Questioning Children’s Television

Having two young sons makes me an expert.  Not on parenting.  You’ve got to have initials after your name and write books with titles like Learning from Your Toddler: Understanding Your Child’s Repressed Environmental Fears to be considered an expert on parenting.  No, my expertise is in a different field.  Children’s television.

But even the experts have their own questions from time to time.  Here are a few of mine.

Why does the man in the yellow hat always get mad at Curious George?  

Look man, if you own a monkey and allow him to leave your home on his own to buy doughnuts for you, he’s going to mess things up.  The police will get involved, something will catch on fire and you’re going to pay a lot of money in the process.  But what were you expecting?  Never, ever send a monkey to buy doughnuts for you.

And while I’m talking about Curious George, what’s with the man in the yellow hat?  What job does he have that allows him to own a public hazard for a pet, live in a gigantic New York City apartment as well as a second home in the country all the while dressing up like a crayon?  I’ve been on this planet for 36 years and I’ve seen some crazy things and I’ve even been forced to wear some messed up uniforms but I’ve never seen a grown man whose only job requirement seemed to be dressing up like the color yellow.  Even the girl on the side of the road dressed up like the Statue of Liberty holding a sign that says Crazy Jim’s Tax Service: Located in the Piggly Wiggly Shopping Center thinks the man in the yellow hat looks ridiculous.

What’s with the adults on kid’s shows?

Why are grown men that we would never allow our kids to spend time with in real life allowed to have their own shows?  Would you let the guy from Blue’s Clues, the one that wears the same clothes everyday and spends way too much time with his dog, babysit your kid?  Or how about the dude from Yo Gabba Gabba that looks like he really wanted to be in Outkast but got rejected because he didn’t know how to rap so he decided to start his own show for kids?

“Honey, mommy has to work late this afternoon so a man in orange tights with a furry orange hat will pick you up.  You can’t miss him because he’ll be the one dancing.  Oh, and he’ll have monsters with him.  See you at dinner!”

What’s the difference between Goofy and Pluto?

Both appear to be dogs but one can talk, drive a car and wear clothes.  Is Pluto just sandbagging?  Maybe he just never made the leap to adulthood like Goofy.  Either way, this needs to be addressed.

What’s with the laugh track on cartoons from the 1970s?

Fat Albert had one and so did Scooby Doo.  Were the producers thinking they fooled us, like we actually thought that a couple of hundred people were standing around some drawing table and laughing as a guy drew stuff?  And what exactly is the purpose of the laugh track?

“Man, this show is terrible.”

“Oh wait, people are laughing.  Maybe we should too.  Let’s keep watching.  Hilarious!”

What exactly is a Backyardigan?

Why does Caillou have his own show?

This kid is a punk who deserves a beating, sorry, a stern talking to.  Who thought it would be okay to develop an entire show around a whiny little kid that disobeys his incompetent parents, destroys stuff and gets away with it all?  Who needs a show about this when you can just go to the playground at Burger King and see the same thing?  Caillou’s parents are probably the type that talk to the other cartoon parents, maybe Little Bill’s mom and dad,  and say things like, “I just don’t know what we’re doing wrong” or “He’s really a good kid deep down inside” as their precious boy chews on Little Bill’s ear while standing on the cat.

“Cailou, don’t make him bleed!  Aren’t they so cute at that age?”

There’s got to be some rabid family of Backyardigans that the TV Backyardigans aren’t allowed to play with that Cailou could go spend the summer with.  Now there’s a show that would be worth watching.