The Weekenders (2000-2004)

A lovely series about a group of four kids and the things they do on their weekends. On many occasions the series uses formula to rise above formula, if that makes any sense. For example the mother of Tino has a near-telepathic ability to anticipate his problems and those of his friends, all inclusive some wise solutions or at least hints on how to proceed. Like many animated series aimed at kids there are morals involved, but most of the time they are neatly and unobtrusively packed and don’t hinder the rest of the story. Often I actually appreciated how open-minded and modern they were. This was a series that really wanted to say something meaningful far above and beyond prepacked wisdom that is far to vague or simple-minded to be really useful.

I also liked the depiction of some of the adults, especially Tino’s mother, her “boyfriend” and Tino’s divorced father. They felt like real people, older and wiser than the kids, but still human with room to err. This was one strength of the series, the four main kids and their families were cliches that came to live in a lovely way and thus, despite their formulaic ways, managed to be more. They felt real in their own way.

And then there were the running gags, like the ever-changing theme of the pizza place or the strange food Tino’s mother made. Those were the toppings on the cake. Not really needed, but fun nonetheless.