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Roobarb is the breathlessly optimistic hound determined to reshape the universe according to his existential whims but who, like many dogs, is perpetually apt to bark up the wrong tree. Daily he tries to liven up the garden he inhabits, be it putting on a clown show on a rainy day or reinventing the day Thursday as Thorsday, thereby invoking the anger of the Norse Gods. All his efforts end in catastrophe, provoking the guffaws of the smug and cynical cat Custard and twittery snickers of the Greek chorus of birds in the trees. Deep truths about hubris and folly are revealed in these episodes.
The makers of these cartoons, who clearly had a very good time working on them, see no reason not to avail themselves of all the surreal possibilities of animation, or to indulge in groan-inducing puns for that matter. From the cheesy soundtrack to the lateral flights of associative fancy, this is wonderful, timeless stuff that should give paws for thought for those who pooh-pooh 1970s cartoon canine capers.
On the DVD: The Complete Roobarb and Custard has one extra feature--an interactive game in which you are invited to foil Custard by clicking a button to effect a Roobarb disguise. Adults may struggle to comprehend the rules, but they should present no problem to the more computer-adept under-10s. --David Stubbs