maanantai 22. helmikuuta 2016

As told by Ginger told by Niina


As told by Ginger is an American animated television series. As told by Ginger was produced by animation studio Klasky-Csupo and aired on Nickelodeon  first time from 2000 to 2003. Series was aimed for pre-teens and teenagers. I came familiar with As told by Ginger when series was aired Finland in YLE between 2003 - 2004.

  Ginger's best friends forever Dodie and Macie

As told by Ginger tells about ginger-haired Ginger Foutley. Ginger goes to school called Lucky Junior High. Series follows Ginger's journey from Junior High to High School. Series was made three seasons.

Ginger is normal pre-teen girl. Her mother Lois is a nurse. She has little brother Carl. Ginger's best friends are chatty Dodie and more reserved Macie. Ginger is also friends with Courtney Gripling who is the most popular girl in school. However this unusual friendship annoys Courtney's best friend Miranda and other popular girls. Ginger's third best friend is Darren, boy next door.

Hoodsie and Carl hanging

No one says no to Courtney Gripling

Ginger's parents are divorced. Her father Jonas appears in some of the episodes. Ginger and Jonas get a long well. Carl is still mad for his father for his long absences. Carl's best friend is Hoodsie, Dodie's little brother. Ginger and Carl has normal brother / sister relationship. Most of the time Ginger finds Carl annoying but when times are tough they back up each others. Carl is a model example of a young boy with fascination for bugs, human body parts and all things creepy.

Ginger's third best friend Darren is not the most popular kid either. Picked by others because he has huge braces. His brother Will also happens to be captain of the foot ball team and one of  the coolest kids in High School.  During the second season Darren's reputation improves when braces are removed. Later on he becomes a football player and on of the popular students. This transformation also makes him less likable character. Fortunately by the end of the series Darren realizes that there are more important things in life than just being popular.

Courtney, Miranda and Mipsy Mipsen

As told by Ginger portrays life of teenagers from puberty to high school crushes. Series also shows the cruel world of clicks and school cast systems. Ginger would like to be popular but at the same time she is terrified  by the thought of it. Dodie doesn't want anything else than to be popular and in high school she does make it to the cheer leading team. Macie hasn't never cared about popularity. She is the most geekiest girl of all three, she is also the most confident to be who she is. Especially in the third season changing Junior High to High School is big touching stone in girls friendship.

Darren and Ginger

Ginger keeps a diary of her life (hence the name As told by Ginger). She has literal talents and Ginger is a big daydreamer as well. Ginger is also quite serious character and especially in Junior High she suffers from self-esteem problems. It is pleasure to watch how her character gains more confidence during the series.

Adult characters are also very realistic. Ginger and her mom Lois are very close. Lois doesn't get along well with Joanna Bishop (mother of Dodie and Hoodsie). These two mothers are very different. Lois is open minded and humoristic. Joanna is bossy and stresses a lot. Macie's parents are psychologists but they have hard time understand their daughter. Gripling's are rich. Courtney has mother, father and little brother called Blake. One of the saddest scenes in my personal opinion in the whole series is Gripling's family dinner where Ginger is invited. Courtney's father attends via videophone. He is always travelling. Courtney is quite lonely and she is little bit jealous for Ginger. Miranda, Mipsy and other popular girls can abandon her at any time.

Carl, Hoodsey and lungs in a jar

Klasky-Csupo is probably best known from their animation series Rugrats. Studio also produced first three seasons of the Simpsons in the end of the 80's.
As told by Ginger characters have exaggerated body portions. Heads are big compared to the torsos. Some characters have big noses and small eyes or other way around. Mouths are big. Animation has lots of vibrant colors but vividness is not disturbing. Ginger stands out with her ginger hair. Characters grow, change their clothes and hair styles often which is still today quite unusual in an animated television series.

One of the reasons why I enjoy watching As told by Ginger is the visual outlook of the show and attention to details. Hair styles, clothes, rooms, houses, they are all designed to support the characters and the story. For example Ginger has a shelf filled with toy ponies. She also has bed sheet with pony pattern and wall paper with pictures of ice cream cones.

I was a pre-teen myself when I first started to watch As told by Ginger. I felt really sad when series suddenly stopped. YLE had bought rights only for the first season. There was also Finnish voice over made for the first season and I must say it is very well done. Even all the character names were translated to Finnish. At least for me it made it very easy to relate with the characters.

 I do think that YLE should have paid more attention for the airing time of the show. It was aired on weekday mornings together with kids programs. As told by Ginger was aimed for pre-teens and most of the Finnish pre-teens (like myself) were at school at that time. Fortunately my sister was smart and recorded first season episodes. But who knows...series might have become a huge hit in Finland as well if distributor had paid more attention for the target group. 

Few years ago I was surfing on-line and I accidentally found seasons 2 and 3 from YouTube. I was so happy to finally find out what happened to all these characters. 

In USA As told by Ginger has become somewhat a cult animation. In many ways series was ahead of it's time. Series got multiple Emmy nominations and always does well on Nickelodeon cartoon rankings. I recently found out that As told by Ginger story group was planning to show Courtney coming out as gay but the big shots at Nickelodeon were against this. I wasn't very surprised when I heard about this because many animation studios face similar problems with conservative producers and channel owners. 

I do wish Courtney would have come out in the series. Way her character is portrait is very complex. She is not as mean as the other popular girls but she is indeed vain and self-centered. I did sometimes get a feeling that maybe Courtney has a crush on Ginger but it's a story that was left untold.   

Ginger's poem that got her teacher worry

I still think As told by Ginger is one of the best animated television series I've ever come across. It is truthful and handles difficult issues with warm and humor. Like teenage depression in the episode And she was gone... Body changes and body image in the episode Right stuff. In the episode Fast reputation Ginger wants to break her miss nice girl image by crashing high school party... next day her reputation is indeed..gone. In episode Stuff'll kill ya Ginger develops a caffeine addiction. 

For anyone who is interested. Here is list of character names in Finnish and English

Inkun päiväkirja = As told by Ginger

Inkeri "Inkku" Autio = Ginger Foutley
Kalle Autio = Carl Foutley
Oili Autio = Lois Foutley
Joonas Autio = Jonas Foutley

Tytti Piispa = Dodie Bishop
Robert "Roope" Piispa = Robert Joseph "Hoodsie" Bishop
Johanna Piispa = Joann Bishop

Maisa Saukko = Macie Lightfood
Harri Paatero = Darren Patterson
Oona Kaunisto = Courtney Gripling
Eikka Kaunisto = Blake Gripling
Miranda Åhlberg = Miranda Killgallen
Mipsi Mipsala = Mipsy Mipsen

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