Awful or Awesome?: ‘Dino Dan’

My nephews, ages three and five, are really into dinosaurs. Yes, I realize this is a strange interest for a child to have, which is why they’re my very special little snowflakes. This unique fascination has led them to become fans of a Canadian television show, aimed at kids ages two to seven, called Dino Dan.

The production company’s called ‘Sinking Ship’ because some idiot let Eeyore come up with the name.

The main character is Dan Henderson, a hideous schizophrenic child who sees poorly-rendered, neon dinosaurs everywhere he goes. He lives with his brother, Trek, and his single mother, who enables his delusions and bends household rules to accommodate them. A father is never mentioned; given the lack of familial resemblance between the three of them and the questionable mental state of the mother, who seems incapable of assuming an authoritative role, I’m inclined to think that Trek and Dan are kidnap victims taken from different families. It’s the only way to explain their incongruous names as well as the apparent variant on Stockholm Syndrome from which they all seem to be suffering. It’s possible that the brothers are the biological progeny of their mother via different fathers, but that scenario is even more disturbing, because it suggests that this woman named her own child Trek on purpose, an idea that I find too repulsive to entertain.

Dan’s teachers and friends support his fantasies as well, which leads me to believe he has a history of violence if his outrageous claims of seeing dinosaurs are challenged. It’s like that Twilight Zone episode about the telekinetic kid who assaults people if they don’t cater to his every whim.

Look into my eyes. Only then will you know true horror.

While I am troubled by the effect this show may have on my nephews, it can be pretty hilarious. A fat kid whose favorite food is hot dogs with chocolate pudding? Where do they come up with this stuff?! Plus, Mark McKinney makes an appearance as the gym coach. Other comedians pop up from time to time as well, like Seán Cullen and McKinney’s fellow Kids in the Hall alum Kevin McDonald. There may be some more, but I can’t be sure – it’s a hard show to watch because most of the actors/characters are precocious children, which make my fallopian tubes twist themselves into knots. Usually when the boys turn it on, I go stand outside and daydream about when I used to be a smoker.

Bottom line: Awful-some. Though it makes my teeth grind, it’s a good show for kids. It teaches them about dinosaurs and introduces them to comedic treasures they probably wouldn’t learn about otherwise. It’s also set in Canada, featuring much of the country’s landscape, ensuring that this next generation will have no desire to flee north from the United States, thus keeping the future workforce at home to fuel our nation’s economy. Our nation’s crappy, crappy economy.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Emily says:

    I constantly overanalyze Dino Dan so I love that this article exists, BUT… firstly, it is not uncommon for toddler boys to be obsessed with dinosaurs AT ALL… secondly, Dino Dan DOES have a father, he is off on a geological expedition uncovering dinosaur fossils. Also, I know you wrote this 6 years ago and do not care about my comment at this point but do you know they have made a spin off since then?!

    1. mnhanson says:

      I was aware of the spin-off (same premise starring lil bro Trek) but haven’t seen it. This show was great fun to watch with my nephews. I didn’t even mind that they wanted to watch the same episodes a dozen times, but I must have missed the one about his dad being off on a dig!

      P.S. I just reread the post and saw the part at the end about the show making my teeth grind. My positive memories of the impact the show had on my nephews totally overshadowed its more irritating aspects in my memory. I guess now I do recall finding the kids kind of annoying. BUT I still love the show for how much it stirred the imagination – even my own, evidently.

  2. Jaime Porter says:

    HOLY SHIT! This is awesome and makes me a little bit jealous, as I have been attempting to pre-write a similar review in my head for several weeks now! However it appears that you obviously have a time machine, and, forseeing the the gestation of a mother/birth you do not know, used your power to come to the future and read my mind, and take it back to whenever (not sure of actual date) and wrote this beautiful and accurate review. I simultaneously thank and envy you!

    By and by, I wasn’t looking for a review of DD when I found this. I was looking for an image of Trek dressed as Super Trek, because my son has been invited to a superhero party…and he wants to dress like Super Trek. The obsession is real. Thank you for the accurate humor!

    1. Jaime Porter says:

      I apologize for any grammatical mistakes. I was hiding in the locked water closet, listening to relentless whining about “‘nother episode” and composing on a phone screen.

  3. Sonia says:

    Really what kind of adult sits down and watches a children’s show and psychoanalys it. You wonder why child have no imagination and sit in front of the television killing zombies or think they are some kind of special ops soldier. Let’s go into a movie or elementary school and shoot everyone in their line of site. Remember being a child watching mindless television then mom and dad are up you are out the door. Don’t like the show get up and take your child outside and teach them about nature instead of sitting infront of a computer and writing nonsense about little kids shows.

    1. mnhanson says:

      Don’t drink and comment. Set a good example for the kids.

  4. carl says:

    Wow.. I didn’t get ANY of that headcase drivel you wrote above from watching the show. It’s a great show and Canada is a great country. My kids love the show and could care less about any of the crap posted above. You just don’t get the show.

    It’s a KID’S show… not a dinosaur documentary. Kids don’t care about all that headcase crap M.N. Hanson wrote about. The care about adventure and learning. Sounds like M.N. Hanson has the serious problem and can’t connect to what kids want in a show. I would love to see a psych evaluation on M.N. Hanson, because the review above on a KID’S show obviously comes from a disturbed mind.

    1. mnhanson says:

      You are correct, carl. M.N. Hanson is a media reviewer for Bethlem Royal Hospital’s patient newspaper, which is part of the patient’s mental health routine in addition to hydrotherapy, purging, and trephination.

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