It is said that LazyTown was, in its day, the most expensive television show to produce of all time, costing over 1 million dollars per episode. One cannot deny that it has an ambitious scope upon watching it. It uses a combination of live action, CGI, and even older technologies such as animatronics all within every episode. Every episode also features at least one new song. It couldn’t have been cheap to dub every episode in 30 languages either, or to produce everything in its home country if Iceland. It is clear that a lot of work went into creating each episode of this preschool program.
To most adults watching it, it is likely to feel like a gratuitous expenditure of resources to put so much effort into this show. It was clearly made for the sake of very young children. The topics brought to the table here give away its audience, with fear of the dark or the virtues of playing outside matters of the utmost important. The acting is simple and very visual. You need not even have audio to know that the hapless Robbie Rotten is the villain. The black-haired, lanky actor is always stumbling around hunched over in his dark clothing. Likewise, you immediately know that Sportacus, played by series creator Magnus Scheving, and Stephanie Meanswell are the heroes. These characters have a strong posture, nimble movement around the screen, and bright clothing.
For all the lavish expense and care taken to craft the show, it doesn’t have much substance or variety beyond the visual. The vibrancy of the sets does not carry over into the plots, for instance, which always involve Robbie trying to chase Sportacus away or scare children. This is one case where throwing money at a show did not improve its inane content.
Nowhere is this clearer than in the show’s popularity among broadcasters. As it was being released in the mid-noughties, networks which run children’s programming all seemed to apathetically green light it for dubbing in the local language and airing. It was dubbed in over 30 languages and seems to have been mindlessly aired for years in almost every country with children’s programming. Telemundo has been showing it in its Spanish-language dub for almost 4 years now.
The length of the production is impressive for a children’s show. It initially ran for two years from 2004, but then enjoyed a sort of revival as a sketch show called #LazyTown Extra. The show was again brought back to the air in the early 2010’s for two more seasons, which means that it has technically lasted five seasons. No new episodes are being produced, but Telemundo has no qualms about endlessly broadcasting re-runs of shows, so #LazyTown can remain on the air quite a long time.
The show still has a great deal of residual popularity. It is unknown whether this is from excited youngsters or parents who find this type of programming innocuous, but Sportacus and friends are still finding a place in popular culture even though production on the series has ended. Earlier this year, journalists report that the characters will be touring in Britain with live-action performances on theatrical stages. This month, Stefan Karl, who played Robbie, is getting a lot of attention from the press because he is reportedly suffering from cancer. It looks like the public has not forgotten @LazyTown just yet.
We don’t know if @LazyTown will continue for a fifth year, but it doesn’t look like there are any major contenders to stop it. Telemundo currently airs several children’s television shows which have been running for about the same length of time as LazyTown. It is probable that they can squeeze a lot more juice out of this series, so we’ll probably be seeing it in season 5. You can
What are your opinions on LazyTown? Are you happy to see it on television? Do you think the Spanish-language version is as good as the English-language version? Do you intend to see the LazyTown cast on stage live?