When I was a kid, my family sat down to watch The Wonderful World of Disney — all of us, at once. It was an event, a thing we did as a family. The same thing happened with TGIF back in the day, with my mom, my brother, and me. These were shows that hit the sweet spot: things kids could watch that adults cared about too, or at least didn’t make them want to claw their eyes out. Both parties became invested in the characters and the plot.
These shows became a touchstone, a bridge between kids and adults. When I was a teen, my family did this with The X-Files. You couldn’t binge these shows; you had to sit down and watch them together, one at a time, all around the same TV. Now Disney+ has given that back to us in the best Star Wars installment since the original trilogy: The Mandalorian.
The Mandalorian has everything. It’s got those Star Wars side stories your kids have been watching forever as cartoons: Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars Clone Wars. Except it’s taken that side story, thrown in a dose of the original trilogy’s Mandalorian bounty hunter Boba Fett, created a cool-ass good guy Mandalorian, and then, in a masterstroke of sheer genius, given us the pop-culture gift of the new century: Baby Yoda.
Baby fucking Yoda.
We’ll get to Baby Yoda, officially known as “The Child,” who will henceforth and forever be known as nothing but “Baby Yoda.”
Kids love The Mandalorian for the action, the Storm Troopers, the familiar Star Wars references (Mandalorians! bounty hunters! there’s a cantina! they’re on Tattooine, except it’s not Tatooine! look, a Jawa!). Adults are drawn in by … well, just about everything. And everyone loves that it ties in with the release of the last movie in the Skywalker trilogy on December 20.
This is the first live-action Star Wars spin-off, so it seems like it’s more adultish, and man, is this thing cinematic. Game of Thrones and its ilk raised the bar for TV in general, and The Mandalorian just looks like a movie. It feels more grown-up than Star Wars Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels (even though Clancy Brown does some voice work in them). Your kids, again: DEATH TROOPERS! BLASTERS! Some new weapon called WHISTLING BIRDS! There’s some seriously on-the-edge of your seat action sequences with blasters! You’re experiencing all this together, watching it together: it’s got something that appeals to everyone. This is the true genius of The Mandalorian. It leaves neither kids nor adults behind.
Then there’s the Mando himself (played by Pablo Pascal), who despite the fact that we never see his face is somehow hot AF.
how does Pedro Pascal still look hot with every square inch of his body covered up
— JuanPa (@jpbrammer) December 3, 2019
In a world where whole seasons are dumped at once, The Mandalorian makes you wait, with a new episode released every Friday. You have time to banter theories with your kids (we spent a long time debating whether or not Baby Yoda was actually the reincarnation of actual Yoda, which is impossible, but was still a fun car conversation). It’s our family’s shared pop culture experience. In a world where kids’ shows and adult programming tends to be pretty separated, The Mandalorian crosses boundaries.
And as The New York Times says, Baby Yoda is your god now.
He’s Yoda but adorable and not cranky. He uses the Force like nothing we’ve ever seen. Disney was even nice enough to hold off Baby Yoda toys this Christmas so we didn’t beat the crap out of each other trying to score them for our kids at Target (this did not stop my kids from coloring a LEGO baby Voldemort green and calling it Baby Yoda).
Look at that face. Look at that teensy hand. It’s the most memeable thing of all time.
Cutest Disney princess I am. pic.twitter.com/phlXLePjkU
— Baby Yoda (@BabyYodaBaby) November 21, 2019
You’ve got a TV event for adults and kids, that you have to sit down and watch together, once a week, full of draws for both adults and the rugrats alike. And it’s Star Wars, people. Total Disney Plus win. You’ve brought us together again, Disney. You’ve made media that permeates all pop culture.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be in the corner worrying about the fate of Baby Yoda now, along with my kids. And there’s that movie coming out? Except my kids are in the other room saying things like “I AM A BOUNTY HUNTER!” and my 6-year-old is crying that he lost Baby Yoda/Baby Voldemort.