PBS show “Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman” a great show!


By now, you may have seen my other reviews of older kid shows recently and how those shows are formatted. However, “Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman” is made a little different. I’m still counting it as a cartoon because the main character, Ruff Ruffman, is an animated dog who decided to create a game show, as is stated directly in the theme song.
Being an early 2000s show, it has many flashing lights and scenes because of camera movement and the animations, so be warned. The show is a PBS Kids production and first aired on May 29, 2006, and ended on Nov. 10, 2010. Ruff isn’t the only part of the game show, however. To change the scenery, six live-action (as opposed to cartoon) kids participate in different challenges that Ruff sets out for them. These challenges teach kids, both in the show and at home, about things like the Solar System, oral hygiene, and how to dance. Each episode starts with Ruff doing something that inevitably sets up the theme of the challenges and overall episode.
I’ll use season 1, episode 12 “That Doesn’t Float My Boat” as an example. It starts the way any regular show would start: Ruff can’t figure out a topic for the episode, so, to come up with ideas, he decides to take a bath instead. Unfortunately, he falls asleep while still filling the bathtub and all of his squeaky toys end up floating in his studio; you know, a typical day. Immediately after waking up to this, Ruff comes up with the topical idea of having some of the kids (Khalil, Anna, and Julia) make their own boat out of things from the dump (with the help of a kid named Alek and his dad.) This epiphany is followed by a really catchy theme song that I have had stuck in my head for many days and a new fun fact about each kid that changes each episode.
Every time a group of kids goes out on their adventure, they go to a mailbox in Studio G where instructions for their challenge await. Like I said before, these three are trying to make a boat with Alek and his dad. Rules for the boats are that they have to be stable and steerable without using oars. Everyone knows that making a functioning boat isn’t very easy, but through trial and error, these kids tried their best to make something work.
While those three are making their boat, other kids, Taylor, Brian, and Noah, stay back at Studio G to answer trivia questions. The questions quiz the kids about things they learned while watching Khalil, Julia, and Anna make their boat for a chance to get more points. Julia, Khalil, and Anna come back after their boat not meeting the exact requirements and decide to sleep on it and come back with a modified boat that does work. Now, the real test comes into play as the new boat is set up against other types of boats in a race around a buoy and back, the “Ruff Regatta.” Of course, their boat comes in last and has to break out the paddles with the help of Alek.
After the race, everyone comes back to the studio to receive more points. Anna, one of the boat makers, gets first place and reaches into the mailbox to retrieve her prize which she had the choice to keep or give away. The prize was a letter, telling her that she’s going to go whale watching. When she reads out loud, everyone else groans in jealousy, but are still good sports. After this portion of the episode, there’s the final animation of Ruff in his bathtub having his own ship race, but it swiftly goes to chaos as a submarine comes out from under the water and destroys the winning boat. The episode fades into the final credits with Ruff scatting to the theme song, which is also very catchy.
Although “Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman” isn’t completely animated, that doesn’t take away from the quality of the show. I like the show because of its humor and how it can teach kids while still being funny, even for adults. It’s a great show for kids, both in the competition and at home, because it teaches lessons about things they might want to know about. Even though a lot of people don’t remember the show very well, it was loved dearly by many during that time. I have always loved this show and sometimes I forget about it, too, but I always love to come back and watch it for the first time again. I ask everyone who reads this to watch it as soon as possible, because it is for sure something to be watched. Who knows? Maybe you’ll learn something along the way.