September 29, 2015

9 Questions I Have About Kid's Shows...

I have some legitimate questions about the TV shows my kids watch. No, no, not about whether they're "educational" enough or not (come on, it's a substitute babysitter--stop trying to rationalize it) or even age appropriate (should my 4-year-old not watch America's Next Top Model with me?). My questions stem from watching these shows on seemingly repeat with no attempt on the part of the creators to address the following:

1. Why is Swiper such an a**hole?
Swiper the Fox from Dora the Explorer has one role: to steal Dora's stuff. Except he doesn't even use it for himself, which would make sense. If he gets a hold of it, he usually just chucks it somewhere far away for them to retrieve, then laughs about it. It's a pretty dick-ish thing to do.


2. How is no one bothered by the rip-off that is Go Diego Go?
Diego is Dora's equivalent of The Cleveland Show. He's a decent character within a larger story, but probably shouldn't have had his own show. Or, at the very least, could have been given a different show--not just a sub par version of the original. Practically everything is the same: animal sidekick? Check. Talking backpack that shows up with a song? Check. A helpful tool to assist in the mission? Check. Friends along the way? Check. A designated troublemaker? Check. Every last detail has been copied. Except baby jaguar's role in on par with that of an actual baby (read: sit there and look cute), the camera doesn't have an awesome insect mariachi band to introduce it, and no matter how much of a jerk Swiper is (see above), he's still infinitely better and more interesting than the stupid Bobo monkeys, who don't even talk.

Side note: this is my daughter's current favorite show. I've had a lot of time to think about how Diego is inferior to Dora in every way, except that his backpack's song is more zesty. Seriously. That's all I came up with.


3. If everyone hates Caillou so much, why is he still on TV?
Ask any parent, and Caillou will be atop their list of worst children's shows. He is this generation's Barney. Is this show intended to teach kids empathy toward whiny, self-entitled, inexplicably bald children with stupid names? I seriously do not understand the purpose of his show. Even his parents speak in those annoyingly soft, calm tones that make you think they are child therapists or something.



4. How is Ninjago a thing?
I get that people love LEGO. I love LEGO too. Even The LEGO Movie was surprisingly awesome. But doesn't there come a point when you can't turn everything into a LEGO? Apparently not. Not only are these books, but also a TV show, and of course, paraphernalia. Because LEGO Star Wars wasn't enough for this world.



5. Are Brits really that boring?
As an adult, I love British-produced television. (Ok, movies). But even other adults in my household often find them boring. So how any child, with an attention span slightly longer than that of a gnat, manages to sit through an entire episode of Peppa Pig is beyond me. I'm not saying kids should be constantly bombarded by neon colors and flashing lights, but even I use this show to put myself to sleep. Maybe that's the intent? Those cheeky Brits!


6. Am I the only person who didn't know how to pronounce The Berenstain Bears?
Growing up, my sisters and I collected these books. We had almost every one (except The Berenstain Bears and the Sitter. Damn it! The deprivation still stings!). And I made it through decades of life pronouncing it The "BerenSTEIN" Bears. Because really, shouldn't it be pronounced that way? It wasn't until I had kids and watched this show (which is one of those snobby examples of "the books are much better") that I realized I've been saying it wrong my whole life. Please tell me I'm not alone.

Update: I found out that this Berenstein bv. Berenstain Bears is very much a thing and that I'm totally correct.


7. How can anyone watch Curious George after reading the original book?
This isn't me being snobby again about the books being better than the show. Honestly, have you ever read the original Curious George? Haven't you always wondered how George came to live with the man with the yellow hat? Let me recap it for you: the man with the yellow hat (whose name now sounds suspiciously like a police description) goes to the jungle and lures George into a trap so he can kidnap and bring him home to put in a zoo. While at the man's house, George dials 911 because he wants to see the trucks with all the sirens come on. They arrest him and put him in jail for falsely dialing emergency services. The book actually has a picture of George sitting in a jail cell! Eventually he breaks out, the man with the yellow hat gets him, and they put him in a zoo. Yay?


8. Doesn't anyone care about quality animation anymore?
It feels like anyone with a pencil is allowed to make an animated show these days. Maisy? Peg + Cat? Watching these shows is like walking through a modern art gallery. All I can think is, "I could draw that!"


9. SpongeBob SquarePants
People don't really show this to their kids, do they?


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