Wacky Theories About Dino Dan

Kids love Dino Dan, the Canadian-produced television series that airs here in the States on Nick Jr. about a boy fascinated with dinosaurs.  Some adults have been making a few far-fetched theories about the show, reading into the absence of Dan's dad (who apparently is a paleontologist traveling the world, doing research for a dinosaur museum) and Dan's habit of seeing physical dinosaurs all around him.  Grown-ups need to entertain themselves when they are forced to watch children's shows by inserting outrageous subtextual theories into the simplistic storylines aimed at younger viewers, but I've been amused and surprised by some of the crazier ideas floating out there.

Some argue that Dan has Asperger's Syndrome and is hallucinating seeing T-Rex, Triceratops, and the rest.  Others think Dan's dad passed away and the young boy's obsession (and mental breakdown) is his way of dealing with the loss.  The most extreme interpretation I came across asserts that Dino Dan is a cross between Jurassic Park and A Beautiful Mind, a Shutter Island for kids, in which Dan is actually in an institution and everything we see is the figment of his delusional imagination. 

I guess all those speculations are fun diversions compared to the more rational surface-level notion that Dan is simply a kid with an over-active sense of make-believe.  Some children have imaginary friends and Dan pretends to see dinosaurs.  I think we all had a friend or two growing up who lived and breathed dinosaurs or superheroes or UFOs and aliens or ghosts and monsters or wizards and dragons.  Dino Dan doesn't seem too different from that -- it's a sugar-coated version of childhood playfulness, where all the classmates get along and all the adult role models are supportive and all the boys and girls spend their time learning positive lessons in every activity in which they take part.

It's a fun program, even with its cheesy, perfect world set up, teaching viewers through the scientific method of observation and experimentation about the extinct giant lizards that once roamed the earth.  It would be fascinating if the show's producers intentionally were creating both a kids show and a subtextually rich program with subtle mysteries for adult viewers to decipher, but are we so jaded that we cannot just accept a plain children's show with no hidden agenda or cryptic meanings? 

If you haven't seen Dino Dan yet, tune in (especially if you have little ones in your household) and judge for yourselves.

Comments

Jeff McGinley said…
Thanx for the link. To be honest, I really like the show. It's created an interest in and enjoyment of dinosaurs in my daughter like nothing else has. Sometimes it's just fun to look at simple things through a big lens of crazy.
Nick said…
Totally agree, Jeff. My baby daughter is obsessed with the show! They're doing something right.
Anonymous said…
Dino Dan definitely needs help. And everyone around him seems to tolerate his condition. A cry for help in my opinion... I'm surprised he's not bullied in the show. He's cute right now but wait until he goes to high school, who knows what he'll imagine then.... Somehow my daughter loves this crazy kid....
Anonymous said…
Dino dans dad is in jail he called in collect on one of the episodes!!