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I Weep For Cinema

The Toys That Made Us (2017-2019)

Netflix’s series called “The Toys That Made Us” is a documentary show about toy lines. Taking a specific type of toy series and going through it’s lifespan. I just finished watching the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episode, and… It was good. Nothing spectacular, but a decent dive into the behind the scenes of who the creators are, how the original ideas happened and rocketed off into production of action figures. 

Telling the story of Eastman and Laird was something enjoyable to watch, as they are both likeable people, who had formed and ideas together and cultivated it, with the help of some others into a mega world wide phenomenon. It’s an interesting show, one of which I almost stopped watching right after the opening credits.

The documentary style of the show is simple and enjoyable, but the production of it brings it down to almost unwatchable territory. I have a real big issue with fakeness in TV shows. Not that I have to have everything be real, obviously, when I can suspend my disbelief for 4 pizza chowing mutated turtles and care for them as characters. But when something is trying so hard to manipulate you, and it’s so thinly veiled, it becomes somewhat disgusting to me. That executives have such a shallow minded view of their audience. 

The Toys That Made Us, is narrated by someone, where every sentence has a hard twinge of contempt, condescension and is just plain patronizing. Every moment that is interrupted by the narrator, makes me feel like they are trying to manipulate the story, and force drama. At many times during the 45 minute episode, I felt like I was watching The Behind The Laughter episode of The Simpsons, parodying VH1’s Behind The Music.

The show is also edited pretty poorly. Maybe is to poke fun at the terrible editing of the shows they are covering, but I think that’s giving the show way too much credit. It’s like they got about 30 mins of footage, but needed to pad the show out to 45 minutes. So they use terrible editing, like having to replay the same clip of a CEO saying “No Turtles on the Shelf” three times in the same 10 second span. 

The show itself is pretty good, but sadly it just feels so insanely forced with drama and a smarmy narrator making bad puns and using alliteration for every single sentence. I will go back and try and finish the first episode about the Star Wars toys, that I started back in 2017, but I believe the narration and editing where my issues with it in the first place. It’s disappointing seeing that the show hasn’t picked up on how terrible it’s post production work is, because the subject material is good enough to stand on its own.