Most parents will be familiar with PAW Patrol, the Nickelodeon show about hero dogs.
The theme song neatly summarises the plot: "Whenever there is trouble, round Adventure Bay, Ryder and his team of pups are there to save the day." But big questions surround the show's premise.
You must have wondered...
1. Why Is A Small Boy In Charge Of So Much Stuff?
The PAW Patrol's leader is a 10-year-old boy called Ryder. Most right-thinking people would consider that too young even for a paper round, yet Ryder is entrusted with all kinds of responsibility. He must control and command at least six super-intelligent dogs along with their vehicles. He frequently deploys heavy machinery into the public realm. He has oversight on significant assets, including a control tower and a sea base. OK, he does all of this in a calm, responsible manner and is seemingly unflappable. But still. He's TEN!
2. Who Funds This Operation?
If you thought Postman Pat had jumped the shark when he was granted his own delivery helicopter, take a look at the PAW Patrol. Every season brings a raft of new vehicles, bases, personal equipment and random rescue things -- almost as though someone wanted to spin out an endless range of toys for us to collect. It all began calmly enough, with the dogs functioning as a kind of combined emergency services. In the first season, the pups had to content themselves merely driving a fire engine, police car, bulldozer, hovercraft, helicopter or utility truck.
Ryder's generous budget has since allowed him to get a superyacht, jet packs for every dog, submarines, and a VTOL air transporter larger than anything developed by the US Air Force. The dogs have dedicated vehicles for rescuing stranded race cars and corralling dinosaurs. Like, niche. Can you imagine putting the business case together for all this kit? Who funds it? Who signs it off? How do they measure success and return on investment?
3. Why Are Their Missions So Inconsequential?
Given their resources -- comparable to International Rescue in Thunderbirds -- you'd think the pups would be off catching plummeting jumbo jets, rescuing hostages, capping volcanoes and thwarting international crime. No such ambition. They're busy picking fruit before the snow falls, or catching escaped rabbits, or baking a cake against the clock (all genuine stories). Mayor Goodway gives Ryder a call every time she spills her tea, has an argument with rival Mayor Humdinger, or loses her pet chicken Chickaletta (at least four times every season). Later adventures got a little more ambitious, but the fact remains that these pups are glaringly overfunded.
4. Where Are All The Girls?
Ryder (a 10-year-old boy, as we've already established) isn't exactly an equal opportunities employer. His original team of pups consisted of Chase (male), Rubble (male), Zuma (male), Rocky (male), Marshall (male) and Skye (female... you can tell by the pink clothes). The show later brought in Siberian husky Everest (female) as an occasional member, but also added Tracker (male), Rex (male) and Robo-Dog (robotic, but supposedly male).
5. "No Job Is Too Big, No Pup Is Too Small!"
What does that even mean?
Although originally from the Midlands, and trained as a biochemist, Matt has somehow found himself writing about London for a living. He's a former editor and long-time contributor to Londonist.com and has written several books about the capital. He's also the father of two preschoolers.