‘Rastamouse’: Give it up for the Easy Crew!

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I’ve spent the best part of the last hour watching Cbeebies on iPlayer. I’ve laughed, I’ve been impressed, awed even, and thoroughly entertained. No, I haven’t had a mental breakdown. I’ve been watching ‘Rastamouse’.

The latest mouse-based-children’s-programme-to-cause-quite-a-stir-on-the-internet follows the adventures of Rastamouse and his posse of friends/musicians/detectives the “Easy Crew”. The ‘Prez’ (ident) Wensley Dale contacts them directly. He wants a crime solved and fancies a pizza. The crew deliver. The reggae stings are actually quite good. The stop-motion animation borders on the beautiful. My first thought: why have they bothered? The minds of young children may be receptive, but there’s no way they could appreciate this. Yet it was a welcome surprise. With everything on television seemingly done for some other reason, be it awards, ratings or column inches, it’s rare to see something being done exceptionally well for its own sake. ‘Rastamouse’, incidentally, has now achieved the latter two, but that just proves my point…sort of.  And it should win a Bafta.

Some adults have taken ‘cheese’ to be code for weed and have been enjoying the show on a subtextual level. But even if this is the case, ‘Rastamouse’ isn’t knowing, it’s gloriously innocent. It’s set in a universe where redemption is a given, criminals get forgiven almost immediately and generally, in the words of Rastamouse, they “try to make a bad ting good”. Due to the drug connotations, links have been made to the 60s-made, 90s-screened TV show ‘The Magic Roundabout’, but I can’t really see the connection myself. ‘The Magic Roundabout’ is like a vaguely unsettling dream, while this is like a beautiful Reggae-soundtracked reverie.

Reportedly though, Rastamouse, with his rhyming couplets of Caribbean dialect (which makes him sound a bit like something from a GCSE poetry anthology), has been subject to complaint by Mums embracing the emptiness of their lives and putting it on the internet ( i.e. Mumsnet). They fear children could start copying Rastamouse, which might be offensive to ‘other’ children. Though a playground inhabited by patois speaking middle-class five year olds is a hilarious prospect, it’s actually an ethical one too, because (as I learnt in my English Language module last year) no dialect of English should be valued above any other. And if that’s ever going to happen Caribbean English should really get some more airtime. So put that in your pipe and smoke it, Mumsnet. While Rastamouse, presumably, puts some cheese in his.

How to live the ‘Rastamouse’ lifestyle…

What to wear: A rastacap and some form of footwear that means you don’t have to walk in the traditional manner.

What to listen to: Toots, Jimmy Cliff and some Wailers to get you in the Rasta mood.

What to say: Anything, as long as it’s grammatically incorrect…

(Picture courtesy of BBC)

One thought on “‘Rastamouse’: Give it up for the Easy Crew!

  • Irie man… Me love da rastamouse an da rest of da easy crew! Me nah chi chi man.. but me in love wit da mouse… Wa Gwaan… Irie man.. na me off ta play cricket wit da BODO!!!!!!

    Reply

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