Monday, November 29, 2010

Manny to the Rescue/Handy Hut

     First part of the episode described an episode of Manny and the tools helping the firehouse chief Eduardo. The chief called in Handy Manny shop to repair his broken lights on the fire trucks. When Manny and the tool were fixing his lights, the dispatcher called for the chief to help Senor Sanchez to rescue his cat. The cat could not come down from the tree. When the chief, Manny and the tools arrived at the site, Senor Sanchez and Adrienta greeted them. Using the ladder, the chief rescued the cat. In order to prevent this incident to happen, Manny and the tools came up with an idea. They have built a set of steps along the tree trunk for the cat to step up and down from the tree.
     In this particular episode, the episode portrayed mainly Latino characters: Manny, the tools, Senor Sanchez, the Chief Eduardo, and Adrienta. The brief appearance of Kelly and Mr. Lopart were the only portrayals of non- Latino characters in this episode. Within the episode, the show illuminated positive images of Latino characters. The chief Eduardo was described as a respected fire chief in the community. Unlike the stereotypical depiction of Latinos, he was a competent authority in the community. In terms of his accent, he carried an accent when speaking in English. Senor Sanchez seemed like a well off elder in the town. He owned a house and was appreciative of Manny and the chief's services. He also had an accent. However, Adrienta, a young girl, did not have an accent when she spoke in English. This might have represented younger generations of Latino Americans and their adaptation or bilingual characteristics in the U.S.
     Following this episode, the Handy Hut episode followed. Worrying that Manny might be working too hard, Mrs. Portillo and the neighbors planned a scheme to let Manny and the tools have a day off. They all cancelled their appointments with Manny. Manny and the tools came to believe they were losing their business to the new repair shop. Yet when they arrived at the shop, they were welcomed by their neighbors. The neighbors threw a party for Manny and the tools to show their appreciations for their work.
     During this episode, I did not notice anything significant besides its representations of Latinos' celebratory characteristics. The episode described the party/ fiesta Mrs. Portillo hosted for Manny and the tools. This could be a stereotypical depiction of Latino/as for being festive; however, I did not necessarily think this was a stereotypical representation of Latino/as. The emphasis was on the neighbors' appreciations of Manny and the tools' hard work not the party itself. The party was shown for a brief segment at the end; the story mainly described Manny and the tools coming back to the shop because all of their works have been cancelled.
Manny to the Rescue/ Handy Hut

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Light Work Episode (November 22nd, 2010)

     Based on Professor Beltran's comment from last entry, I decided to observe carefully at Manny's accent and its function in the show. Before, I start anaylze the Light Work episode, here's the brief plot summary.
Manny and the tools were finishing up the day at work. Suddenly, the phone rings at the Manny's repair shop. It's from Mrs. Portillo. Her chandelier was broken and needed to be fixed right away. When Manny and the tools arrived at Mrs. Protillo, there is no light to brighten up the room to fix the chandelier. Mrs. Portillo wants to decorate her bakery with the Mexican paper flowers on the first day of Spring. Luckily, Manny and the tools figured out the way to brighten up the room. 
   First of all, I thought it was interesting how Mrs. Portillo, specifically mentions Oxaca, Mexico in this episode. She said that she learned how to make the Mexican paper from her aunt who lives in Oxaca, Mexico. I've never heard Oxaca, Mexico specifically mentioned in the television show before, therefore, this was pretty interesting. I guess given that Handy Manny is an educational program, naming the particular region may be to educate preschool viewers on geography. Also, by depicting tools embracing the Mexican paper flowers delivered a sense that Meixcan traditions are not alien or foreign, rather it was seen as a form of beauty.
     Focusing on Manny's accent within this episode, I have noticed an interesting portrayals of the characters. Mrs. Portillo strongly identifies herself with the Mexican culture, so I was not surprised to see her in strong accent in the show. Manny also carries an accent, yet it is not too strong to be ridiculed or mocked if it were in primetime shows. As I have posted previously, Wilmer Valderrama plays the voice of Manny. In That's 70s show, Wilmer plays Fez with strong Latino accent, yet in Handy Manny, he lowered his tone of voice and softened his accents. He does not sound like a stereotypical Latino Buffon in Handy Manny; instead, his solid voice portrays him as a deligent and credible man in the town. Also, another thing I have noticed is that although all the tools are bilingual in the show, only Felipe (yellow screwdriver) has the accent. All the tools speak both in English and in Spanish; however, Felipe is the only character within the tool who carries the accent when speaking in English. I thought it was interesting that the writers or producers chose only one character to carry accent. It did not separate from Felipe from the rest of the tools because they convey the strong imag of tools being a family; however, it certainly delivers his personality in different ways. He is often portrayed as a trouble maker and sometimes as an arrogant tool.
     It seemed like there are three levels of accents represented in the show. There are Kelly and Mr. Lopart who speak standard American English; they do not have accents. Next, there are Manny, Felipe and Mrs. Portillo. These characters are bilingual. Although they speak good English and fluent in Spanish, thse characters have accents when speaking in English. Hence, they are described as non native English speakers. Lastly, there are tools. They are the perfect example of bilingual characters so to speak. They are fluent in English with no accent; they speak standard English like Kelly. However, they still embrace Spanish and the Latino culture.

Link: Light Work Episode

Monday, November 8, 2010


Kelly: an owner of the hardware store. She supplies all the hardware that Manny needs.

Mr. Lopart: an owner of the candy store. He owns a cat named Fluffy. He usually does not like being helped by Manny; as a result, he ends up being in the trouble.

Dusty: a hand saw. She is a big sister figure of the tools.

Felipe: a screwdriver. He considers himself as a very important tool; he is always the first one to try to fix the broken things.

Flicker: a flashlight. He speaks Spanish and he is still learning English.

Pat: a hammer. He is a very chatty tool yet a clumsy tool as well.

Rusty: a monkey/pipe wrench. He is very timid; he usually asks Manny or other tools for approvals. 

Stretch: a tape measure. He has a good memory for numbers.

Squeeze: a pair or pliers. She loves lending helps to others, yet can be impatient sometimes.

Turner: a flathead screwdriver. He is sarcastic; he has a rivalry relationship with Felipe.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Brief Description of Handy Manny

Handy Manny is an animated preschool children's television program launched in September 16, 2006. The show is a part of the Playhouse Disney. The show airs on weekday mornings at /c. Handy Manny describes the adventures of Manny Garcia, a bilingual Latino handyman, and his anthropomorphic, talking tools. The motto of the show is “You break it, we fix it!” The episode usually consists of Manny and his tools repairing neighbors’ broken items. Manny primarily speaks in English yet he speaks words or short sentences in Spanish.
Director: Ted Bastein
Creators: Roger Bollen, Marilyn Sadler, Rick Gitelson
Voice of Manny: Wilmer Valderrama (‘Fez’ from That’s 70s Show)