Why Your Children's Television Program Sucks
December 28, 2013 9:53 AM   Subscribe

 
He's wrong about Dora, this is the best episode: http://vimeo.com/40612629
posted by mach at 10:19 AM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thomas and Friends is an important piece in the plan to dismantle the middle class. The moral of every. single. episode. is: you're not so special, and all of this trouble could have been avoided had only you remembered that, shut your mouth, and quietly performed your menial tasks.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:28 AM on December 28, 2013 [59 favorites]


The moral of every. single. episode. is: you're not so special, and all of this trouble could have been avoided had only you remembered that, shut your mouth, and quietly performed your menial tasks.

- Keep calm and carry on.
posted by R. Mutt at 10:30 AM on December 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


I hate Super Why so much for the same reason the author does.

Related, I learned yesterday that in non-English speaking countries, Dora speaks the native language and teaches English. This blew my mind.

And how do you have a series of articles about kid tv that sucks and not bring up Caillou. That show is horrible.
posted by nooneyouknow at 10:30 AM on December 28, 2013 [27 favorites]


Thomas and Friends is amazing because it tell us about the wonderful lives that trains live and that with extensive body modifications we can all be trains. I can't imagine a better message for our youth and their corrupt flesh.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:37 AM on December 28, 2013 [31 favorites]


Between the Lions, though, is genius and always will be.
posted by Flannery Culp at 10:40 AM on December 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


The worst part about Super Why is how many of the mini problems they encounter along the way involve not being able to get from one place to another until they solve some riddle. You can fly, guys, you came here in planes.
posted by waterlily at 10:42 AM on December 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


Oh shit, let me make some popcorn, burn some wax (kids are elsewhere) and settle into this. Another "Why didn't I think of that?!" Off to see if they did Wonder Pets
posted by lordaych at 10:43 AM on December 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think it's actually an ongoing joke in the comments that Caillou is so bad you can't even write a piece about why to hate it or that it is so horrible that the author won't subject himself to it or something like that.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:44 AM on December 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


There are these weird French diesel engines in Chuggington and YOU CAN TELL THEY ARE FRENCH but in the American version they do not have French accents and it just BOTHERS me.

It is surprisingly difficult to explain to adults that Chuggington is the town where the trains live, not the name of one of the trains. "Which one is Chuggington?" "Chuggington is the town." "I thought Chugginton was a train?" "No, Chuggington is the town where the trains live." "So none of these guys are named Chuggington?" "Nope, just the town. The trains are Chuggers and they're named Wilson, Brewster, and Koko." "... I don't understand this show at all."

And this is my primary complaint about all transit-related children's shows with living vehicles: "The trainees fuck up ALL THE TIME. If this were a real railroad, 10,000 people would be killed every week thanks to runaway engines, crashing cars, and milk floods." Yeah.

And also I hate Action Chugger. WHY WHY WHY? He has no purpose and he is ANNOYING. (But the author is correct about Harrison's voice. Disturbingly seductive for a children's show.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:44 AM on December 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


Oh god, those Disney shows. An afternoon of those and I want to call my parents to apologize for basically everything I made them sit through back in the '80s.

And what Deadspin fails to mention about Jessie in particular is that the actress's voice is dropping faster than my will to live, to the point that I honestly think she's actively trying to growl her way out of her contract. One more season and she'll be starring in the next Saw movie as a subsonic fear generator.
posted by Etrigan at 10:45 AM on December 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


When did Metafilter become Drew Magary-filter? I like him and all, I even bought his novel, but I feel like this is getting out of hand.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:46 AM on December 28, 2013


Please do In the Night Garden.
posted by Joe Chip at 10:57 AM on December 28, 2013


At least they didn't attack the genius that is "Curious George" Thats the BOMB!

and fuck "Sid The Science Kid"…there I said it
posted by ShawnString at 11:01 AM on December 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


And how do you have a series of articles about kid tv that sucks and not bring up Caillou. That show is horrible.

When forced to watch this show with my niece and nephew, I always imagine that Caillou is the child from theTwilight Zone episode, "It's a Good Life." The show then becomes almost enjoyable as you imagine all the periphery characters are joylessly dancing, smiling falsely and singing their hearts out for fear of their very lives.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 11:05 AM on December 28, 2013 [18 favorites]


I'm not surprised that the author is afraid of challenging the might of big Hasbro or the Brony fandom but he really needs to take on MLP.

Oh and Sofia the First, apparently addicting young girls to faeries wasn't enough for Disney, they needed to make a show that directly appeals to the desire of young girls to be a Princess.
posted by vuron at 11:06 AM on December 28, 2013


I love how multi-lingual kids TV is today. Kai-Lan teaches Chinese, Dora teaches Spanish, Caillou teaches Whine.

Big plus to Caillou is the grandmotherly narrator. I'd love to have her narrate everything.
posted by dr_dank at 11:07 AM on December 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ugh. Hipsters writing at length to other hipsters about how much smarter they are than shows for preschoolers. That's a pretty low bar, hotshots.
posted by Artw at 11:10 AM on December 28, 2013 [35 favorites]


I dunno, Phineas and Ferb is pretty good. Children's shows don't have to be awful.
posted by jcreigh at 11:12 AM on December 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


And how do you have a series of articles about kid tv that sucks and not bring up Caillou. That show is horrible.

Damn straight. I can tolerate pretty much every other show my toddlers watch, even if they want to watch it on repeat all damn Sunday. But even 5 minutes of Caillou and I'm suggesting we all go outside and play, even if that means Daddy has to get dressed for the day. Even just the voices, from another room. The damn smarminess and.... over-the-top, sugary innocence of the main character is palpably disgusting. Any time the kid exclaims "OK" I just want to reach through the TV set and throttle him.
posted by ish__ at 11:13 AM on December 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Counterpoint: Daniel Tiger. Best ever.
posted by odinsdream at 11:15 AM on December 28, 2013 [12 favorites]


I like to imagine that Caillou is just a nature show that depicts the immature larval form of Canadians before they morph into polite adults.
posted by vuron at 11:16 AM on December 28, 2013 [26 favorites]


I love how multi-lingual kids TV is today. Kai-Lan teaches Chinese, Dora teaches Spanish, Caillou teaches Whine.

It's called "Canadian" not "whine." Better watch out or you'll offend somebody.

(FWIW, hard as Caillou may be for grown ups to bear, it's one of the only kid shows I've ever found that seems to make the kids more eager to be good and behave after they watch it. Practically every other show makes 'em run around acting like obnoxious privileged little snots like Johnny Test.)
posted by saulgoodman at 11:17 AM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


These shows are such crap. I hate them all, especially Thomas and Friends... especially Thomas and Friends. We got rid of cable so we never have to watch this stuff. Ever.

Spongebob, though, we have a lot of time for.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:17 AM on December 28, 2013


I was only introduced to Caillou a week or two ago and concur it is astonishingly awful.

But I reserve pure hatred for Tree Fu Tom.
posted by bright cold day at 11:20 AM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Cry-ou?
posted by leotrotsky at 11:20 AM on December 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think that complaining about children's television is a parent thing, not a hipster thing. Childless hipsters don't care. Un-hip parents of pre-schoolers complain just as much as the hipsters do.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 11:21 AM on December 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


Yeah. I will straight-up watch Phineas and Ferb, or My Little Pony, or frankly even Blue's Clues. But an episode of Thomas or Dora, or four seconds of Caillou, and I'm praying for death.
posted by KathrynT at 11:24 AM on December 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


This is why I'm glad my son is a budding video game addict rather than a TV addict. My daughter (not quite two) is obsessed with Pingu, but I will cut you for hating on Pingu.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:27 AM on December 28, 2013 [11 favorites]


My favorite children's things at the moment are Gruffalo, Gruffalo's Child, Room on the Broom, La Luna, Ponyo, Totoro, Fantastic Mr Fox, Minuscule, Brave, and thekidshouldseethis.com. I used to like Peppa Pig, Ben and Holly, and Pingu a lot more before I was subjected to each episode about a hundred times.

But Fireman Sam - why doesn't someone just kill Norman?
And Tutitu - why doesn't someone just kill me?
posted by pracowity at 11:28 AM on December 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Octonauts and Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom can do no wrong. Tree Fu Tom deserves a kicking though.
posted by Mocata at 11:29 AM on December 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh god, Norman on Fireman Sam makes Caillou seem like a nice well behaved and polite young child. Norman is gratingly annoying to the point where you pretty much want Fireman Sam to leave him to burn in one of the many fires or other disasters Norman is inevitably responsible for.
posted by vuron at 11:33 AM on December 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


And for the record, there's no such thing as "hipster" parents. The other hipsters make you take a beat-out and stop wearing your colors once you start breeding.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:33 AM on December 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


I agree with pretty much all the takedowns of awful shows I had to sit through when my daughter was younger.

But thank god he didn't touch two of my favorites: Maggie and the Ferocious Beast for being incredibly Canadian and actually quite good in terms of story lines and their adventures. Also, for not attacking "Oswald" which has a 100% success rate on lulling me to sleep and was vital to keeping my sanity during the first couple sleep deprived years. I could always count on Fred Savage as an Octopus to put me into a deep 20min sleep, every damn time.
posted by mathowie at 11:40 AM on December 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


Peppa Pig isn't terrible.
posted by box at 11:41 AM on December 28, 2013 [10 favorites]


Much like Thomas, Fireman Sam was a lot better when it was stop motion and not CGI.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:41 AM on December 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


OMG let us talk about Peg + Cat if we're talking about favorite kid shows, I love it so much, and hardly anybody has seen it yet!

Daniel Tiger is also pretty good (but when it does the "Love Cake" song it makes me shudder from creepiness). I was suspicious of a Mr. Rogers reboot but I APPROVE.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:44 AM on December 28, 2013 [14 favorites]


mathowie: " Also, for not attacking "Oswald" which has a 100% success rate on lulling me to sleep and was vital to keeping my sanity during the first couple sleep deprived years. I could always count on Fred Savage as an Octopus to put me into a deep 20min sleep, every damn time."

Oswald the Octopus is a very, very gentle show and charming to small children and soothing for adults HOWEVER whoever thought up the idea for that show and wrote the episodes was 100% high all the time. It is a whole special kind of surreal.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:45 AM on December 28, 2013 [13 favorites]


What? No Lazy Town? That thing's custom made for a proper deconstruction.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:46 AM on December 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


OMG let us talk about Peg + Cat if we're talking about favorite kid shows, I love it so much, and hardly anybody has seen it yet!

Peg + Cat is super happy good times.
posted by drezdn at 11:51 AM on December 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


There's an episode of "Super Why" where Whyatt goes from friend to friend and asks them to play with him, but they are all busy doing other things. He doesn't know how to solve this problem so he calls his super readers together (i.e. he drags these same friends away from what they were busy doing) to come and help him solve the problem of his not having any friends to play with him and AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 11:52 AM on December 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


And how do you have a series of articles about kid tv that sucks and not bring up Caillou. That show is horrible.

We re-wrote the Caillou song after my husband mis-heard the first line ("I'm just a kid who's four")

I'm just a kid who's poor
Have to sleep on the floor
Sis-ter sleeps in a drawer
Caiiiil-ou!


It helped a little. I was actually more offended by the shapeless ugly-ass clothes the mom is forced to wear than by the whiny-ness/inexplicable baldness of Caillou.

The deep weirdness/Dr. Moreau overtones of Thomas have been explored by many people. The more you think about that show, the darker it gets.

Super Why takes a noble aim (learning to read) and sucks all the interesting/mysterious bits out of fairy tales to achieve it. My son liked it anyway.

And then there's Word World. That show has some weird implications. Every character/object is merely a collection of easily-separated component letters. So you can create anything at all out of letters that you want; robots, rockets, nuclear weapons. But there is never any indication of where the letters come from, or if the supply is limited. And if you dissassemble a character, is that murder? Or just a temporary annoyance to them?
posted by emjaybee at 11:53 AM on December 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood could be wonderful, if only the song of the day was more than a couplet long. Around the 25th time they sing it, you're ready to take a magical talking tiger out back and bitch slap his cardigan wearing ass.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:01 PM on December 28, 2013


Nobody hates Martha Speaks, tho, right?
posted by grog at 12:01 PM on December 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


The most beloved kids shows in a house (one child, male, not quite five) are Gravity Falls, Phineas and Ferb, My Little Pony, Green Lantern TAS (canceled, sadly), and Steven Universe.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:02 PM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Martha Speaks is a cool little show. I worry about a dog who eats that much soup though. It can't be good for her.
posted by emjaybee at 12:03 PM on December 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Nobody hates Martha Speaks, tho, right?

Correct. Having watched a great variety of these shows with my child, Martha is the most like a grown up sitcom (and a better one than most currently on prime time).
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 12:04 PM on December 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Counterpoint: Daniel Tiger. Best ever

I really wanted to hate Daniel Tiger when I first saw it. When the intro started my first thought was "oh, god what have they done to Mr. Rogers beautiful world!". but I watched an episode with my boys and was totally won over .
posted by Dr. Twist at 12:05 PM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like to imagine that Caillou is just a nature show that depicts the immature larval form of Canadians before they morph into polite adults.

Caillou is Québécois. I'm not sure the politeness stereotype applies to them.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:05 PM on December 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


For all its faults, Caillou is one of the only kids shows where kids have actual emotions like anger and frustration and act it out in a reasonably realistic family setting. I imagine there are a lot of children who find that realism interesting and engaging.
posted by Rumple at 12:09 PM on December 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


Should you have missed it: trailer for action film Dora the Explorer and the Infinity Orb...

...which was so well-received that they made a three-part followup, Dora the Explorer and the Destiny Medallion:
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

(All are by CollegeHumor, and star Ariel Winter as Dora.)
posted by Shmuel510 at 12:12 PM on December 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Anybody seen Sarah and Duck yet? I really like that.

Oh god, Norman on Fireman Sam makes Caillou seem like a nice well behaved and polite young child. Norman is gratingly annoying to the point where you pretty much want Fireman Sam to leave him to burn in one of the many fires or other disasters Norman is inevitably responsible for.

The backstory, if you've not figured it out, is that Norman is actually Sam's son. Norman knows this (or at least senses it) and starts all the fires to get his "dad's" attention. He's a deeply scarred and emotionally troubled boy. But he's still far more fun than those squares James and Sarah. Mandy manages the middle path of taking part in all the fun, yet apologizing in good time and appearing to have a conscience.

(Dilys, however, as should be obvious, has long moved on from Sam and is now hooking up with Trevor.)
posted by Thing at 12:14 PM on December 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


I like Arthur, mostly because he lives in an deal urban neighbourhood (like the one I live in).
posted by KokuRyu at 12:15 PM on December 28, 2013


Dora was officially banned for life in my house the first time I saw her break the fourth wall and urge kiddie viewers to show their support by shouting as loud as they could. What in the name of fuck? Kids shows are supposed to temporarily mute tyke shouting, not challenge them to drive it even louder.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:16 PM on December 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


Artw: Ugh. Hipsters writing at length to other hipsters about how much smarter they are than shows for preschoolers. That's a pretty low bar, hotshots.

That's how the Super Why review felt. Sure, it's a Super Big Problem when you, an adult, watch enough of the show that any time anyone mentions a problem you say "that sounds like a Super Big Problem," unless you're talking to other adults with similar experiences, then you all laugh a little in an awkward "we really need to experience more than children's TV programming" sort of way.

Anyway, I'll counter their complaints about "complicated" plots and "awful animation" by pointing them to the millions of insipid videos thrown onto YouTube that I have watched, in an attempt to find "dump truck songs" or anything of that sort. Seriously, I'm pretty sure some people took the tutorials for basic animation programs and 3D rendering tools and threw together a dozen versions of the same video, then added references to colors or numbers.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:19 PM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Since we are shouting out suggestions, may I recommend Fetch with Ruff Ruffman? Sadly cancelled, but available on netflix and amazon and it's awesome. Smartest kids show. Also, Wild Kratts is great.

Also, on the non-educational side, Phineas and Ferb, which is both awesome and somehow manages to be action-packed yet non-violent.
posted by blahblahblah at 12:23 PM on December 28, 2013 [9 favorites]


Pingu is a treasure, saulgoodman. Any show where the protagonists piss on everything after drinking too many sodas is aces in my book.
posted by dr_dank at 12:28 PM on December 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


This missed the biggest PRO for Dora: Swiper is the biggest dick in all of TV history. He steals your shit and throws it so far away, nobody can play with it; not even him. He doesn't steal your shit to play with it himself or sell it for drug money, nope, he just steals it so no one can play with it. Christ, what a glorious asshole. Otherwise, worthless show and once you've seen one episode, you've really seen them all.

The biggest PRO for Thomas is this: a single episode featuring nothing but train wrecks. It's a beautiful thing. The other PRO for Thomas is that my kid isn't a raging asshole after watching it like she is after watching Curious George.

As mentioned before, Peg + Cat and Daniel Tiger are awesome, but my favorite is the Biscuit Brothers.
posted by NoMich at 12:29 PM on December 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


And do you really have that much trouble following the plots? Stop drinking or smoking before you write your reviews of kids shows. Here's the template for Super Why: the "normal version" of the gang is playing, and one of them has a problem. This is elevated to the level of a Super Big Problem, and they look to a story book to find the answer. The gang changes into their "super versions" and they take turns using their super powers to solve little challenges on their way to finding the solution to the Super Big Problem. It's pretty linear.

It's not awesome, but it's for little kids, and it's generally educational, and it's a lot less annoying than Thomas the Train (seriously, I have so many issues with that show, starting with the unrealistic reliance on trains for transportation, especially piddly little trips of no economic value), and looks a ton better than some "professional" shows like Numberjacks, which I stumbled across and half assumed were made in the late 1990s, due to the animation quality. Nope, it originally aired between 2007 and 2009.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:32 PM on December 28, 2013


Peg + Cat is super happy good times.

And there's some serious smart things tucked away in there, for parents who care to stare at the animation in that much detail. For example, a commenter on the Peg + Cat opening song on YouTube identified a formula in the background as a partial differential equation of a wave function.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:35 PM on December 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


When my 9 year old was little, the best "oh Christ why are you awake just let me be half asleep for another hour" shows were Kipper and Peep and the Big Wide World. So calm, so many moments with no talking, and she loved them.
posted by schoolgirl report at 12:39 PM on December 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Dora was officially banned for life in my house the first time I saw her break the fourth wall and urge kiddie viewers to show their support by shouting as loud as they could.

My hypothetical and never to exist children would have learned a sad lesson that day about how death comes to us all, as Dora would have died tragically in some sort of adventurous cave-in. Further I would profess to have taken her death very hard and any mention of her, however slight, would be subsequently banned from our home until the end of time.
posted by elizardbits at 12:40 PM on December 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


looks a ton better than some "professional" shows like Numberjacks

Yeah but the Numberjacks theme song takes some beating.
posted by Mocata at 12:42 PM on December 28, 2013


These shows just seem really surreal compared to what I watched as a child. Though, I guess when you think about it, Inspector Gadget, Scooby Doo, Jonny Quest, and Speed Racer were kind of surreal. I think there was a Golem on Jonny Quest once and they hung out.
posted by Redfield at 12:44 PM on December 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I like Arthur, mostly because he lives in an deal urban neighbourhood (like the one I live in).

Yeah, Arthur is good.

But go back and look at the first Arthur book; Arthur's Nose. In it Arthur is self conscious of his large nose, and considers a nose job. But over the course of the story, Arthur realizes that it is what is inside that counts - so no nose job.

But guess what, by the second book, not only has he received a nose job, he and everyone else look like they have been run through a cartoon smoothing beautifier.
posted by R. Mutt at 12:45 PM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


looks a ton better than some "professional" shows like Numberjacks

Yeah but the Numbejacks theme song takes some beating.


Surely you mean 'Numtums'?
posted by popcassady at 12:52 PM on December 28, 2013


Peg + Cat can do no wrong. Daniel Tiger is great but it's not particularly watchable for adults.

Caillou and Super Why must be destroyed. I would support a Canadian federal occupation of Quebec if it would stop Caillou from being produced.

If you told me three years ago that I would have vehement opinions about children's television, I wouldn't have believed you.
posted by murphy slaw at 12:58 PM on December 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


How have we gotten this far without mentioning Special Agent Oso? There are some truly awful kids shows put there, but Oso is the only one that has made me make obscene gestures at the tv.
posted by neilbert at 12:59 PM on December 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I once saw this kids show Raggs, with these furry dog puppets of different colors.

One of the dogs was talking to a real kid. And the kid answered the dog with a big adult word. The dog laughed and said that was a big word and laughed again. The kid kind of laughed, nervously, then finally answered with the 'appropriate' little-kid word.

That's what makes me really -HATE- some of these kids 'educational' shows (this includes especially Barney). The only thing they are 'teaching' kids is that not only is it okay to be a little kid, but that is what you -must- remain at all times. Any attempt at intelligence or adult like conversation or behavior is quickly quashed. I honestly think the kids are better off watching Power Rangers than some of these shows.

They are dis-education shows.
posted by eye of newt at 1:03 PM on December 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


Brian Regan. I'm the map!

Also the worst show for "do as little as possible and get gold" is Jake and the Neverland Pirates. And guess what show I have 50 episodes of on the DVR.
posted by stltony at 1:03 PM on December 28, 2013


I'm glad Peppa Pig isn't there. I love it way too much to be healthy. I quite genuinely have a crush on Daddy Pig. (It may be the voice. But I'm not ruling out his can-do attitude.) Which is lucky as my two year old niece is obsessed with it and I have to watch multiple episodes when I'm with her. My hand to God, she can say only five distinct words: Mama, Dada, No, Yeah and Peppa. As my sister said when all the presents had been opened on Christmas Day "It looked like Peppa Pig threw up in our living room."

Now as to Thomas and Friends, which my Godson loves: screw that shit.
"Thomas is a brand short on complex characters and long on LOOK AT THE CHOOCHOO, DADDY!" Amen.
posted by billiebee at 1:04 PM on December 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


I just wish there was a way to hide Barney the Purple Dinosaur from Netflix. Please hope me.
posted by furtive at 1:09 PM on December 28, 2013


The original Thomas stories were all based on real British train stories. They teach kids the importance of right-of-ways and the properties of Welsh Coal. They also feature two trains conspiring to successfully murder a break van.
posted by drezdn at 1:18 PM on December 28, 2013 [11 favorites]


My older granddaughter (yeah, that's right, bitches, I have TWO now!) is almost three and just loves Dora. She also loves this series as well. I don't know why. In any event, we watch the short little episodes and she always says after three of them, "That's probably enough right now," after which I say, "Let's watch just one more," and she shouts in glee as I cue it up. At least the pigs are nice to each other.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:29 PM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love Peep and the Big Wide World because Quack is the children's show version of Master Shake.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 1:32 PM on December 28, 2013 [12 favorites]


This is a thing christinetheslp wrote about one of the characters mentioned in the post, explaining the character's backstory.

The general stepped off of the helicopter and let out a tense breath. He hated dealing with problems, especially this early in the morning. Yesterday had been declared V-E Day, and the rest of the Royal Army was celebrating. It made this...unpleasantness...all the more troubling.

The corporal saluted as the general approached. He was flanked by other officers, as well as the scientists that were running the project. The general nodded irritably. This whole special operation, code named "Drop or Run," had turned into a disaster.

"Take me to the testing area," he said.

"Sir, with all due respect, the testing area isn't safe," a scientist said. "There's far too much radiation. We've taken the victims to another area." The group started walking toward the building that housed the victims. With unease, the general noted that they were walking away from the island's residential buildings and toward a large warehouse.

"What exactly happened?" he asked.

The head scientist spoke up again. "We were testing our atomic bomb," he said. "We thought the area had been cleared. There was a vehicle shed, but we thought the people had been evacuated," he said.

"You were wrong," the general said.

"Quite right," anther scientist said. "There were several men on the beach that we used for testing. They ran into the vehicle shed, but they couldn't find shelter from the radiation."

"Were there any survivors?" the general asked.

The scientists and other officers looked at each other uneasily. "Um...survivors of a sort," one said.

They had reached the warehouse doors. "What happened?" the general asked.

"The vehicles and the men...they...fused," one scientist said hesitantly.

"Fused?" the general asked. "Whatever do you mean?"

The scientists glanced at each other, and then one opened the warehouse door.

Inside were trains. Each train bore a man's face. The skin was a ghastly grey color, and the faces were terrified.

"The poor bastards," the general breathed. He stepped forward to study the giant visage on one of the trains. The train stared back, scared.

"The best thing would be to put them out of their misery," the general said. He opened his mouth to give an order, but...how on earth do you kill a train? Before he could speak the train burst out.

"Please, sir," he said, "please, we don't want to die."

The general stepped back. He hadn't expected speech, let alone thought.

"Please," the train continued. "We...we can still be useful to the Army!"

"Useful?" the general asked.

"Yes," the train said desperately, "really useful."

The general nodded. "We owe that to you," he said, a tremor in his voice. "Young man, what is your name?"

The train blinked, surprised. "Thomas, sir," he said.

The general nodded. "Thomas. And the rest of you, do you feel the same way?"

The other trains piped up, "Yes, sir!" "Yes, sir!" "We'll be useful, sir!"

The general nodded and turned to go. He had seen a lot in war, but this sight had turned his stomach.

When he got back to the residential house he spoke to the officers and scientists. "We've ruined their lives. We owe them a new one."

The corporal nodded, looking pale. "What do we do?"

"We make this island their home," the general said. "We can offer land and homes to wounded soldiers. The trains can work as a railway line."

The corporal nodded again. "I'll draft a letter to the Prime Minister," he said. "We'll make Island #249587 as pleasant as it can be."

The general shuddered. "I know this is barely an island, but it deserves a proper name." His eye fell on some paperwork about the experiment. On the top was written, "SO: DOR"

"Call it Sodor," the general said. He turned on his heel and strode out the door toward the helicopter, eager to forget this tragedy and enjoy VE-Day with his men.
posted by drezdn at 1:34 PM on December 28, 2013 [54 favorites]


Thomas and Friends is an important piece in the plan to dismantle the middle class. The moral of every. single. episode. is: you're not so special, and all of this trouble could have been avoided had only you remembered that, shut your mouth, and quietly performed your menial tasks.

Yes, and how many tragedies the world would have avoided if people actually took that advice.

You aren't special, talk is cheap, and things don't get done on their own.

The world will survive just fine without you and your opinions, but if your dawdling leads to a catastrophe, everyone who survives will be too busy with real problems to care about your theories or the paper crown you got on your head...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 1:43 PM on December 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Currently at Chateau Creature the best kids show is helping daddy play through Legend of Zelda: The Windwaker HD followed by catching crooks in
LEGO City Undercover


I'm only 20% kidding



Ok ok we think Wild Kratts is pretty good too
posted by Doleful Creature at 1:59 PM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


That show Raggs is on very early in the morning, and it's so weird that I always suspect I'm dreaming when I turn it on for my toddler, who has declared, loudly, "ALL DONE SLEEP."

Wait, where is Dinosaur Train? I actually have learned a lot of things about dinosaurs from that show, but I can't imagine an end game where Buddy doesn't eat his adoptive family. SAD ENDING.
posted by purpleclover at 1:59 PM on December 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


You need some perspective for Bad Childrens TV, so I give you the 1970's New Zoo Revue, "coming right at you" (from a safe distance). The grotesquely floppy frog, 'girly' hippo and stereotypically wise owl, and those were ALL the animals? (And I believe the human guy and gal also did porn in the '70s...)
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:06 PM on December 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


The best thing about Dinosaur Train isn't even the endless dinosaur facts but the way the show teaches about the scientific method -- "Buddy has a hypothesis! That's a question you can test!" Also, while I agree that Buddy is likely to consume the entire Pteranodon family in their sleep one day, I also like the episodes of the show where the issues in being a cross-cultural blended family are explored, like when Buddy joins the Therapod Club to learn more about his therapod identity, but then feels bad when his brothers and sisters can't come. Those are issues that are relevant to a lot of children today, and I like the way the show touches lightly but sincerely upon them.
posted by KathrynT at 2:09 PM on December 28, 2013 [13 favorites]


filthy light thief: "seriously, I have so many issues with that show, starting with the unrealistic reliance on trains for transportation, especially piddly little trips of no economic value"

In the original stories, Thomas arrived on Sodor in 1915, when trains were used a little more often than today. The time frame on the show is (deliberately) vague.
posted by Chrysostom at 2:12 PM on December 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh how I wish they had done Barney. Mom worked in UConn's child development lab and had generally good opinions about most kids' shows, but Barney she hated violently.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:16 PM on December 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Mom worked in UConn's child development lab and had generally good opinions about most kids' shows, but Barney she hated violently.

As a parent who survived the Barney era, I have to say your mom and I would get along famously. There was no greater horror known to man as the sound of a child asking you to put the Barney tape in. Other than the Barney tape itself, of course.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:20 PM on December 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Thorzdad, she went so far as to say that it looked like the Barney fan kids had been brainwashed into a Pavlovian happy-happy response when they heard or saw anything about Barney.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:25 PM on December 28, 2013


What about the sad, lonely life of Doc McStuffins? Everytime other kids seek her out to play, she abandons them to lock herself away in her shed, talking to herself as she repairs things broken.

But who will fix her crushing loneliness?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 2:31 PM on December 28, 2013 [11 favorites]


Rescue Bots is highly ranked in the Penguin household because "it's machines that turn into robots!"

Also somethng about safety.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 2:33 PM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


purpleclover: "Wait, where is Dinosaur Train? I actually have learned a lot of things about dinosaurs from that show, but I can't imagine an end game where Buddy doesn't eat his adoptive family. SAD ENDING."

In my imagined ending, Buddy et al. travel forward in time to see the end of the dinosaur culture, but the Chicxulub asteroid destroys the planet while they are there, including the dinosaur train and its attendant time tunnels, as they all watch the devastation helplessly, before they can travel back to warn everyone. THEN Buddy eats his family in a combination of mercy and desperation and THEN dies a slow, cold death during the fallout.

Not that I've spent a lot of time thinking about this or anything.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:34 PM on December 28, 2013 [11 favorites]


I put a ban on Fireman Sam, and Bananas in Pyjamas is heading the same way (Rat is an arsehole, why are you consistently surprised that he's cheating you and swindling you and stealing and generally awful?). The one show that makes me move at the speed of light to turn it off though?

Fucking Rastamouse.
posted by geek anachronism at 2:40 PM on December 28, 2013


You want a worthy target? Fucking VeggieTales, there's a pure product of cultural evil for you, knock away.
posted by Artw at 2:47 PM on December 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Thomas the Train isn't so bad as long as you mentally place it a few hundred years after the events of Maximum Overdrive. Oh god! Gordon is thundering down the line! Run for your lives!
posted by sacrifix at 2:51 PM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Peppa isn't just the best kid's show on TV, it's the best show on TV.
posted by markr at 2:55 PM on December 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


The current apex of children's tv whatthefuckery, imo, is Secret Millionaires Club with Warren Buffett. You will swear, as soon as the faux-Weezer theme song starts and kids sing about their good friend Warren who's going to teach them to invest that this must be some TV Funhouse-style tomfoolery, but it's not, oh god, it's not.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:55 PM on December 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


sacrifix: Thomas the Train isn't so bad as long as you mentally place it a few hundred years after the events of Maximum Overdrive.

There's already a series of dramatic films about the events in this dystopian timeline. They're called Cars, Cars 2, and Planes.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:57 PM on December 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Dinosaur Train is where children learn that the Old Ones set up a series of temporal portals long before the rise of man.
posted by Artw at 3:01 PM on December 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


I have seen enough Thomas to have a least favorite train. Gordon? Gordon can die in a fire. Fuck you, Gordon, no one needs an "express" on fucking Sodor. Shut the fuck up.

Dinosaur Train to me seems like a dubious concept. It's like "Three year old boys like dinosaurs, but that's not good enough. How do we make sure that they tune in every day like little rats at the feeder bar? PUT THE DINOSAURS ON A TRAIN!"

Our son is a big fan of Pingu and Kipper and has recently discovered Oscar's Oasis on Netflix, which is a Korean (?) animated lizard in the desert at odds with an evil gang comprised of a hyena, a vulture, and a desert fox. Like so much children's programming it's like watching somebody else's acid trip.
posted by sonika at 3:02 PM on December 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


To me the worst, or at least most off-puttingly cynically constructed kids' show has got to be Handy Manny.

Fat, scotch-swilling Disney exec: "We're the frigging Disney Channel and we don't have the Builder guy or the Latina explorer girl? Pfffffffffttttt... fine, whatever: just give me a cartoon with a Mexican who fixes things ASAP."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:06 PM on December 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Peppa Pig is very cute until someone points out that the pigs' heads look like giant scrotums and penises, and then you can never unsee it. Well, I can't. Maybe you are a better person than me.
posted by emjaybee at 3:08 PM on December 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Apparently I am Daddy Pig, so there you go.
posted by Artw at 3:13 PM on December 28, 2013


I don't even have kids, but I am very tempted to watch Peppa Pig now...
posted by littlesq at 3:16 PM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I quite genuinely have a crush on Daddy Pig. (It may be the voice. But I'm not ruling out his can-do attitude.)

Well, he is a bit of an expert.
posted by markr at 3:24 PM on December 28, 2013 [11 favorites]


Y'all ain't got nothin' on Bear In The Big Blue House.
posted by Rock Steady at 3:35 PM on December 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


When I hear kids whining for Barney merch I want to tell them he went to Jurassic Park.
posted by brujita at 3:42 PM on December 28, 2013


Quack of "Peep and the Big Wide World" is a fun character, Elementary Penguin, and the show is one that's relatively easy for a grownup to take. I enjoy Taj Mahal's theme song and Joan Cusack's voiceovers, too.

And while we're talking "Peep," I can't help but put in a plug for "Pocoyo," episodes of which air on my local PBS affiliate in the same half-hour. It's also intended for very little kids, but the simple animation is clever and colorful, the stories not too cloying, and the English-language voiceovers are by perennial MeFi favorite Stephen Fry. Plus, Pato the Duck has some bitchin' dance moves.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 4:03 PM on December 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


DirtyOldTown: "Dora was officially banned for life in my house the first time I saw her break the fourth wall and urge kiddie viewers to show their support by shouting as loud as they could. What in the name of fuck? Kids shows are supposed to temporarily mute tyke shouting, not challenge them to drive it even louder."

Clearly somebody never watched Pee-Wee's Playhouse.
posted by Lexica at 4:28 PM on December 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


You CAN eliminate Barney from your Netflix feed if you are careful to select it and pick "not interested" over and over and over. As a result, my son has discovered Dinosaur Train, Oscar's Oasis, Wild Kratts, and Justin Time. Oscar's Oasis is nutty, reminds me of classic Road Runner cartoons. Kratts is fun, and the zoology degrees on my wall make me happy my son loves it. Dinosaur Train is smart enough not to be a total waste and although gentle and focused on family it never gets cloying. If you want Canadian cuteness, you can't go wrong with Justin Time.

In the end, I know it's a winner if he starts playing the show and I realize I want to watch too.
posted by caution live frogs at 4:34 PM on December 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


What? No Lazy Town? That thing's custom made for a proper deconstruction.

LazyTown scares me. I only seem to see it after having fallen asleep with the tv on and waking up in the morning. I'm never quite sure if I'm awake.

I'm afraid one day it is going to get inside my brain
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 4:42 PM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I knew a guy who watched Lazy Town on a dare 8 times. Now he thinks he's an orange
posted by lordaych at 4:53 PM on December 28, 2013 [13 favorites]


sonika: "I have seen enough Thomas to have a least favorite train. Gordon? Gordon can die in a fire. Fuck you, Gordon, no one needs an "express" on fucking Sodor. Shut the fuck up."

Pfft. It's James. He's as egotistical as Gordon, and he's not even the fastest train.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:44 PM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


> I love Peep and the Big Wide World because Quack is the children's show version of Master Shake.

I always thought of Quack as the children's show version of Cartman. And Beaver Boy as Butters. I'm pretty sure you can map them all to South Park characters.
posted by robla at 6:06 PM on December 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


The thing that drives me nuts about Dora and other cookie cutter shows is how, from a technical perspective, they seem to literally put them together with shell scripts assembling clips and audio files. It can't take longer than 10 minutes to churn out an episode.
posted by odinsdream at 6:09 PM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I caught a bit of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood while eating at a Wendy's a while back, and the thing that irritates me the most is that they've transformed the Trolley into a trolley-bus, as in a glorified bus on rubber tires that drives down an ordinary road. I think this is a totally unacceptable lowering of standards, and I'm so incensed that I'm willing to boycott the entire program until they bring back actual make-believe streetcars running on actual make-believe rails.

I'm just saying this because the best ever episode of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood was the one where he demonstrated the knob that made the trolley go back and forth and he helps Bob Trow select an appropriately scaled model for his train layout.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 6:21 PM on December 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


Man, that martha speaks comes up with some wild schemes. This one ep she tricked room service in to bringing her all these steaks and ribs. I couldn't believe it.
posted by Our Ship Of The Imagination! at 6:47 PM on December 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


WHAT THE HELL DOES THE MAN WITH A YELLOW HAT DO FOR MONEY!??? TWO HOMES? LOTS OF VOLUNTEER WORK? YELLOW AFFECTATIONS? A PET MONKEY?!!!!

MORE LIKE THE MAN WITH AN AWESOME TRUST FUND AMIRITE????
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:25 PM on December 28, 2013 [10 favorites]


The greatest children's program of all time is Pythagora Switch Mini. Its only shortcoming is that it's only 15 minutes long.
posted by Alison at 7:44 PM on December 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


I assumed he was some kind of Mountie.
posted by Artw at 7:45 PM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Robla, you're right in that Quack is very self-centered, like Cartman. But he doesn't really pick on any of his friends the way Cartman does with Kyle, and, it being a show for little kids, he generally lacks Cartman's overt mean streak.

Beaver Boy is kinda like Butters, though, I gotta give you that. And Peep and Chirp as Kyle and Stan (or vice versa) seems plausible, too. Now I'm left wondering which character on "Peep" is the equivalent of Kenny.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 7:46 PM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


My 6-y.o. described my angry look thus: "Uh-oh, Mama has the evil eye of Sodor!" It helps to picture Thomas and friends trundling through Mordor when I'm under siege from the horribly chipper train songs.
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:49 PM on December 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


WHAT THE HELL DOES THE MAN WITH A YELLOW HAT DO FOR MONEY!??? TWO HOMES? LOTS OF VOLUNTEER WORK? YELLOW AFFECTATIONS? A PET MONKEY?!!!!

MORE LIKE THE MAN WITH AN AWESOME TRUST FUND AMIRITE????


We have concluded that The Man With the Yellow Hat is a biology grad student or postdoc.

- He doesn't have a regular job
- He's always trying to get George to help him with scientific projects
- He trusts George to do a lot of important work around the house without realizing how inappropriate it is to ask so much of a monkey
- He knows lots of scientists and periodically does work for them without seeming to get paid
- No one seems to think it's odd that he lives alone with a toddler-like monkey
- No one questions him wearing the same outfit all the time.

Grad student makes the most sense, probably the over-40 kind who will never finish his degree.
posted by daisystomper at 7:50 PM on December 28, 2013 [29 favorites]


Caillou prepares children for a world in which the mass of men lead lives of quiet desparation.
posted by Area Man at 7:58 PM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I liked cartoons better when they weren't all about passive-aggressive animals teaching each other life lessons.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:09 PM on December 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


The Man With the Yellow Hat, Lordy Lord. Why can't he ever remember that his monkey is highly dangerous? I've seen episodes where George disassembles the building's water pipes and takes down stop signs. He's a maniac! "Be a good little monkey," my ass.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:09 PM on December 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


How has Word Girl not come up?

- It counts Patton Oswalt and Chris Parnell among its regular cast members.
- It acknowledges and makes fun of superhero tropes.
- It boasts villains like Chuck the sandwich-headed guy (Once spent most of an episode trying to remember his password to shut down a doomsday device), Doctor Two-Brains (whose second brain is that of a mouse), and the Butcher (who has the power of making cuts of meat shoot from his hands).

It's amazing! Incredible! Stupendous!
posted by sleeping bear at 8:20 PM on December 28, 2013 [11 favorites]


My high school boyfriend once showed me a pornographic Curious George comic. It included a scene where the Man in the Yellow Hat and Curious George had an orgy or a group thing with a hooker or something "and then George buried himself in her up to his fourth rib".

Just thought I'd share.
posted by purenitrous at 8:36 PM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I walked away from Furnace.Toddler for 45 seconds one time, and that little insane brilliant child pulled youtube up on my phone and found the most insane show I've ever seen.

I bring you Tayo.

I've never wanted to claw my eyes out so badly watching children's TV. It's a bunch of that terrible computer animation, and half the episodes are in Korean. I want to exact a terrible revenge on everyone involved with its production.

Despite it's errors, i'm okay with the two year old is also heavily into the magic schoolbus.
posted by furnace.heart at 8:53 PM on December 28, 2013


Magic Schoolbus is awesome but also Ms. Frizzel is worryingly unconcerned at how close her students come to death on every trip. It made me a little anxious as a child. She never ever reassures them it will be ok, just dismisses/ignores their fear. Damn it lady, being chased by a hungry T. Rex is not something to be chill about!
posted by emjaybee at 9:00 PM on December 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


The very best part of Curious George is the disclaimer at the end that GEORGE IS A MONKEY, CHILDREN SHOULDN'T TRY THIS SHIT.
posted by sonika at 9:36 PM on December 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


For those that love Poppa Pig, you'll be happy to know the voice actor, Richard Ridings, also voiced the narration for Dungeon Keeper 2. Apparently he retired from advising evil overlords of the underdark and decided to raise a family.

Max and Ruby is something I kinda love. I know it's sometimes overly cutesy, cloying, twee, whatever. I don't care. It's peaceful, nothing bad ever happens, there's no stress or real worry in the world and any problem turns out wonderfully in the end. And it's a quiet, delicate show which reminds me, in the feel of it if not from the actual content, of the television of my childhood: Mr. Rogers, the various Peanuts specials, the extended quiet bits of old Sesame Street.

Plus, it's given me a chance to create a shared mythology with the main adult in my life as we watch Max and Ruby together with the little one. Stories about what happened to the parents, why grandma is so hands off, what Max and Ruby will be as adults (we think Max will grow up to be Finn and fight evil) and we share a complete love of Max's toys (in the show), which are really the best toys ever. I really want a life-sized wind-up lobster.
posted by honestcoyote at 9:44 PM on December 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


So far, I've really liked Doc McStuffins.

I've been a Phineas and Ferb fan too, but I wonder if the way girls are portrayed on that show is kind of troublesome? Both Candace and Isabella can be extremely boy crazy, with Candace to the point that she's willing to change dramatically based on what she thinks Jeremy will like.
posted by drezdn at 9:57 PM on December 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


At one point, the man in the yellow hat flies a little yellow helicopter--think about that. He got a helicopter color coordinated to his wardrobe. He's no expert at anything in particular, but he's always giving speeches at museums. He's an eccentric billionaire. He can afford to have the most ridiculous things color coordinated to his wardrobe. He lives with a monkey. He's got money from somewhere.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:58 PM on December 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm not surprised that the author is afraid of challenging the might of big Hasbro or the Brony fandom but he really needs to take on MLP.

MLP:FiM is widely regarded as being the best iteration of that particular property there's ever been. And yet, even the depths of Original Pony (1st Gen), the show had something in it that made it darker than you might expect. That stuff with Tirek in the pilot, for example, was surprisingly metal. (Oh god have I become an expert on My Little Pony, how did my life take such a turn?)

Artw: Ugh. Hipsters writing at length to other hipsters about how much smarter they are than shows for preschoolers. That's a pretty low bar, hotshots.

Yeah, I have to agree. Although it should be noted that classic Sesame Street was brilliant for both kids and adults. It's not a bad thing to say things that kids might not understand at first -- it gives them an incentive to learn.

Doleful Creature: Currently at Chateau Creature the best kids show is helping daddy play through Legend of Zelda: The Windwaker HD followed by catching crooks in LEGO City Undercover

That sounds excellent! There are some moments of startling wonder in Wind Waker, like when you finish the Proving Grounds Of The Gods and then....

oneswellfoop: You need some perspective for Bad Childrens TV, so I give you the 1970's New Zoo Revue, "coming right at you" (from a safe distance).

God, I didn't see it in the 70s, but I remember an episode or two from an early 80s revival. Avoid.
posted by JHarris at 10:02 PM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh god have I become an expert on My Little Pony, how did my life take such a turn?

That's all of us, really, isn't it?
posted by Artw at 10:15 PM on December 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


WHAT THE HELL DOES THE MAN WITH A YELLOW HAT DO FOR MONEY!??? TWO HOMES? LOTS OF VOLUNTEER WORK? YELLOW AFFECTATIONS? A PET MONKEY?!!!!

He's curator of a NYC museum, The Bloomsberry. You can always trust latter-day film adaptations to overexplain everything and kill the mystery. He has a name, too: Ted Shackleford.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:24 PM on December 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Shows that work for our family:
Little Bill, Fetch with Ruff Ruffman, Sci Girls, the Electric Company, Dinosaur Train, Arthur, Maya & Miguel, Dragonfly TV, Cyberchase, Nova when hosted by the guy who reminds me a little of Bill Nye (miss him and Magic School Bus, but DVDs of MSB are at the library)

Penguins of Madagascar we will watch in the evening for entertainment. It barely gets a pass because of pervasive gender stereotypes, but sometimes challenges them effectively, like when Alice says one is female.

Couldn't stomach Phineas & Ferb because of Candace's character.
Lego broadcast animations haven't impressed me either. Don't get me wrong, we love inventive kids, and watch How It's Made, and went to a Lego-Fest recently. We're careful about what media our sons, as well as our daughter, consume.

Oh, Sesame Street is OK, and Justin Time is good when you have 15 minutes.



We've tried Gravity Falls and Adventure Time, our youngest is 6, maybe next year it will be more interesting to them?
posted by childofTethys at 10:38 PM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think I like Sarah and Duck and Daniel Tiger as least as much as preschooler TEA does, and I have even managed to like early Caillou episodes because they showed then-toddler TEA about real-life stiff as a kind of preview (the carwash episode, for example), and I could see her transferring what she'd learned about something on the show to real life. But, yeah, there are a lot of really painful-to-watch, cookie-cutter, badly-written shows for small kids.
posted by TEA at 10:49 PM on December 28, 2013


I was actually more offended by the shapeless ugly-ass clothes the mom is forced to wear

I know, right? How much of everything is caused by that poor self-image?
posted by mikelieman at 10:58 PM on December 28, 2013


Once you've visited The Magic Garden, you will see how everyone else is just running for second place.
posted by mikelieman at 10:59 PM on December 28, 2013


(In a good way)
posted by mikelieman at 11:01 PM on December 28, 2013


I'm gonna throw in my plug for Craig McCracken's Huell Howser vs. Intergalactic Fascism Wander Over Yonder. It's where Lauren Faust has been spending most of her time since leaving MLP:FIM and her fingerprints are all over it.
posted by Lazlo Nibble at 11:07 PM on December 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Sesame Street remains awesome and sometimes I almost pee myself from laughing too hard at the TV parodies, although Mad Men remains my favorite ("Nice work, sycophants!").

Also the Cat in the Hat is now voiced by Martin Short which is simultaneously perfect and totally disturbing.

Also the Cat in the Hat now asks parental permission before taking the kids on adventures because MODERN PARENTS REQUIRE HELICOPTERS AT ALL TIMES.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:11 PM on December 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


I despise Thomas, and its horrible message about how the diesels are just those different people who are bad all the time, and you shouldn't even mix with them. I haven't actually banned it yet.

Things that have been banned: Garfield (misogynistic unfunny crap) and Woody the Woodpecker (same issue as Garfield). Spongebob makes them over-excited and insane, so I limit it. All our kids programming comes via Netflix streaming, so I am thrilled to read Caution Live Frogs recommendation about getting rid of things.

I do like Phineas and Ferb (despite Candace) because its actually funny. I have no issue with Dora and Diego, and most of the other stuff people complain about. They stopped being interested in Yo Gabba Gabba and that made me sad because I love the surreality, the music, and the kindness.

My boys are currently obsessed with Tinkerbell, which is insipid Disney crap, but I can't find anything concrete to dislike about it, and its better than Thomas.
posted by Joh at 11:56 PM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I heard from someone that the Tinkerbell cartoon was better than one might expect, but myself I think I'll stick with PONY. I'm still annoyed at Disney's repurposing of J.M. Barrie's character.
posted by JHarris at 12:11 AM on December 29, 2013


I’m not a parent — is there a reason Yo Gabba Gabba hasn’t been mentioned as an example of children’s TV that doesn’t make you want to retroactively spay yourself? I will happily watch that over Meet The Press or whatever boring adult bullshit is in the same time slot.

EDIT: Huh, I didn’t think it took me 16 minutes to post that but there you go.
posted by El Mariachi at 12:13 AM on December 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


Another vote for Peppa! We crack up at subtle things, like Miss Rabbit's infinite jobs.. Team Umizoomi is also pretty good. That's about all my love for Nick Jr.. Pocoyo is cute. Meanwhile, I could spend an unhealthy amount of time hating on Dora. Even when she was three my daughter would be bothered that they couldn't draw a rainbow right. I understand the goal is to pretend to teach Spanish and the power of repetitive chanting but that doesn't mean they have to deliberately not give a fuck about EVERYTHING else. How anything in the real world actually works, the visible light spectrum, whatever. Holy shit do they phone that one in. And you'd think by now I'd at least know how to say backpack or map or something useful in Spanish. Ugh. PBS Kids is pretty solid in my book. I'll even let Super Why slide.
posted by hypersloth at 1:00 AM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Another question she asked which I couldn't answer.. Why can't the dog on Word World talk? Talking pig, sheep, bear, ant, frog, shark.. Maybe a tribute to Pluto and Goofy?
posted by hypersloth at 1:15 AM on December 29, 2013


Peppa is awesome, any episode with Mr Fox in it is a good one (like when he pops up all spontaneously outside Grandpa Pig's chicken house for no particular reason), and I love the ongoing Miss Rabbit jobs joke, too. I loved when we discovered all the Mummy animals zip around during the day being firefighters. Good stuff. I didn't like the spin-off elf and fairy cartoon half as much, despite being weirdly attracted to the king and elf father characters (that natty red beard!).

Yo Gabba Gabba is good stuff, altho I think it may have become too groovy for it's own good, like my kids don't really like it. It often feels a bit too self consciously not-kiddy.

I ADORE Charlie and Lola. I encourage my daughter to watch, but she steadfastly remains entirely herself, not at all like Lola, who is my imaginary dream daughter. None of my sons bear any resemblance to Charlie, either, which is typical of their uncooperative behaviour.

Hate those train cartoons, but at least the voices in the English Chuggington are cute British children. Dumb show, tho.

I like to rant about Franny's Feet - pretending that her grandfather is a dental prostheticist and the show is actually called Franny's Teeth, and she has adventures by trying on other people's dental appliances and crowns, etc. That's good for a laugh, when you feel your brain turning to mush.
posted by Kaleidoscope at 1:39 AM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


geek anachronism: I put a ban on Fireman Sam, and Bananas in Pyjamas is heading the same way (Rat is an arsehole, why are you consistently surprised that he's cheating you and swindling you and stealing and generally awful?)

Is this new, disgusting 3D animated Bananas, or the entirely superior low tech live action Bananas? Because the old one was hilarious, and Rat was openly corrupt and funny. Actually everyone was way funnier and more lovable than now, with all those lame, unfunny, wet animals that now live in whatever they turned Cuddles Avenue into. The monkey scientist is funny. All the other animals are sort of pointless and puling.

I didn't like Fireman Sam much either, until I noticed how surreptitiously nasty he is to that annoying red headed kid. And I like it really that every other character (other than his mam) openly acknowledges he is a pain, yet he is still considered a valued member of their community. That's pretty nice and inclusive! Plus, don't you like the cameos from the hunky Australian and Canadian characters?!
posted by Kaleidoscope at 1:50 AM on December 29, 2013


Wait, Sapphire & Steel is no longer children's TV?

I am disturbed by how much of the shows herein I recognise from friends with kids.
posted by Mezentian at 2:09 AM on December 29, 2013


I've talked before about how much I enjoy the Tinkerbell movies for portraying Tinkerbell as competent and succeeding through effort instead of magic. Plus, as the father of a daughter who is both into tools and building as well as dressing in pretty dresses, the show was basically made for my kid.

Also, every kid I know who loves Sofia the First is a boy, so I wonder if there isn't an untapped market of shows about young boys who magically becomes princes, ready to live a life of leisure and horseback riding.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 2:19 AM on December 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Huh.
Sofia the First appears to be some kind of princess.

I know that Sofia the Third is a kickass battle tank also called "Metal Attacker."

Something very strange must have happened to Sofia the Second.
posted by JHarris at 2:32 AM on December 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


Is this new, disgusting 3D animated Bananas, or the entirely superior low tech live action Bananas?

I loathe CGI Bananas. It is just so bland and poorly executed in every possible way. It's still not as bad as Pajanimals, though.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 3:10 AM on December 29, 2013


+1 for Adventure Time!
posted by prototype_octavius at 3:32 AM on December 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


I didn't realize there was a live action Bananas in Pajamas; my kids have only seem the CGI version available on Netflix in the U.S. They laugh really hard at those stupid fruit.
posted by Area Man at 3:45 AM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thomas the Tank engine used to be part of Shining Time Station, which actually had cartoon bits that had some edge to them and Ringo Starr as a live conductor character/narrator, which balanced out the morality-play theme. It was originally written by a minister. The show has lost a lot, including my kids's attention at the age of 3?4? Curious George lost some mojo, too. Wild Kratts is good, I liked Yo Gabba Gabba more than my kids. Bear & the Big Blue House was great for the music and more. There is a lot of TV I don't know about, & it evolves, so I am reading the comments to inform DVR selections.
posted by childofTethys at 5:58 AM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Adventure Time is really more of a show for teenagers, isn't it?
posted by Sys Rq at 7:24 AM on December 29, 2013


Also the Cat in the Hat now asks parental permission before taking the kids on adventures because MODERN PARENTS REQUIRE HELICOPTERS AT ALL TIMES.

"Your mother will not mind at all if you do" is a line from the original book. And really, the permission thing is hilarious and a favorite of ours, because the kids explicitly say what they're going to do and where and the parents are always like, yeah, sure you are, knock yourselves out.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:31 AM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Adventure Time is really more of a show for stoners and former stoners, innit?
posted by Mezentian at 7:47 AM on December 29, 2013


Adventure Time seems like it is genuinely created for tEhe enjoyment of people who make Adventure Time and if anyone else likes it then that's cool.
posted by Artw at 7:55 AM on December 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


I've been a Phineas and Ferb fan too, but I wonder if the way girls are portrayed on that show is kind of troublesome?

I grind my teeth at the way female characters are portrayed... but has a pet platypus who is secretly a spy, so...
posted by sonika at 7:58 AM on December 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Y'all need to watch Shaun the Sheep right now. Aardman Animation (Wallace and Gromit) at its finest.
posted by Fleebnork at 8:03 AM on December 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


As an uncle, I don't have to watch kid shows very often. Of course, that means I do not have the benefit of desensitization. Recently, I watched an episode of the Dora spinoff "Diego" with my nieces and wanted to run away forever.

There are, however, kid's shows that I'll happily watch even sans kids. Peep and the wide world is one. There was another, called nanalan', that was also really cute and seemed like honest storytelling about childhood. I'm not sure if it's still around.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 8:15 AM on December 29, 2013


Paw patrol. Stab, stab, stab
posted by gaspode at 8:17 AM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Charlie & Lola is good too, although it tends to make me feel like I was a shitty brother by comparison.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 8:22 AM on December 29, 2013


It's Itsy Bitsy Time!
posted by dr_dank at 8:29 AM on December 29, 2013


DirtyOldTown: He has a name, too: Ted Shackleford.

Does he have pocket sand too!? Sha-sha-SHA!
posted by 1f2frfbf at 8:33 AM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Jessie" is a bit of an outlier in this series of columns, since the show is aimed at the tween set rather than the under-5 crowd like the rest of the shows that have been written about so far. But it is by far the most morally repugnant of all in the sense that if the premise of the show (barely out of high school 18-year-old with no childcare experience is put in the position of primary guardian of four children, since their jet-setting, famous parents seem to be in the habit of serially adopting children and then abandoning them for months at a time and whose entire vetting process in hiring a new nanny was having their youngest daughter happen upon this woman in front of their building and deciding she liked her) were to occur in a real-life scenario the end result would be the couple getting arrested for child endangerment and neglect, rather than a series of wacky hijinks.

(And yet I can't stop watching. And have no daughters to use an an excuse)
posted by The Gooch at 9:04 AM on December 29, 2013


sevenyearlurk: I don't think any new episodes of "Nanalan" are being made, but they still show it on PBS Kids in my town. I like the visual design - Mr. Wooka's puppet-shows-within-the-puppet-show are especially fun, and I appreciate the fact that Mona and her Nana are completely different colors (green and orange, respectively, for those who haven't seen the show) but it is never remarked upon. Also, whoever "acts" the part of Russell the dog clearly understands canine behavior on a fundamental level.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 9:33 AM on December 29, 2013


Adventure Time seems like it is genuinely created for the enjoyment of people who make Adventure Time and if anyone else likes it then that's cool.

That is approximately how the classic Warner Brothers animators used to describe their work.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:53 AM on December 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


"Jessie" is a bit of an outlier in this series of columns, since the show is aimed at the tween set rather than the under-5 crowd like the rest of the shows that have been written about so far.

Much like the show itself, the review is interchangeable with any of the other tween-aimed Disney Original Series crapfests. "Jessie" is merely the worst of the lot (with the possible exception of "Shake It Up"), but its position on the top of that mountain of suck is like the Olympic gymnast who gets a 5.983 vs. the silver medalist's 5.981.
posted by Etrigan at 10:44 AM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


DirtyOldTown: ""Your mother will not mind at all if you do" is a line from the original book."

Pedantry: It's "Your mother will not mind at all if I do."
posted by Chrysostom at 11:16 AM on December 29, 2013


DirtyOldTown: ""Your mother will not mind at all if you do" is a line from the original book. And really, the permission thing is hilarious and a favorite of ours, because the kids explicitly say what they're going to do and where and the parents are always like, yeah, sure you are, knock yourselves out."

Yes but in the book the Cat is LYING and the fish is like "OMG your mother is going to FREAK" and then the mom comes home at the end and the kids are like, "Dude, should we lie to her?"

In the show they turn it into the Cat encouraging the children to responsibly ask their mothers before they go do crazy things with the Cat, which I approve of as a general lesson but totally undermines the original character of the story. I mean I guess I don't want educational television teaching my children to run off with strangers without telling me where they're going (stupid Wild Kratts already taught my children that "being nocturnal" is an option, bedtime has been a nightmare since then), but the original Cat is an agent of chaos and subversion in a child's private world that adults do not share, not a friendly and responsible teacher of science that your mother lets you hang out with.

It's a cute show and I like it, but it's only related to the Cat in the Hat in that they stole (I mean, um, "licensed") the art.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:30 AM on December 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


Of course, in the second book (The Cat in the Hat Comes Back), the kids are very much, "Thanks, but we'll pass on the freaking chaos, we've got snow to shovel here."
posted by Chrysostom at 11:40 AM on December 29, 2013


stupid Wild Kratts already taught my children that "being nocturnal" is an option, bedtime has been a nightmare since then

This is the funniest thing I've heard all year.
posted by nooneyouknow at 11:43 AM on December 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


My husband and I were awakened this summer by my 6 and 2 year old crashing into our room at first light, hooting and hollering and carrying on. When we said, understandably, "What the FUCK?!" my daughter said "We're crepuscular now." I had to fucking google that before I could even respond. THANKS DINOSAUR TRAIN.
posted by KathrynT at 12:40 PM on December 29, 2013 [42 favorites]


Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood could be wonderful, if only the song of the day was more than a couplet long. Around the 25th time they sing it, you're ready to take a magical talking tiger out back and bitch slap his cardigan wearing ass.

Yeah - that's what works for little kids. My four year old doesn't watch Daniel Tiger often, but she has learned every song she's seen on it and she remembers the lessons they're teaching. "When you have to go potty, stop and go right away. Then flush and wash and be on your way" really helped us out with potty training. Although she tends to use "Friends help each other, yes they do, it's true." to try to get me to do her chores for her. There just aren't any other shows that have sunk in like that. With most shows, my kids remember the bad behavior the characters start out with, but miss the whole point of the lessons they learn.

Unfortunately, my daughter's favorite favorite favorite show has recently switched from Dora (which I have defended before - and I stand by that) to Jake and the Neverland Pirates, which is the most awful show that ever awfuled an awful. My kid has really terrible taste in tv shows. The only redeeming quality of Jake is that every once in a while the pirate band's song at the end is kind of catchy. Other than that, the show sucks cannonballs.
posted by Dojie at 2:29 PM on December 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Eyebrows: I always figured the original Cat in the Hat meant its ending to give parents a chance to get an honest read from the kids about what they'd do in such a situation...
posted by saulgoodman at 2:49 PM on December 29, 2013


Basically, the book puts the question "What would you do" to the kids in a way that doesn't feel like the parents are prying or trying to weasel a confession out of their kids, but it still invites the kids to respond in a way that reveals their underlying attitudes about getting up to risky hijinks when mom and dad aren't around. I always took that to be part of the book's genius.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:53 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Cat is the id, the fish is the superego, the Things are the ego under the influence of the id and the cleaning machine may or may not exist.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 4:45 PM on December 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


Kaleidoscope: "Is this new, disgusting 3D animated Bananas, or the entirely superior low tech live action Bananas? Because the old one was hilarious, and Rat was openly corrupt and funny. Actually everyone was way funnier and more lovable than now, with all those lame, unfunny, wet animals that now live in whatever they turned Cuddles Avenue into. The monkey scientist is funny. All the other animals are sort of pointless and puling.

I didn't like Fireman Sam much either, until I noticed how surreptitiously nasty he is to that annoying red headed kid. And I like it really that every other character (other than his mam) openly acknowledges he is a pain, yet he is still considered a valued member of their community. That's pretty nice and inclusive! Plus, don't you like the cameos from the hunky Australian and Canadian characters?!
"

3D Bananas. The one that's on between the two episodes of Peppa Pig in the afternoon. Bastards.

And I guess I have the same problem with new Bananas and Fireman Sam - forgiveness is lovely and all but why the fuck are you so surprised and why do none of you try some pre-emptive behaviour modification instead of sitting here going 'oh no, Norman has nearly killed himself and Mindy by ignoring directives again" or "maybe I shouldn't trust Rat".

I get that a significant portion of children's programming is about repetition and 'obvious character is obvious' but the thing is, the repetition of dumbarse behaviour like listening to people who are, quite frankly, evil or at least selfish enough to be maliciously dangerous, is not something I want my kid to be around. There's forgiveness and then there's something akin to martyrdom. Inclusiveness is great up until you've got a member of the community like Norman/Rat who are not checked by any sort of community-mindedness themselves.

And YES! to Shaun the Sheep and I'll add Timmy Time. Timmy was a great sort of intro to kindy for my daughter, in that no, not all of the kids are nice and no, not even Timmy is always nice, and things go wrong, but it all comes good (and fortunately her teachers were awesome as well).

Dojie: "With most shows, my kids remember the bad behavior the characters start out with, but miss the whole point of the lessons they learn."

Yep, it's actually really really REALLY common as a reaction to media. Think about it - 3/4 or more of the show/book is dedicated to new! and exciting! ways for X character to be awful (and get loads and loads of attention and cool shit and whatever) and then a tiny tiny bit about the 'lesson' which means, in the end, they don't even cop much shit for being horrible. Or if they do, it's because they're being put back in the hole and thus it's okay for them to be treated badly.

(Why yes, I'm an ex-literary studies nerd doing media analysis...)
posted by geek anachronism at 7:49 PM on December 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


Sid the Science Kid and that creepy mo-cap animation can consume excrement and thus expire. Same goes for Jake and the Neverland Pirates which I disapproved of never having seen it after the six year-old corrected me when I called them friends of Peter Pan.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:04 PM on December 29, 2013


Seconding sleeping bear on Word Girl. It's like Archer for kids!
posted by sapere aude at 10:21 PM on December 29, 2013


I made a vow that there would be no Wiggles in my house and I somehow managed to get away with it. I wasn't so lucky with Teletubbies, though (we're going back a few years, my boys are 8 and 12 now) and I still think Boobah is the most surreal kids show ever.
posted by h00py at 11:05 PM on December 29, 2013


my daughter said "We're crepuscular now."

My heart just grew three sizes.
(and then imploded, but that's cool)
posted by Mezentian at 2:43 AM on December 30, 2013


And YES! to Shaun the Sheep and I'll add Timmy Time

Timmy Time!!! I LOVE Timmy Time! Damn I wish I wasn't in work right now so I could watch a few episodes.

no I have no children why do you ask
posted by billiebee at 3:36 AM on December 30, 2013


YoGabbaGabba seems cool before you have kids (Jack Black! Weezer!) but since the show is actually about nothing, the songs are simplistic, and the voices are loud and annoying, you realize that it doesn't do what you need kids TV to do - quietly entertain your child and seem educational so you don't feel guilty.
posted by k8t at 3:57 AM on December 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


YoGabbaGabba seems cool before you have kids

Unless you discover the DJ (Lance?) tours the world following The Cure.
Then it becomes awesome.

As long as I never have to watch it.
posted by Mezentian at 4:45 AM on December 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Timmy Time is the only kid's show I like - it's totally adorable and not at all annoying, probably because there's no talking! I panicked when it disappeared off of Netflix, so now I guess we're paying $80 a year to re-watch the same 3 seasons of a single show on Amazon Prime.
posted by Safiya at 9:42 AM on December 30, 2013


Timmy Time couldn't hold Fleebnork Jr's interest. He loves Shaun the Sheep though.
posted by Fleebnork at 5:30 PM on December 30, 2013


My kid was all about Peppa Pig until she saw Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom. Then Ben and Holly replaced Peppa basically completely. Like, a 1:1 substitution. The content is quite different but it seems like it's the same voices, and animation style. It's like, the kind-of intangible habitus of the show provides a huge part of the draw with the manifest content secondary, and the voices and style combine to satisfy virtually all of her requirements for that kind of TV show.

I just wish they'd make a Hamsternauts spin-off from Baby Jake...
posted by meehawl at 7:41 PM on December 30, 2013


Also, Tinga Tinga Tales, ftw. It got a three-year-old explaining (Lamarckian) evolution to me.
posted by meehawl at 7:43 PM on December 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Am I the only one who remembers Oobie, the character that was literally a human hand with plastic eyeballs on top? I used to watch it when my kid was a baby and always felt so disturbed, but nothing else was on that early.
posted by emjaybee at 8:22 PM on December 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


My kids liked Oobie, the family of (real human) hands with eyeballs.

Later they liked Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks about an Irish pig and friends. For some reason the pigs, goats, and cows all stood up and talked like humans, but the sheep (in the humorous side segments) couldn't. Actually, one sheep could talk--voiced by Mel Brooks. My kids once heard Mel Brooks on the radio and said 'Hey! It's the sheep!"
posted by eye of newt at 9:42 PM on December 30, 2013


My daughter asks: If in the universe of "Arthur" some characters are dogs, then why does Arthur's family have a dog as a pet?
posted by MonkeyToes at 11:18 PM on December 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sarah & Duck is amazing. (though I also suspect it's the gateway tv show to a universe of teenage emo tumblr selfies).
posted by longbaugh at 11:55 PM on December 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Damn yo this thread is hoppin'

The thing that drives me nuts about Dora and other cookie cutter shows is how, from a technical perspective, they seem to literally put them together with shell scripts assembling clips and audio files. It can't take longer than 10 minutes to churn out an episode.

I watched a lot of TV as a kid and never picked up on this, but I didn't watch any "HEY TALK TO ME AS WE GO ON AN ADVENTURE" shit either. I first noticed it with the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I was actually going though some gnarly untreated depression at the time (luckily it got gnarly enough to move my ass) and my son was making the transition from a Barney obsession to the MMC as we say it, or I just said it just now because I'm lazy.

So Barney is certainly formulaic but apparently it's not THAT formulaic because the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is THAT formulaic with a transparent copy-and-paste conflict plot structure. Pshh.

Then he started watching Super Why, with Curious George holding things together, mind you, but holy formulaic kid's show!

But "Wonder Pets" takes the cake, it would seem. To the point where I almost wanted to make a spoof of it as my first effort in YouTube production. WTF. 50% of the show is re-usable between episodes, it would seem. And then I had another baby, and there was "Color Crew" on Netflix which my much older son discovered for the baby and decided he liked too...

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, that show cray. Meanwhile its creator "Baby First" has a pretty sweet DirectTV channel with sand paintings composed against music and random relaxing stuff on at bedtime.
posted by lordaych at 1:49 AM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


My daughter asks: If in the universe of "Arthur" some characters are dogs, then why does Arthur's family have a dog as a pet?

My suggestion: make a face, scratch your head theatrically, and say, "Huh! I never thought of that! I wonder how many other things are weird like that?" Get her thinking about it, because once you start looking for it, that stuff is everywhere.
posted by JHarris at 4:25 AM on December 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


My suggestion: make a face, scratch your head theatrically, and say, "Huh! I never thought of that! I wonder how many other things are weird like that?"

You have no idea how much I wanted to say "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:15 AM on December 31, 2013 [8 favorites]


Get her thinking about it, because once you start looking for it, that stuff is everywhere.

"God. That's weird. What the hell IS Goofy?"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:28 AM on December 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Straight Dope on Goofy and Pluto.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:09 AM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Autocannibalistic food, that's the next thing to look out for.
posted by Artw at 7:15 AM on December 31, 2013


Autocannibalistic food, that's the next thing to look out for.

Like Richard Scarry pigs eating sausages?
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:18 AM on December 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


My kids once heard Mel Brooks on the radio and said 'Hey! It's the sheep!"

If you were to meet my son you would initially think he was this super sophisticated kid who could tell you all about Ringo Starr, George Carlin and Alec Baldwin.

Of course, if the conversation went on for more than 30 seconds you'd realize he couldn't tell you anything about them besides their role as narrator on Thomas the Tank Engine
posted by The Gooch at 7:19 AM on December 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Autocannibalistic food, that's the next thing to look out for.

Like Richard Scarry pigs eating sausages?

As someone who already finds illustrated animals in clothes -- Scarry's in particular -- deeply unsettling for some reason, you have just described what would be the most specific-to-me horror movie ever. I almost wish I had the skill to draw that just so I could GET IT OUT OF MY HEAD.

This is the opposite of children arguing that they are nocturnal or crepuscular after they have learned those terms which is the most delightful thing I can imagine. (Obviously, I don't have kids of my own.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:25 AM on December 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


As someone who already finds illustrated animals in clothes -- Scarry's in particular -- deeply unsettling for some reason

An unsettling reading of Scarry's imagery: "Children's Books and Segregation in the Workplace."
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:09 AM on December 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


Like Richard Scarry pigs eating sausages?

The sausages are people.
posted by elizardbits at 10:55 AM on December 31, 2013 [8 favorites]


Gaspard and Lisa! Nobody seems to be bewildered at the bunnies, dogs, or whatever. So weird.

But also fucking adorable. And Penelope, that's adorbs too, and nice and fun. Both are French I think.
posted by geek anachronism at 4:44 PM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Backyardigans FTW. Especially the sock-making episode with the Bhangra theme. And the star trek-style garbage collectors with the Funk music.

My two boys, ages 3 and 5, will spontaneously start dancing when either of these come on. And it is freaking AWESOME.
posted by Pazzovizza at 6:33 PM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


« Older Revenge is a dish best served cold   |   On reading, love, and loss Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments