he Barboskins (Барбоскины) is a contemporary Russian cartoon series. It began in 2011, and is already on its 10th season. It is created by Melnitsa Studios, the same people behind Luntik and the Ivan Tsarevich film series. There are almost 200 episodes, each about five minutes.
The show is about a family of humanlike dogs—two parent dogs and five puppies. (“Barboskin” is their surname.) The family is presented as extremely typical: the father spends all his spare time on the computer (working, of course, in order to support his family); the mother is a good cook but dreams of becoming an actress; the girl puppies, Rosa and Liza (Роза и Лиза), enjoy fashion and makeup; and the boy puppies, Druzhok, Gena, and Malysh (Дружок, Гена, и Малыш), play soccer and sometimes study.They find themselves in normal, everyday situations, and, according to the series’s website, “through the example of solving some kind of seemingly unsolvable problem that’s arisen, the series’ writers show young viewers how they can always find a solution to the most complicated problems with a smile, avoiding conflict and offending no one.
Like many popular Russian cartoons, this one has almost a whole industry surrounding it—computer games, clothing, contests. The games include such winners as “Fashionable Makeup,” hosted by puppy Rosa; “Attention Training” with Gena, the smart puppy; and “Let’s Wash Dishes,” with Liza. (No comment on the gender roles in this show.
While the show is apparently meant to be educational, at least one review has criticized it for its “hooliganism”—apparently residing in the fact that there are allusions to a singer named Zhanna Kiska (a play on Zhanna Friske, who was a member of Russian girl group Blestyashchie) and an actor named Brad Pitbull. The characters also, shockingly, use slang in their speech.