Full disclosure, I did not watch The Toy Box‘s first season. Rebekah did and was always speaking its praises, but we live in a time of “Peak TV” and only so much can make the cut. Unfortunately, as we review the Season 2 Premiere, Rebekah is on vacation so the task gets delegated to my uninformed self.
Apparently there has been a format change. There used to be adult judges, but now all the decisions come down to a rotating panel of 5 kids. If a toy gets 3 “yes” votes, it moves on to the final round. In the final round, each kids will pick their favorite, and majority rules.
It is neat to see toymakers display their wares in a chance to have Mattel create the toy and sell it at Toys “R” Us. Some of the toys were inventive while others had to go back to the drawing board. In the episode I screened, I have no doubt that the best toy won and that the judges made the right calls throughout the episode.
That being said, I do have a few challenges with the program. Few toys get a unanimous yes. Therefore, the suspense is a bit cut in the final round as a toy that got unanimous approval is much more likely to win. Of course, it isn’t guaranteed to win, but it is far more likely to beat toys that only got 3 out of 5 “yes” votes.
Second is the kids. They are undeniably cute and share fair and honest feedback. But you can’t help but think that the show’s producers are really guiding them. Is a six-year-old really prepared to do a reality-show confessional? They also seem to have very astute observations that seem to come out of the blue after a cut-away. It is possible that these kids are just really bright and honest, but it just feels like they are at least being a little coached. Of course this is standard practice in “reality” television, but when it is with kids it just feels wrong.
Modern Family’s Eric Stonestreet is a capable host who herds the children without coming across like a disciplinarian. He also keeps the show light and fun. Even with a few issues, it is neat to see a show that parents and children can watch together in a fragmented entertainment landscape. The Toy Box airs Sundays at 7/6c.
FanBoy is a Disney dweeb who has worked at Disneyland and Walt Disney World