21 Jul

Years Aired: 1995-1998
Station: PBS

What’s the story, Wishbone? What’s this you’re dreaming of? Such big imagination for such a little pupppp.

What I remember:
I loved everything about Wishbone. The real life parts were my favorite but the books were always good too, and usually funny. Wishbone himself was really smart and kind of hilarious. And this show could get scary, like the halloween episode or the one where the house caught on fire. I would probably sit down and watch every episode if I could.

Theme song! I love this theme song. I’m singing along right now. This is one of my favorite theme songs. This is also the part of the show where I would see all the clips of Wishbone dressed up like different characters and hope that was the episode that would be coming on. I shouldn’t have been so picky about it because every episode was amazing. This is my favorite part! “Shake a leg now, Wishbone, let’s wag another taillll”. See it’s funny because Wishbone has a tail because he’s a dog, and a tale is like a story! Get it? That’s really clever. I love this show.

(Wait, Wishbone is a boy, right? I’m never sure anymore because of how Blue from Blue’s Clues is actually a girl even though no one ever knew that. Yeah all Wishbone’s characters are boys. He’s a boy.)

What’s the story, Wishbone? This show is already much better at puns than Olmec from Legends of the Hidden Temple. Look at Wishbone’s giant book collection! How did Wishbone learn to read? He knows a lot of classic stories. He could have read them himself if he knows how but he’d still have trouble with turning the pages. He probably either had someone read them to him or he had books on tape. (This was when people still listened to books on tape.)

This episode is called “Digging up the Past”. That’s probably another pun! I really hope that’s another pun. Everyone is being inconsiderate to Wishbone who is only trying to sleep. His owner Joe Talbot has not yet started his Social Studies paper, but his mom points out that the perfect topic is on the front page of the newspaper. (This was also when people still read newspapers.) The old Hobrock plant is closing. Joe doesn’t like that topic because he doesn’t care.

Joe asks Wishbone if he wants to help clean. Besides the fact that I have never seen a dog with the ability to clean anything, I thought we’d established that Wishbone was sleeping. He sarcastically tells Joe no, or really just thinks no, because this is the real life segment where he can’t talk. But Joe somehow receives the mind-thought and Wishbone decides to go back to sleep, which reminds him of Rip Van Winkle. The Talbots shouldn’t complain about Wishbone being lazy because he is really smart. He’s like the guy that the teacher class on because he’s not paying attention but then knows all the answers.

Wishbone is always the main character in the story of the episode. So even though Wishbone is a dog, as Rip Van Winkle he’s fixing doors and making toys for kids. And he’s all dressed up in a vest and a black hat. No one in the town notices that they’re having a conversation with someone  five feet shorter than them and is walking on all fours.

Rip Van Winkle runs into the woods avoiding his chores and finds a scary guy carrying cider and comments on his out of style clothes. Wishbone is a dog in a gold vest and he is commenting on scary guys’ clothing. Aww now he’s rolling a giant barrel! The best part about Wishbone’s retellings are how while everyone else talks using lines from the book, Wishbone talks totally normally. They come up to an outdoor bowling game and while Wishbone’s Rip Van Winkle is excited about it being league night, the group of scary guys just stares and goes back to bowling. The noise of the pins wakes Wishbone up from his dream and we’re back in reality.

Joe and Wishbone walk to the library. I forgot Joe’s mom works at the library. So that’s where Wishbone learned to check out books on tape. But he’s not going to learn anything with Joe leaving him on the bench outside! Wishbone vows to guard the perimeter and meets a lady going to visit the library. Her name is Thelma Brown and she used to come there every Saturday fifty years ago. This is not exciting to Wishbone. He falls asleep again.

Back with Rip Van Winkle, who is excelling at bowling, the dog drinks some cider and promptly falls asleep. While nothing else is going on, I would like to take the time to point out that the scary guys’ beards are most definitely fake. This makes sense because if I met a scary guy in the woods, seeing he was wearing a fake beard would definitely raise his scary and creepy level.

Back at home, Joe is raking leaves. So far in the show we have Joe not doing homework, a lady walking around in a library, Wishbone falling asleep in multiple realities, and yard work. The story hasn’t progressed much. I may just go back and listen to the theme song again. Wait, an unknown car is pulling up at the house. It’s just Thelma Brown. But if I were them I might be a little worried that the same old lady was following me around. It turns out that she grew up in the Talbot’s house. Wait wait wait wait wait is this the one where she shows Joe where she hid things in the ceiling?! I love this one! There’s this really cool part where the ceiling has a secret door in it and she pulls it open and– okay I’ll wait until we get there.

Thelma knew the next door neighbor, Wanda, when she was a baby. I think Wanda was really annoying but she made up for it in the Arbor Day episode by planting a tree. Thelma also used to live in the room that’s now Joe’s. (And hid things in the ceiling! Just wait, it’s going to be amazing!) Both Joe and Wishbone were unaware of the secret hiding place. It actually turns out to not be in the ceiling. But it’s still really cool! It’s dark with cobwebs and had a marble and a ball bearing that used to belong to Thelma. And it reminds her that she also buried a time capsule in the front. Wishbone mind-suggests that they dig it up… just like the title of the episode! They’re going to “dig” up the “past”! I love this show.

What about Rip Van Winkle? He’s just been sleeping, but now he’s got a fake beard, too. He doesn’t know that twenty years have gone by and no one recognizes him. As a talking dog he should realize that if no one recognizes him then something isn’t right.

Thelma is still trying to find the time capsule and complaining about how things have changed. But Joe walks up with David and Sam who say they have an idea. Hey, David and Sam! I thought something was missing from this episode. Sam was my favorite character besides Wishbone because she’s a girl. David’s idea is to build a subterranean sonar but they all realize that’s a stupid idea and just an excuse to have Sam and David in the episode. Suddenly Wishbone immediately knows exactly where to dig. He finds it. There’s nothing Wishbone can’t do.

What’s inside? More marbles and a photograph and a newspaper from when the Hobrock plant was opened. There are a lot of coincidences in this show.

Meanwhile, Rip Van Winkle is still confused. As everyone laughs at his confusion, he just happens to run into his daughter. Then the town historian just happens to walk by and recognizes  him. The historian even knows that strange guys go to the woods every few years to hang out and bowl. Rip Van Winkle is successfully home again. The End.

The entirety of the Rip Van Winkle story probably took up about six minutes of the episode. I’m a little concerned that they left a little out of the plot but it’s probably nothing big.

Thelma’s time capsule also has a program from an old Oakdale baseball program from a team that doesn’t exist anymore. Joe happens to love baseball and wants to write about it for his Social Studies paper. Everything has tied together extremely well. Just to bring absolutely everything full circle, Wishbone goes back to sleep.

It’s not over yet, though! Wishbone’s going to tell us about the episode’s post production sound department and how they made the ghosts. There were ghosts in this story? I feel like that’s something they should have made more clear before kids watched the episode instead of reading the book and then went off to school to take the test. No one mentioned that the scary guys with fake beards were ghosts before. I think they forgot to put that part in the script and just added it on to the very end.

This is really the end of the episode this time. I can tell because the credits are rolling with an instrumental version of the theme song. But you know what that really means… Wishbone theme song karaoke!

What did we learn?
Put off your homework until the last minute because that’s when all the good ideas come. Don’t bother to read the book or even Sparknotes it, just watch the Wishbone episode.


One Response to “Wishbone”

  1. HappyM July 25, 2011 at 10:02 am #

    I love Wishbone, especially the theme song! My favorite story on Wishbone was Romeo and Juliet.

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