AP NEWS

For the parent, ‘Paw Patrol’ was inane. For the kid, it was the best thing ever.

May 17, 2019

Here to report as a parent-who-is-trying that I attended “Paw Patrol Live” and survived to tell the tale. More specifically, the tale of a quest for the booty of a long-gone pirate described as loving only his treasure and his long underwear.

As a mom who practically lives in her pajamas on the weekends, I found this pirate highly relatable. Short of this, the show was unwatchable. In case you do not happen to be versed in the “Paw Patrol” world, the show takes place on an island populated by law enforcement dogs who episodically come to the rescue, with Mayor Fogbottom as the established nemesis.

And yet, where are these pups when I need to be rescued from their inane show?

Full disclosure: Not only did I go into this event planning on hating it, I went in planning on writing about how much I hated it. As a newspaper lady – as my children call me – I have a responsibility to be aware of my biases anytime I approach a subject. All that said, dear reader, I hated “Paw Patrol Live.”

The moment the curtains were drawn, my son Joe shrieked at a precise nails-on-the-chalkboard pitch. “It’s really him, it’s really Marshall!”

Oh, honey, can’t you see the man standing inside the puppet, wearing gray clothing and operating various levers?

But of course instead I said, “Yeah, bud, it’s him!”

From the look on his face, my enthusiasm was unconvincing. Did I mention I am a parent-who-is-trying?

I winced at the cacophony of squealing, but looking around, all of the other parents seemed decidedly into it, waving their pirate flags like we were at a Beyoncé concert. This truth I hold as self-evident: Some parents are better at faking than others. Alongside becoming a morning person, this is a parent gene I never acquired.

In a different setting, at a different age, these children would be the teenage girls crying while Justin Bieber croons “Love Yourself,” or whoever the youth is listening to these days. I’m old and that’s perfectly fine with me.

So I made the decision to not watch the performance. Instead, I turned my head toward my almost 5 year old swinging his hips, arms wild in the air, hand clutching to the half-eaten, half-melted, overpriced chocolate chip cookie we bought at concessions.

The only way I come close to experiencing pure joy these days is vicarious joy through the eyes of my children. I can tell you this is more than enough. When I’m lucky, I remember to hold onto these moments, clutch onto them like Joe was grasping his chocolate chip cookie. One day, this joy I witness will only be experienced through memories, or if I’m lucky, and the planet hasn’t melted, grandchildren.

My assessment of “Paw Patrol Live” is mostly irrelevant. The show wasn’t meant for me, and I knew that going in. I am a parent-who-is-trying, and sometimes I get it right, seemingly despite myself.

If you asked Joe for his review, he’d tell you, “Best thing ever!” while blowing cookie crumb kisses. Accounting for the way he lit up when he saw his “Paw Patrol” pals “in real life,” I’m inclined to agree with him. Yes, Joe, “Paw Patrol Live” was the best thing ever.