PAW Patrol is an animated series about a squad of cute and heroic toys talking puppies tasked with selling merchandise saving the day. Led by ten-year-old human Ryder, they boast that ‘no job is too big and no pup is too small’. If you’re in trouble the pups can help you out. Despite this good-natured message, more cynical readers will not be surprised that the developers had an idea for a toy first and built the show around it. And with PAW Patrol toys featuring on must-buy gift lists this year, this plan was a resounding success – but is the show any good?
In the first episode Ryder gets an emergency call from a man in distress – Captain Turbot has dashed his boat against some rocks while studying walruses (as you do). Ryder assembles his PAW Patrol of specialised pups, who spring into action. Ryder picks the best two dogs for the job – Zuma to tow the boat with a hovercraft, and Skye to pilot the helicopter and guide the boat to safety.
When the pop punk soundtrack thumps in the background you better believe I am pumped for these doggos to rescue Captain Turbot. God speed you young puppers *wipes tear from eye*. We’re all rooting for you.
Did they falter? How could you even ask such a question, of course they didn’t! This is the PAW Patrol we’re talking about here. When the boat doesn’t move the pups use their problem solving abilities – ‘the boat will float higher if it’s lighter’ – and find a solution, throwing out the walrus that had snuck onto Turbot’s boat.
But just when you thought the day was saved, the stoic pups face even more adversity – the rocks have made a hole in the boat and it’s taking on water! Ryder calls Rocky, the recycling pup, to bring a piece of metal to patch the hole. Thanks to their resourcefulness and teamwork the puppies rescue the captain and save the boat. Phew!
The ‘yes we can’ attitude of the programme is very reminiscent of Bob the Builder, so it’s no surprise that PAW Patrol producer Keith Chapman is the creator of both shows. PAW Patrol is basically Bob the Builder with dogs and cuddlier merchandise.
It’s easy to be cynical seeing rows of PAW Patrol toys in the shops, but you have to admit these are good dogs. The goodest boys and girls. Or rather, girl. The only negative point is that there’s only one female puppy on the team of six, and her signature colour is of course pink. This has been noted in campaigns to increase visibility of female characters in children’s TV.
Despite this minor issue, it’s refreshing to find an exciting, good-natured programme about helping others, teamwork and problem solving. These plucky pups are so enthusiastic and spirited, without being irritating, that they deserve all the doggy treats they want.