To a kid growing up in the 90s, there was really nothing better than Saturday morning TV. Cartoons and child-friendly programs were the norm and in abundance every weekend as kids slurped their cereal and enjoyed the awesome variety of shows that were on. One of those memorable shows was Bobby’s World, an animated series which featured the voice and live action acting talents of germaphobe comedian and TV personality Howie Mandel. He also created Bobby’s World and all the characters that inhabit it. Season one of this 90s gem is now available on DVD and for kids who grew up during that time, it is definitely a trip down memory lane.
Bobby’s World revolves around oddly enough, a 4 year-old boy named Bobby Generic. He is a wildly imaginative kid who comes up with strange daydreams and fantasies which are usually very literal when he is told something that he doesn’t really understand. He lives in the suburbs with his upbeat dad Howard (modeled after Mandel), his Sarah Palinesque mom Martha, his Valley girlish sister Kelly and his precocious brother Derek. He also has an awesome Uncle Ted who usually accompanies Bobby on his random adventures, saves him from boredom around his other family members and supplies an ample amount of noogies.
Howie Mandel is without a doubt, the true star of Bobby’s World not only since he created the show but that he provides the voice of Bobby and plays his father (both animated and live action). His talent is quite immense as he tackles these two roles each with their unique voices and styles. Bobby’s voice is childlike and adorable almost identical to Gizmo from the Gremlins films also voiced by Mandel. There is a childlike spirit in Mandel and it certainly shows in Bobby’s World. In the live action segments, he seems like a big kid himself, almost a manchild who may have grown physically but still posesses that playful innocence and limitless wonder that many children possess.
The Season 1 DVD set is comprised of 3 discs which contain 13 cute and fun episodes. Each episode features an introduction and closing segment which has animated Bobby talking to a live action Mandel. Together, they would welcome viewers and get them ready for the show. This was done in a sort of poor man’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit? style. The technology wasn’t as good but the charm and good intent were well in place.
Bobby’s World, like many other shows of that time focused strongly on taking kids on crazy adventures, fighting bad guys and saving the day all in the span of 30 minutes. Howie Mandel knew exactly how young kids thought and what they might find appealing in a program. His show certainly appealed to this demographic and provided solid watchable entertainment for said demographic.
Now, having praised the show for its widespread appeal for young people, the show may seem pretty juvenile to adult audiences. For many people who grew up when Bobby’s World aired, it may be a tad difficult to digest now. The animation isn’t great, the stories are very kiddie and the voice acting is kind of lame. Having said that, the charm and innocence is still there in each episode and the cool and quirky theme by penned by John Tesh will certainly awake some dormant childhood feelings of awe and innocence of the adults of today.
Saturday mornings were better in the early-mid 90s. Cartoons contained positive messages and were entertaining at the same time. A child would look forward to waking up early and catching his or her favorite characters like Bobby on the screen. These “mentors” would guide young ones and take them to fun worlds where they could let their imaginations run wild. Bobby’s World was a perfect example of this escapism but it also helped shape young minds and gave them a sense of optimism in their own lives.
DVD Bonus Features
Unfortunately, there are no bonus features for Bobby’s World: Season 1. Perhaps you can imagine some.