Review: The Adventures of Paddington “Paddington’s Plant Problem; Paddington the Artist”

Overview (Spoilers Below):

“Paddington’s Plant Problem”:

Mr. Curry is leaving on holiday, and leaves Paddington in charge of watering his favorite elephant ear plant. While Paddington is diligent in his duties, he unfortunately discovers he’s been watering the wrong plant. Mrs. Bird (Phyllis Logan, or as Downton Abbey fans know her, Mrs. Hughes) helps him realize his error, and tells him since the plant’s not dead yet, they might be able to revive it with some love and care. Paddington vows to give it all the love it needs. He names the plant “Ellie”, and sets off to have a lovely day together.

“Paddington the Artist”:

Mary Brown (voiced by Morwenna Banks, who may sound familiar to Peppa Pig fans) is excited about her upcoming community art project, commun-art-y. She explains that everyone in the neighborhood will be creating their own piece. Mr. Brown enters, complete with a record scratch, to promote his “pretty cool spray can art”. Jonathan, horrified, whispers “he’s wearing the cap again.” Paddington is excited about creating his own piece. The family helps him express himself artistically.

Our take:

Always good to check in on good ol’ Paddington. Especially for the premier of season 2 of the famous little bear’s wacky animated adventures.

These episodes are a delightful way to kick off the new season, with the same signature sweetness fans of this franchise have come to expect. While there’s not much new ground broken so to speak. The same formula of Paddington causing minor problems for Mr. Curry (voiced by Reece Shearsmith of Good Omens fame), but rectifying them with kindness and understanding remains a solid theme. And why shouldn’t it? Don’t fix what ain’t broke.

His quest to fix up Ellie results in a sweet and upbeat montage of him enjoying his favorite things: going to the park, watching a movie, and rowing on the river while the plant slowly revives. The clips from their adventures are set to a jaunty little tune that plays on the themes of Gary Barlow’s “Paddington Bear” theme song that kicks off every show.

The calming soundtrack and even more even-keel storylines make this series profoundly relaxing, although it does veer a bit towards Paddington’s reaction to Mr. Brown’s ramble about business (that is, dozing off.) However, that shouldn’t be read as a criticism. If anything, it’s a much-needed change of pace compared to many programs targeting this same age group that seem to rely on screaming as a form of comedy.

The Adventures of Paddington, by contrast, gets the majority of its humor from mildly embarrassing family situations (most notably in this week’s “Paddington the Artist” is Mr. Brown’s attempt to be cool) and ultimately inconsequential misunderstandings. It’s actually fairly remarkable in how dull many plots seem, and yet they all manage to be charmingly slice-of-life.

In addition to this animated show’s dedication to keeping the same mellow approach as other Paddington media, Ben Whishaw reprising his role as the titular character for another season provides a lovely level of continuity. His performance, along with the soothing tones of the rest of the cast, further enhance this series signature calming approach.

Overall, this show seems to be staying the course for its second season, and I, for one, am glad.