Skip

Can you tell me how to check for a hernia?
April 3, 2007 7:06 AM   Subscribe


 
That's hilarious.

What's the term for swallowing the pronunciation of the double-t in "Mittens" -- such that it sounds like Mih-ins?

My wife does that. I call it her Connecticut accent.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 7:15 AM on April 3, 2007


Did they actually get the voice of Dora to do that? It was perfect if not. I especially loved the "Flap Harder! Harder! What's wrong with you!" bit.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:16 AM on April 3, 2007


What's the term for swallowing the pronunciation of the double-t in "Mittens" -- such that it sounds like Mih-ins?

It's caled a glottal stop.
posted by teleskiving at 7:24 AM on April 3, 2007 [4 favorites]


Is it very funny if you've actually watched Dora? It doesn't seem to work without the context.
posted by spicynuts at 7:25 AM on April 3, 2007


What's the term for swallowing the pronunciation of the double-t in "Mittens" -- such that it sounds like Mih-ins?

There are people who actually have the time in life to say Mit-tens?
posted by spicynuts at 7:25 AM on April 3, 2007


There are people who actually have the time in life to say Mit-tens?

Any self-respecting Finn would.
posted by ursus_comiter at 7:28 AM on April 3, 2007


Uh, I've never watched 'Dora the Explorer' (or indeed heard of her before this post), but I thought it was pretty funny, spicynuts. I guess I'm familiar enough with general semi-educational kid's stuff on the tellybox to get the overall context, even if there's specifics that might be missed.
posted by hydatius at 7:30 AM on April 3, 2007


Yeah, I've got no kids (I do have a niece but she's 18 months) so I don't watch any of this stuff. I did like the 'get on your belly, asshole!' part.
posted by spicynuts at 7:36 AM on April 3, 2007


Spot on but, as with almost all SNL bits, about four times longer than it should be.
posted by DU at 7:36 AM on April 3, 2007


Perfect. Spicynuts: the "innovation" of Dora the Explorer (actually, I think originally of Blues Clues, but Dora is the current incarnation) is its purported interactivity. It leaves gaps for the kids to respond to Dora's questions. The "blinking" animation (Dora stands there blinking for several frames) and "GOOD!" response to inane questions is an incredibly successful formula that makes the show very much like kiddie crack. Kids will watch the same Dora DVD over and over and over (not my kid, but that's because he happens to be obsessed with meerkats right now and won't watch anything else) responding to the questions and doing the little activities. There's even a little cursor that clicks on objects, as you saw in the video. It's the perfect translation of interactive media into a non-interactive form. A little scary by my GOD does it work. The parody hits it on the head perfectly. I didn't know there was anything funny on SNL anymore.
posted by The Bellman at 7:54 AM on April 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


...the "innovation" of Dora the Explorer (actually, I think originally of Blues Clues, but Dora is the current incarnation) is its purported interactivity...

Originally with Bill Cosby doing Picture Pages on Captain Kangaroo 30 years ago, you mean. And probably well before that, as recorded in the cliche "Can you say $X? I knew you could!"
posted by DU at 7:57 AM on April 3, 2007


Originally with Bill Cosby doing Picture Pages on Captain Kangaroo 30 years ago, you mean.

To a point, but you had to order the Picture Pages (grr). (Yes, I know everything on Dora has a tie-in, including the stupid star gimmick.) And it was 5 minutes vs. 25.

It's a spot-on parody, including the endless YELLING. I'm happy my 3 year old has moved on to Backyardigans, no matter how stupid it seemed at first, because they don't yell all the time. And Wonder Pets too, which is cute and has zero toy tie-ins.
posted by dw at 8:06 AM on April 3, 2007


Actually, DU, not to get hung up on this, and I'm certainly no expert, but my understanding is that Blue's and Dora take this much further and that is their so-called innovation. The classic phrase is: "Can you say $X? Sure you can!" There's no pause in there. Dora and Blue's spend animation cycles (or live action time) waiting for a response and, more importantly, structure the story in an effort to give the kid the feeling that he or she is helping advance the plot (or solve the mystery) not just repeating words or phrases. That's why kids feel a bond with the characters the way they do -- every kid I know who watches Dora thinks of Dora as his or her friend, not just a kid on TV. It's a little creepy, but it sure sells merch.
posted by The Bellman at 8:09 AM on April 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


You did have to buy Picture Pages (IAWTGrrr), but at least that actually was interactive, IIRC. My kids watch Dora silently, which is hardly interactive. (Although one of my almost-2-year-olds does do a lot of the song motions and point out the clues on Blue's Clues.)
posted by DU at 8:10 AM on April 3, 2007


Oh man I have watched Backyardigans and I found it creepy to the point of feeling like I was being hypnotized. The droney music and the way they characters move and sway felt like some kind of mind control. And then I could not get the theme song out of my head for weeks. I suspect it's evil. It did keep my friend's kids quiet for an hour though. I'd like to see a parody of that.
posted by spicynuts at 8:10 AM on April 3, 2007


I have a friend named Dora. I guess, no matter how careful you are when naming a kid, there's always the chance that something like this show will come along and screw it all up.
posted by gurple at 8:13 AM on April 3, 2007


The "interactivity" theme is now slowly creeping its way across all kids' television. Witness Disney's "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" and "Little Einsteins." My kids adore these shows, and sometimes even respond to their constant pleas for participation. "Don't question it, just do it!" indeed.
posted by fungible at 8:14 AM on April 3, 2007


The droney music and the way they characters move and sway felt like some kind of mind control.

That music is bu Lounge Lizard (and brother to John) Evan Lurie.

I love the Backyardigans. Flow Flutter Fly.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:37 AM on April 3, 2007


The guys at Language Log had a funny article about this a couple of days ago, under the title Macaronic Maraka.
posted by leahwrenn at 8:38 AM on April 3, 2007


spicynuts, I hear you, RE creepy and hypnotic.

I was so glad when my niece transitioned from Teletubbies to Thomas the Train Engine and Bob the Builder.

That Teletubbies stuff is INSIDIOUS.
posted by darkstar at 8:42 AM on April 3, 2007


My favorite interactive kid's show is "Grindhouse."
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:57 AM on April 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Saw this when it was broadcast and every time that cat reacted to my supposed response with an excited grin I laughed harder and harder.
posted by stevil at 8:59 AM on April 3, 2007



That music is bu Lounge Lizard (and brother to John) Evan Lurie.


I know this and there is clearly something fantastically wrong with the Lurie DNA. I don't get creeped out by Mark Mothersbaugh's work but the Backyardigans is twisted. Sorry.
posted by spicynuts at 9:08 AM on April 3, 2007


I had the pleasure of watching this with my two year old daughter who LOVES Dora. I kept saying things like, "Boy, Dora sure is acting strange, don't you think?" Mostly, it went over her head, but there were a few places where my daughter looked at me with a "WTF?" on her face, which only made me and the wife laugh harder. The parody is spot on, and it highlights all the things I hate about Dora.

I can only hope that one day, far in the future, she has some vague, wispy memory of the day Dora went batshitinsane.

(FWIW, my daughter's favorite show is "The Muppet Show" on DVD. She's totally into Beaker, and I have the perverse pleasure of knowing she'll be the only Lola Falana fan in her whole kindergarden one day.)
posted by ColdChef at 9:18 AM on April 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


Is this something I would need to have procreated in order to understand?
posted by felix betachat at 9:29 AM on April 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


ColdChef, that parenthetical remark just made my day!
posted by pax digita at 9:37 AM on April 3, 2007


Is this SNL or Mad TV?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:46 AM on April 3, 2007


but the Backyardigans is twisted. Sorry.

I hear you, brother. They made a 80s-drum-machine-hip-hop version of Buffalo Gals. You cannot get creepier than that. It's possibly the most abhorrent music ever made.
posted by thanotopsis at 10:13 AM on April 3, 2007


TV Funhouse is an occasional SNL segment created by the brilliant Robert Smigel, probably best known for The Ambiguously Gay Duo.

Got to admit this cracked me up. I had just seen an actual Diego (Dora's environmentally sensitive cousin) segment where a Bald Eagle did steal a penguin egg and it annoyed the hell out of because it was such a biologically flawed scenario. But on Maraka it made perfect sense. Can you break a fifty?

I'm also a little creeped by those Backyardigans. Why are four of them actual animals and one some freaky polka-dotted antlered thing? And why do they disco dance to what sounds like Broadway show tunes?

I always wondered if the interactivity stuff was an attempt to train kids to be obedient. "Can you say support the troops?" I was relieved when my daughter stopped doing it. She still likes the show, but now rolls her eyes when Dora or Diego try to "engage" her.

That's right honey, screw the man. You think on your own.
posted by Toekneesan at 10:39 AM on April 3, 2007


As insipid as it seems, this style of call-and-response kids television is currently the best that research into child development has to offer. It's even more effective than sesame street, even if the ol' sesame street had far more artistic merit. Kids of that age crave and require repetition and participation, no matter how staged that participation is. The merch tie-in's are ridiculous, but the shows (Dora, Blue's Clues and the like) actually teach kids better than anything we were exposed to.

Oh, and the parody was brilliant. "Pump harder! What is wrong with you?"
posted by Navelgazer at 10:42 AM on April 3, 2007


...an incredibly successful formula that makes the show very much like kiddie crack.

In that Malcolm Gladwell book, that was big a few years ago, he has a discussion of the "stickiness factor" in children's television. The trend apparently started with Sesame Street. For every segment on the show they did research with actual kids to see how well it held their attention. Segments were either shelved or reworked until they had a suitably high level of "stickiness." Shows like Dora just take it up a few levels. I found a decent overview from a parenting blog.
posted by timelord at 10:44 AM on April 3, 2007


On Preview: it's essentially the same thing that Navelgazer just talked about.
posted by timelord at 10:48 AM on April 3, 2007


Navelgazer writes "Kids of that age crave and require repetition and participation, no matter how staged that participation is. The merch tie-in's are ridiculous, but the shows (Dora, Blue's Clues and the like) actually teach kids better than anything we were exposed to."

One of the advantages of not living in the West is that Western TV seldom gets here, but when it does, it usually comes alone, without the merch. So Little Einsteins is on TV for my kid to watch, but there's no accompanying merch for him to ask me for (once he learns to speak).
posted by Bugbread at 11:02 AM on April 3, 2007


And Wonder Pets too, which is cute and has zero toy tie-ins.

Yet. ('dun dun duuuun' as Travis would say)

My kidlets like Dora and Diego (mostly Diego now) but we participate with them on the responses, mostly giving them alternate things to say. Older Boy likes correcting us, Younger Boy enjoys going against the "flow".

Right now their absolute favorite is Pingu (warning: annoying music), which I found at the Dollar store for almost nothing. I looked around, didn't see any toys or other merchanising, and bought it. They've almost worn the tape out.
posted by lysdexic at 11:37 AM on April 3, 2007


...no accompanying merch for him to ask me for (once he learns to speak).

Ugh. I had to splice 8 1/2 minutes out of a Blues Clues tape where it has small children saying "Please buy me a [insert character] videooooooooo!"
posted by lysdexic at 11:39 AM on April 3, 2007


Recently, I spent a week with my best friend and her 2.5 year old daughter (had it not been for this stay, I wouldn't have seen most the programs mentioned in this thread).

The newest crack for 3-year olds is "Safe Side Super Chick". Seriously, it was crazy how engaged she was while watching it.
posted by parilous at 12:52 PM on April 3, 2007


You know what my 19-month-old son's kiddie-crack is? Playing with his Lego train set.

What would a thread like this be without an anti-TV snark?
posted by davejay at 1:43 PM on April 3, 2007


the Backyardigans is twisted

On Noggin alone we have a talking monkey, a boy animal rescuer whose theme song makes him sound like The Chosen One, a trumpet-playing guinea pig and her owner whose head inflates, the strange techno monstrosity that is Lazy Town, and Maisy, which despite the closeted lesbian chicken, stoned crocodile, and bedwetting squirrel might be the most normal children's show on children's TV not named Charlie and Lola.

So, please, tell me how Backyardigans, with the dancing kids and non sequitur music, could be twisted compared to these other shows.

And Wonder Pets too, which is cute and has zero toy tie-ins.

Yet. ('dun dun duuuun' as Travis would say)


Honestly, it seems like Josh Selig isn't going that route with his stuff. He also did the abomination that was Oobi, and how many toys did you see for that?

In fact, I wouldn't mind if he did sell out for at least some stuffed animals, since my daughter loves Ming-Ming.
posted by dw at 2:15 PM on April 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Gotta stand up for Little Einsteins here, a show I dearly love (as do my kids). I'm not aware of any major merch campaigns there, except perhaps the DVDs - but if my kids want to watch shows steeped in Mozart and Van Gogh and Matisse, that's just fine by me!
posted by jbickers at 3:39 PM on April 3, 2007


What would a thread like this be without an anti-TV snark?

Honestly, it seems like Josh Selig isn't going that route with his stuff. He also did the abomination that was Oobi, and how many toys did you see for that?

In fact, I wouldn't mind if he did sell out for at least some stuffed animals, since my daughter loves Ming-Ming.


Sewiouswy? :) At the end of Oobi (which my mom tells me was something on Sesame Street decades ago) there's pics of kids all with homemade Oobi eyes. My kid uses the little plastic circle seals with rings that come off the milk cartons.

And as for MingMing, all you need is a duckwing duckling toy and a pilot hat.

Getting it to fly, well, I dunno. If there ever was a Talk To Me MingMing and it entered my house, it sure would fly.
posted by lysdexic at 3:42 PM on April 3, 2007


this is hysterical--those pauses after the questions alone! : >
posted by amberglow at 4:07 PM on April 3, 2007


Hate Ming-Ming. Sewiously.
posted by ColdChef at 4:40 PM on April 3, 2007


Y'know... I was strangely addicted to H.R. Pufenstuf as a kid so in good conscience I really cannot make fun of any other child's choice of entertainment.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:38 PM on April 3, 2007


So, please, tell me how Backyardigans, with the dancing kids and non sequitur music, could be twisted compared to these other shows.

I was talking primarily about the music and the trance inducing movements of the animated characters, not about any weird traits or unique abilities of the characters themselves. The music in combination with the gyrations of said characters is twisted. In my humble opinion. So there.
posted by spicynuts at 7:59 PM on April 3, 2007


Y'know... I was strangely addicted to H.R. Pufenstuf as a kid so in good conscience I really cannot make fun of any other child's choice of entertainment.

You and me both : >

(but that was absurd and mind-blowing, and not as regimented as this--Dora is more about cause and effect and self-esteem and responsibility and respectable stuff like that--more like Romper Room, actually)
posted by amberglow at 9:15 PM on April 3, 2007


Right now their absolute favorite is Pingu

Pingu is the preverbal Hamlet. Every episode ... should Pingu go with the current situation, pay the price, and utilise with a guilty conscience.... or eschew such additions and fight against the tedium of life with an unaugmented sense of worth.
posted by Sparx at 5:47 AM on April 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


dw ... so with you on the YELLING. Why, why, Dora, can you not use your inside-on-TV voice?
posted by theredpen at 10:15 AM on April 4, 2007


Pingu is the preverbal Hamlet.

Gah! I'm raising little emo's already?!?

If you're talking about the more recent ones on DVD, yeah, I can see that. On the VHS, there's a nice one where he goes with Dad to work, one where he takes Pinga (little sis) to nursrey school, and my favorite, the one where he helps out the old Organ Grinder.

I like that they don't speak any human language (tho I think my overthinking Older Boy is trying to decode it). They don't have to waste brainspace on language and words - they can get right into the story.

Mostly Pingu is a kid just like them, and they get right in and play along with him, and I can do running commentary "He made a mess, now he has to clean it up", "He looks silly now, huh?"
posted by lysdexic at 11:33 AM on April 4, 2007


I was talking primarily about the music and the trance inducing movements of the animated characters, not about any weird traits or unique abilities of the characters themselves. The music in combination with the gyrations of said characters is twisted. In my humble opinion. So there.

You do know that the dancing is choreographed and motion captured, right? Every character has three people -- a voice artist, a singer, and a dancer.

Trance-inducing? Perhaps. But very professional trance-inducing.

dw ... so with you on the YELLING. Why, why, Dora, can you not use your inside-on-TV voice?

I think you need to say it LOUDER!!!1!!
posted by dw at 2:16 PM on April 4, 2007


I wonder whether these kinds of shows ruin kids for school? Or do they adapt ok to the discipline and silence needed once they start?

Little kids shows were much quieter and less participatory in the past. Now it's all either shouting answers to the tv or jumping/dancing stuff, no?
posted by amberglow at 4:16 PM on April 4, 2007


amberglow writes "I wonder whether these kinds of shows ruin kids for school? Or do they adapt ok to the discipline and silence needed once they start?

Little kids shows were much quieter and less participatory in the past. Now it's all either shouting answers to the tv or jumping/dancing stuff, no?"


I dunno, my experience of school was that, for the first few years, it's all about shouting answers to the teacher or running up to the front of the class. If kids went from Dora the Explorer straight to junior high, I'd worry, but Kindergarten and first grade are pretty much equivalent to children's shows in terms of discipline/silence.

Plus, in retrospect, they teach kids to answer questions when they are asked, so they probably prepare kids more for school than the old "just sit there and absorb" style of the children's TV of yore.
posted by Bugbread at 6:01 PM on April 4, 2007


Oh. We had to learn to sit quietly and raise our hands if we wanted to speak or had to go pee, and not run in class, and never shout, and put our things in our cubbies, etc... I guess things have changed. They spent a lot of time training us for the rest of our school days.
posted by amberglow at 6:06 PM on April 4, 2007


Actually, no, on reflection, you had the same experiences as I did, I was reading your initial comment as perhaps more extreme than it was meant. We learned to sit quietly and raise our hands, but we were also told to always raise our hands when we had a question, and to participate and give ideas. So, yeah, there was a "be quiet" bit, but there was also a large "don't be silent, say stuff" component, in that the rule was basically "don't talk without raising your hand, but please raise your hand often".

Running, shouting, putting things away, those were all for me as they were for you. And I was wrong about running to the front of class. In retrospect, enthusiasm was encouraged, but not running in class.

So, in the end, I don't see it as much different than Dora or Little Einsteins, which encourage answering questions when asked, and performing activities as directed, but not particularly just blurting stuff out.
posted by Bugbread at 4:03 AM on April 5, 2007


« Older Paddlewheeling   |   Hokusai's 36 Views of Fuji... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post