All of this is not to say there aren’t moments of drama in the show. Ah yes, I can recall one particularly dire situation when a cat got stuck in a tree. Firefighters were called to the scene to rescue the helpless kitty. Did I forget to mention that the cat had fins and could have swam out of the tree? Hopefully the Guppies remembered how to start that underwater campfire, to warm her up after that frightening ordeal.
There’s another aspect of the Bubble Guppies I find disturbing. This may sound crazy, but I think the show may be racist. In fact (for the sake of snark), I’m sure of it.
The Guppies, themselves, appear to be of different ethnicities, which is nice to see. The racism of the their world, however, is more insidious, pitting the elite merpeople against the rest of the subterranean creatures. Though the Guppies interact with fish and crustaceans of all sorts, they are higher on the proverbial food chain. Many fish hold down regular, good-paying jobs. They are firefighters, doctors, train engineers and, of course, teachers. Disconcertingly, professions seem to be based on species, as evidenced by an all-crab construction crew and an all-lobster police force. It’s possible that Mr. Grouper was forced into an academic career because he is a grouper (maybe every teacher is Mr. or Mrs. Grouper). A disturbing thought, but there’s more. He and the other fish must have had years of schooling (including higher education or, possibly, trade schools), but where are the fish students? Maybe it’s just a fluke (haha, fluke is a kind of fish!) of the Bubble Guppies’ school district, but I would expect one or two of Mr. Grouper’s students to look like him. But they’re not in his class or anywhere to be seen. I’m left to assume that fish are sent to different, segregated, schools. Apparently, fish are good enough to teach the precious Guppies and crustaceans can gratuitously rescue their merkittens from trees, but Cod forbid their children float at the desks next to the Guppies and go on underwater adventures to learn about life on land.
It’s entirely possible that I’m way off base and needlessly besmirching an amiable children’s program. Maybe, but I really don’t care. This show pisses me off. So please Tweet Nick Jr. and let them know that of all the things that don’t make sense in the world of the Bubble Guppies, segregation is definitely the worst.
Seriously, Bubble Guppies, what the fucky?