The Manly Men’s Man Club/Mi Casa, Robo Casa
Cupcake Days/My Brother, My Headband
Mozoko/The Pizza Man Always Rings 6000 Times
Goody Family 101/The Manygoose
Everybody Loves Kattycorn/Know Your Nemesis
Talent Show Biz/Retrieval Boys
Cupcake’s Big Surprise/Growing Pains
My Two Dinos/Believe in the Paperboys
My Life in Radio (Stinks!)/Internet vs. Everybody
All That Snazz/Live, Love, Lemonade
Cupcake, Dino & the Treasure of Tikiluki/Hu’s the Boss
Christmas Is Cancelled/Ice Station Dino
Cupcake & Dino is one of those rare shows that manages to nail its premise with precision and confidence whilst managing to appeal to both adults and children. Although the episodic content and strong thematic core is geared predominantly toward a younger clientele, the goofy, cleverly written humour and varied episodes make it just as enjoyable for adults as it is for kids making for quite the enthralling watch.
Despite its absurdity, the premise in Cupcake & Dino is incredibly simple. A talking cupcake (Justin Collette) and a talking dinosaur (Mark Little) decide to help the local community by undertaking various jobs around a sprawling city while learning valuable life lessons in the process. Each of the 13 episodes focus on two individual tales essentially equating to 26 stories with each depicting a different challenge for the siblings to conquer. Throughout the 13 episodes Cup and Dino work for a pizza delivery firm, grow moustaches, babysit and even try to escape a robot house. There’s an incredibly varied amount of content in these episodes and the strong thematic core helps provide some valuable life lessons around friendship, self-worth and kindness while peppering the episodes with enough jokes and action to make for a really entertaining watch.
In many ways Cupcake & Dino draws inspiration from fellow animation Spongebob Squarepants, right down to the blend of hand-drawn animation and real life video. Cupcake & Dino keep up the amusing anecdotes right through to the final episode and there’s plenty of laughs waiting for those who can get accustomed to the admittedly jarring first 10 minutes or so. While most of the humour relies on goofy, physical humour and slapstick, Cupcake & Dino subverts expectations with a couple of cleverly placed jokes that feel solely intended for adults without the usual crudeness that seems to be a staple in adult animation.
The art is well drawn too with the backgrounds sufficiently detailed thanks to thin outlines and a varied colour palette. The characters themselves are nicely animated too and are graced with enough personality and character development to make for quite the surprising watch. Seeing Dino try to regain confidence after losing his headband or watching Cupcake show empathy to fellow sweet treat Muffin are little touches that just help to really flesh out the characters and give them some much needed depth which is surprising given the show is geared toward kids.
As my 4 year old daughter said to me earlier, “A talking cupcake and a talking dinosaur are so cool” and after watching all 13 episodes I’d be inclined to agree. Cupcake & Dino – General Services is the sort of show you’d skip by without a second thought unless you’ve got kids but you really owe it to yourself to give this one a go. At its heart, there’s a cleverly written, enjoyable animation that manage to constantly subvert expectations and pepper the episodes with some genuinely funny quips and clever anecdotes. It won’t be for everyone and the humour is a little subjective at times, especially given this is tailored toward children, but if you give it a go you may just find Cupcake & Dino is one of the biggest surprises this year.
Verdict - 9/10