Every now and again I tear myself away from reading to watch new-to-me tv series. Over the last two weeks I've found a new series to love and become obsessed with...the animated cartoon, Craig of the Creek. It's the kind of show I wish had been around when I was young, a show focused on diversity and acceptance. It's the kind of show that will appeal to other young people while aiming the occasional joke at adults. It's the whole package and charms me in the same way that Scooby Doo does, giving me a few hours of joy and nostalgia. It also gives me hope that we can all find acceptance in a world growing increasingly polarized.
Craig of the Creek follows a young boy, Craig, and his two friends, Kelsey and JP, as they go on adventures within a world of untamed, kid-dominated wilderness in the creek.
Set mostly in the wilds of the creek behind their houses, Craig is a 10 year old African American boy with parents who applaud his imaginative nature and already have his (and his two sibling's futures) planned out. The parents are caring, treat their kids with respect by talking through problems, and the multiple generations of parents depicted warmed my heart through the obvious love flowing between each married couple. Craig's siblings are a delight too and their sibling banter was true to life as older brother Bernard frequently touted a superior attitude while being there for Craig when he needed him. Youngest daughter Jessica was smart and sassy, often made me laugh with her tell it like it is nature, and was a wonderful (occasional) addition to the forays into the creek.
There's a sense of wonder in each episode, a feeling of hope, and that's due to the very diverse cast of characters. JP is Craig's awkward friend, tall and gangly, and it's hinted that he's mentally challenged. But his big, loving heart always makes me smile as do his many extraneous comments. Another character whose inclusion I cheered for was Jackie, an athletic young man (with a killer throwing arm) who's deafness is seamlessly incorporated into the storyline courtesy of another young person acting as translator. Many of the challenges of growing up are touched on throughout the series: figuring out your place in the world, figuring out your feelings for others (those of the same sex as well as the opposite sex), and the fear of growing up and losing your childhood wonder. There’s also action and suspense as a battle for control of the creek ensued, expeditions to discover more areas of the creek were undertaken, and all of it surprisingly kept me on the edge of my seat. Each episode ultimately leaves a lasting impression as it let me experience every emotion in the short span of 13 minutes...13 minutes of utter delight! I'm sad to say though that it's recently been canceled and the beautifully diverse world it depicts will be lost to future generations of kids looking for unwavering acceptance. The message it leaves behind though lives on and whenever possible I will continue to recommend this show to everyone who will listen!
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