As I pointed out a couple of months ago, children’s television can sometimes be excruciating for parents to sit through. Yes, there is the odd diamond in the rough out there, but so many shows are so pandering, so ridiculous, and just so, so…bad, that one has to wonder who is out there thinking this stuff up. And, of course, these terrible shows are often the supreme favorites of the young’uns, meaning that we have to endure them over, and over, and over again, even sometimes having to sit through the same episode of one of these programs up to 23 million times in a row! It’s terrible! I’ve already written about four of these shows, trying to figure out what the kids see in them, but it wasn’t enough. There are just too many quality programs out there. LOW quality programs. For instance…
BARNEY & FRIENDS
What the kids see: A loveable, friendly purple dinosaur who enjoys singing and dancing with all of his friends.
What the parents see: An unholy purple demon who is most likely the love child of Forrest Gump and Grimace who has the villainous power to take already trite and annoying children’s songs, change the lyrics, and somehow make them even more annoying. And he’s just creepy! This Barney fellow is the sort of creature that needs to be watched. And not on television. I mean, like, by the F.B.I.
DORA THE EXPLORER
What the kids see: A plucky young girl goes on adventures with her monkey and helps her friends, all while being super bilingual.
What the parents see: First of all, can we start off by talking about the whole computer game thing? Yeah, when Dora first came out the internet was still kind of newish, and it seemed like a bold and exciting choice to have the whole show be set up as if it were on a computer. Every time the show asks a question (and kids shows all ask lots of questions these days), a mouse pointer appears on the screen and hovers over the right answer. We get it. It was clever for about three episodes. Now it is just ridiculous. And I haven’t even gotten to how annoying Dora is. Why does everyone in this show have a high-pitched, whiny voice? Even the villain! And why do they sing the same annoying repetitive songs over and over again every single episode? And most importantly, why are Dora’s parents always letting her run off into the jungle with a monkey? Actually, I think I know the answer to that one. I wish Swiper would swipe my television. Oh, man!
BOB THE BUILDER
What the kids see: Cool construction equipment! Fixing things! Hard hats! Yeah!
What the parents see: Now, waitasecond here, isn’t he called Bob the Builder? So why doesn’t he ever build anything? His theme song says, and I quote, “Bob the Builder! Can we fix it?” Soooo… shouldn’t he be called Bob the Fixer? I guess he builds stuff once in a while, but really, no matter what job he is supposed to be doing, he makes his
slaves friends do it all for him. And they are terrible at fixing things! They are always messing up in well-meaning ways. People. Do not hire Bob to fix any of your stuff. He is going to bring along a bunch of large, bumbling machinery and there is a good chance that you will suffer major property damage! This guy is worse than Handy Manny! At least Handy Manny is bilingual, like Dora.
What the kids see: Finally, some adults operating on my level! I love to watch them make silly faces and hear them sing funny songs. They like to play dress up in silly costumes, just like me!
What the parents see: Look at them! Does that picture not scream “sex offender list” to you?! I mean, they seem like nice enough guys. Maybe it’s just the name. For some reason I can’t get around four grown men making weird faces at my kids and calling themselves “The Wiggles.” I get that kids like to wiggle and dance. But still. Couldn’t they have come up with a name that doesn’t sound creepy? What are some other synonyms that might get the same intention across? Maybe something like “The Boogie Men?” No, still creepy. How about “The Ants in Your Pants?” Actually, maybe “The Wiggles” isn’t so bad after all…