‘The Barefoot Bandits’ – An Interview with Mukpuddy
The Barefoot Bandits is a brand new animated comedy adventure series created by the New Zealand based animation studio Mukpuddy. Season One has been airing this year in a prime time slot, on Television New Zealand‘s channel TV2.
The show follows the protagonist trio of Tane, Fridge and Riley who live on the little known island of Ngarno. Unbeknown to the quiet townsfolk that call the island their home, Ngaro has long been full of many mysteries – until one day, Tane, Fridge and Riley decide to take it upon themselves to uncover all of the islands secrets, talking on the name ‘The Barefoot Bandits’.
Meet the Barefoot Bandits
Tane is the sensible guy that really holds the group together. With the many qualities of a good leader he does his best to remain calm and level-headed in difficult situations – even when faced by a hoard of zombie vegetables! He can empathize well with others and adopts an objective approach to solving mysteries.
Cool, positive and cheerful, Tane is often the one that can make quick decisions when the going gets tough.
Riley simply can’t get enough of adventures! When Fridge is quivering in fear by the prospect of exploring a dark cave or even when Tane is a little unsure at times, she is there the drive them on, brimming with enthusiasm along the way. Despite the extraordinary discoveries the trio make in each episode, Riley is always hoping to find something even more fantastical around the next turn. But what she really hopes to find above all is aliens!
Brave, fearless and intelligent, Riley is always there to help the boys out when they’re stumped for ideas!
Fridge is definitely the joker of the pack! On the surface he is full of confidence with his quick-witted attitude. But when faced with the adversities of adventure we get to see that he’s really a big softy and is easily made fearful and jumpy by the slightest of things. Like Tane and Riley, Fridge is enthused by the many wonders their discoveries unearth, but he would be quite content just stuffing his face and sitting in front of the TV watching ‘Tumeke Space’.
Eccentric, Glutton and an extrovert, this madcap guy can keep his friends entertained in any situation!
These three characters form a very appealing and effective group dynamic. Tane has a sort of ‘pure’ and objective quality about him when it comes to adventures and this really helps anchor the narrative – allowing us, the viewer, to see the story unfold through his eyes (or perhaps he is just the character that I can personally relate with the most?) Then you have Riley who can always provide a dose of logic and scientific grounding when the boys haven’t quite got things right – and what a brilliant character she is. There is still so much inequality in gender representation and it is so refreshing to see a female character that isn’t limited by the absurd stereotypes that flood our everyday media. Riley is a credible role model for female viewers, demonstrating that girls and boys are both equally capable of pursuing the same things in life. And then there is Fridge, who is not only the great comedian of the group but also a counterbalance; punctuating all of the potential dangers they encounter throughout their adventures. He is a complex character who likes to hide beneath a veneer of confidence (or another persona completely) and turn his vices (in his case his love of food) into a coping mechanism or a reason to escape a situation where he feels threatened. We can all identify in some way with Fridge’s traits and I think this character is a catalyst for interesting storytelling.