Minorities in cartoons: “Fizzy’s Lunch Lab”

This week’s minorities in cartoons entry is “Fizzy’s Lunch Lab,” a PBS Kids online animated series.

Background

The educational series focuses on promoting good nutrition and food habits. The cast of characters include:

  • Professor Fizzy. The owner of the “Lunch Lab,” a high-tech kitchen. The Professor, while absent-minded, imparts on the others the importance of nutrition. He also creates various healthy but tasty recipes.
  • Mixie-Bot. The Professor’s earliest invention (according to the show’s site), Mixie-Bot is a sentient flying robot and the Professor’s main assistant. She tends to be much more down to earth than Fizzy.
  • Henry and Avril. A pair of grade-schoolers who assist in the Lunch Lab after school, while learning about nutrition and cooking.
  • Fast Food Freddy. The nemesis of Professor Fizzy, Freddy runs a sleazy fast food restaurant/theme park. Freddy also pushes hard on everyone, including Henry and Avril, greasy meals that makes McDonald’s look like health food.
  • Corporal Cup. A sentient measuring cup, presumably also robotic like Mixie. Corporal Cup treats her job of measuring ingredients and preparing food like an army drill sergeant.
  • Freezer Burn. The Lunch Lab’s “house band,” Freezer Burn’s a rock band that lives in a freezer. The band’s made up of a bag of peas, popsicle, and banana. They sing various songs summing up the episode’s lesson.

Most episodes feature Freddy trying to promote his wares in some aggressive fashion. One episode (“Attack of the Pizzanators“) sees Freddy spread slices of pizza all over town. The slices come with holograms of himself similar to the ones Princess Leia used in “Star Wars.” Usually the Professor and the kids mix up a healthy alternative in response to Freddy. In the above episode’s case, they created and served all over town whole wheat pita-based personal pizzas.

The series tries to keep up with current nutritional information. An earlier segment featured the food pyramid, which was used by the US government from 1992 until 2011. A later segment focused on the food pyramid’s less complicated, easier to understand replacement, MyPlate. MyPlate is basically a return to the longtime pre-pyramid “Four Food Groups,” though with increased emphasis on fruits and vegetables. (I grew up with the Four Food Groups, but MyPlate’s an improvement.)

The show’s website comes with various recipes. All the recipes are kid-friendly, though some might require more help from parents than others.

Voice actors

Avril is voiced by Miya Duffy, who has no other voice acting credits listed on IMDB.

Video availability

Some episodes of the series are available on DVD.

Nearly the entire series is posted on its own YouTube playlist (under the PBS Kids channel). The entire series, including some episodes not on YouTube, is also available on PBS Kids’ website.

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