Original Airdate: January 29, 2016
Oh Lion Guard. You’re an enigma, wrapped in a riddle, surrounded by lions, and Bunga. This week on The Lion Guard one of my biggest complaints about the show was finally resolved…sort of. By that, I mean we had two storylines and neither of them was completely pointless or stupid…kind of. Simba and Nala have just lost an old friend, an elephant who was the first to return his herd to the Pride Lands after Scars reign of terror. Since they’ll be away, they decide to leave Kiara as Queen, while Kion is meant to continue protecting the land with his faithful Lion Guard. Essentially, this is the ‘parents are out for the night, leaving the kids together, and the story is whether they can get along and earn their parents trust or fail completely.’ I’ll be honest, it works pretty well.
Kiara’s rule plays out basically as you would imagine. She gives Kion an order and he follows it but in a terrible way, leading Kiara to not trust him. Mzingo, a nasty vulture, gets wind of this and tells the hyenas so that they can use it against the two lion cubs. Mzingo invites Kiara to come out to the hyena lands to form a truce. Kion begs her not to as it is an obvious trap, but she chooses not to believe him and goes anyway, leading to eventually needing a rescue.
A few things about this story strike me as great. First off, while Kiara’s two girlfriends are pretty snobby and have the “You have to do whatever she says” mentality, Kiara doesn’t ever really go all the way in that direction. This is important, because as the future Queen, I want to like her. Children make mistakes and that’s how they grow so she doesn’t need to be perfect, but she also needs to not seem evil, and the writers do an effective job of making her seem like she is trying to rule properly, without ever making her seem like a jerk. I also like seeing the rest of the Lion Guard respecting her as Queen. Perhaps Bunga is a little too overly excited but I really think it’s important to not pit brother and sister against each other in this children’s show.
Simba and Nala’s story, while not being downright dumb, is a little on the iffy side. I do however love that it is part of this bigger mythos surrounding the events of The Lion King. I like the grander scope and I appreciate that the show knows its roots. As for Simba trying to learn Elephantese, it’s a bit silly but I like the overall message that as a leader, he has responsibilities, whether he likes it or not. It’s a subtle lesson but comes through in the end.
The final joke of this story line, involving Simba accidentally saying “He had poop on him,” instead of what he meant to say “He had good on him,” is extremely juvenile and I knew I wanted something more from this scene which basically said that as long as we have good intentions, things will work out. Yet even so, I sadly admit that I giggled at the thought of this elephant who apparently always had poop on him.
The Lion Guard still isn’t perfect but every episode has been surprisingly different and I think the lessons being taught here are really solid and it proves to be a great show for youngsters. It maybe doesn’t have the same appeal for adults, but perhaps in time those things will mesh together. We’re halfway through the first season now and I’m curious to see if we build towards some sort of climax or not. Will the next episode be the poop on an elephant or Un-Bunga-Lievable. Guess we’ll have to wait until next week and see.
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NOTE: Obviously all the photos are courtesy of Disney Entertainment and I would never in a million years claim them as my own. That being said, all are actually taken with my phone during our viewing in order to capture the moment in a slightly different way than originally intended.