Liberty’s Kids

History can be fun to learn about. Most of history is filled with carnage, murder, sacrifice, and other cool things. Put this into cartoon form and you can get away with being even more violent than ever before. The Revolutionary War itself was a pretty violent war. I guess all wars are violent. Would it be a war if it was all handshakes and kisses? No. Liberty’s Kids unfortunately was much closer to handshakes and kisses than it was to graphic war violence. PBS, you missed out on an epic show.

Libertys-Kids

From September 2, 2002 to April 4, 2003 forty episodes of Liberty’s Kids aired. This can’t possibly be right. That must be two episodes a week. How do you shove that much history into cartoon form? No show should be this stuck together. Spread it out. We already know how it’s going to end, with the Redcoats retreating in their powdered wigs between their legs.

The show was focused mainly on three children, a redhead named Sara, a blonde boy named James, and a French dweeb named Henri. The French pronounce this name “On-ree” which is wrong. H’s don’t make the “on” sound. There’s also another kid named Moses who was apparently a slave. I don’t remember him at all and I think this is one of those cases where someone put wrong information on Wikipedia. I need to report them.

Sara is English and has a sexy English accent. Don’t worry, the actress who does the 16 year old’s voice is probably an adult so it’s not illegal. Plus, the show takes place in the late 1700s during the American Revolution. Sara would be far and away dead by now! James is an orphan because his house was struck by lightning and his parents were inside. This somehow makes him interested in hanging out with Benjamin Franklin who wants to harness electricity so he can torture mice with it. He ends up working at Benjamin Franklin’s print shop and that’s how he gets to meet a lot of famous people.

benjamin franklin

(Benjamin Franklin nude. I’m pretty sure he was right-handed so we don’t have to worry about too much funny business going on beneath those bubbles)

From what I remember this show was terrible. It was all reenactments of old events and there were never any good action scenes. I hated every second of this show. Whenever I watched it I kind of rooted for the Americans to lose.

Perhaps the only redeeming quality this show had were the guest stars. Walter Cronkite voiced Benjamin Franklin (“a penny saved is a penny earned and that’s the way it is”), Sylvester Stallone voiced Paul Revere (“eh yo Adrian one if by land two if by sea”), Ben Stiller voiced Thomas Jefferson (“I have to meet the parents of the slave I’ve been sleeping with!”, Billy Crystal voiced John Adams (“you don’t think I can tell the difference between a real and a fake orgasm Jane Adams?”), Dustin Hoffman voiced Benedict Arnold (“are you trying to seduce me General Cornwallis?”), and Arnold Schwarzenegger voiced Baron von Steuben (“bleh bleh it’s not a tumor it’s a revolution”). There were a few more like how Liam Neeson voiced John Paul Jones. I know Led Zeppelin is old but are they this old?

I should also mention Aaron Carter did the opening theme. All this star power packed together and the show was still a dud. It was all talk and history lessons. Shouldn’t TV be the escape from learning?

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16 thoughts on “Liberty’s Kids

    • It always had so much build up to an epic historical battle and then they’d show maybe 3 seconds of fighting then there’d be some guest star giving a speech. It was so bad.

  1. It sounds like those “educational” shows that they sometimes let you watch in school (man, those classes were the best). Apart from that, I see no use of such a programme. Yet I’m surprised that it didn’t have better success with Aaron Carter as the title singer. I would have been all over it. FYI, my first ever CD was Aaron Carter – Crazy Little Party Girl. I was *so* cool.

    • I always thought I’d have a teacher who would whip out this show and none ever did. I think even teachers knew it would bore the students and what’s more boring than a teacher? They go to bed at 9:30 every night.

      You were an Aaron Carter fan? I wonder how far I can toss my respect for you.

      • So true. I always preferred Maury to Springer. It was a lot more emotional and he really dragged out the “caring” until I snorted into my post-school snack of Skittles, and root beer.
        I was like “How can you care about these fat kids??? They just need to put down the candy.”
        Then I’d stare at my snacks and ponder if I was hitting on some deeper relate-able problem. But my end thought was always the same.
        “Oh yeah. I’m almost out of Skittles.”

  2. I’ve literally never heard of this show. But I probably would’ve hated it too. The only way I would’ve watched something educational is if it was in computer game form. They were always trying to teach you stuff.

    I like your impressions of the actors getting in character. Because the only lines they would say are the same lines from past movies. So funny.

    • It was on 10 years ago so we would have been 15. I don’t know what you did when you were 15 but I watched PBS a lot.

      I appreciated the character quotes too. It’s like if I ever met an actor I would bring up only one movie of theirs that I really like.

  3. I’ve been watching the show recently, Moses was not a kid, he was a man. He worked in the print shop and served as the team dad.

    But yes a lot of the fighting was unrealistic, there was no blood and the writing was lazy in my opinion. For instance Sara made a point to meet with her cousin and when he died from a bloodless gunshot (I know they wouldn’t get blood past the censors in a children’s show but it is unrealistic) and she did greive but very next episode it didn’t affect her at all. I find this lack of emotional continuity very lazy writing. Goodness, have a funneral, wear black, write to your mother, acknowlegde that your aunt and uncle’s son is dead, write a letter to them!

    But it did present some aspects of history they didn’t think was important enough to teach me in school. Like giving slaves the option of fighting for their freedom, or that some slaves were taught to read and write and became poets, that there were females who disgused as men to fight in the war, or that Bengiman franklin invented the lighting rod and saved thousands of people from death by electrical storm. Just little amazing things that make up these characters are kinda brought to life in this show. So I don’t think it was a horrible show, it’s defintly watchable to me and I use it to teach my kid, but it is silly at times and occasionaly I feel the need to punch the animator or yell at the writer. I think they could have done more but what they did was not bad.

    For example James was gung ho about the tarring and feathering of some poor british sailor and he like anyother kid did not know just how cruel that truly was. Heck I grew up hearing about tarring and feathering. But until James saw that man lying in the hospital bandgaged up and heard about the months or recoperation and the fear of infection, I don’t think anyone his age really knew the crimmal aspect of those “patriots”. So the show does kinda open some eyes.

    • A bloodless gunshot wound? Man bullets were a lot tougher in those days.

      I’m sure this show had a lot of educational aspects as you mentioned. That was probably its aim. From an entertainment aspect though, it was incredibly boring for the most part. The American Revolution is such an untapped source of entertainment too. We have The Patriot with Mel Gibson which I adore for the action in it. But this is PBS where they are out to teach kids about how tarring and feathering is a bad thing which is about 100 years outdated at this point. Oh well. Is PBS ever current?

      • It may be outdated but its something that children need to understand; the consequences of our actions, our inaction and mob rule. James let him self be carried away by blind patriotism that he couldn’t distinguish it from a criminal act.

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