Herbs & Spices
Waffles + Mochi feels like the TV equivalent of throwing everything but the kitchen sink at children’s TV and seeing what sticks. There’s influences here of Sesame Street, Blues Clues, The Magic School Bus and even Inside Out. It’s a bizarre blend in truth but a cocktail that somehow works surprisingly well to bring everything together in a very organic way.
With a combination of live-action, stop-motion and hand-drawn animation (more on that in a minute), Waffles + Mochi starts us off with a brief bit of background surrounding our characters.
In the land of frozen food, Waffles & Mochi live together and have big dreams to become prolific chefs. Only, their frozen world is turned upside down when a food truck stops outside their house. Hopping onboard, they’re whisked off to the most wondrous place imaginable – the supermarket.
With Michelle Obama running things alongside her tie-wearing Bee called Busy, Waffles & Mochi bag themselves a job and set out to learn more about fruits, vegetables, herbs and water. The set-up is pretty intriguing and there’s undeniably a lot of educational content here for kids.
Each episode is carved up and focuses in on a specific ingredient, with Waffles & Mochi jetting off in their Magicart 3000 (think Magic School Bus) to different places across the globe. From Peru through to Japan, these adventures culminate in cooking lessons with different chefs (and famous faces) who help to add some vibrancy to the show.
Along the way we meet Waffle and Mochi’s taste-buds too, which is where the aforementioned hand-drawn elements come in. This also feels very reminiscent to Inside Out as well, with the different colours and exaggerated personalities blossoming across the different episodes.
There are also some musical numbers that utilize this animation style too, and for the most part these do work well. The final episode is the one exception to the rule though, instead seeing Lionel Ritchie pop up and start singing. Because, why not I guess?
Given the extreme divides that seem to be cropping up in the world right now, Episode 5 is going to be the most divisive chapter here. For those who just want a brief recap, this episode steers away from food slightly to explore family history instead.
Specifically, we take a closer look at the Obama family tree before the attention turns to America’s history with slavery and the early rice farmers. It’s a nice detour in truth, and a good way to break up the wacky chaos in every episode. At the same time though, there will be a vocal minority that see this as an attempt to shoehorn in politics and societal issues to an otherwise food-centric series. Personally, I think this show handles it really well but you’ll have to be the judge of that.
This is a series designed specifically for preschoolers and the humour is geared directly at them. Instead of the usual tiresome toilet jokes and slapstick gags though, the show uses a surprising variety of imaginative gags to keep things feeling fresh and lighthearted.
Waffles + Mochi is a fun little adventure, one that explores the world of healthy food in an educational and insightful way. While there is a sense that everything has been thrown into a blender to see what sticks, the result is actually something kids should really take to. It’s a delightfully light and fluffy show that kids aged 1-4 should enjoy.