When I subscribed to HuluPlus, I really wanted to take advantage of their exclusive content. So on my first night with the service I sat down, browsed through the shows and saw the picture above, for a show called The Yard. Growing up my favorite cartoon was Recess and to me this looked like a live action version of that. I didn’t think much of it and pressed play. I quickly learned that it has much more in common with The Sopranos than any cartoon. In the first episode the kids drop about a dozen f-bombs, one boy makes another boy “his bitch”, and a ten-year-old girl utters the words “lick my balls.” All in the span of about 28 minutes. It sounds terrible I know, but I’m ashamed to say I laughed pretty hard.
The show turned out to be much more than just shocking behavior from kids. It takes place almost entirely in a school yard in Toronto, filled with all sorts of cliques from bullies to nerds to jocks. It’s actually an ingenious commentary on social structures and human interaction. Through allegory and satire The Yard deals with issues like gender conflict, race relations, and the economy. A recurring element in the story is the elusive PB&J. It’s been banned from the school because of a problem with peanut allergies, and essentially serves as a representation of hard drugs. There are dealers, runners, users, and abusers. I found myself smiling often at the beauty of the connection.
What makes The Yard so fun for me is that it reminds me of my school days. The problems these kids face might seem silly to us. We laugh at their potty mouths and smirk at their cute little relationships, but when it comes down to it school is actually a lot like this. When you’re twelve, the world really does rest on getting the newest trading cards, or holding hands with the cute little blonde across the playground.
I think this show is a great look into the minds of children. It’s cute, it’s funny, it’s smart, and it’s less depressing than The Sopranos. I’m not sure if there are plans for future episodes but I really hope so.
3 out of 4 stars