That’s right, it’s me, Melinda – I have arrived. Now I might not be as witty as Lucas or as tall as Lucas or as manly as Lucas but I’m here gosh darnit and possession is 9/10s of the law (Take that, Lucas! Lawyered!) and now (Darth Vader voice) this blog belongs to me.
Our first event of this joyous new year of Melinda blogging and, perhaps not un-coincidentally, the year the world is supposed to come to an end began with “Girl Power! With Danielle Gillis and Lynn Kestin Sessler.” In the spirit of full disclosure I must admit upfront that I want to be Word Girl. I’m already married to a guy we affectionately call Grammar Man…
…and Word Girl embodies everything that I want to be. She’s intelligent, she has super powers, she has a monkey sidekick named Captain Huggy Face and she has met Weird Al Yankovic.
Danielle walked us through the origin of Word Girl. The series was created by Dorothea Gillim at WGBH Boston in 2001 for kids age 4-9. It hit the airwaves in 2006 as shorts and finally in 2007 it took on its current 11:00 format. Each episode features two target vocabulary words and the writers make sure the words are used in every single scene. As for the origins of World Girl herself, well she’s from the planet Lexicon of course! She crash landed on earth where she must maintain her secret identity, fight bad guys and get her homework done just like everyone else.
In a business where there is an acknowledged lack of positive female role models, how does Word Girl do it? Well for one thing she is a well-rounded character. The creators made sure Word Girl didn’t fall into any stereotypical girl character traps. She’s smart without being bossy, whiny or annoying. She’s just as comfortable beating up bad guys as she is playing Pretty Princess (her favorite show within a show) and she fights the most hilarious cast of villains this side of “Real Housewives of New Jersey” including my personal fav – Lady Redundant Woman. My fav – Lady Redundant Woman. (see what I did there?)
You can check out the regular cast of baddies on the Word Girl website (www.pbskids.org/wordgirl) which conveniently brings me to Lynn’s part of the presentation.
Lynn gave us some insight into the web presence of the show. The site was launched in 2005, one year before the show launched and it had some of the first video game style educational interactive games. Full disclosure: I have been playing games on the website for about an hour now. That’s right, I rescued Pretty Princess and I learned vocabulary: effervescent, serene and haunted! What have you done today?
And the last part of the presentation was a sneak peak at the new Word Girl special “The Rise of Miss Power” because Word Girl’s already taken on the Butcher and Mr. Big and now she’s going to take on bullying, probably the most hot button kids’ issue of the century. Don’t ask me how, it was a super secret sneak peek so you’re just going to have to tune in to see.
Main takeaway: Boys will watch a show with a female main character if the show is compelling, funny and has wonderful well-rounded characters. Besides, who do you think buys She-Hulk comics (besides me)?
Personal takeaway: I can be a pretty princess and be a superhero. We all do it every day.
Inappropriate takeaway: Does Miss Power remind anyone else of Lady Gaga? And, therefore, could Miss Gaga be an alien from another planet? Perhaps one of the “V?” I mean, I’ve never seen any of them in a room together.