Thursday, January 3, 2008

Little Einsteins is to Baby Einstein as Heroin is to Crack.

Little Einsteins is to Baby Einstein as Heroin is to Crack.

I love Canada. I have friends there, I enjoy their cheap but plentiful supply of lobster rolls and once spent a vacation on Prince Edward Island, the birthplace of the book series Anne of Green Gables. That’s how I roll, but lately a Canadian kid’s show name Caillou kind of makes me want to punch Canada in the mouth.

If you have kids, you might know who Caillou is. If you don’t, you’ll probably want to print this list out and save it in case you become a parent. That said, here are the seven most important things you need to know about kid’s TV shows.

1. Caillou will turn your kid into a wuss.
Until my daughter watched Caillou she didn’t know the dark could be scary. Then she saw that bowling ball headed punk whining about the dark, sharing toys, loud noises, the wind, butterflies etc. This show is has been banned from our house.

2. Clifford does not use the bathroom.
At some point, your kid may ask where Clifford, the Big Red Dog, goes to the bathroom. The answer to that question is “do you want a lollipop?” Seriously, the implications of a 20,000 pound dog going to the bathroom on Birdwell Island are horrific. Avoid this question at all costs.

3. No one really knows what the Backyardigans are.
My friend is a graphic designer that once illustrated a kid’s menu for a national restaurant chain. After several rounds of trying to get the perfect mix of politically correct kids, they decided to instead draw aliens. I think that’s what happened here. Everything from the oddly shaped characters (are they dinosaurs?) to the grab bag of names (Uniqua is a girl’s name?) this show screams “make a show no one can get offended by.”

4. Dora will send your kid into a cave.
I’m cool with Dora. I’d probably dune surf with Diego if given the chance, but I’d like to light the character “Map” on fire. Every episode he’s telling Dora and her monkey amigo that to get to Tico the talking squirrel’s house they have to go through a cave or a jungle or some other area no four year old should go in. Next time you can’t find your kid, check the old quarry. Chances are the Map told him to go exploring.

5. Curious George has horrible boundary issues.
If your kid steals a hot air balloon or jumps into the dolphin tank at the aquarium you’ll know why. This monkey is no good, plus when he misbehaves it always ends up turning into some great feat of heroism. The hot air balloon he steals ends up saving a man stuck on the side of Mount Rushmore, the chocolate he put monkey paws on at the factory would have hit the ground otherwise or some other such nonsense. They should name this show “Insane monkey” or “Man in the yellow hat that’s an incredible pushover.” Expect trouble, monkey trouble.

6. Little Einsteins is to Baby Einstein as Heroin is to Crack.
Have you ever seen a kid watch Baby Einstein? It’s almost scary how much they love it. And Little Einsteins is kind of the next level of addiction. It’s a gang of four friends that travel around the world helping caterpillars and kangaroos with the power of classical music. It’s not a bad show, but keep an eye on your kids. You might need to stage an intervention at some point.

7. The Doodlebops will terrify you.
What are the Doodlebops? Does anyone really know? Why do they play instruments? Why when they updated the costumes did they tuck their ears in behind their freakishly colored skin? Why do they dance on the bus? These are the sort of questions that will haunt you if you ever cross paths with this show.

There are more shows and whole channels dedicated to kids programming, but these are the most important things I think you need to know. Don’t go in blind. Don’t lose your kid in a cave or get hooked on Little Einsteins or get mauled by Winnie the Pooh.

Now you know and knowing is half the battle.


S. Todd Young said...

"Thanks G. I. Joe! Go Joe!"

Tommy said...

oh wow.. i loved this.. and the G.I. Joe shout out made me lust for scarlet once again.. thanks a lot..

Jamon said...

NO DOODLEBOPS! I always get a little skiddish every time they turn up on the tube.

We watch Dora, Diego, Curious George and Backyardigans on a regular basis. My wife and I have sat around a number of times playing the "what is Uniqua" game ... I still say she's a mutated ant.

Just wait until you have a 3 year old boy who not only acts like Curious George, but even LOOKS like the crazy little monkey!

ryan said...

It's good to see that other people have the same confusion with Uniqua. The penguin, moose, joey, and even the hippo are easy but the artists at Nick must have an extended version of my old animal science book from college to create Uniqua. My guess is also an ant but I could easily be convinced of something else.

Odd that I read this today since my wife just terrified me earlier with a link to a stunt that I almost promise that I'll find my 3 year old doing sometime in the near future.


British Girl, 4, Accidentally Hangs Herself Imitating Cartoon Stunt,2933,320107,00.html

Jason said...

Let me preface this comment by stating that we plan to send our daughter to public school. We do not intend to shelter her from the world forever. However, when she was about 6 months old we made the financial decision not to have any kind of cable or satellite TV service anymore. We weren't watching it much. Frankly, we don't miss it.

She watches videos, but only one per day. What's great is that she doesn't get exposed to cartoons. The bad news is that we have to interact with her more. That's bad in the sense of our personal time, but I think in the long run it might not be such a bad thing.

Of course, when she gets to school she will be so out of "the know" that it won't be funny.

Dan King said...

Nice... Whatever happened to the great old stuff like Underdog and Mighty Mouse? Dude, those were the good ol' days...

Ben said...

In a battle of wits, knowing would be much more than half. Just fyi.

All I really want to know is what ever happened to:
These things were where it was at when I was a kid. Nothing teaches kids lessons like Snotty Scotty or Patty Pukenface.