One thing I didn’t appreciate about children before I had them is that when they like something, they REALLY like something. You read the same books hundreds of times. You watch the same shows hundreds of times. You listen to the same song on repeat for hours. It’s like teenage me dealing with a crush by listening to a random Brand New song all night and definitely not being more miserable than any human in history, thanks.
All of this is to say that I have watched most episodes of The Octonauts several dozen times each. Octonauts is a formulaic but charming rescue show with the twist that it also introduces kids to undersea-slash-marine wildlife, going into detail about their habitat, unique behaviors, etc. The best part comes at the end of each episode, when the leader of the Octonauts, Captain Barnacles (a polar bear), recites the Creature Report, a little song detailing what the team has learned.
If Barnacles had discovered Secret Base, his Creature Report might have gone something like this:
Secret Base is really cool,
(Check. Check. Check.)
But it is run by a foo-
GOD DAMMIT BARNACLES THIS SONG IS OVER
Anyway, like all children’s shows, Octonauts asks you to suspend your disbelief about the world it portrays. Of course there is an elite team equipped with advanced technology saving animals and solving mysteries under the sea. Why wouldn’t their engineer be a green rabbit? Why wouldn’t their medic be a penguin. Why wouldn’t there be a semi-pirate cat, job description unknown*?
*Kwazii, the aforementioned cat, has a grandfather named ‘Calico Jack’, whom Octonauts-knowers may not realize was the nickname of a real pirate operating in the early 1700s. Calico Jack Rackham is credited with the invention of the Jolly Roger.
But still. How does this team exist? Clearly Professor Inkling and Tweak, the engineer, are the brains of the operation, but why are they stuck under the sea? What is their overall mission? There’s not enough red tape/repeated suspensions of Kwazii for the Octonauts to be government-funded, so that means they’re privately funded.
But the resources they command are huge. The Octonauts are capable of constructing bases in deep-sea trenches. They have built at least two massive, jet-propelled submarines. They have rescue vehicles for all terrains, some demonstrating highly advanced technology. So, if they’re not a government agency, who the hell is paying for all of this?
The more time you spend in the Octonauts’ world, the more enigmatic their operations become. They appear to be the only undersea creatures with technology of any sort. Yet this is a world with a significant tech presence on land — Ranger Marsh in the Everglades has a radio, there are unaffiliated polar monitoring stations in the Arctic, and the litter that threatens maritime environments clearly comes from somewhere.
I don’t believe that Inkling, their supposed founder, can possibly be the source of all of these resources, since he spends most of his time in his undersea library doing nothing and the rest being actively useless. Tweak is a possibility, but her father lives in meager accommodation in the heart of a swamp, and so I am skeptical she possesses vast personal reserves of wealth.
My conclusion: someone on the surface is quietly funneling funds and equipment to the Octonauts for an unknown purpose. Given that the team’s portrayed mission is purely humanitarian, why the secrecy? Why the lack of overland government contact/recognition. After all, every member of the team bar Inkling and the Vegimals (half vegetable, half sea-creature … things. Don’t ask) is perfectly capable of making long trips on land and are, in most cases, more at home there than at sea. What are they doing wandering around the ocean?
Given all of the above, I suspect the Octonauts are an international smuggling operation. They have a quasi-hidden rescue operation which is used as a propaganda shield and an excuse for them to travel around the world, moving illicit goods for the surface-dwellers and being rewarded with money and equipment to fund a lavish undersea lifestyle.
Don’t believe me? Want to think that Barnacles et al. are pure philanthropists? That’s fine. But please ask yourself the important question: who funds the Octonauts?