Children’s Television Survival Guide: Handy Manny

It’s time once again for another installment in our Children’s Television Survival Guide. This one has a romance that lasts the test of time, a lunatic middle aged man, and a multi-ethnic cast of dozens. No, I don’t let my kids watch Gone with the Wind, I’m talking about Handy Manny.

Where to begin, this show has SO MUCH AWESOME.

First off, for someone with the sense of humor of a 13 year old boy (and really, who doesn’t? That is to say, who doesn’t who’s stuck with this blog this long?), Handy Manny is fucking AWESOME. I mean, there’s The Tools. (Haha, she said tool.) Two of them are screwdrivers. (Haha, she said screw.)

Then, there’s Mr. Lopart, who runs a candy store that no one is ever in. He’s got all these crackpot inventions and a cat who looks like Ernst Blofeld’s. Did you notice his mother is a big part of his life? Guy is one step away from being Anthony Perkins in Psycho. It’s like the writers took all these awesome 1960’s evil, mentally unstable characters and referenced them all in one weird dude who makes everyone around him uncomfortable, but like, in a non-threatening way. It’s genius.

But what really brings me back to Handy Manny is the romance between Manny and the lovely Kelly, who runs the hardware store. You could cut the sexual tension between those two with a knife. And did you ever notice how Kelly never makes him pay for his supplies? Not in front of the tools, anyway! Snicker. Manny always thanks her and says, “You always have just what we need.” Of course she does, Manny, wink wink. There’s even one episode where they enter a chili cook off together and when they win, they hug and then quickly step apart awkwardly and blush. Come on Manny, man up and tell the tools they’re getting a new mommy!

I could go on and on about Pat the hammer and his obvious yet tragic traumatic brain injury (his head is the part of the hammer that you hit things with–it was only a matter of time, really); Turner’s soul that is as black as my own; and of course, that hot Eric Estrada-referencing motorcycle that Manny rides around that makes me want to him the theme song from CHiPs. I suppose I should be raving about the show teaching my kids about people of different ethnic backgrounds living side by side, and teamwork, and getting to learn Spanish words without Dora or Diego screaming out of the TV. But really, I would probably watch Handy Manny even if I didn’t have kids. It’s better than Days of Our Lives.