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This is me...
I'm having a mom moment....

Saturday, April 16, 2011

It's NOTHING Like Preschool On TV

Who posts on Saturdays?  I DO -- because this is my therapy.

If you read this blog regularly (if you don't, then shame on you), you are well aware that my 2 year old was sick for about 4 days and I didn't sleep much as a result.  You also know that I was stuck watching Nick Jr. for those 4 days and just about went nuts.  If you don't have preschoolers, then this post will seem like I am speaking a foreign language.  I assure you that all of the shows I am about to discuss do exist and are in every way as disturbing and/or annoying as I say they are.  I am an expert.  My kids have been watching this channel since it was called Noggin and it has been on in the background of my house for about 9 straight years.  Nick Jr.'s "tagline" is "It's like preschool on TV!"  Guess what?  NO its not.  It isn't anything close to preschool -- no one is eating paste or sticking rocks in their underpants or picking their noses or grabbing food off of each other's plates and there is no biting or hitting.  Nope -- Nick Jr. is a sunshiney happy place full of talking animals who teach our kids to be little Socialists.  Now I have talked about some of this before, in this post: Seriously? Yep, Seriously. but some of these shows really stick in my craw so I'll be going over what really bugs me about them and I'll let you know what the tolerable ones are.

The Fresh Beat Band:  Okay, this show is about a group of young adults with the combined mental capacity of my 4 year old, yet they are allowed to run around bursting into songs about how "It's Been a Great Day," "Let's Go Bananas," and "Friends Give Friends a Hand."  In the real world, they would be institutionalized and participate in occupational therapy in order to dress themselves.  But, it falls about middle of the pack on the annoying scale.

The Backyardigans:  This one is actually my favorite Nick Jr. show.  It does bother me a little that the penguin, the hippo, the lizard, the kangaroo, and the moose all live in the same neighborhood, but since it is the only show on this channel that has at least a hint of sarcasm, I'll give it a pass.

Jack's Big Music Show: So, I *think* that Jack is a dog.  A blue dog with a clubhouse, a best friend named Mary (who I think is also a dog), and a pet.....um....dog named Mel who plays the drums.  The show incoporates all kinds of music clips from such chart-topping groups like "The Laurie Berkner Band" and "Curious Buddies."  This one actually isn't bad either except that I have no idea WHAT Jack is exactly and that some of the music makes me want to find something sharp to puncture my ear drum with.

Toot & Puddle:  This is what I might nickname my two youngest.  This show is about 2 pigs who travel al over the world.  But they never go together because one has to stay behind so the other can stay home and receive post cards from the one travelling.  My favorite episode is when one of them travels to the Middle East and tours a famous Mosque....because you know, Muslims love pigs.

Franklin:  Soooooo, Franklin is a turtle.  He can count by 2's and tie his shoes, and all of his friends are other forest creatures with names like "Bear," "Beaver," "Snail," and "Otter."  Its a good thing there is only ONE of each of those animals in the entire flippin' forest.  Why does Franklin get an actual name?  I would think that if you were creating a show you would need a little more creativity than that.

Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Kids:  There are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO many things about this show that disturb me.  The most offensive is that a spider couple adopts a bunch of their food to raise.  They live in a small "commune" and they are all resposible for making sure that everyone has what they need to survive.  Even the lazy bugs (in this show, it's the ants) get food and shelter off of the hard work of their neighbors.  Socialism.

Little Bear:  Why is he naked??  All of the adults wear clothes, and I know from a past episode that he had baby clothes, so WHY IS HE NAKED??!!

Yo Gabba Gabba:  Where to start?  DJ Lance looks like he was sucked through a wormhole from a 1970's Roller Rink and he carries around a case with little phalic symbol looking toys that he talks to all of the time clearly illustrating that he got some bad drugs.  They sing songs like "There's a Party in My Tummy" and "I like Bugs" while they do dances like Iggy Pop on a bad acid trip to "Get the Wiggles Out." 

Olivia:  Yet another pig show.  In this one there is this precoscious little pig who's favorite color is red and who daydreams all of these carzy scenarios where she is a queen, or something equally important.  She drives her parents and teachers crazy with all of her "Rules of Life" like "No matter what the situation, costumes are always a good idea."  It is far less annoying than most Nick Jr. shows, though, adult supervision is common and it does promote imagination and individuality, so I will allow it.

Little Bill: Defeinately among the winners on this channel, but it was created by Bill Cosby, so that has a lot to do with it.  Little Bill is the youngest of 3 kids in a family that lives in NYC.  He's about 5, and its fairly normal except that you never see mom yell, or the kids have a meltdown.

Wow Wow Wubzy:  I do not know what this is....there's this little creature with a "Kooky" tail, a whiney little voice, and he's got a friend who's really smart and a friend who is a rabbit who is a mechanic.  He loves to play "kickety-kick-ball" and make messes and it's just.....weird....and annoying.

Dino Dan:  This is one of my kids' favorites -- there's this kid named Dan who is obsessed with dinosaurs and he "sees" them everywhere as he's playing or at school or just going through his day.  In the real world, this kid would be diagnosed with schitzophrenia and medicated.  Unlike most shows on here though, his mom is present.  It's kind of educational and not too annoying unless you have to watch it over and over like my kids do.

Ni Hao, Kai-Lan:  I hate this show.  Kai-Lan lives in China with her animal friends (including a rhino named Lu-Lu who floats everywhere with a bunch of baloons-- WTH??)  She only answers to her grandfather "Yeh-yeh".  EVERY show is about how somone isn't happy and how everyone should focus on MAKING them happy regardless of what it takes.  Yeah, because THAT'S how the real world works -- Let's all stop what we're doing and focus on you and your problems.

Wonder Pets:  Another show that I loathe.  The "Wonder Pets" are a turtle named "Tuck," a hamster names "Winny" and a duck chick named "Ming-Ming."  They are the classroom pets at a small red school house and after the kids go home they go and rescue animals in trouble in their "Flyboat" which is a boat....that flys.  None of their rescue missions are at all realistic -- like a baby cow who got stuck in a tree because of a twister or a bird that gets stuck on top of the Statue of Liberty and can't fly (then how'd it get up there??).  Ming-Ming speaks with a lisp and is always the one to point out that "This is sewious." They save the baby animal and return it to its mom or dad and then they all have celery.  They NEVER fail.  Just once, I'd love for them to show up where there is a baby animal in trouble and say "Wow, there's nothing we can do.  Sucks to be you.  Who wants celery?"

Dora The Explorer:  I allow this one because my kids will sit still and mute for the 23 minutes that it is on.  But Dora runs all over the place with a monkey named "Boots" and her magic backpack that ALWAYs has what she needs in it -- all she has to do is ask for it.  She is constantly stalked by a fox named "Swiper" who is always trying to steal from her, and there is no adult supervision.  Ever. 

Go, Deigo, Go: Another 23 minute miracle that will immobilize the kids.  This one is the 2 year old's favorite.  Like Dora, he runs all over the jungle unsupervised, with a baby jaguar as his companion.  He is always rescuing animals in trouble by utilizing his "Rescue Pack" which can transform into anything he needs.  He swings from vines, kayaks down rapid rivers, rapels down cliffs and hang-glides over tree-tops despite the fact that he's only about 8 or 9 years old at the most.  The closest thing to a parent is his sister Alicia who is always at their headquarters radioing to him about where he needs to go. 

Blue's Clues:  Okay, Blue is a dog who lives with either Joe or Steve depending on how old or new the show is.  She communicates with them through barks (which they understand) and she makes them try to figure out what she wants to do by leaving her paw print on things thus designating them as "Clues."  There are always 3 clues.  Joe or Steve writes all of the clues down in their "Handy-dandy Notebook" and then they sit in the "Thinking Chair" to figure out what she wants to do.  There are other characters like "Side-table Drawer", "Mailbox", and "The Salt and Pepper Family."  It would freak me out if all of the inanimate objects were alive with personalities (probably because they'd be calling out to be cleaned), and I think it is weird that Joe and Steve devote so much of their time trying to fiure out what their dog wants to do, but as long as I don't have to be in the room, I will allow this one too.

Oobi:  Again, disturbing on so many levels and sooooo many questions.  What do their 'legs' look like?  Their heads are hands, so where are their hands?  There is not enough hand sanitizer in the world to make this show okay......

Max & Ruby:  Ruby gets on my last nerve and I love Max because Jackson is JUST like him.  Yeah, one question though -- WHERE ARE THEIR PARENTS????!!

The absolute WORST thing about these shows is that I find myself singing all of their stupid songs to myself throughout the day.  They get stuck in my head whether I am actually watching the show with my kids or just hear it from the next room.  Nothing like walking through the grocery store and finding yourself humming the theme song from Max & Ruby or Oobi....
I think that one of the main things that bugs me about Nick Jr. is that there are no parents in these shows (little Bill and Dino Dan are the exceptions).  All of these characters either live alone or with grandparents.  I am also bothered by this version of the world where everyone is trying to make everyone happy because that just isn't the way it is in the real world.  None of the animals in Diego are trying to eat each other, Kai-Lan doesn't have any human friends, the Wonder Pets always save the animal in trouble, and there's never a hard winter in Sunny Patch causing Miss Spider to eat one of her adopted bug kids.  I like shows that encourage imagination and problem solving.  A little sarcasm is good too.  Maybe its because I was raised on Warner Brothers, so I have a hard time with all of these shiny happy cartoons that do not involve shotguns and TNT and cross-dressing rabbits.

4 comments:

Forever in Bluejeans said...

My son is about to turn 11; we watched a few of these shows; we liked Little Bill. A show that will drive you insane is on PBS, it is called "Cailou" the most obnixous cartoon child on tv! I can still here the whinning!!!!

Cari said...

You come dangerously close to insulting my all-time favorite cartoon was Tommy was still little...Blue's Clues. I watched hours and hours of it with him (the Steve years). My sisters even bought ME a giant Blue that makes her signature bark when you press the nose. LOVE IT! I also love Max & Ruby, but only for Max's facial expressions. The rest of them you can have! :) Great post!!

Sara M. said...

I just wanted to thank you for getting, "Friends give friends a hand" stuck in my head... Like I dont hear that enough... ;o)

Lindsay D. said...

Holy mother of God! If I didn't know better, I'd swear I wrote this regarding my experience over this summer with Nick Jr. I'm sooooo sick of Fresh Beat Band. Their uppity cheerful all the time attitudes make me want to jump through the tv and strangle them. I think I hate that one the worst of all.