What happens when you combine Jimmy Neutron with the Paw Patrol? Believe it or not, something really fun. (Although if you’re more of a Dexter’s Laboratory person this still works, only it’s in CG and on Nickelodeon. So…Jimmy Neutron. With a better haircut.) The answer is Rusty Rivets, the title character of an upcoming show for Nickelodeon’s “Nick Jr.” lineup. Airing also in Canada like the aforementioned canine rescuers also produced by Spinmaster Entertainment for Nickelodeon, Rusty Rivets is another example of how you make edutainment fun enough that even kids older than the target group might get some enjoyment out of it.
While the show doesn’t air until August 20, 2016, the first episode is available streaming for free online, which is how I was able to see it. I still don’t rank high enough to gain access to pilots before anyone else. Lucky for my I occasionally find things. What I couldn’t find was a proper ad or intro. However, the online games based off of this series must be popular or popular to make fun of because YouTube has pages of Let’s Plays for them. However, I’m here to judge the source material…unless the toys are the source material. This is Spinmaster after all. I think they started a TV production studio to help push more toys without licensing stuff. Anyway, what’s the show about?
That’s a good start.
Rusty Rivets follows the title character and his friends–designing partner Ruby and their younger friend Liam, as they have adventures in Sparkton Hills. And the Paw Patrol connections doesn’t end with Spinmaster/Nick Jr. Rusty and Ruby are 10 years old while Liam may be closer to 5, and yet all three drive around in cars (Liam actually gets a trike-style ATV) and can drive around town without anybody caring where their apparently nonexistent parents are. That’s like Ryder on Paw Patrol, with a further connection being that Ruby summons little assistants (robots called Bits) to help in whatever they’re working on using her special tablet, similar to Ryder’s “Pawpad”. And they also help save the day, although they aren’t a group of official rescuers, just really smart kids who help out.
The final connection to the heroes of Adventure Bay is that our trio of kids follow Rocky’s “don’t lose it, reuse it” mantra in that the things they build are usually built out of spare parts or temporarily utilizing their usual gear in different ways. For example in the second of the two episodes available, Rusty and Ruby combine her car with a super-powered fan from the start of the story and merge it with Ruby’s car and a float chair (okay, the science is a bit dodgy–the first story was practically comical in what they came up with) to create a hovercraft. I don’t think this show is really trying to push engineering (at least not as much as another Nick Jr. show, Blaze And The Monster Machines) so much as creativity and problem solving skills. At least in the two stories available and the press release for the actual premiere episode (the origin of the robot T-Rex up there) the tools created are a bit hard to believe, and Blaze already stresses believably with some of the designs.
However, there are a lot of good parts. While Ruby is the only black character and the only girl she is just as good a designer as Rusty. When Rusty comes up with a plan Ruby almost immediately knows what he wants to do and goes into the design animation to help him design it. They go into some kind of holodeck and use Tony Stark’s holographic monitor to design it. Then they appear with Liam and the bits at the outdoor workshop to build it, A-Team style. Back to the holodeck with the finished product and they back to wherever they were before this happened. It may not make sense but it’s fun to watch and considering this is a show for preschoolers it only has to make sense to them.
Then there are the bits, robots designed to aid Rusty and friends in building what they need. The stories currently available features Jack, a robotic forklift (yes, yes, MST3K fans, I know what your singing right now) and Whirly, a small pink robot with a helicopter blade on her head and a claw for a foot. You know, like in the games that you fail to grab that plush toy for your little sister no matter how many times you try (although your secretly trying for the Nintendo DS so maybe it’s just karma) kind of claw. Wikipedia also mentions a flashlight robot named Ray and a crushing clamp called Crush. They’re 1o-year-olds on a show for preschoolers. You were expecting names that weren’t trying to cleverly invoke their functions?
If you want to check the show out for yourselves (for your kids, of course for your kids), “Rusty’s Penguin Problem/Rusty’s Sand Castle Hastle” (oh look, adding Rusty’s name to the title like that other show I keep mentioning stuff “pups saves” in as often as possible) is available via Amazon Prime, Vudu (where I saw it), Google Play’s “Movies & TV” section, and Nickelodeon’s app, plus maybe a few other sources I’m not aware of. Your kids might like, and you might get some fun out of it, too.