In it's constantly ongoing quest to have more programming on than hours in the day, the Disney Channel has unveiled a new show in it's Playhouse Disney morning hours called "Handy Manny." The show seems (to us at least) to be part Blue's Clues, part Dora the Explorer and part Can't We All Just Get Along? Manny is a repair dude, who gets personal calls from the Mayor to tear down merry-go-rounds and rescue cats from trees.

Must be a small town.

I love that he has a phillips screwdriver named "Felipe" and there's a standard screwdriver named "Turner." (Felipe and Turner are always spatting about who gets to do more work and is more important to the team, while Manny is constantly needing to massage their fragile egos so that they will actually do something except argue or feel sorry for themselves.) The other tools have personalities too, but I haven't quite watched long enough to know more than their names:

"Stretch" is the tape measure;
"Squeeze" is a pair of pliers;
"Pat" the hammer;
"Dusty" the saw; and
"Rusty" the pipe wrench.

I love subtlety of the names of the tools... that and the fact that Manny never has to pay for his supplies. Personally, I think he's got something on the side going with Kelly, the way-too-eager-to-please girl who owns the hardware store, and she takes it out in trade later when all the tools are required to participate in their sick rendezvous.

The most interesting part of the show (other than the "Teach your kids some Spanish words so you can tell others they are bi-lingual but don't expect them to ever be able to order a meal in Nogales" philosophy) was the pre-show marketing. Weeks before the show was on the air, there were commercials disguised as music videos, Wilmer Valderrama (more likeable here than he ever was in That 70's Show because he finally dropped that annoying lisp) shorts where he watches the show with his nephew/cousin/brother/paidchildactor, toys featuring Manny and his tools in the drugstore, and Manny's face all over mylar balloons in the grocery store. Say what you will about the Evil Empire Disney, but they could teach us all a thing or two about marketing.

Long before the show ever premiered, we'd be walking down the produce aisle and suddenly hysterical shriekings would emanate from my child. "Handy Manny!!!! I SAW HANDY MANNY! HAAAAANDYYYYYYY MAAAAAAANNNNNNNNYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOOO HOOOO!" (*thumbs up sign*) The same thing could be heard at home in the background while I was on the phone whenever she'd see a commercial.

Me: "Honey, do you even know who Manny is?"

Dormouse: *pause* "He's HAAAANDY!!!" *victory dance - two thumbs up sign*

The other day we were watching while the Mayor was calling Manny with another of those City Hall-related disasters that can only be solved by an unlicensed contractor with seven tools. The KingofHearts asked aloud if Manny was the Mayor's son or relative.

NG: "I don't think so... why would you think that?"

KoH: "Well because, he's always using terms of endearment with her but not with any of the other citizens of Sheetrock Hills."

NG: "Uh... ...when?"

KoH: "You know... right there, he just called the Mayor 'hermosa'. That means 'beautiful' in Spanish, doesn't it?"

NG: *sighs* "He's calling her 'Mayor Rosa'... because that's, you know... her name."

The Dormouse, however, still believes
"las herramientas" (Manny's tools) are pronounced "bear-a-mint-os." At least someone learned something today.