Good-natured, 6 y.o. Dennis is a menace to his parents and especially to his neighbor, Mr. Wilson. He has adventures with his friends and dog, Ruff. Each episode has 3 6-10 min. stories.Good-natured, 6 y.o. Dennis is a menace to his parents and especially to his neighbor, Mr. Wilson. He has adventures with his friends and dog, Ruff. Each episode has 3 6-10 min. stories.Good-natured, 6 y.o. Dennis is a menace to his parents and especially to his neighbor, Mr. Wilson. He has adventures with his friends and dog, Ruff. Each episode has 3 6-10 min. stories.
However, there's something about this show that I think needs to be pointed out here. That has to do with Mr. Wilson and his relationship with Dennis.
Yeah, yeah, I know it's just a cartoon series, and that one of the major components of the "Dennis the Menace" storyline is the relationship between Dennis and his neighbor, Mr. Wilson.
However, I've found Mr. Wilson's whole attitude toward Dennis very unnerving, as I'm sure many people would agree. Simply put, Mr. Wilson yells at Dennis because he's trying to be a kid.
Dennis is just that, a simple, red-blooded American boy. He's inquisitive and (of course) mischievous, and his well-meaning attempts backfire on others -- usually, with Mr. Wilson on the worst end. But what young boy hasn't been that?
Mr. Wilson's response? He yells at him and tells Dennis to go away. Mr. Wilson constantly tells his wife, Martha, about how he looks forward to peace and quiet and must always add that he's glad Dennis won't be around (usually, just seconds before Dennis shows up).
I agree that Mr. Wilson's boorish demeanor is much less severe here than in the 1993 theatrical release (which contains a segment where Mr. Wilson basically tells Dennis to go to hell). There are even animated shorts in this series where Mr. Wilson sticks up for Dennis.
Maybe I'm missing the whole point of this show, but it seems to me that Dennis worships Mr. Wilson and wants to be a friend to him. All Mr. Wilson does is throw that offer back in his face and tells Dennis to go away.
If Mr. Wilson were any sort of man, he would sit down with Dennis, tell him I would love to be your friend but you have to allow me some time for some peace and quiet, and then informally spell out a few guidelines to follow. I'm sure Dennis would agree to Mr. Wilson's wishes if he did it right.
As for the cartoon itself, it really hasn't held up with me. It's more in the execution than in the general idea, which remains good. Sure, the stories are family-friendly (except for what I described above), that they're geared toward a younger audience and everything works out well in the end. But older viewers (i.e., parents, grandparents and college students who don't play drinking games with whatever TV show) might think the stories are too simple and think the animation is somewhat below par.
Still, the 1980s version of "Dennis the Menace" is enjoyable for many viewers, and that in itself merits a recommendation.
- Aug 27, 2001