Sunday, November 27, 2011

Children's Television

I am not ashamed to admit that ABC4kids is raising Charlotte. Ok well maybe a little bit ashamed. However it is the easy thing to do when you are feeling sick. Charlotte is the sort of child who doesn't like to play independently. I find it disappointing that she won't amuse herself, and there are only so many activities we can do during the day. However she will sit quite happily in front of the TV for great lengths of time which gives me a break and lets me do things like take care of Angus.

But...most children's TV annoys me immensely. I'm sure it's all been developed with specific educational goals in mind, however most of it is just annoying. So if you are not familiar with Children's television, here is a bit of a cheat sheet of what to look out for:

Fireman Sam (a show about the fire station in the town of Ponty Pandy): at first I liked Fireman Sam until you realise that about 90% of the call outs that the emergency services attend are caused by Norman Price, his mother, and her boyfriend (their relationship evolves but he never becomes any more than a bit on the side). I want to smack Norman Price and can't understand why they aren't just run out of Ponty Pandy!

Canimals: a show about animals that are half can, half animal. Enough said. I did notice in the credits, after the animators, the producers and so on, was the publicity team, the merchandise team, and the marketing team. A show designed to make a buck.

Olivia: Olivia is a pig and this is about her life as she goes to school with her friends. They walk on their hind legs which is just really really odd. She is also a bit arrogant.

Thomas the Tank Engine: Everyone knows and loves Thomas. Yet they are frequently involved in incidents from derailments, loss of goods, structural collapses, running late, and outright collisions. And all the (fat/thin depending on which politically correct version you are watching) controller does is shake his head and say “I am very disappointed in you”. The government of Sodor should really convene a royal commission into the railway network. However... the controller always has his hired goons standing by so I wouldn't be surprised if there were a few backroom deals being done to avoid this.

Bananas in Pyjamas: There is a new animated version of the Bananas being shown now and I despise it. For some reasons, they have made the Bananas appear as if they have mush for brains (which I guess technically they do). In one episode I saw recently the Bananas found some ducks and said “lets count, one duck, two ducks, what comes next? Another duck!” They can't even count to three.

Gaspard and Lisa: this is actually quite a cute show. Gaspard and Lisa are friends who live in Paris. They are also bears of some sort. Which is fine. But they and their family are the only ones in the entirety of Paris who are walking talking bears. I don't quite understand how these two families have evolved when no other animal has. It reeks of speciesism.

Miffy: Miffy is one of those favourites where we all read the books. She is a cute fluffy bunny, but I wonder how she will taste in some rabbit stew? She has a lot of friends, Poppy Pig, Boris Bear. Yet when she attends school she ONLY goes with the other white, fluffy bunnies. Hmmm. Seems a bit wrong to me.

In the Night Garden: This show is guaranteed to have the littlies in a trance for an entire 30 minutes. I wouldn't be surprised if there were some subliminal messages going on. You have Iggle Piggle and Oopsy Daisy who have an unrequited love. The Pontypines are tiny ant-like people who have 8 children. Given that they all sleep in the same room I can only think that she is channelling octomum as I can't see how they created 7 children after the first one! But I feel most sorry for Macca Pacca. He quite clearly needs some mental health support services given his obsessive compulsive tendencies (he hoards, arranges and sleeps with rocks). He likes to clean things including people (surely a violation of some public decency laws) and is forced to wander the area with only a wheely walker for support. But there are some good things in the Night Garden. The Pinky Ponk is a transport device like an airship where they serve cocktails. Not sure what is in them, looks like a daiquiri of some sort. I wish I could have a ride on a Pinky Ponk!