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April 24, 2008 - Betsy Bethel
She's brave. She's adventurous. She's a motivator. She's a glass-is-half-full kind of gal. She's my favorite Backyardigan.
But what exactly is Uniqua from Nick Jr.'s "The Backyardigans" animated series? I just couldn't figure it out. I finally googled her today because I couldn't stand it anymore.
You see, I took a crash course in "The Backyardigans" this week as I prepared to take Emma to see the live show at the Benedum Center in Pittsburgh, which opened last night and continues with three shows today. On Tuesday, I borrowed a DVD of the show from our friends across the street, which is where Emma first saw the show about six months ago. (For weeks, she asked to watch "Pablo" and I had no idea what she was talking about until we saw him in a magazine and she yelled "There's Pablo!")
After watching the DVD several times over the past two days and then experiencing the live show, I finally have been able to figure out who is whom among the five characters, what kind of animals they are and even some personality traits: Pablo is a neurotic but playful penguin (although I thought at first he was a bluebird); Austin is a kangaroo (pegged that one at the live show) who is fun-loving if not a bit whiny; Tasha is a girly-girl hippo; and Tyrone is a friendly moose.
But what kind of animal is pink, polka-dotted and fearless Uniqua? I just couldn't guess, even after seeing her on stage last night.
So, the first thing I did when I sat down at my computer this morning was search for "Uniqua" on the web. I quickly found a blog where parents offered their opinions. They came up with all sorts of things, including an ant, a martian, a frog, a chameleon and a ladybug, and many of them were convinced she could be nothing else but what they thought she was. Well, I wasn't convinced of any of them, although I was leaning toward ladybug.
But then I had a thought: Her name is Uniqua, so maybe she's just that ... one of a kind. Turns out, according to Nick Jr.'s United Kingdom Web site, "Uniqua is her name and her species." Finally, mystery solved. I can sleep now.
If you haven't seen "The Backyardigans" yet, tune in sometime (or get a DVD). Their adventures are fun, the music is sophisticated and diverse -- styles range from Broadway musical to hair band to hip-hop -- the lyrics are fresh and unexpected, and the computer-generated choreography, which is based on live dance routines, is equally inspired. I love it! (Oh yeah, and so does Emma!)
P.S. The live show, "Tale of the Mighty Knights" was very well done. The sets, music, story and dancing were wonderful. Austin, a.k.a. the Grabbin' Goblin, stole the show, and Tasha and Uniqua were fantastic performers. Pablo and Tyrone left a little to be desired -- Pablo's performance was over-the-top and Tyrone's was underwhelming. Best of all, it was only an hour and 20 minutes with one intermission -- perfect length for a preschooler!
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"The Backyardigans: Tale of the Mighty Knights" live show cast, from left, Austin, Tasha, Pablo, Uniqua and Tyrone.