Necessary Nostalgia – Where in the World is Carmen SanDiego
For a kid in the early nineties there was a variety of kid-centric game shows to choose from like Legends of the Hidden Temple, GUTS and Double Dare. But even better than a talking Mayan statue, green slime and the Super Aggro Crag would be the one and only Where in the World is Carmen SanDiego. What ‘90’s kid didn’t want to be on this show? I know I did. At least I wanted to be on the show when the final map wasn’t Eastern Europe.
With the world’s catchiest theme song, two great hosts and the laugh out loud singing commentary from Rockapella it was a pretty entertaining 25 minutes even without the educational parts.
Thanks to Youtube I recently went on a Carmen SanDiego marathon bender and relived my elementary school afternoons. This 90’s gem was brought to you by WGBH and CPB who are the usual masterminds behind other PBS edutainment, notably Sesame Street. WitWiCS was created as a response to a National Geographic survey that identified the U.S. as being behind in geography. So, WitWiCS tried its hardest to get us 90’s kids to learn world geography. I’m not sure if it was successful but A for effort.
The red trenchcoat-clad Carmen SanDiego had a bevy of pun-heavy henchman like ‘Double Trouble,’ ‘Patty Larceny,’ ‘Top Grunge’ and ‘Vic the Slick’ who were actually phenomenal thieves in that they could steal landmarks and geographical locations (quite a feat) but always got caught. Carmen, on the other hand, often got away.
In hindsight you realize that this show is so hilariously low tech, but none the worse for it. As a kid I never thought anything about it that the shows’ contestants hold up the answers to the questions on pre printed cards. I also probably never noticed all of the puns and one liners from The Chief and show host, Greg, but I’m sure my parents did.
There was an old computer game of that that pre-dated the show, that I vaguely remember from elementary school, but it really wasn’t a favorite of mine like the show was.
So you if need to brush up on your partially out of date geography head over to YouTube for some Carmen SanDiego. And in the Chief’s famous last words: “(Eye) Salute you.”
Were you a fan of Carmen SanDiego? Still singing the theme song 20 years later? Tell us about it.
Also, did you know that Carmen SanDiego and Where’s Waldo FanFiction is a thing, because it totally is!