If, like Toby Tyler, you’ve ever wanted to run away with a circus and have a monkey for an intimate friend, you’ll dote on Big Top, which made its debut in April 2002. Pete is an 11–year-old growing up in a family of talking circus animals. The monkey, Manfred, is Pete’s roommate, but the boy’s best friend and father–figure is Wink, a reformed biker bear in love with Katie Couric, who, late in 2003, made the bear’s day by blowing him a kiss on the air. Kingston, the lion, plays a sweet sax, and Dusty the poodle is addicted to Chapstick.
The inter–species relationships are not always fret–free. Visiting Kingston, Pete asks to use the bathroom and discovers it’s a litter box. “Say, Kingston,” he says, “do you have another bathroom?” “Why, what’s wrong?” says Kingston. Pete: “I’m just … it’s a litter box, and I’m not familiar with the protocol.” Kingston: “Well, it’s not really a puzzle, Einstein.” Pete: “All right, all right.” He disappears around the corner. Kingston mutters: “Sometimes I wonder about that kid.” From around the corner, we hear Pete: “Do I take my shoes off?”
— R.C. Harvey
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