Chip Chilla (TV Review)
About The Show
Bentkey (the new family entertainment streaming platform from The Daily Wire) recently launched its service with two flagship programs. I found A Wonderful Day with Mabel Maclay to be a delightful show and was intrigued to check out Chip Chilla (featuring the voice of Rob Schneider). To use baseball terms, if Mabel Maclay was a homerun, then Chip Chilla is perhaps a well-hit single. The show is consistently good but rarely great, delivering exactly what it promises—well-made, wholesome entertainment parents can trust and young children will enjoy.
The show’s 8-minute episodes feature a close-knit family of anthropomorphic animals (rodent-like Chinchillas). The highly involved parents find creative ways to teach their young children important life lessons. Sound vaguely familiar? Well, let’s address the adorable blue dog in the room: is Chip Chilla just a Bluey knock-off? Having watched the first eight episodes, the answer to that question is—yeah, sort of.
Chip Chilla is clearly inspired by that other mega-hit show and attempts to capture the same lightning in a bottle. As a result, Chip Chilla sometimes feels a bit like a “we have Bluey at home” meme. It is a cute program, but it doesn’t have the same relatability or emotional depth. I affirmed the important life lessons the show teaches, but unlike with Bluey, I never found myself grinning and thinking, “Oh man, that’s totally my family!” It lacks much of the heart that makes Bluey so irresistibly delightful. Granted, Bluey is arguably one of the best children’s programs in decades, so there’s no shame in falling short of that lofty bar. But despite losing the comparison game, Chip Chilla is not without its own charms.
Originality is often an overrated quality when it comes to children’s entertainment. Particularly in today’s culture where children’s programs have become a minefield of problematic content, most parents are not looking for artistic greatness and fresh innovation; they merely want something to entertain their kids and provide wholesome messaging. Chip Chilla passes that test with flying colors.
Many of the characteristics that make Bluey great are also present in Chip Chilla. The animation is charming, the characters are likeable, and there are plenty of wholesome lessons that affirm traditional values. There are also some occasional flashes of greater creative potential. Despite being largely imitative, the show has a few of its own tricks up its sleeve. While addressing many of the same classic life lessons as other shows (sharing, not tattling, etc.), there is also an interesting educational emphasis.
For example, I enjoyed that many of the episodes take inspiration from classic literature, such as Moby Dick, The Three Musketeers, or Frankenstein. These episodes function much like Wishbone (another classic children’s series) in exploring the basic plots of the books and distilling the themes into applicable lessons. Likewise, there are also episodes that focus on historical topics, such as the moon landing, George Washington, and the Roman Empire (got to start those boys off young!).
In the end, Chip Chilla is a worthy entertainment option for children. It may be hard for some to accept the show as much more than Bluey-lite, but even a watered-down Bluey is still preferable to the many filth-filled shows that now populate Disney+ and other traditional streaming platforms. Chip Chilla is a good show, and perhaps that’s all it needs to be.
Engage The Film
There’s Always an Opportunity to Learn
There is a frequent emphasis on “intentional learning.” In Bluey, the teaching moments typically arise from unfolding circumstances. In Chip Chilla, there is frequent encouragement to seek knowledge and wisdom from outside sources. As a result, many of the episodes focus on literature or history. According to the show synopsis, the children in Chip Chilla are homeschooled, so that may explain some of the parents’ emphasis on education. I appreciated the variety of educational approaches. The show has the potential not only to address typical family situations but to spark interest in different fields of knowledge and study.