High-energy hijinks, pie-in-your-face contests, snazzy science tricks, amazing kid musical performances and quick quizzes are hallmarks of Wonderama, an updated version of a kids’ variety show that aired from the mid-1950s to 1970s. Each five-segment episode of this new season seems geared to getting the kids in the studio audience to cheer — loudly — and that happens often, as host David Osmond (nephew to Donnie and Marie Osmond) pumps up the crowd and keeps the pace fast. “The world is full of possibilities!” he sings in a high voice. Two DJs – Coco and Breezy – add a hip factor, too.
But it’s the wacky games that the kids seem to enjoy most. For example, “Banana Bath” pitted two youngsters against each other in a foamy pool to search for bananas among the bubbles. The Circle of Pies “game” was like musical chairs, but, you guessed it, when the music stopped, the one holding the pie had to “pie” him or herself. A pie in the face may be an old gag, but it’s a beloved one.
Offering up a nod to an educational segment, a science experiment of some sort — like a hydrogen peroxide brew that spouted foam all over the stage — surprises the kid-crowd. The music segments are inspirational, including The Joy of String Ensemble group with nine kids jamming on violins, cellos and other stringed instruments, and the Jig Factory Irish Dancers, always a winner. Overall, Wonderama is wonderfully good fun.
Ann Oldenburg ©2018 Parents’ Choice
Ann Oldenburg, lecturer and interim director of the journalism program at Georgetown University, writes about television, food, workplace issues and other pop culture topics. A University of Florida Gator with a degree in journalism, she began her career at The Washington Post and spent more than two decades with USA TODAY. She and her husband have three sons and live in McLean, Virginia.