In the halls of 90s TV history, there’s always been a lack of exposure for certain cartoon shows. The short-running, somewhat obscure offerings when it came to childrens’ television programming often fell by the wayside and were overshadowed by heavy hitters like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe or G.I. Joe. I’m here to put a stop to this unfair prejudice and give a big nod to the little shows that could.
Originally a Spanish animated television show based on the children’s book “The Secret Book of Gnomes” by Wil Huygen, David the Gnome (David el Gnomo) showed the world how someone so little could be so outstandingly badass.
The English dub of the series reached US shores in 1987 and aired Monday – Friday on Nickelodeon. As part of Nick Jr.’s inception and eventual daytime children’s TV takeover, it ran from 1987 until 1995 and still gets syndication worldwide today on some networks. Although it was created in the 80s, I consider it a 90s TV show because it gained international superstardom in the early 90s as a show that kids couldn’t look away from.
I can fondly and vividly remember coming home from school in Kindergarten and first grade and catching an episode of David the Gnome on Nickelodeon. Although I was confused at first, I quickly grew to love the show.
David the Gnome presents a view of gnomes that goes far beyond their lawn ornament status and into their hearts and souls as peaceful, nature-loving creatures. The gnomes, as a race, are under a foot tall and come in a variety of different breeds. Their physical attributes are determined by the environment in which they live in. Forest gnomes as opposed to dune gnomes or snow gnomes all have different characteristics and living situations.
The gnomes live in cozy little holes or caves, under trees, or stashed away safely somewhere else as is appropriate to their climate and region. They only eat vegetarian and they possess a Native-American-like symbiosis with the world around them. When they need to travel distances (as would be quite difficult at such a tiny size), they call upon the animals of the forest to hook them up with a ride. The titular character David, for instance, rides on the back of a red fox named Swift.
The whole purpose of the gnome’s life is to clean up after the damage caused by humankind’s environmental fuck ups. Think of them as little pointy-hatted hippies, combing the earth and patching up the shitty shape we’ve left this world in.
Their arch enemies are the trolls, evil and idiotic beasts who always go out of their way to make trouble for the gnomes. They appear to want to eat the gnomes or at least capture them for their own means. Unfortunately for those ugly grease balls, they can’t go out in sunlight and turn to stone like that purple pansy Goliath from Disney’s Gargoyles.
Basically, the show rocked. There’s no reason not to love a cartoon about a vegetarian pacifist gnome named David and his epic journeys on the back of a fox, battling trolls and environmental destruction from the comfort of a cozy tree hole. Fortunately for you ignorant bastards who’ve missed the run of this amazing series, a DVD collection was recently released in the US that catalogues the whole series from start to finish. I suggest you get on that shit ASAP.