Stream it or skip it?

Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed Up: The Underground Rock Experience (HBO Max) is an adaptation of the former sesame street Best-selling picture book by writer Mo Willems with added musical numbers. Largely animated apart from a few moments of live-action, mole rat features the voice acting talents of Jordan Fisher, Kate Miccuci, Yvette Nicole Brown, Ron Funches, Thomas Lennon and – wow! –Carol Kane.

Opening shot: A power chord is struck on an electric guitar, and from the elevated entrance to the bare mole colony’s burrow, we descend into the ground, where the network of chambers and tunnels spill out into a large arena with a stage. It’s time for the Colony’s morning song, and the Mole-ing Stones get in tune.

The essential: « Can you dig?The gathered crowd of naked mole-rats go crazy for the Stones, who sing a song about the facts of mole-rats. They’re a bit mole, they’re a bit rat. And they’re still, still naked. just a fact. It’s a unifying principle. But there is a problem on stage. The lead singer Grande (Yvette Nicole Brown) is there, and the guitarists Venti (Kevin Michael Richardson) and Tall (Kate Micucci) are too But where is Wilbur J. Mole Rat (Jordan Fisher)? No one knows, but they decide to find him before the band’s next performance. That’s what Grand-Mah (Carol Kane) would expect, the first burrower and matriarch of the colony.

The thing is, Wilbur isn’t lost. He just takes some time for himself, thinking about what it all means. Of course, the mole-rat colony is bursting with solidarity over its stance on nudity. And yes, no mole rat has ever found the need to accessorize with yarn. What if they did? Wilbur wonders, « Can clothes make the mole? » And in response to his song, a wide-brimmed hat flutters from a crack that formed in the roof of Wilbur’s bedroom. He tries it. It looks pretty good. And so Wilbur builds an outfit out of the clothes that sprinkle from the sky.

With Wilbur strutting around in his dandy new clothes – green plaid pants and a crisp white dress shirt, accessorized with his red tie with white polka dots and that cute purple pork pie cap, complete with feather – his bandmates in the Mole -ing Stones see a scandal on the horizon. « It’s impossible! » they sing about her sartorial decision. “It is unlikely! It is unachievable. Inconceivable! Unreachable. Not recommended. Unbelievable! » Wilbur doesn’t see what the fuss is about. He even considers opening a haberdashery in the colony’s central business district. And in a dream sequence, an animated Wilber sings a Broadway-style song to « Hats & More », accompanied by live dancers with top hats, tap dancing and jazz hands.

Obviously, Grand-Mah is the only mole in this colony who can set Wilbur straight. Clothes? On a mole? Come on man. But when Grande, Tall, and Venti take their friend in front of the tall, mysterious leader, she’s not exactly what they expected, nor does she take on Wilbur’s sartorial status as they expected.

The Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed Up: The Underground on HBO
Picture: HBO

What shows will this remind you of? HBO Max also offers an entire season of Naked mole-rat designer Mo Willems’ Story time shorts! – Wilbur gets dressed for the first time in episode 12 – and Willems was also behind The setbacks at Nickelodeon and Sheep in the big city on Cartoon Network.

Our opinion : Naked mole-rat never encounters a bare pun it doesn’t like, and with the considerable voice acting talent at hand, the tracks often sing more than the musical numbers, which range from standard ballads with a Broadway twist to a psychedelic hard rock homage to Grand-Mah which features naked mole-rats decked out in David Bowie wigs and Bootsy Collins-style star-shaped sunglasses. DNN’s joke – « Definitely Nude Network » – following all the latest news from the colony about clothes falling from a crack in the sky and a mole daring enough to wear them is also fun, especially with the outside of the “weather mole” Les Pants (Ron Funches). How exactly does this naked mole-rat burrow have satellite connections and flat-screen TVs, not to mention a boosted backline for the Mole-ing Stones performance? Please don’t ask such questions. A pigeon driving a delivery truck full of doll clothes dumped the load down a hole in the molehill, and that’s it. DNN reported it; it is must Be honest.

Sex and skin: Obviously nothing, other than about a million mole nudity gags. When the rumor of clothes falling from the sky first hits, the colony reporter first declares it to be « fake nudes ».

Farewell shot: Back on the surface, where a road sign reads “Caution, Plot Holes,” a live cop interrogates a cartoon pigeon. “So let me clear things up. You were driving a delivery truck full of doll clothes for fun when out of nowhere you saw a duckling with a hot dog crossing the road. So you swerved to avoid it, which caused you to crash into that particular ditch, and spill a whole bunch of tiny little clothes in that hole over there? »

Sleeping Star: The affirmation dance Venti and Tall do to celebrate how their group is « just like this tunnel – we’re made of rock! » will be a hit with any kid who wants to emulate his series of synchronized grunts and tail thumps.

The most pilot line: « Grand-Mah looks great, » Wilbur told his bandmates. “Grand-Mah looks majestic. Grand-Mah looks gorgeous! But she would look even better in a casual shirt and summer pants. After a certain age, pants are flattering.

Our call: STREAM IT, especially if the kids are familiar with Mo Willems’ picture books. Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed Up: The Underground Rock Experience puts laughter and music to its central message of accepting each of us for who we wish to be.

Johnny Loftus is a freelance writer and editor living in Chicagoland. Her work has appeared in The Village Voice, All Music Guide, Pitchfork Media and Nicki Swift. Follow him on Twitter: @glenganges


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