Children’s Television: What Is *Happening* Here?
Kids’ TV shows: I love them, and I hate them. This post is mostly about how I hate them.
Disclaimer: please bring a sense of humor to this post. I’m sure I’ll be criticized for letting my toddler watch TV but honestly, an hour or so per day never killed anyone. I’m not going to pretend it’s “educational” or anything. As far as I’m concerned, the TV is a magical box that keeps her from filling the toilet with my shoes or shredding and eating an entire box of Kleenex while I’m trying to cook dinner. Now that that’s out of the way, I’d like to let you in on just a few of the things that go through my head while Caroline’s favorite shows are playing.
Yo Gabba Gabba: My name is Julia! I’m way too white to dance! As are 75% of the kids on this show.
When it comes to this show, all I have are questions. For example, what is happening with Brobee’s elbows? They are all double-jointed and weird and I’m pretty sure they defy the laws of physics. They remind me of this time I saw a patient with a broken nose and I touched it and it wiggled like Jello and then I went off and threw up in the corner. And why do all the inanimate objects on this show have to have human faces? Why is DJ Lance’s jumpsuit so tight, and is that blinding shade of neon orange really necessary? Also, what are his diet secrets? And really, Plex, you have no idea what the word “fun” means? You’re messing with me, right? I’ll tell you what “fun” is– it’s whatever the creators of this show are taking that lets them come up with this trippy stuff.
My friend Lauren said it best: “Yo Gabba Gabba seriously makes me second-guess whether or not I successfully avoided taking acid this morning.”
Caillou: I’d pay obscene amounts of money to see Caillou’s mild-mannered mom totally lose her s–t on those kids.
I love that his name means “pebble” in French because how adorable is that, but that’s where my love for this show ends. Aside from the fact that his voice gives me a migraine, his parents are just way too even-tempered and happy. I am pretty sure Caillou could smash every breakable in the house, fingerpaint the walls with his own poop, and then burn the place completely to the ground, and his parents would just shake their heads and smile and say “That certainly wasn’t very friendly, Caillou. Please let us know the next time you are feeling so upset, and together we will find a constructive way to solve your problems.”
His parents are saints, his grandparents are saints, his neighbors are saints, even his effing cat is a saint. Quit making me feel so inadequate, Caillou!
Dora the Explorer: She might be teaching my kid Spanish, but she’s certainly not advocating the use of an “inside voice”.
I have ranted about Dora before, but she is Caroline’s absolute favorite. I’m pretty sure that if Dora and I were both hanging off a cliff, Caro would save Dora’s life and allow me to plunge to my death. For one thing, girlfriend has no volume control whatsoever. Her parents have apparently never heard of “rules” or “curfews” or “not letting your kindergartener go wherever the hell she wants all the time with zero supervision”. And don’t get me started on her friends. Boots is a total sheep and can’t ever take any initiative, I can’t understand Tico at all (can I get some subtitles, please?), Benny’s always getting lost and stuck in volcanoes and whatnot, and all Swiper has ever done for anyone is cause trouble. I asked Caro where my car keys were once, and she said “Swiper Fox take them.” No joke. And as for the Map, how about a little spoiler alert if you’re going to tell me exactly where all Dora’s magic eggs are hidden right at the beginning of the episode?
The only awesome thing about this show is the three little dudes who pop out of nowhere and play fiesta music when Dora does something right. I want that in real life, please.
Anyway. I feel like children’s TV shows weren’t quite so inane when I was a kid, but maybe that’s because, you know, I was a kid. So there you have it. What goes through your head when your kids’ favorite shows are on?