Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

24 Jul

Years Aired: 1991-1995
Station: PBS

Carmen Sandiego is friends with Where’s Waldo.

What I remember:
It was a really mysterious game show, but not as mysterious as Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego. Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego was not as exciting as Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego.

This episode is called Stardust Buster. 90s kids’ shows loved puns.

I can’t remember what’s going on. The contestants are trying to catch Carmen Sandiego but I don’t know why. They have on funny outfits.

The contestants are informed that Robocrook (he’s a robot and a crook) was last seen in the Milky Way galaxy. Then they learn all sorts of facts about outer space. But the problem is that Robocrook sucked up the entire galaxy in his hyper-hoover!

This already doesn’t make sense. The contestants are supposed to find Robocrook, but they just learned that he is in space with his vacuum cleaner that we are all currently inside. And nothing so far has to do with Carmen Sandiego.

The first clue comes from Nana Rap. She’s rapping about Robocrook. I don’t know why it’s necessary for her to be a Nana, or why she has the voice of a guy trying to sound like an old lady. But the host really likes her rap and is dancing along. (How can you dance along to a rap? You can’t. But this is barely a rap and it’s barely a dance anyway.) At least everyone is having fun on this show, even though a crazy robot criminal with a vacuum cleaner is on the loose. I should be listening to the clue that Nana Rap is giving instead of wondering why we’re receiving the clue in rap form. Robocrook took the hyper-hoover to the Atlantic coast of an African nation. He took the galaxy to something inside itself.

The host tells the contestants to name the country where Robocrook has taken the Milky Way. Does he not see anything wrong with this? If the entire galaxy is inside the hyper-hoover, so is the country! He can’t take anything there at all because it’s gone. That’s why we even have a problem in the first place. All the contestants pronounce their answers incorrectly but Samuel and Jimmy get the answer right anyway.

Instead of going on to the next round, the host apologizes and says there’s a TV show on he needs to watch. It’s a show starring the host. One of the characters starts talking about an animal called a babirusa in a way that lets me know it has to be another clue. It makes me think I would be really good at this show, but I know I wouldn’t because I’d give answers like, “It’s not any country because according to you, none of them currently exist!

The contestants are supposed to name the country where the animal lives. This question makes sense because it doesn’t involve a stolen item being hidden within a part of it’s stolen self. If the galaxy is stolen then so is the hiding place! I wish Carmen Sandiego would show up already. Jimmy gets it right again.

The lady who first explained Robocrook’s crime has gotten a fax. (Hahaha a fax.) It’s a key, a gardening hoe, and tea, which obviously means Don Quixote. I know all about Don Quixote because I saw the Wishbone episode. Suddenly a windmill has appeared in the studio and the host is acting out the story. At least this host looks like he wants to be there. The lady says to head for the Iberian peninsula, where the story takes place. But what’s the country? Samuel and Jimmy both say Spain, putting Tylesha way behind.

It’s time for the lightning round, which means a thunder sound effect and a piece of paper that looks like lighting waves in front of the camera. These are questions about Robocrook’s most recent whereabouts. All these questions are stupid because all the places are on Earth. Is there a duplicate Earth still in existence? Why do they not understand that is is impossible that the galaxy has been taken to Earth? The earth is gone along with the Milky Way. Gone. After the lighting round Jimmy is still ahead.

Apparently this lady is called the chief, and the host goes to visit her while she eats breakfast. He just leaves the contestants standing there. First he stopped to watch television, now he’s left to eat breakfast, I don’t think he understands what being a host means. He just stole her food. While she gets mad, today’s contest winners are shown on screen. I don’t know what the contest is for but I think the only prize is having your name on the screen. I think this was thought up to take up time in the episode. Never mind, winners get a Carmen t-shirt. Which reminds me that Carmen has not shown up in this show yet.

The next clues are hidden in trash cans. For absolutely no reason. This whole show is time fillers, a few facts about countries, and chances for contestants to mispronounce words. Samuel uses the clues to guess that Robocrook went to Ecuador (Even though… never mind.) when the phone rings.

It’s Carmen Sandiego on the phone! She has information about Robocrook! But… how? And why? I thought we were supposed to be figuring out where she is, not her helping us find other people. Samuel and Jimmy get her question right anyway. They’re tied.

I’m sorry, I just can’t get over how this whole concept doesn’t make any sense. I can’t guess which portion of the United States Robo is going to when I know he has the entire United States inside his vacuum cleaner. And I thought I was going to be looking for Carmen Sandiego, anyway. But it doesn’t bother the contestants. In which state did Buddy Holly play his last show? Jimmy says Iowa! It’s really not exciting but I’m pretending to care because I have to finish watching this show. Jimmy wins, he gets a bunch of Carmen Sandiego gear which would make sense if this were actually a show about Carmen Sandiego. He and Samuel get to go to the bonus round.

The chief describes the places in Iowa that may be hiding Robocrook. Samuel and Jimmy take turns guessing places until Samuel finds him. Now Samuel gets a chance to catch Carmen Sandiego. But, but, why? Why does she need catching? Why did we have to wait until Robocrook was caught to catch her? This is supposed to be her show. But I shouldn’t start expecting this show to make sense now. At least the galaxy has been returned.

There’s another phone call, but this time from Robocop. He says Carmen is in South America. Samuel has 45 seconds to put poles with lights on top of them on a giant map of South America. That’s all he had to do to catch her? Just put lights on a map? Well he caught her, so he and his parents win a trip to Arizona. And with that, the show’s over.

What did we learn?
The name “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” is a lie. They say this show is educational but it’s really just illogical.


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