Thursday, April 28, 2011

The reality of PBS kid shows

First, let me make the disclaimer that I love Sesame Street!  It is the one hour of the day that my child is totally occupied by something else and I can accomplish tasks such as dishes, cleaning, blogging, etc. However, as I am now three days into being a SAHD, and I feel that I have reached a certain level of expertise  near competence, I need to point out some inconsistencies that I have noticed in the various PBS kid shows that I have seen while at home with my daughter.

Sesame Street
As I said before, I love this show.  One thing that always strikes me about Sesame Street is how such a diverse neighborhood gets along without any negative interactions.  Never mind that most of Europe has declared multiculturalism a failure, I feel that the diversity displayed on Sesame Street is a good thing.  For instance, a child that grows up in the country without Sesame Street may never see a black or Hispanic person portrayed in a positive light.  But a child with Sesame Street sees that both groups of people are normal and friendly.  My only complaint about the diversity displayed on Sesame Street is that it is not very realistic.  Why does Hooper's Store never get held up?  Why doesn't the laundry mat ever have an overweight woman who can't control her three screaming kids while she watches Jerry Springer on the TV
and yells into her phone at her baby daddy to pay his child support?  Why isn't Oscar's trashy digs declared a public works project that will be subject to gentrification to beautify the neighborhood and increase property values so that the poorer people are forced to move away?  Why doesn't Big Bird's nest ever get tagged with gang graffiti?  I think a little more reality would create a broader appeal to Sesame Street and help teach kids valuable lessons other than counting - like don't wear a red rag in a blue neighborhood.

Dinosaur Train
I don't even care that the train can travel in time.  Time travel is a long-respected fantasy staple.  What I don't think is very realistic is that all of the dinosaurs riding the train don't eat each other!  Herbivores would totally run away from carnivores trying to eat them!  It's instinct.  I know a seven year old who could tell you that.

Clifford the Big Red Dog books have been pimped by Scholastic since I was in kindergarden.  Clifford lives with Emily Elizabeth on Birdwell Island.  I can only assume that this was necessary because of Clifford's enormous size. Thank goodness that his owners have the financial ability to move to such an island to give him the space he needs.  Speaking of financials, that is one thing that does NOT bother me about Clifford.  They are financially able to move to an island, so they are, no doubt, financially able to provide enough dog food for Clifford to live.  Not a problem.  The problem is the POOP.  With a dog that large, I feel as though the poop issue has not been properly addressed.  Are there bulldozers at the ready to clear the back yard?  Where is this waste dumped?  Has the smell driven down the tourism economy of Birdwell Island?  These are worth looking into!

I can't even tell you why this show is on TV.  It is the most boring thing ever.

Cat in the Hat
What I remember about Cat in the Hat books is that the Cat was a pest that the kids were trying to get rid of before mom got home.  On this show, the kids seem to love the Cat and look forward to playing with him.  This wouldn't be so bad if mom was never home, but realizing that a show where mom was never home with two young children playing in the back yard would send a bad messege, the writers always have the kids ask permission to play with the Cat. And mom ALWAYS says yes.  I don't know about you, but if I asked my mom if I could shrink myself  and go explore some creature's digestive system, all while in the company of a slightly feminine stray feline in a bow tie, I'm almost certain she would say no.  I'm almost certain she would also think I was on drugs.

Super WHY!
The title doesn't even make sense.  And the kids play with a pig.  Lord of the Flies anyone?

So, yeah, as a a professional father with three days experience, these are my thoughts on the current PBS kids show lineup.  Any comments?


  1. You forgot Sid the Science Kid, which I hate. I mean, I really have negative feelings about this show! Not only did it have a "vaccinations make you healthy" propaganda episode, but the makeup of the family is interesting. The mom is a cool, professional, sexy latina, and the dad is a bumbling, goofy white man. Not a nice portrayal of the head of household, I don't think. Also, as an elementary school teacher, the setup of Sid's science school makes me mad because it's just so impossible. How does that lucky teacher have only four students, all the science materials in the world, and no obligation to teach reading, writing, or math? What?! Not to mention that Gerald is a pain in the butt, and any teacher I know would have that kid spend the day in timeout. Okay, vent over! So glad you're enjoying your time with your little one! Congrats to you!

  2. left it out on purpose. haven't seen enough. although, i will say, sometimes Sid seems REALLY dumb for his age. but then at the end of the show, he has an ingenious idea that is way above his intelligence. also, they should stop eating so many carrots. orange people aren't cool.

  3. also, thanks for the comment!

  4. I heart the backyardigans because they're always singing & sprout is where its at brother. Barney, also another good one, as you already know. The shows should be simple. Why worry children with such detail? Childhood is too short if you ask me and soon enough they'll come to understand not everything is kittens and gum balls, but I say let life be as simple as it can be, for as long as it can be. It's an 'interesting' world out there. I find, personally, that the good things you search for are usually past the bad things which can be found right around the corner. But as a child I had no idea, why? Because of Sesame Street. The lack of realistic situations doesn't bother me now either because I tune in too, and Lord knows I have enough to worry about lol I'm enjoying reading, keep them coming. -me, your sister :) ---- having said that, Caillou and his little sister Rosie can go take a walk off a short pier! Man, they piss me off.

  5. dude, it's all for fun. just making observations.
    PS - you've relapsed on your childhood Barney addiction.

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