Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Book 4: Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants

Hooray! I'm halfway there. I have to say, I expected my face to be set in a permanent cringe by this point, but it's not. This series isn't as terrible as I was convinced it would be. It's funny. Sure, all the stories are nearly identical in structure, and if a joke worked in book one, it's still being used in book four, but sometimes a joke can still be as funny the fourth time as it was the first. I don't mind that. Some of the best gags in the history of comedy were based on solid repetition. Who can forget the longest knock-knock joke ever? You know the one. The guy keeps knocking on the door and saying banana until finally the home owner presumably opens up holding something large and menacing and growling because the guy changes his tune and says orange and the joke mercifully comes to a close.

Then again, no one ever laughs at that joke. They usually end up chasing the person who told it down the street with torches and pitchforks. Dav Pilkey, I won't chase you around with a torch and pitchfork for reusing the same jokes again and again. I don't advise anyone else to do that either. I'm sure he's a nice guy. His sense of humor might begin to wear on you after a while, but that's no reason for joining a pitchfork toting mob.

Anyway, Professor Pippy Pee-Pee Poopypants was quite the alliterative mess. His backstory in the geographically interesting land of New Swissland (I say interesting because it's described as being "just southeast of Greenland" i.e. Iceland) where everyone has silly names, left me wondering whether Pilkey has any fans in Reykjavik. If anyone has good reason to brandish torches and pitchforks at Mr. Pilkey, the people of Iceland might. Among all the "epic novels" that I've read, Poopypants was the first villain I actually felt bad for. In fact, changing everyone's name to give them a taste of their own medicine almost seemed just after they laughed him right out of the world of academia and never gave him a chance to share his inventions. He's no hero though. He proved that when he treated his assistant like he was less valuable than dirt. If only he hadn't decided to rename himself Tippy Tinkletrousers from jail, this story could have had a happy ending for everyone involved.

I love the running joke with the little boy who always happens to witness the most unlikely moments of each story, and consistently tells his mother what he saw only to be told that he is making everything up. They usually make only one appearance per book, but in this one they showed up twice, both times running the observant son and oblivious mom bit to perfection. That wasn't the only first in this volume though. This book also marked the first time in the series when George and Harold purposely turned Mr. Krupp into Captain Underpants to try and save the day. That's not a big surprise since during the third book Captain Underpants drank superhero juice meaning he is now a bonafide superhero when the clothes come off. I suspect that will start happening more often in the books to come, but I guess I'll have to wait and see.

Well, that about does it for book four. The Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman is up next, but before I sign off for today I'd like to mention some disturbing news I happened upon last night. Someone beat me to the punch in my little Captain Underpants challenge. Before I even conceived of the idea to blog about my Underpants experience, someone out there had already blogged their way through book four. Since then, that same blogger polished off book five and one can only presume that book six can't be far off. I really enjoyed her thoughts on the books she's read so far, so I only think it fair to offer her thoughts up to anyone who has been following my efforts. That's right, I take care of my readers, all two of you. The blog I'm referring to is Kids Tails and the blogger is Michele Lee. Check it out if you have the chance. It's sure to be worth your time, especially if you assign so little value to your time that you bothered to read this post all the way to the end. Just kidding. Don't stop reading.

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