Why Your Kids Should Watch "Odd Squad" on PBS
I'm in my thirties. My wife and I have two great kids, two dogs, and three chickens. I have white hairs growing in my beard, and I love this show. It's an entertaining show that focuses on math, and math was never my strong suit.
Odd Squad is about an organization of kids that find odd situations and solve them for people using math. The show has many similarities with the Men in Black films, but instead of guns and aliens, it's about silly villains and gadgets that fix odd problems.
My son and I love watching this show together. It has the right amount of fun and education that makes a good PBS Kids show tolerable for adults.
This cast is great. The original squad features the characters Olive, Otto, Oscar (the scientist kid), and Miss O, who is the chief agent of Odd Squad. Olive is the serious, efficient, senior agent who is paired with the new—and very silly—agent, Otto. Together they solve odd events that are almost 100% ridiculous in nature. They range from random events, like when people's feet turn into slugs, to a super villain who shoots bread out of her hands. Her name is Lady Bread, and she's a dead-ringer for Marie Antoinette.
The agents of Odd Squad use gadgets invented by Oscar, the resident eccentric genius. He's like Q from the Bond films, except he's a silly child. His gadgets are used to fix most of the odd situations in the show.
The character of Miss O is especially silly. She's obviously younger than every agent but runs the place with an iron fist. In later seasons, it's revealed that she's hundreds of years old but just doesn't age. She is perfectly portrayed by Millie Davis.
The diversity of the cast is also very refreshing. There's a place for everyone at Odd Squad, and it doesn't matter if you're a boy, a girl, a person of color, or disabled. This show empowers children, showing them that they can solve problems even though they're young.
The best way to describe Odd Squad is this: imagine the Men in Black series, but it's about math and silliness. The funniest things about this show are how normal these odd occurrences are treated and that these children are the answer to these problems. Odd Squad agents appear from nowhere and just zap the problem away. For particularly more difficult cases, the educational aspect of the show shines very bright. Whether it's about counting money or rounding, the agents use math concepts to solve their cases. In one episode, they explained Venn diagrams in a way that my 5-year-old could understand, and they did so using slime people who eat basketballs and fuzzy dice.
One of the main gags of the show is that all the kids have 'O' names. My son also has an 'O' name, and that gives him even more of a reason to enjoy the show because he feels like he could be an agent, too.
The educational aspect of this show is not nuanced at all because it has a younger target audience than where I fall into place, but the writing is so good that I can watch an episode about counting by tens multiple times. It is a fun show that uses learning as a plot device.
The bad guys who cause so much oddness for the kids are what you'd expect from a show this silly. Usually their name is a pun or part of their gimmick, kind of like how Two-Face from Batman's crimes always revolve around the number two. The villains seem like they were just made up while the writers were working on the episode, and I love it. Here's a small sample of these ne'er-do-wells:
- Freeze-Ray Ray
- Symmetric Al
- Randy Rounding
- The Noisemaker
- Tiny Dancer
- Odd Todd
- Gooey Randal and Goopy Gus
When it comes to villains, they always have a weakness, whether it's a guy that hates cubes or someone who only steals things in the shape of triangles. The kids catch the bad guys using their critical thinking and the math lesson of the day.
Odd Squad on PBS is a must-watch for your kids and more than tolerable for parents. The humor, the characters, the premise of the show, and the effectiveness of the educational aspect make this show a fun and family-friendly experience every afternoon in my house. If this show had been around when I was growing up, I know for sure that math wouldn't have been a subject that I absolutely hated. Please give this show a chance because something very odd is happening every day, and it is a joy to see.