THE GARFIELD SHOW: PIZZA DREAMS
MOVIE: **1/2 (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5)
Frank Welker as GARFIELD
Gregg Berger as ODIE
Wayy Wingert as JON ARBUCKLE
Studio: Vivendi Entertainment
Directed by: Jim Davis
BY KEVIN CARR
I’m an old-school Garfield fan. And when I say “old school,” I mean “old.” I remember when Garfield debuted in comic strips back in 1978. I remember getting his first compilation book as a gift, and subsequently how periodic publications of the large-size paperbacks changed the landscape of comic strip compilation publishing for years to come.
As Garfield became more popular and more mainstream, he became nicer and less rustic. He was still a cynical, sometimes mean character, but the grown-up cynicism was replaced with something that would be better understood by a younger audience and better translated into other cultures. Still, he has retained a certain amount of his charm over the years (except, perhaps, for those awful theatrical “Garfield” movies that came out in the 2000s).
While I’ve grown past Garfield as an adult, my five-year-old son has recently discovered him. Like any child whose age is in the single digits, what they like to watch on television is fleeting and faddish. His latest fad is anything Garfield. Because of this, I’ve been given a second-hand education on the recent Garfield installments.
“The Garfield Show” is decidedly different from the previous series incarnation “Garfield and Friends.” The first thing noticeable is that this version is animated by computers. Unlike the more polished Garfield direct-to-DVD movies like “Garfield Gets Real” and “Garfield’s Pet Force,” “The Garfield Show” has a more rudimentary style that you’d see in something like “Handy Manny” or “My Friends Tigger and Pooh.”
A co-production by the French company Dargaud Media, “The Garfield Show” aims for a more kid-friendly presentation of the fat feline. “The Garfield Show: Pizza Dreams” includes six episodes of the series, totally 75 minutes of running time. Each episode brings in Vito, who owns a pizzeria down the street. Various story elements – from the stand-by of Jon putting Garfield on a diet to Garfield searching for the World’s Best Lasagna – feature Garfield angling for Vito’s food.
These six episodes are representative of the dozens of episodes of “The Garfield Show” available on DVD and on streaming services. They’re light-hearted and offer the through story with Garfield. His normal nemeses like Odie and Nermal take a back seat to Vito, as to Jon’s shenanigans and his attempts to woo Liz (who by now has a certain fondness for Jon rather than the utter contempt she had for him in the 70s).
While these episodes were throw-away stories for me, the real judge of these things is my five-year-old son, who devours them. He’s a fan of all things Garfield, whether they be hand-drawn or CGI. Personally, I prefer old-school cell animation as the week-to-week series CGI looks too much like cheap video game emulations, but I’m not the target market of these things.
The only special features on this disc are six “Garfield Shorts.” In total, the shorts run less than ten minutes and range from one-time gags to PSAs about healthy eating.