The Pooh story gets worse

Christopher RobinFurther to previous discussions about Christopher Robin being replaced in a new Winnie the Pooh series, Disney has released more details of their new, ‘improved’ Pooh tales. Here’s some more information that will cause a single, solitary tear to roll down your cheek:

The girl will be the star of the series as she moves next door to the beloved characters created by the English author about 80 years ago: Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Kang (sic) and Roo, plus a new character, Lumpy, introduced in a recent Pooh movie.

Living together next door? No 100 Acre Wood? Kanga and Roo in their own little house? Where’s Owl/Wol? But wait. There’s worse

A 22-minute pilot was produced and tested worldwide in focus groups of preschoolers and parents, all to very positive feedback, the spokeswoman told Reuters.

Well, that’s all right then. Because the only important thing in the whole wide world is how well something tests in focus groups.

Coming soon from the Disney Channel:

  • Sherlock Holmes solves crimes with the help of his kick-ass niece, Skyler, when Dr Watson is forced to return to Afghanistan;
  • Macbeth and Banquo’s ghost reunite for 26×25 episodes of supernatural fun, aimed at the key 1-3 year old ABC1 demographic;
  • Voldemort’s Learning Zone – in which the dark Lord himself teaches Harry Potter valuable lessons about shopping (sponsored by Wal-Mart);
  • Swallows and Amazons: boating fun for kids, but this time updated for modern life, by setting it on Hawaii on jet-skis;
  • Wind in the Willows: all the animals you know and love, including that wacky Toad, but introducing some new friends, including Willy the Weasel, Badger’s cool kick-ass nephew Brad, and Missy, a girl who’s moved with her mom to the riverbank and who has a lot to teach them about life and friendship. A range of action figures will be available Fall 2008

All of these tested well with focus groups.

What to do? I’m inclined simply to let them make it. CGI isn’t cheap, so if it’s a flop, Disney will lose oodles of cash. After a series of commercial flops at the cinemas, they need revenue like they’ve never needed it before. Certainly, the originator of the idea – a soulless corporate drone without an ounce of poetry in them – will get the push. At the same time, animation studios in Korea will get big lumps of cash and South Korea’s general standard of living will improve (not that they’re totally strapped for cash of course), proving that globalisation has its benefits.

To ensure the failure of the show, not only must we refuse to watch it (not hard), we must make sure no one else watches it. But most important of all, we must write in protest to any broadcaster who picks it up. However, instead of complaining about the programme itself (thus getting ourselves a “crank” rating in the complaints department), far better to complain that it’s replacing another programme in the schedule: broadcasters appreciate ratings so if you say you’re a big fan of the dumped programme, they’re more likely to drop Pooh in favour of the programme you’re pretending to like.

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