Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Why Caillou isn't THAT Bad ... and Three Shows I Think are Worse

Please do not throw things at me ... hear me out. I do not think Caillou is that bad. Yes, he's irritating. Yes, he's whiny. But on a scale of 1-10 -- one being the least annoying kids' TV show I have to endure and 10 being the most annoying -- I give him a five.

Perhaps it's because my own kids have mastered whining on a global level, so Caillou's game is pretty weak as far as I'm concerned. Or maybe it's because Caillou was the only thing that would get my then-two-year-old daughter to give me a break while I was caring for her infant brother that I became immune to Caillou's less-endearing qualities.

Regardless of the reason, I can, in fact, look past Caillou's no-name parents (in one episode, a restaurant host actually refers to them as "Caillou and Rosie's mommy and daddy"), the fact that they also have no tempers, and the fact that his teacher wears a red jumper every single day. I have no issue allowing my kids to watch Caillou.

There are other shows, however, that I absolutely mind them watching.

Dinosaur Train

I hate Dinosaur Train because it is illogical. Yes, I understand the message it is sending and I give it credit for that. A couple of pteranodons have four eggs -- three hatch as pteranodons, but one unexpectedly hatches a tyrannosaurus rex. Whoa, what happened?

To the credit of this loving family, Mr. and Mrs. Pteranodon adopt the T-Rex ("Buddy") as their own, and the family of six enjoys adventures in prehistoric times. There are a few problems, though.

First off, this would not happen. And before you tell me that it is a kids' TV show, know that I understand that. But you are mixing carnivores and herbivores and pretending it would be no problem at all! Even in the movie "Madagascar," Alex the Lion had to fight urges to eat Marty the Zebra when they were stranded without food.

Second, this is prehistoric times with a train. A train! Why is there a working train on this show? Yes, I get that the dinosaurs also speak English, which is unrealistic in and of itself, but c'mon.

Finally, I just find them annoying. Simple as that.

Daniel Tiger

It is somewhat ironic that I find Daniel Tiger irritating because I loved Mister Rogers Neighborhood as a kid. Ironic both because I should, therefore, like Daniel Tiger and also because the same character in Mister Rogers Neighborhood injected "meow meow" in between every third word, yet I still manage to find him adorable.

It isn't the character himself that I dislike in the new version, it's the fact that each show has it's own jingle that is repeated over and over and over and over ad nauseam. 

One episode I tolerated was about potty training because, well, I was willing to try just about anything to get my kid potty trained. The episode stresses the importance of stopping to go, regardless of wanting to stay and play. This is an awesome message, but every other line in the show is interrupted by one of the characters singing this little jingle: If you have to go potty stop! and go right away ... flush and wash and be on your way!

By the end of one 25-minute episode, I'm singing the damn song, my kids are singing the damn song, and no one altered their potty methods!

Curious George

This is another show that drives me insane because it is so improbable and ridiculous. Yes, I understand that this story predates my birth, but why is there a man who looks like an oil tycoon for Bananaland housing a monkey in his apartment? And why does he take this monkey to human doctors, restaurants, and schools? And how can he talk to this monkey?

If the show is ever on (and, thank God, it never is), I find myself getting riled up over the fact that a monkey can walk into a store and have a chat with the owner by making a bunch of monkey noises and pointing ... and that no one finds it strange. At all. Then you throw in a dog that also can apparently communicate and this man with the yellow hat whose only friend in life is a monkey.

We have a handful of the books, one of which I read to the kids the other night. In it, George gets a job washing windows, but gets in trouble after he breaks into one of the apartments to paint a jungle scene on the walls and furniture. He nearly escapes, but breaks his leg in a fall and is sent to the hospital (not a vet, a hospital). 

The man with the yellow hat sees the story in the newspaper and rushes to the hospital to claim George so he can hire him as an actor to portray himself in a movie about his life as a curious monkey. Totally plausible.

The reason I'm recounting this story is because the final scene of the book has the man with the yellow hat smoking a cigar. Seeing him smoking a cigar gave him some credibility for me. Clearly anti-smoking laws have emasculated the man with the yellow hat.

In conclusion, as I look back over this blog, it appears the one thing you should take from my ramblings is to avoid PBS at all costs. As someone who loves Sesame Street, I don't recommend you avoid the network completely, but the evidence speaks for itself. There are some hokey and annoying shows on public television.

This is why your kids probably love the network and why you probably loved the network as a child. And with that, I'll provide a walk down PBS memory lane:

There's this guy, who did odd things in the name of books.
This guy, who had a second home so he could change into sweaters,
feed his fish, and play with trains.
These people, who were obsessed with dots.
And, finally, not a kids show, but let's end with Bob Ross
and his happy little trees!