The Weird World Of Children’s TV

21 Feb

Today is a statutory holiday in Ontario. A few years ago people started whining about the dearth of holidays between Christmas and Easter. We need something to break up the long, crappy winters, they said. The Ontario government agreed, and so Family Day was born, to be observed on the third Monday of every February.

I never really thought the lack of holidays was much of a big deal, but I’m certainly not going to complain about an extra day off. What it means, though, is that I get a day of riveting TV viewing that includes the likes of Thomas the Train and Roary the Racing Car.

Don’t judge. By the time Monday rolls around, I’ve spent an entire weekend being run ragged by two kids who make the Energizer Bunny look like a lazy slob. On holiday Mondays I feel entitled to be more lax in my restrictions of the kids’ TV viewing.

Anyway, as I sit here listening to an inane song that repeats the phrase I’m the map about seventeen million times, I feel compelled to make the following observation: In order to make a successful children’s TV show, you have to be high on crack.

I mean, seriously. It’s the only explanation I can think of for some of the stuff I see on Treehouse Channel and TVO Kids. Take the episode of Dora that was on yesterday, for instance. It featured these Super Babies who had supersonic hearing and X-ray vision, and they floated down a river on a raft helping Dora and Boots find the clues. The Super Babies were Super Creepy. They wouldn’t look out of place in a scary horror movie.

Here are some children’s TV shows that make me scratch my head and go, “Huh???”

  • Barney the Dinosaur. Otherwise known as “most annoying children’s character ever created”. I don’t allow Barney in any shape or form in my house, simply because if I did, my head would explode. It’s a matter of self-preservation. It’s the the combination of the goody-two-shoes kids, the shade of purple, and that annoying voice that makes my ears bleed.
  • Blues Clues. Rumour has it that Steve, the original host of Blues Clues, developed a serious drug problem and had a nervous breakdown. Who can blame the poor bastard? He spent his time in a two-dimensional psychedelic world hanging out with furniture and salt shakers that could talk to him, and a manic blue dog that couldn’t so much as say Woof.
  • Harry And His Bucket Full Of Dinosaurs. OK, let me get this straight. A normal-sized six-year-old boy can somehow fit his entire body into a normal-sized bucket. The bucket turns into a place called “Dino World” and the toy dinosaurs come to life and grow to full dinosaur size. When Harry is in his bucket talking to his dinosaurs, I wonder if his mother knows where he is.
  • Max And Ruby. Otherwise known as “second most annoying children’s characters ever created”. Max is a little rabbit, maybe four years old. His primary caregiver is his sister Ruby, who is maybe eight. She is solely responsible for feeding him, bathing him, putting him to bed, and so on. The parents are nowhere in the picture, although there’s a grandma who shows up from time to time. My theory, based on the fact that Max has very poor verbal skills and yet has very unique thought processes that end up solving whatever problem the pair are presented with, is that Max has autism. Mom and Dad couldn’t handle the responsibilities of special needs parenting and ran away to Mexico. Ruby was forced into guardianship of her little brother, and Grandma periodically checks on them to make sure they have clean clothes and nutritious food.
  • Backyardigans.  I don’t have a problem with the adventures these kids go on. The show is set up in such a way that you can tell they are engaging in really creative imaginative play, right in their back yards. It’s kind of nice, actually. A group of kids who live on the same street, playing together and being best friends. It’s just that – well, have you seen what they look like? What exactly are they supposed to be ?
  • Toopy and Binoo. Gigantic mouse who never stops talking and is clearly addicted to happy meds. Miniature stuffed cat (you can even see the seam where it’s been patched up) who cannot talk but can walk and nod its head, and has the biggest village idiot grin you ever saw. Enough said.

And we expect our kids to grow up normal.

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One Response to “The Weird World Of Children’s TV”

  1. transplantedx3 February 21, 2011 at 11:38 AM #

    Welcome to my world on a DAILY basis!!! Only we have Netflix and Zachary watches, Dora, Thomas and the Backyards, as he calls the Backyardigans, over and over and over. We’ve outgrown Barney which btw, I’ve been watching since Veronica was little – YES! 20 years of that annoying purple disaster. I’ve never heard of the Dinosaur one, or Roary or Binoo, so maybe I’ve dodged the bullet on some shows. Excellent post – I’m still chuckling!

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