Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Surviving Kids' TV Programming

My sense of humor gets me in trouble. Some perceive it as negative, when really, it's just a weird cynical way of seeing humor. I've been told I can find humor in difficult situations. Yes, sometimes it's inappropriate humor and ill-timed humor, but humor is humor.

When I was pregnant with Christian and was hit with a severe depression, my doctor (and family friend) knew something was wrong because he hadn't seen me laugh or witnessed that usual cynical humor and jokes despite difficult situations.  He said he saw that whole side of me vanish. 

But I don't want to talk about that. 

'Siblings' on Dinosaur Train. One is
going to grow up to eat the other.
Back to today.

Today's cynical humor comes in the form of surviving kid shows. For example, I do love some PBS shows.  I love Arthur and Martha Speaks.

However, others drive me crazy.  I cannot stand Dinosaur Train. In fact, I just thought of a wonderful way for Dinosaur Train to wrap up the series that can make quite the "impact":

I know, I'm terrible. But if you don't believe me, watch the Dinosaur Poop episode of Dinosaur Train. Then after that, maybe you'll wish for the finale as well.

Mr. Rogers and the Most Annoying Cat in the Universe
And then there's how I would handle the character of Henrietta on Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood.

For those of you born after us Generation Xers, there was a show called Mister Rogers Neighborhood on PBS. Fred Rogers was a sweet man who loved to engage kids in learning and imagination. However, the cat, Henrietta was annoying.  Yes, even more annoying than Nermal on Garfield and Friends.

Now they have an animated reincarnation of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood for the new Millennial Generation of kids called Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. It's way cute and Alexander loves it. Sure, it's repetitive and can grind on any parents' nerves, but it does have some nice nostalgic memories of the Fred Rogers legacy. 

However, Henrietta is back. I don't think they needed to bring her back. If they had to, they should have at least lost the stupid "meow meow" language in between her words. 

But thankfully, Henrietta isn't in every episode. 

My friend Wendy has a four year old son and he already figured out that Henrietta is bit "off". And like I said,  he's four!

And I think I plainly stated my solution for Henrietta:

But I guess I'd have to shoot Henrietta 8 more times, since she's a stupid cat with nine lives and all.

My other gripe is Word World. I love the concept. When I was teaching, there was plenty of times we'd use words to create pictures (and vice versa) in order to expand the creativity and push the students to think outside the box.

For that reason,  I like the artwork in Word World and he idea behind it. 

However, the creators really missed the mark with the characters and how to present the stories. Why do the animals of Word World have to be presented as if they're dumber than dirt? I mean, Patrick on Spongebob is smarter than these characters! 

Some may say that it's because the demographic this show focuses on (little kids) need to feel smart, so the characters are supposed to be dumber. I call B.S. There are plenty of shows for the young kids that don't portray the characters as helpless and without a brain inside their skull as the Word World gang. Yes, even Henrietta and the Dinosaurs pull it off better than the Word World characters.  

Word World needs an episode where they put "B" and "RAIN" together to make Brain. (Let's Build a Word! We Built it! We Built it!) And it needs to be done for every character on the show. 

Actually, it needs to be done for the writers.  

But I should be lucky for some shows I haven't been subjected to now or in the past, such as:

Yo Gabba Gabba
The Wiggles

Caillou and his cat, Gilbert, who is
 definitely not annoying like Henrietta

I should count myself very lucky! Alexander sometimes watches a little bit of Caillou, but he's not as interested like Christian was. 

However, I still have some questions about that show.  Caillou is four years old. Why does this kid not have any hair? I maintain that his mom had an affair with Kojak. Okay, Telly Savalas (Kojak) has been dead too long. Maybe a Mr. Clean wannabe Plumber who came over one day to snake her drain and flush her pipes while her husband had to work late?

And why do Caillou's parents not put him in an extended timeout for whining? 

I do feel his parents are being portrayed as wayyyyy too patient. I wonder if they're doing the cannabis calypso in order to stay so, um, "chill".  Maybe that's why Caillou doesn't have any hair. His mother may have been doing that dance when he was in utero. 

How else do you explain a name like Caillou?

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