Categories
Children's Programs Fatherhood TV

Alvin Is a Dick and the “ALVINNN!!! and the Chipmunks” Reboot Sucks

alvin-101-alt-16x9

Last year, Nick Jr. premiered the reboot of Alvin and the Chipmunks and, let’s be honest, it sucks.

This is disappointing because it is currently my kid’s favorite show. While she still prefers princesses like Rapunzel and Sofia for toys and dressing up and still appreciates Pixar and Peppa Pig, she asks to watch Alvin nearly every single day.

It’s a phase, but one we hope she grows out of sooner rather than later.

Some of our distaste may be because people hate almost any update of a beloved element from their childhood. Part of it may also be that as you get older, listening to high-pitched dialogue becomes excruciating. Mostly, though, it’s because it just plain sucks.


Reboots are nothing new for Alvin and his crew.

The chipmunks first arrived in 1958 with their song, “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late).” The song was credited to David Seville and the Chipmunks and was a major hit, spending four months atop the Billboard Hot 100 chart, selling four million copies in less than two months, and winning three Grammy Awards.

That led to sixty years of TV shows and movies starring the chipmunks beginning with The Alvin Show, which ran on CBS about a year from 1961 to 1962. The song and the show were created by Ross Bagdasarian Sr., who went by the stage name of David Seville – the same name as the character of the chipmunks’ adoptive father. The Alvin and the Chipmunks series, which was very popular and ran on NBC from 1983 to 1990, was created by Bagdasarian’s son and daughter-in-law, Janice Karman.

The current iteration of the show  was also created by Janice Karman, so there is a thread from that show to this one, but the heart of that show is not present in the updated version. Perhaps that is due to the CG animation. Hand-drawn animation has a warmth inherent to it that just doesn’t translate through computer graphics, but CG is far cheaper and has become the standard method of animating.

In addition to the animation, another financial decision concerns the music in the show. Originally, Alvin, Simon, and Theodore were popular musicians (based on the success of “The Chipmunk Song”), with David as their songwriter and manager, and often performed a cover version of a popular song. Now, their musical endeavors are referenced only sporadically – David has his own career apart from the chipmunks – and, because getting the rights to songs is horribly expensive, they now perform original songs, most of which are in the EDM realm. They sound like they have Skrillex in their group.

The actual title of the new show is ALVINNN!!! and the Chipmunks and that’s fitting for two reasons. First, it’s ridiculous and annoying, like the show itself. Secondly, the show is 90% Alvin with all of the other characters serving as little more than secondary support. It’s like the chipmunk version of I Am Legend or Cast Away where one character is in virtually every scene, only Alvin didn’t survive a pandemic or get stranded on a deserted island.

Theodore, especially, gets short shrift. While Simon is often included in various schemes as the rational one trying to talk some sense in Alvin, who bounces around like he just ingested a speedball, Theodore is often there in little more than a glorified cameo. He’s basically furniture in most episodes. Moreover, when he does get to speak, he’s a moron, failing to understand the most basic of concepts. Alvin is depicted as an evil mastermind and Simon is clearly a child prodigy, but their brother, who used to be innocent and naive, now comes across as a simpleton.

alvin-113b-clip-4x3

But the biggest problem with the show is Alvin. In short, he’s a selfish prick. My issues with Caillou are numerous, but the biggest is that he whines until he gets what he wants, thus never learning anything. Alvin acts the same way. Criticize Saved By the Bell or California Dreams all you want, but at least the vapidity of those characters was grounded when they learned a lesson. Even in previous iterations of this show, Alvin was a bit mischievous but generally harmless. Now, he goes out of his way to ruin the lives of his family and friends if things aren’t to his liking. Alvin will do something sinister, get caught, and then bitch about the fact that he got caught doing something wrong. Furthermore, he has no qualms about hurting those close to him because his pride or ego has been hurt, such as when he ran for class president simply to prevent his brother from winning. What a dick.

When the titular character of a show is unlikable, the show itself will not work.

ALVINNN!!! and the Chipmunks is a hugely successful show, but if the 2016 presidential race has proven anything, it’s that the general public is not always the best judge.

Other open questions about this shitty show:

  • Why do Alvin, Simon and Theodore have to live with Dave, but the Chipettes – Brittany, Jeanette, and Eleanor – get to live in their own treemansion in the yard without any caretaker or chaperone?
  • Why are the chipmunks far smaller than their classmates? Instead of being similar in size – though not species – to their peers as they had been in the past, they are now about one-sixth their size, hopping on shoulders and scampering around. This makes sense in reality – chipmunks are tiny – but not in their day-to-day life among regular-sized humans.
  • And why don’t they need to be in car seats? Children have to be in car seats until they go to college, but these tiny individuals can sit in the backseat with just a lap belt?!

Some of these problems – and more (like the hole in Alvin’s shirt) – were already addressed on TheRobotsVoice.com while some corrections have been made based on feedback from Chipmunk fanatics.


Christopher Pierznik’s nine books are available in paperback and Kindle. Check out more of his writing at MediumHis work has appeared on XXL, Cuepoint, Business InsiderThe CauldronMedium, Fatherly, Hip Hop Golden Age, and many more. Subscribe to his monthly newsletter or follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

By Christopher Pierznik

Christopher Pierznik is the author of 9 books and has contributed to numerous websites on a variety of topics including music, sports, movies, TV, personal finance, and life. He works in corporate finance and lives in northern New Jersey with his family. His dream is to one day be a member of the Wu-Tang Clan.

13 replies on “Alvin Is a Dick and the “ALVINNN!!! and the Chipmunks” Reboot Sucks”

The fact that Ross Bagdasarian, Jr. and Janice Karman have creative control over the new show is very evident, as it really captures the spirit of the previous cartoon series from the 80s, unlike those horrid live action/CGI movies where Twentieth Century Fox had way too much corporate influence and resulted in celebrity actors doing the voices, poorly-cast actors in the live rolls, and messing with the characters personalities.

You’re right about them not doing cover songs anymore, but this is what’s preventing full season sets of the 80s cartoon from being released on DVD, and in fact, a number of episodes from that show that HAVE been released on DVD had to have song replacements because of it.

One other thing I will agree with you on is how Theodore is basically just there and serves hardly any real purpose on the show. Each of the characters have certainly grown and developed since the 80s (Eleanor in particular now has a youthful sass that has breathed so much more life into who was an otherwise kind of bland and static character), but Theodore has clearly suffered Flanderization – his innocence, naivety, and babyish tendancies have been cranked up to eleven it’s not even funny.

As for the Chipettes, if you remember the 80s cartoon, they originally lived on their own in a similar “treemansion” in the first few seasons before school officials found out and threatened to send them away to orphanages until Alvin convinced Miss Miller to adopt them.

I do agree that the constant rehashing of older franchises has become tiresome, trite, and condusive to moans, groans, and eyerolls, but as I said, with the Bagdasarian clan in complete control of the new show, I find that ALVINNN is a pleasant exception to the rule (though I could do without the occasion of fart humor – the Chipmunks have always been above that level of humor). I can see the argument you make though, as I’ve noticed a lot of people have had the same complaints about the new show as you, including the size and design of the characters, the CGI animation, the manner in which Alvin himself is portrayed, etc.

Like

Finally! Someone who hates Alvin for troublesome ways and Theodore for his ignorance. As far as I’m concerned, perfect folks are for me and flawed aren’t.

Like

haters be writing huge essays about how much they are hating on their daughters favorite show. THERE IS A REASON ITS HER FAVORITE SHOW. it’s funny. It’s popular and has gives a lot of lessons. Btw you obviously only watch two seconds of the show because there are episodes Alvin isn’t featured in at all or very little. And even though he is in a lot of him in the show WHAT ELSE DO U EXPECT?

This is basically you: oh look here I find a show called “ALVINNN! and the chipmunks” hmmm…. I wonder why Alvin is in so much of the show? Let me go and check THE TITLE. look it says ALVIN and the chipmunks! Not BRITTANY or SIMON or THEODORE and the chipmunks, WHAT A COINCIDENCE.

Now time to answer those shitty QUESTIONS at the end of your haters essay:

IDIOT : Why do Alvin, Simon and Theodore have to live with Dave, but the Chipettes – Brittany, Jeanette, and Eleanor – get to live in their own treemansion in the yard without any caretaker or chaperone?

SOMEONE WITH A BRAIN IN THEIR HEAD : the chipettes DO live with Dave you jackass. Just because they don’t live in the same house, they still live on the same PROPERTY and who do you think gives them all the stuff in their house? DAVE.

IDIOT : Why are the chipmunks far smaller than their classmates? Instead of being similar in size – though not species – to their peers as they had been in the past, they are now about one-sixth their size, hopping on shoulders and scampering around. This makes sense in reality – chipmunks are tiny – but not in their day-to-day life among regular-sized humans.

SOMEONE WITH A BRAIN IN THEIR HEAD : have you never heard of a show? U cannot be so much of an ass to ask stupid questions like that. ITS A SHOW.
NOT REAL
ENTERTAINMENT
F.A.K.E.
so idiotic.

IDIOT : And why don’t they need to be in car seats? Children have to be in car seats until they go to college, but these tiny individuals can sit in the backseat with just a lap belt?!

SOMEONE WITH A BRAIN IN THEIR HEAD : the chipmunks aren’t CHILDREN if you paid attention to the show you would know they are high school TEENS. Btw children need to be in car seats until they are 8 years old. Not until they are in COLLEGE. U ARE SUCH A JACKASS IDIOT HATER

Like

IT IS TRUE ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS IS THE WORST MOVIE I HAVE EVER SEEN I FOUND THIS ON WIKIPEDIA In 2011, Entertainment Weekly ranked Alvin and the Chipmunks the third worst live-action/animation hybrid film of all-time. In terms of lists regarding the worst talking animal films of all time, both Complex and Screen Rant named it eleventh worst.

Like

I agree about Theodore He is very annoying They wrote this one where he takes over Alvin’s babysitting job and you think ok ,maybe he will grow_up nope ,he looks like he has a
play date with a kid his own age and the kid looks like 4 the end result was that him and the kid make a mess that later Alvin and the kid’s older brother had to clean up and of course Thedore is laughing about the fact this brother Alvin has to clean up after him as a viewer you don’t think it’s funny anymore and you want ask the bigger question Theodore if you took on the babysitting job ,why can’t you clean up after yourself and the kid your watching There are 5 year olds that can clean up after themselves and you still can’t do this no ,I don’t think it’s funny at your age that your brother still picks up after you once you took over the responsibility it became your job The girls are ok sometimes, but it’s weird they way they live without parents I am not against he boys having their own Treehouse but dragging the girls over into the yard to give this thing to them in front of the girls and sending the boys who are the same age as the girls over to play with it in front of the girls doesn’t do it for me How do they think it must feel to be the kid in the yard that isn’t allowed to play on it ,especially when the other kids playing with it are your age once again you hear that it has something to do with the fact that someone complained that Thedore won’t give up his teddy bear so they slammed the girls side by telling them they had to give up playing in the backyard, but if they were a boy who is the same age they are welcome to play there as long and as much as they want to really thanks for the stereotype ,but if I want to go play in someone’s backyard I will play there and not worry about what you think is being the wrong gender to do it I stopped watching it Alvin and Jeanette and Simon are ok characters but I can’t stand Theodore’s character anymore it’s just that bad

Like

Yes ,please let the girls live like normal kids their age give them a parent of their own,so you can stop writing these oddly weird things I am sure if the roles were the other way around the boys won’t be so thrilled if they had to give this to the girls and watch them play on it with it in front of them It’s really strange what they are trying to write It’s not really all that fair to the girls side to explain it that way

Like

Yes, it’s like they want you to believe that Dave told the girls about it or something ,but clearly the girls found out another way because Dave doesn’t say two words to the girls the entire time they are there He appears to be more interested in making sure his sons are happy that he can’t even be brothered to say hello to the girls nor to care if it might upset the girls that he is sending his sons over to play on it with them in the yard than Brittany adds this really stupid comment that now that the boys are playing they are disturbing the peace They are your age really strange plus what if one of the girls wanted to go play on it too would they have a problem if she asked? or is it somehow against the rules because this is only for the boys If the girls don’t ask does this really avoid the bigger question ,not to mention the way Dave is kind of shoving off the girls he could care less that they are there, let alone if they have the same interest in playing on it or not He looks like he would be much happier if they were not there at all It makes you scream inside your mind ,please get the girls a family of their own and stop writing this because your making the boys side look good and the girls side look bad

Like

I guess they are trying to say that because Dave let’s the girls live alone in the Treehouse he let’s his sons who are the same age play in his backyard, but doesn’t let the girls again this is the personal opinion of the writers that a girl this age has  too high of a maturity level to want to play in the backyard but if she was a boy it’s  no problem at this age so they needed the girls there to prove their point We all know this has to do with the  individual child not the child’s gender, but they appear to think differently on the subject  Nobody is saying the boys shouldn’t have a Treehouse like girls ,but showing the boys playing with it in front of the girls like that is pushing it too much and makes the girl’s side want to go cut down the tree again this kind of thing could all be avoided if they just get it the girls aren’t old enough to live alone than you could give it to the boys without having to describe it this way They write this other one where Dave walks off on the girls during a father/daughter dance and the boys prove they are better than he his by sticking around and making sure the girls are ok Eleanor moves in with Dave and the boys getting turned into a maid She isn’t old enough to be your maid Dave I was never totally impressed with the girls side of it and the boys little brother is just really bad I remember one time the Chipette’s came running into the yard just because he screamed This is just how awful they have gotten with his characther

Like

Yes Eleanor’s can be too much at times like when she has to call Miss Miller to watch the boys They show her talking on the phone to boys telling them to have fun with Miss Miller the weirdest part about is she is supposed to be younger than both Alvin and Simon yet she is speaking to them as if she was a grown up and they are children She can sometimes come off more like an adult not like a kid her age, I understand the need for strong female i really do ,but she can almost be too much at times i have evan seen people who refer to her as Brittany’s mother because she acts more like mom toward her than Brittany ever acts like her big sister and unlike the boys who constantly remind us that they have a younger brother we have never heard neither Jeanette nor Brittany acknowlege Eleanor as their little sister I am not saying the movies got her totally right but they made the characther fit a little better to role of the younger sister espically when Brittany defends her in the movie where they are on the boat It’s something we have never seen before in the 80’s or the newer cartoon

Like

I believe lthat was the ending  to Independence Day it was horrible ,I guess they have no real reason to explain why the girls get to live alone without parents so they tried to make the girls  give something to the boys that they get to play with in front of the girls as a way of setting an  imagine in your mind that the girls help with the other children by trying to turn Dave’s Teenage sons into the other children they are helping with after all ,if you want to come home and play with your friends you won’t want to help take care of your friends  The memorial of the story is that if you want to live in the Treehouse you can’t come home from school and play with your friends anymore , you have to come home from school and watch your friends playing in front of you right after the boys explained  that not being able play there made them feel like they were being punished some felt it was really harsh toward the girls end especially when the other kids playing there are the girls age some felt the girls were being gender stereotyped others felt the boys should have shown some respect for the girls by either offering to allow them to play there too or not playing with it while the girls were there Some felt just giving the boys a Treehouse of their was enough and they should have ended it there instead of pointing out what was different  about them They want to spell it out in big letters that the Treehouse is for the other children that you have to help Dave take care of to play in The biggest problem these aren’t babies or young children there kids the girls age who are a different gender

  I mean how many story lines can you write of the girls helping take care of their Teenage boyfriends before you run out of lines If all they were going to do was show is the girls helping with the boys some girl viewers  were no longer intetested If your  on the girls side of it you feel the pressure on you to hurry up and grow_up but if your on the boys side of things its just the opposite take all the time in the world to grow_up Again the entire thing is tiggered by someone complaining that Theodore won’t grow_up a little bit by giving up his teddy bear 

The old theory that men are like children that never grow_up The joke is again not very funny and girl viewers were less than thrilled it began hitting the shows ratings after it aired some of  their  female viewers didn’t enjoy the humor most of the episodes based around the girls dropped to the lowest numbers since the newer version started airing guess it came back to hit them the wrong way They tried to chance things after getting blacklashed over the episodes ending but it had already done the damage One of there most popular episodes with the girls was when they broke into the school to change the tally numbers on the votes for the cutest Chipmunk people loved it and commented how they liked watching the girls sneaking around like the boys but the writers went away from this and never show it again despite viewers expressing their interest I heard some girl veiwers getting excited about the Super Girls episode but said they were disappointed after because they thought the outfits the girls made were cute but why make them if you are never going use them They were also disappointed that Jeanette couldn’t finish the Super Boots herself they thought it was cute that Simon wanted to help her but felt she could have been given a clue about what she was doing wrong and figured  out her own way to fix them 

Like

Theodore is annoying and very spoiled I can’t stand him anymore, They take every chance they get to remind everyone that he is youngest and he is always the center of the attention The girls are alright at times but it’s weird the way they live in neighbors yard without parents What happened to them living with Miss Miller ?Didn’t she adopt them?Why would she just give them up like that?They feel more like side characters in this one than in the 80’s cartoon where they felt more like equals to the boys Now they just kind of bring kind of bring them in for two second lines and you see more of the boys friends or teachers than we see of the girls once in a great moon they get to be main characters in an episode but it’s very rare How about more of the girls and less of Theodore Please give the girls a parent while you’re at it and show them being boyfriend/girlfriend again like we always remember from the past They don’t live in Dave’s yard ,they live in the neighbor’s abandoned yard and he rarely pays any attention to them and we have evan seen the girl’s principal and teacher attempting to care for the girls before Dave so no he doesn’t take care of them the way he does it his sons it’s really weird to show them living alone at this age if you don’t want to give them to Miss Miller please give them to someone else already

Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s