If you wondered where I'd been lately, an acquaintance who is also an author and editor of some repute, who had kindly offered me sage advice on my comic book scripting project, noticed some similarities between what I was working on and a cartoon show called Codename: Kids Next Door. After she recommended I see it, I managed to hunt up some legally free online episodes, which you can watch here, assuming you can navigate the menu system (it's over on the right somewhere).
I'd never heard of the show before, but I was an instant addict and I've been binge-watching it for the last couple of days. If you go watch some yourself and decide to lose all respect for me because of the inanity, keep in mind that the first episode I saw involved a group of five children battling a giant robot armed with flaming chainsaws. Who am I to argue with flaming chainsaws? Anything containing flaming chainsaws is automatically good, much like anything containing ninjas or exotic princesses. (I almost added "or Kung fu," but then I remembered House of Flying Daggers [curse you, House of Flying Daggers!], so anything containing Kung fu is not automatically good.)
The show is, basically, about a Five Man Band (or maybe a Five Token Band, since they're all raging ethnic stereotypes) of grade-school kids who fight various villains, and Humongous Mecha representative of the sorts of problems kids today deal with, such as the common cold, corporal punishment, and dental hygiene.
That is actually somewhat similar to my own formula, which has five grade-school kids fighting a different order of problems kids today deal with, such as tuberculosis, forced military conscription, and human trafficking. Mine is less funny. But what really shocked me about Codename: Kids Next Door was hearing one of the characters say, "Ah, crud," repeatedly. That's my protag's catchphrase. I mean, sure, it's not a real original catchphrase or anything, but still.
While we're on the subject, what is it, exactly, about teams with five members? That seems to be a magic number or something. I assume it's because five is a small enough number of characters to be easily manageable but still leave room for love-triangles, double-crosses, and other shenanigans. Perhaps that's why I can never get anything done over here--for some reason I always end up with teams of six. And then I'm writing away at a draft when suddenly I say to myself, "Wait a minute...what has team member number six been doing for the last fifty pages?"
I may have discovered the solution to this problem: I will simply regard the sixth member as the Team Pet.