As Stella’s vocab and general interests evolve, so is our TV viewing. This week (thankfully), Yo Gabba Gabba reigns supreme. I can handle that. I recently saw the for the first time the episode where Anthony Bourdain guest-starred. I was tickled to death. I enjoy his shows and writing, and it was a hoot to see this crotchety bastard playing a doctor to Toodee. More on him in a minute. Stella’s daddy bought her a Muno doll a couple of weeks ago, and she carries that around the house with her several times a day (and chews on his eye). She could care less about her videos (Baby Babbles and Signing Times), and Bubble Guppies and Umizoomi are good for about 15 minutes before she wanders off and begins clearing the toys from any and every horizontal surface by slinging them over her shoulder.
One thing I’ve really noticed in the last week is her beginning to imitate more physical actions she sees (on top of the verbalizations). On YGG for example, during the Cool Tricks segment, this kid does belly rolls. He hikes up his shirt, makes an odd face, and begins contorting his ab muscles. Stella watched this, looked puzzled, hiked up her own shirt, looked down at her own belly, and began to will it to move. She managed an in-out movement, but man, was she trying to do ab rolls. It was cute.
To my dismay, she’s showing more and more of an appreciation for the Fresh Beat Band, and is acting along with their dancing and singing to “Reach for the Stars.” It’s cute but makes me want to puke. I’ve written about them before, how vapid and horrific they are. They are this group of uncomfortably old “kids” who pretend to go on musical adventures and solve problems by togetherness and singing. It’s horrible. But I gotta hand it to the Nick execs. They know what they’re doing. The songs lodge firmly in your hippocampus and are there to stay. You can look at their bright shining faces and see in your mind’s eye a gleaming plastic lunchbox. They are packaged brilliantly.
Stella beginning to dance and sing along with them is an omen of things to come. I know this. I liked my own rotten and now-embarrassing music when I was a kid, and she will, too. I just don’t remember there being as many kiddie bands in my day. I went straight for Michael Jackson and Duran Duran. I remember the LPs. I mean, the actual vinyl. Since the 90’s, there’s been New Kids, N’Sync (I guess?), the Jonas Brothers. It’s a veritable parade of prepubescent boys, desperate to get their kicks before their voices change. Maybe I exaggerate a bit. But not much. Anyway, I had been feeling pretty grateful that at least Stella was too young for most of the above list. But now lurk the Fresh Beats. My only hope there is for some Nick-shaking scandal, causing them to be yanked from the air and treated as if they had never existed, à la Britney Spears’ sister. Maybe a dead hermaphrodite in a pool filled with used needles surrounded by unconscious Fresh Beats? One can only hope.
But back to Bourdain. I was so tickled to see him on YGG that I Googled it. Seems it was from a couple of years ago now, but it led me to a blog he had written on his Travel Channel subheading. He shares his own feelings about cartoons, including some I’ve written about in the past – Backyardigans and Wonder Pets, among others I am not as familiar with. It makes me happy that someone like him has some of the same thoughts, feelings, and experiences. I guess I figured his little girl would spend her life jetting around the world eating exotic food and spending time with performers from Cirque du Soleil rather than mundane things like watching cartoons. He, too, lives in fear of the Fresh Beats. If you’re curious, here’s the link. I about cried laughing.