As my immersion into children’s media continues, I have been giving lots of attention and thought to this stuff. I know it’s been a while since I was a kid (and yes, we did have color TV then), but it seems as if children’s programming has come a long, long way. Gone, it seems, are the days when you can watch a coyote get his head flattened by an anvil. Now, everything has to have purpose or a message. This is usually a good thing, I think, but there are some shows out there that just fail or otherwise piss me off. There are also some extra good shows; some seem to actually acknowledge that parents are stuck in the home with kids while they watch this stuff. Some observations I’ve made:
- Wonder Pets: WTF is this???? Have you seen it? It’s a trio of animals (a guinea pig, a duckling, and a turtle) which have been cut out and animated à la Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Except it’s not funny. What is most disturbing is the turtle. If you look at its face, it looks as if it’s getting a prostate exam. Its head is thrown back at an unnatural angle with this single bulging blue eye. It’s an animated train wreck.
- Peppa Pig: I can’t make it through the intro of this. From what I gather, it’s kind of a UK version of Olivia. Except Olivia is funny and cute. Peppa Pig enrages me. The animation is awful. The music is substandard, even for kid’s TV. And they snort. A lot. It’s not cute. It’s not “oink oink.” It sounds like a bad sinus infection.
- The Backyardigans: I’m all for multiculturalism, and I think it’s awesome that people start out young with very open minds. But come on. (And I will freely confess that I’m a bit scared to type this next bit, as I do not want to be perceived as a bigot in this day and age of extreme political correctness.) The 3 main characters have names that are so stereotypically “minority” that if I were a minority I would be offended: Uniqua, Tyrone, and Pablo????? Come on. You can’t be serious.
- Yo Gabba Gabba: This show is usually pretty damn good. I’d have to say it’s Stella’s No 2 pick. It’s pretty hip for kid’s programming, and I swear I see Stella doing a double take whenever she sees a black man with glasses…..as if she’s looking for his tall orange furry hat.
- Miss Spider: I’m largely indifferent to this one, but it makes the vein in Will’s forehead stand out. Some of those “bugs” are mere spheres with 6 stick legs sticking out. He feels as if the artist/animators simply gave up living at some point. I can kind of see his point.
- Sesame Street: A golden oldie, for sure. It does seem like they’ve really tried to keep up with the times. I’m also constantly amazed at the guest talent they get. Patrick Warburton popped up on one recent episode (and there’s nothing like the voice of Brock Samson to help vocabulary go down easier). Stella, however, could care less about the people. She only has eyes for Grover. Whenever Grover comes on, she either laughs or just stands in front of the TV happily screaming and bellowing. My one gripe is that there aren’t enough bits with the puppets. At least half the show is either people or cheaply-made cartoons that don’t hold the kid’s interest.