Gort vs Sportacus: We review kids' TV show LazyTown

Commander's log, Stardate 26042013.2:

I was rather perturbed this week to enter the Mothership's Command Deck and find a small child duct taped to a chair. "Goo," it said.

Summoning Gort, I questioned his motives with growing concern. Gort explained that he had been fascinated to discover that "human spawn" were not educated in internment camps the way children were in the Galactic Alliance, rather they were brainwashed using a form of visual entertainment known as CBeebies. To further his experimentation he had "acquired" a human child.

I began to ask where he had acquired it from before coming to my senses and simply telling him to send it back. Gort went quiet for a moment before advising that may not be an available option, adding the implication that some disintegration had been involved in its acquisition. Dismissing Gort's suggestion of disintegrating the child once he had completed the experiment and the child's own suggestion of "goo", I am now confronted with the question of what exactly I am supposed to do with a human child...

LazyTown is one of the most successful children's TV shows on your planet. Its 52 episodes have been broadcast in over 100 of what you call countries. Masterminded by the alleged human Magnus Scheving (we have our doubts as no human should be capable of that many push-ups), the show aims to brainwash children into exercising and eating fruit by whirling a variety of technicolour sets and costumes at them while monotonous songs play.

The plot centers around a 13-year-old girl named Stephanie who comes to live with her uncle in aptly-named Lazy Town. Amateur dancer Stephanie's effervescent nature is reflected in her day-glow pink attire and hair, but she finds this at odds with the other children of Lazy Town. Her new friend Ziggy eats nothing but sugary sweets, Pixel plays computer games all day and owns technology beyond anything the Galactic Alliance does somehow (another possible non-Earthling), Stingy appears to be both a kleptomaniac and a member of the British aristocracy, while Trixie seems to have all the makings of a classic sociopath.

Stephanie, like all great children's TV characters, resolves to interfere with her friends' lives for her own benefit. Her uncle, who also happens to be the mayor of Lazy Town (more of a colourful insult than a title), suggests summoning Lazy Town's former resident superhero "Number 9" using some form of message cannon that sits in the center of town. Instead of Number 9, a new hero answers the call: Sportacus, who, ominously wears the number 10 in the center of a crystal on his chest that gives him super powers. Said powers appear to involve doing a ridiculous amount of one-handed push-ups and looking smug, but we digress.

Sportacus and Stephanie get the Lazy Town kids up dancing and singing like the cast of Glee, only their songs are even worse... seriously (see above)... This attracts the ire of Lazy Town's resident curmudgeon Robbie Rotten, a master of disguise who, for some reason, lives in a bunker underneath the town. The children's horrible singing and general noise disturb Robbie, whose fairly reasonable desire is to just sit and watch TV in peace. Robbie devises various schemes to get rid of the colourful duo of Sportacus and Stephanie, often exploiting Sportacus' aversion to sugar. Sportacus only eats fruit, which he calls "sports candy" (we don't know either). Naturally, eating so much fructose has made him diabetic and sugary snacks have a Kryptonite-like affect on him.

Each episode, the LazyTown kids get themselves in some form of trouble and Sportacus must descend from his Olympus-like, scifi superblimp hovering about the town to save the day from Robbie's sympathetic plan. If you can overlook the disturbing sexual tension occasionally evident between Stephanie and Sportacus... who seems to have no adult friends... then there's actually a lot to enjoy about LazyTown. The show's silliness, terrible songs and cringey acting are ridiculous enough to actually make it quite endearing and while you probably won't watch it yourself, it's not a horrible experience to be trapped watching it with a human child.

After the success of the first three series, Stephanie's lifeclock started flashing and she lost Carousel to a younger model with a scarily deep voice who has taken over the role for a new series that has just started screening. Only time will tell if the new series clarifies the origin of Sportacus and Robbie or if we'll ever find out what happened to the mysterious Number 9...