A traditional kid-oriented cartoon amid a slew of offbeat ones, “The Fairly Oddparents” feels pretty bland given the current animated landscape. The two episodes that comprise the premiere are neatly structured and ably voiced, but the generic characters make little impression. Airing Friday at 8:30, following “Rugrats,” the newest Nicktoon will likely hold the attention of only the younger moppets.
Premise of the show finds youngster Timmy (Tara Strong) able to make wishes to his two fairy godparents — or, as the title tells us, fairly oddparents — named Cosmo and Wanda.
In both episodes, Timmy tends to wish for things that get him in some trouble, with his oddparents finding a way to rescue him from his own desires.
In the first piece, “Big Problem!,” Timmy requests to become a grownup, but soon finds that he hasn’t become the hero he’d imagined. Instead, he’s an ugly, slimy-looking bald guy who quickly gets ousted from the house and has nowhere to go.
In the second episode, “Power Mad!,” Cosmo (Daran Norris) and Wanda (Susanne Blakeslee) design a special videogame to Timmy’s specification, a game that he enters into and can’t wish himself out of. Then his shapeshifting oddparents have to find a way to keep the evil babysitter, a recurring spoil-sport named Vicky (Grey Delisle), from using too much electrical power and making Timmy and his buddies disappear for good.
Cosmo and Wanda tend to be a bit bumbling themselves, and rely on a rulebook for fairies that tells them what they can and can’t do. They also change shapes constantly in order to avoid detection by others, especially Timmy’s blatantly unobservant parents. Much of the time they pretend to be fish, although everyone keeps knocking over their fishbowl as they burst into Timmy’s room.
Creator Butch Hartman infuses a sweet innocence into the show, but everything here is highly transparent and just a touch preachy.
More importantly, neither the characters nor the blockish artwork provide anything enticing.
Cosmo and Wanda don’t have much of a relationship with each other, nor do they have especially distinguishing personalities. As such creatures go, they’re kind of dull. Timmy is too.