We’re TV addicts in this house and my kids watch a fair amount of TV. Liam likes to watch kiddie shows when he gets up in the morning and on days that he doesn’t have pre-school I generally let him watch about an hour and a half of programming. I will also let him watch one movie per day. Yes, it sounds like a lot but it doesn’t keep him from being so smart he scares me and it doesn’t seem to make him hyperactive so I don’t really have a problem with it. We try to watch Playhouse Disney, PBS Kids, or Noggin so we make an attempt for his TV watching to be educational.
Of course this means that I get tortured by children’s TV programming every. single. day. If you name the show, I have probably seen at least one episode of it. Except Yo Gabba Gabba. That shit scares me.
I’ve noticed lately that either the people that come up with kids TV are just oblivious or they are intentionally slipping in stuff to makes the parents go “oh hell, they did not just say that did they?”
A few examples:
- Handy Manny. Manny Garcia and his nine tools live in the town of Sheetrock Hills and they help out the townspeople great and small with their handyman type problems. Included in the cast of characters is Kelly, the owner of the local hardware store. If you watch the show enough you will see that Kelly always has *just* what Manny needs. The most esoteric part for your project? Yep, Kelly’s got it. And they shove it in your face, too! “Kelly, you always have what we need!” Yeah, she’s always got what Manny needs. In her pants.
- Special Agent Oso (Creepy): A turquoise and yellow panda bear (the fuck?) who in James Bond fashion helps little kids out with their problems. Well, James Bond minus the booze and broads. They even go so far as to parody Bond titles and sing Shirley Bassey-esque themes. This morning I was treated to an episode entitled “My Cousin’s Special Salad.” Ok, that’s not even subtle anymore! The dialogue even got as a far as “I better toss this salad fast!” and “Hey! You’re tossing the salad!” and “You used salad forks to toss the salad!” (um, ow?) I mean, that’s just blatant.
- Max and Ruby: Two bunny rabbits who seem to live back in the Little House age, have no parental supervision to speak of, and Ruby is a total busybody that Max has to find a way to circumvent every time. For each episode Max says one word over and over while the oblivious Ruby keeps not understanding his meaning. In one episode she tells Max “No, Max, no one gets in Grandma’s special box.” EXCUSE ME?!
- Franklin: This one is about a turtle named Franklin and all his forest friends – none of whom have real names, they just go by Bear, Possum, etc. There is a girl character by the name of Beaver (I know!) and she is aptly named because she is a total See You Next Tuesday. But, come on! You had to have a character named BEAVER?!
I can’t figure out if they’re trying to be like Looney Tunes which are funny to kids and even funnier to adults but honestly? They are totally missing the mark if that’s what they’re going for. Looney Tunes had style, it was double entendre of the highest order. This stuff? Pains me. It really does.
So, I usually spend the morning trying not to do a spit take with my coffee while the TV is on.