Category Archives: Children’s TV Reviews

You Can Learn a Lot from Trump

First off, a quick thank ye to all those who are still following and maybe even reading me, and those who just started following, liking, commenting, etc.  I even thank you weirdos who left me the bizarrely critical comments cause gosh you’re fun.  I haven’t been writing as much, but I’m hoping to pick up on this because the counselor says it’s good to get out my Alice Rage in other ways than, say, strangling a coworker because MY GAWD he is STILL slamming the stapler from what seems like a distance of 10 feet so that it goes KABAMMMM and I jump out of my seat.  #bekindtostaplers

How am I supposed to concentrate on facebook when he's making noise?

How am I supposed to concentrate on work when he’s making noise?

I just had a relaxy moment. Back now!  Yes, now that I’m relaxed I should discuss what’s happened so far in my world.  I got knocked down, but I got up again, you ain’t never gonna keep me down so give me some booze and I will piss the night away.  Or something.  And in world news, our new president continues to do in just a few weeks what it took a couple of years for George W. Bush to do – make every country hate us.  He’s been all crank calling foreign leaders askin them what his job is, puttin’ em on notice, threatening war – what a hoot.  He even picked on Australia.  You know – all those Australian terrorists with their suicide bomber kangaroos.  No one ever sees that coming.

I kind of wish President Cheeto would quit doing that.  You know – talking. And tweeting.  And – making that face, just stop, stop now. But there is one thing I have to give Trump – he’s making people learn more about government right along with him. For instance, presidential cabinet positions keep getting filled, and for the first time people are caring because we’re wondering if he will literally put a Schnauzer (as long as it’s rich and white)  in one of the seats.  We just got a Secretary of Education who knows nothing about children, public schools or, uh, education since she failed her exam massively during try-outs.

Not sure who made this but thanks, Internet!

Not sure who made this but thanks, Internet!  Clearly the top person for the job!

I first learned about this via my regular news: comedy shows, but I wanted to learn more so I actually watched the real clips.  Bernie Sanders, Al Franken, Tim Kaine (remember him?  Hillary’s VP pick?  He’s actually pretty good), and Elizabeth Warren just bullied poor Betsy with crazy questions like are you for equal education for all, or did your family donate a few hundred million dollars to the Republican party, or what’s a school?   “I’ll study that!” she says, which is probably the first time she’s promised to study anything at all.  Al Franken said “I’m surprised – no actually I’m not,” which was absolutely hilarious totally out of line!  I might have watched the clips of them torturing her several times on youtube.  Education can be fun!

We also learned that banning a huge group of people from coming to our country (no matter how legal they are) based only on religion and nationality is ding ding ding against the constitution!  And federal judges – we have those! – have blocked it, for now.  We learned more about executive orders, like how a big wad of bacteria can sneak himself onto the nations’ security council by just slipping that in along with something else stupid, like building a wall to keep people of another nationality out because they are all bad hombres who sell drugs and rape and murder people.

Also we got educated that there is no such thing as terrorism by white people. I am so relieved.

Soon I’m sure we’ll learn more about foreign relations by going to war with them, as we have with past presidents, only this time it won’t take as long.  This learning is hurting my brain, and I’m exhausted already, and we aren’t through the first month yet.  And it’s not just us.  Other countries are also getting tired of all this education.  So I have a solution.  We move, but not to Canada (I’m sure you guys are next on the terrorist watch list, hide yo wives, hide yo kids).  No, we’re going to Nanalan, a place Thing Two introduced me to, and which we have had endless fun with, in spite of this show supposedly just being for children.  It acts as a kind of natural tranquilizer, like Bob Ross, only with puppets.  Take a look!

But wait, there’s more.  Like there’s an adventure with “a Lolly”!   I’ll show you in other posts.  Yes, we have no idea what Yoda’s love child here is saying, though props to the person for attempting to translate, but words no longer make sense in the real world either, so why here?  I’ll be with puppets eating peepos if you need me.

P.S. I have been very bad about going through my reader – it takes too much from my tiny hamster brain.  So if you will leave me links to you recent posts right here, I’ll read them and try to catch up.  Peepo.

Alice

 

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Alice and Too Much Birthday Cake!

Do you remember the Berenstain Bears books?  It’s this series of children’s books written by – wait for it – a couple named Berenstain.  Yeah, they named their creations after themselves.  Not the humblest bears, are they?

Show your happy family faces DANGIT!

How YOU doin’ Mama?

There are roughly eleventy billion books in this series.  I think after the 90th book or so, the Berenstains just started calling them in.  Recycling old books into new ones.  Getting ghost bear writers, etc.  After a while, you gotta run out of didactic topics to write about.  You see, most of the Berenstain Bears books are designed to teach lessons to children, yet they don’t answer some of the most basic questions themselves.  For instance:

What were Mama and Papa’s names before they became parents?  Girl Bear and Boy Bear?  Likewise, before Sister Bear (creative, am I right?) was born, Brother Bear was called Small Bear.  Which means he had to change his name because of a sibling. That’s just asking for sibling rivalry right there.  I mean, giving up your freaking crib is bad enough, but your name?  Jeez, people.

I will make you pay . . . .

I will make you pay . . . .

But then, having exhausted every other idea, they decided to have the Bears have a third cub. Well, there’s a problem there.  I mean, there’s only two official sexes, at least when it comes to bears.  So what to call the third bear?  Other sister bear?  Other brother bear?  Number Two?  It’s not like they could just start calling the bears Thing One and Thing Two or something I mean who would do that to their children?

Mama Bear is a freaking killjoy.

At least I’m not a killjoy like Mama Bear.

The third one was named Honey.  Unfair.  This kid gets a name.  And that’s not all. Brother and Sister have friends with actual names but they are stuck with Brother and Sister, at least until they get married and then I guess they become Mama and Papa, though hopefully not with each other.  Also notice their last name is Bear.  That’s like saying my name is Alice Human.  Hi, Mrs Human, how are you?  Just fine, come meet my children: Brother, Sister, and Other.

The Berenstain Bears Scrape the Bottom of the Barrel.

The Berenstain Bears Scrape the Bottom of the Barrel.

But what does this have to do with cake?  I’m getting to it.  See, I remember one of the Very Important Lessons they taught to children was one about eating too much junk food.  In fact, the book was called The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food.  There’s also one called The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Birthday, which could also fit, but I’m going to concentrate on the junk food one because that one just ticks me off.

I swear Mama Bear is ticked on almost every cover.

I swear Mama Bear is ticked on almost every cover.

See, in the story, Mama notices that Papa and the cubs are getting too fat.  I think that’s a bit presumptuous of her.  She ain’t exactly Kate Moss herself.  And wtf with always wearing her nightgown?  Like, get dressed already.

Exhibit A

Exhibit A

She gets a bee in her bonnet, so she goes all Michelle Obama on the family and takes them all to the doctor to hear about healthy food.  Because doctors totally do that.  My question is like, why wasn’t she just serving it in the first place if she’s so healthy?  Oh, wait, I bet Papa bought the food, and as you know, dads are almost always buffoons in cartoons and TV shows.  So Mama buys them healthy food like carrots and the kids actually eat it.

Back the truck up.  I want to know how she got them to do that.  There is no mention of ketchup in the books, so what caused the sudden change?

I have a feeling there was some corporal punishment involved.

I have a feeling there was some violent persuasion involved.

At the end of the book, they all run in the Bear Marathon.  Whoop-te-poop.

You know what I say?  I say the Berenstains need to quit being so judgmental.  How many of these books can you take?  The Berenstain Bears and The Truth (I can’t handle that book), The Berenstain Bears and Too Much TV, The Berenstain Bears Beat a Dead Horse.  I mean, enough already.  I don’t want any more lessons.  I want cake.

Too . . . many . . .birthdays . . .

Too . . . many . . .birthdays . . .

I might have had a little too much cake, though, because wow I just totally powered through this whole post in no time flat!  So toooo much birthday for Alice!  Tooo much cake!  But how to stop?  I read all these Berenstain self-help books and they have not cured my sugar addiction.  For realz, I mean, I cannot stop eating cake.  I actually stood at the table and ate cake with a spoon.  I forced Thing One to help me, which didn’t take much forcing, so that I didn’t eat another two pieces myself.  I have a cake problem.

I’ve heard it said that sugar can give you the serotonin rush you need, thus turning you from a Sad Pony into a Squirrel.  It totally does.  But this isn’t such a good thing, because my stomach hurts and I just injested like 5,000 calories and I’m afraid that typing and vibrating in place doesn’t burn nearly enough of these calories off.  So what now?  How do I solve this problem?

One more birthday to go this month – mine.  More caaaaaaaake!

Potty Training Videos Reviewed!

You might be wondering why I am reviewing potty training videos.  Don’t worry, the Things are long past potty training (THANK YOU GOD) but Speaker 7’s mini Speaker is still trying to train his mother.  I’m not sure if she’s viewed any of these videos yet, but she’s already done the potty chart, so we know she’s pretty desperate by now.  Therefore I dedicate this post to her and all the other parents still in the trenches of literal crap.

Ever heard of knocking?

Ever heard of knocking?

While we’re on the subject of crap, let’s get to the videos.  The first is a classic and involves a little girl unfortunately named Prudence.  It’s called “Once Upon a Potty” you know, like the fairy tales, only this time the princess is learning to use the royal throne instead of pooping hither and yon.  There is also a version for little princes, complete with instructions on the parts.  For instance, the cartoon Prudence bends over to show us all her butt hole.  It’s fascinating stuff, people.  I couldn’t find a clip of it (youtube failed me!) so here’s a picture which is worth a thousand words of horror.

Thank you for the demonstration, Prudence.

Thank you for the demonstration, Prudence.

I remember showing this video to at least the first Thing and possibly the second and getting a look that said “Yeah, I’m not buying it.”  But never fear, there are doodles, er, oodles more of these things to go!

You’ll be pleased to know that Elmo has a potty training video, thus combining one of the most irritating puppets ever and toilets into one giant bucket of video poop.  Elmo is learning to use the potty with the help of his Dad – a bigger elmo with this creepy mustache.  At least he SAYS he’s his dad.  Anyway, there’s a rock and roll song about the potty.  But it gets better.

Elmo's dad has Creeper written all over him.

Elmo’s dad has Creeper written all over him.

Later in the program, the kids start shouting out the names they give to their various body emissions.  “Poop!” “Pee!” “Urinate!” “Number Two!” etc.  You just know the urinate kid has yuppie parents.  My friend and I watched this with our kids when they were very young and fell over laughing hysterically.  Keep in mind we had toddlers and preschoolers at the time, so we were out of our minds.

Here’s a clip with yet another piece of horror from Elmo’s Potty Time.  Remember that song “Birds do it, bees do it, let’s fall in love?” Yeah, that one by Cole Porter that’s been used in movies, musicals, and sung by respectable artists even though it’s a rather annoying song.  But just wait till Elmo gets a hold of it!  You will never be able to hear it the same way again.

Finally, we have Bear in the Big Blue House.  I don’t know if you remember Bear.  I never really watched his show because I didn’t have whatever channel he was on at the time.  But I rented this video from the library, just like I rented the others, because I was desperate.  Changing diapers on a tiny baby is one thing.  By the time said baby is a toddler, it’s gotten old.  Very, very old.  And smelly.  You’ll do almost anything at this point.

Bear is a giant freaking bear that is sure to scare the crap out of children, so I figured he was a good bet.  He has muppet pals, all of them designed by Jim Henson who brought us Miss Piggy and Kermit.  I’m extremely thankful they didn’t lower their standards by appearing in this video.

I like how the mouse looks like he's gonna explode.

I like how the mouse looks like he’s gonna explode.

In this video, Bear’s friend Mouse is potty training.  I remember when I had mice in my old house, and boy do I wish Bear had been around then because cleaning up mouse poop is even worse than toddler poop because at least you can’t usually catch diseases from toddler poop.  Although for all you potential parents out there, they can get worms.  If anybody had told me this stuff before I had kids, I’m pretty sure I would have immediately joined the nearest convent.

But where was I?  Oh, right, disturbing stuff.  At one point in this video, there’s this bizarre shadow dance with this jungle beat and afro’d shadows bouncing on the wall like an LSD trip.  It’s the Potty Soul Train.   Check it out.

I quite remember my expression upon seeing this was something like this.

OMG!!!!!!!!!!!

OMG!!!!!!!!!!!

My child, of course, had long since started playing with blocks and ignoring the entire thing.  I honestly thought Thing One would never potty train.  But then she entered a preschool for kids with learning delays (for some reason they thought she should know how to use scissors at three.  Who the hell gives their toddler scissors?) that also took kids who weren’t potty trained.  My life was saved.

With Thing Two (I’m well aware how their names in this context are rather interesting), I tried training her for several months before two then gave up. At three, she decided she’d had enough fun screwing with Mommy and just started using it by herself.  Like it was her idea all the time.

I’d suggest a cat.  They train themselves.

My First Troll or Dragon Tales Still Sucks

When I first started reviewing 50 Shades of Awful and Twidud, I figured I’d get some angry fan spittle all over my blog.  Even when I had only a handful of viewers, it wouldn’t have surprised me.  There are some fans so dedicated they will seek out anybody, no matter how small, in order to protect their sacred cow (moooo).  And yet – I never heard a peep.  In fact, one person who was a fan of Shades still thought I was funny and reblogged my post.  Go figure.

Then it happened.  A troll.  A real, live troll!  On my blog!  It was a wondrous day, you guyz.  I had to read the comment a few times to make sure it was real.  It was so much better than the spammers (this blog to read is educational to be coming back soon.)  You’ll never guess what post irritated the reader.  Not 50 Shades, not Twilight, not my occasional political ramblings, not the times I screwed up revered American holidays like Christmas and Easter and Thanksgiving.  Nope.

Welcome, troll!

Welcome, troll!

It was Dragon Tales.  It’s been a while since I’ve done a review of awful children’s T.V.  I must get back to this, now that I’ve finished awful adult books.  But the troll was angry!  He or she told me “Dragon Tales is a good show!  It’s for kids, not for 40-year-old fartheads like you!”  Said troll had no blog, just an email address that went something like “dragontalesmaniacalfreakedoutfan.”  Let me tell you, I was deeply saddened by this insult.  For your information, troll, I am NOT forty, okay?

And that’s not all!  There was another comment on another post, this one about how Clifford was either doin’ steroids or exposed to nuclear waste.  It said, and I quote “Again, mean!”  Mean?  Me?  I thought my blog was sweetness and light!  Now I’m all disillusioned.

Sort of like when I saw this show the first time.  Those are NOT dragons.

Sort of like when I saw this show the first time. Those are NOT dragons.

I thought this was the end of it, but I think this person has a whole fan club that is still tracking my blog.  I keep getting hits because of it.  Check out the most recent search words people used to find my blog.  Just today: dragon tales (10), dragon tails (2), dragon tale (1), dragontales (1), and yesterday: dragon tales (11), dragon’s tale (3), dragon tale (1).  And this has been going on for a while now.  It might be my new top search word this year.  It would help if this fan club could figure out how to spell Dragon Tales.

Far out, huh?  This just goes to show you how bizarre the Internet can be.  I suppose I should be thankful to these guys for giving my blog traffic.  Therefore, I’ve decided to review it again.  Here’s the original post for any of you who missed it.  And a clip of the show, too.  Guard your stomachs.

 

Upon reviewing the show again, dear troll, I have to say . . . it still sucks.  Yeah.  Pretty much.  I mean, yes, it is for children and not adults.  But adults are usually forced to watch this crap too.  Unless they prefer to neglect their children like Max and Ruby’s parents.  (Max and Ruby review coming up, Max and Ruby fans!)  Besides, just because it’s for kids doesn’t mean it can’t have a little quality to it.  For instance, I can watch Sesame Street without gagging as long as I turn it off before the Elmo comes on.  But Dragon Tales makes the mistake of not only being annoying and stupid, but pretentious about it.

So sorry to spill your milk there (everyone makes mistakes, oh yes, they do) but I don’t like it.  Sure the dragons teach the kids Spanish (Why are the dragons Spanish?  Do they also have Russian dragons?  Scottish ones?) but we already had Dora for that (Saltaaaaaaaaaa!)  We didn’t need any more.  I mean, Dora was shrieky and irritating, but at least she didn’t whine nearly as much as these so-called dragons.  So, yeah, review stands.  On the suck-o-meter, we have a ten.  But please – do come back.  I’ll leave the rug cleaner out for you.

Love and kisses,

Alice

Powertools Are My Friends

It’s an oldie but a goodie (I think?) from last year. This is called recycling, folks – it’s a good thing. Anyhoo, tomorrow I’ll be back with updates on my Epic Quest, but today I give you Bob the Builder and Handy Manny. Whee!

aliceatwonderland

I know that men can become attached to their tools and machines.  When you start having conversations with your equipment, though, you might have a bit of a problem.  Next up: two children’s shows feature talking tools and machines.  (What is it with these talking inanimate object shows?  Are there not enough animate objects to make shows about?  Like, say, giant mutant dogs?  Nevermind.)  Our first contestant is:
 
Bob the Builder
                Bob is a likable enough guy.  He is a builder – hence the name of the show.  But he doesn’t do the job alone.  He also works with Wendy (they’re just friends) and a lot of different vroom-vroom machines, making him a natural favorite for boys.  These machines of his, though, are not ordinary machines.  They are living machines, which technically means they are both Bob’s equipment AND employees.  I’m not sure how you would figure out…

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Maggie and the Fab-u-lous Beast

For my latest Children’s TV review I took a frequent request from my children. The show’s actual title is “Maggie and the Ferocious Beast” which I guess is supposed to be ironic, because this beast is anything but ferocious.  I’d say “fab-u-lous!” was much more apt.  What do you think?

The beast is the one on the far left

Yeah, so this show is about a little girl named Maggie (surprise) who either has very vivid hallucinations or happens to live right next to a rather dangerous portal universe.  A yellow . . . thing with orange spots that look like giant pepperoni kidnaps her from her bedroom window every night.  She’s quite willing – I’m guessing Stockholm Syndrome? – to go with him, and her parents never seem to notice her absence.  So like I said, either delusions or portal universes where time doesn’t pass. Take your pick.

She calls him “beast” because either that’s his name or she’s just too rude to remember anything but that.  If I got to name him, I’d go with Elton.  I just think the similarities are uncanny.

Elton and Beast: Equally fabulous!

Anyway, so Maggie and Elton have another friend, a pig named Hamilton.  Get it?  Ham-il . . . nevermind.  Apparently he’s homeless, because he lives in a box.  Yet he’s the most uppity homeless pig I’ve ever seen because he’s always wearing that preppy sweater (with an H so he remembers his initial) and matching chinos, probably bought from the Gap.  Observe.

Yeah – this has got to be a parallel universe. Who would imagine that?

He’s also incredibly obnoxious.  Sometimes I wish they would make “Ham” out of Hamilton.  I am not the only one.  While she was at church, Thing One created this  for me to use on my blog post.  It’s called “The End of Hamilton from Maggie and the Ferocious Beast.”

By Thing One
I am such a good influence

In case you can’t read that, Maggie says “Who knew Hamilton would make such good bacon?”  I’m especially impressed with the set of preppy clothes laid out beside them while they knosh on their former friend.  I have a feeling children’s show cartoonists will be knocking on our door any minute to beg Thing One to work for them.

This show had some fab-u-lous plots.  One time the wind blew so hard that Elton lost his spots.  They blew off and one landed in Hamilton’s face.  That would have to be pretty gross.  Imagine if part of someone’s skin blew off and hit you in the face?  Yikes.  Elton felt very naked without his spots, even though he’s always naked.  And what’s up with that?  How come Hamilton wears an entire set of clothes and Elton Beast doesn’t?  I mean, Hamilton lives in a freaking box.  The least Elton could do is put some pants on, especially with a little kid around.  Jeez.

Maggie’s not a lot better.  She has a whiny little voice and if not for her, this show wouldn’t exist since it’s from her viewpoint.  Otherwise it would just be Beast and Ham, the Odd Couple for children.  We wouldn’t be having all these whimsical freaking adventures either.  I’m so sick of whimsical I could throw up in Hamilton’s box.  Will Elton Beast get his spots back?  Who cares?  I’m pretty sure they found them and stuck them back on, though they never did explain how they fell off in the first place.  Could you imagine if that could really happen?  You’d have to hide your Dalmatians every time the wind blew. 

On the plus side, I do not have to watch this show anymore, at least not without the alternately hilarious and disturbing commentary from my children.  That makes any show worthwhile.

Final Analysis:

Irritating plots and characters: Yes

Elton John look-a-like Beast with Removable Spots: Yes

Preppy Homeless Pig in a Box: Yes

Delusions and/or alternate dimensions: Yes

 

How Many Legs Am I Holding Up?

For my next review of Children’s T.V., I really wanted to review Maisy Mouse.  There were some technical difficulties with that.  You see, I have two daughters, but for ease of reference I will call them Thing 1 and Thing 2.  Thing 2 told me she still has fond memories of Maisy and I was not to touch her with my snark.  I was saddened by this.  I mean, look at this mouse.  She’s begging for snark.

Maisy Mouse. So much potential.

Ah, well.  Instead, I went with their suggestion of Oswald.  This is a truly disturbed cartoon.  I know I say that about all the cartoons I review, but really, these writers had to be out of their minds on something.  I’m not sure what country we can blame for this cartoon, so we’ll just blame Canada. They’re an easy target.  I know, for instance, that they are responsible for Dudley Do-Right.  That shows they are capable of this level of awful.

What were they thinking?

Oswald is an octopus that lives in the city.  Of course.  He wears nothing but a freakishly tiny hat on his head and has a pet that is a literal weenie dog – as in a dachshund forced to permanently wear a hotdog bun, because these poor dogs don’t have enough issues.  And it only makes sense that if you are a walking, talking octopus that you would own a pet, and that pet would be a dog.  For instance, Mickey Mouse owns Pluto, a dog, but is friends with Goofy, another dog.  I think.  Gosh, I’m confused.

Anyway, I really think you have to see a clip to truly believe how far out this is, so I have helpfully provided you with one.  You’re welcome.

Anyway, Oswald also has friends, and they are just as normal as he is.  First is Henry, a penguin with something stuck up his butt, because man is he stuffy.  At least for a penguin.  They are usually so happy-go-lucky.  You’re always seeing them sliding around on their butts in the ice and snow.  This one is in the city.  No wonder he’s uncomfortable.  Then again, Oswald is an octopus and by all rights should have dried up by now.  If only.

But wait, there’s more.  They also have a friend that is a – wait for it – Daisy with arms and legs that rides a bicycle.  And she’s named, you will never guess, Daisy.  There is a reason daisies aren’t animate.  They’re so freaking annoying you would spray them all with Weed-Be-Gone. 

They live in some sort of bizarro world with buildings shaped like baseballs and Old West saloons, stop signs with baseball mits at the top, and a cast of background characters straight out of your nightmares.  In one scene, you will notice a living cactus.  He’s just sitting there, drinking a coke, wearing a sombrero, minding his own business.  Then up flies the waitress, Madame Butterfly, to take their order and OMG HELP ME.

And I just have to think – who thought this up?  Who comes up with this kind of insane stuff?  Somebody has to, right?  Who just sits around and suddenly decides, “I know, I will make a cartoon with an Octupus who is pals with a penguin who owns a spoon collection.  And they will live in the fifth circle of Hades.  And just when parents think they can’t take anymore, we will have the octopus start singing.”

I think writers for children’s shows are just irritated that they don’t get to write for shows like Grey’s Anatomy, so they decide to make everyone else pay.  By doing the penguin polka while the octopus plays piano.  Children’s show writers are just mean.

Final Analysis:

  Talking, walking octopus with freakishly tiny hat – Yes

Penguin with spoon collection – Yes

Daisy with arms and legs – Yes

Crazed, revenge-seeking writers – Yes

Stupid Hand Tricks

 

Most of the shows I have covered by now have been didactic, dull, obnoxious, and repetitive.  But for a show that has truly dialed an 11 on the WTF scale, you have to go with Oobi.

OOBI

 

I’m trying to imagine the writer at Nick Jr. who came up with this premise and how the meeting with his boss went. 

Writer: I have a new idea for a children’s show.  Sock puppets talk to each other like cave men.  There’s a family with two kids.  We’ll call them Bob and Jane, and they can be the stars of the show. 

Boss:  Sock puppets?  That’s ridiculous.  We don’t have enough money in our budgets for socks.

Writer: Oh.  Well how about we just use naked hands?

Boss: No.  That would look lazy.  Here, I have these creepy eye balls left over from Halloween.  Stick them on the top.

Writer: That’s really disturbing.  Do you think kids would watch it?

Boss:  Kids will watch anything.  Oh, and those names are so boring.  Come up with something catchier, like a noise you might make when your appendix is about to burst.

Writer: How about Oobi and Uma?

Boss: Perfect!  And the head office says we need to represent different types of families.  So get rid of the parents and give them a grandpa.  That way we only need one hand instead of two.  But don’t call him grandpa.  Call him Grandpu.

Writer: Grandpu?

Boss: Yeah, that’s my pet name for my grandpa.  He kind of smells.

Writer: Okay, then.  I’ll get right on it!

I bet you’re still thinking I’m making this up.  I am not.  This is so totally real.   You really have to see it for yourself.  

When my mom friend first told me about it, I thought it sounded pretty weird.  I had no idea, people, no idea.  See this show has these hands with eyes on the top that talk to one another.  And it’s not just a five minute spot here or there.  No, it’s an entire show of this.  My mom friend said, “I wish I could get paid to do stupid stuff with my hands.”  Don’t we all?  Except my hands would probably not get the G rating after having watched some of the stuff that passes for children’s T.V.

Anyway, like with Clifford, this show poses all sorts of questions.  There’s one episode where Oobi and his pal play patty cake with their faces.  That’s also the one where little sister Uma gets sick.  Her fingers blow into a Kleenex and then she drinks juice with those same fingers.  And there’s another one where Uma goes to preschool.  Of course there’s a preschool for hands, stupid.  And she draws with her fingers, except her fingers, remember, are her face.  Or maybe they’re her teeth?  I get so confused.

Don’t ask me how he rides the bike.

 

Let’s just think about this, shall we?  We’ve seen them pick up food with their hands, which would be normal except that they also swallow with their hands.  And they brush teeth, which I guess is their nails.  And then there’s the bathroom.  Would it all come out of their elbows?  Maybe I’m reading too much into this.  But I can’t be the only one who has wondered about the physics of this show.

I am?  Maybe I just need to get out more.

My daughter liked this show when she was three.  She doesn’t want to believe me, but she did.  Kids like weird stuff.  She went to school and talked with her hands.  This is entirely believable coming from a three-year-old, especially this one, who would make the seatbelts in the back seat of the car talk.  I have creative children.  But we have to remember that adults came up with this program.  It’s really not normal for adults to talk with their hands unless they’re deaf and using sign language.  Otherwise, it’s weird people.  Weird.

On the other hand, it’s extraordinary because they couldn’t have had much in the budget for this show, which must have meant almost everything was profit.  I mean, it’s not like they had to do a whole lot of casting.  The actors could have looked like Quasimodo.  All we saw was one hand.  I’m trying to imagine how they must have acted this out.  Adults and kids crawling around on the floor with one hand in the air.  Can you imagine the actor playing Grandpu getting home from a hard day of work?  “Man, my arm is exhausted!  What’s for dinner?” 

In the end, I have to hand it (pun intended) to these guys.  This was pure genius.  And it aired for FIVE YEARS.  To heck with you, Sesame Street, covering your hands with puppets.  How lame.  All that work when all they really needed were some creepy eyeballs.  A shame, really.

 

Final Analysis:

Bodily function character names: Yes

Creepy eyeballs: Yes

Marketing Genius: Yes

Freaking Disturbing: Yes, yes, yes.

OPERA: NOW WITH 100% MORE BABY ANIMALS!

Hey, it’s been a while since I’ve thought about awful children’s television.  But the other day someone mentioned this show that I had just gotten out of my brain, so I figured I would vomit it up so you could enjoy it as well.  You’ve got to like my imagery, right?  Anyway, today we are covering:

 

 WONDER PETS

Oh, the wonder of Wonder Pets.  The wonder I didn’t throw blunt objects at the T.V. screen.  This was another of Noggin’s (later called Nick Jr. because their noggins didn’t make the connection to Nick, I guess?) creations, made to especially torture parents.

What was special about this show?  Well first it used something called “photo-puppetry”, or taking pictures of real animals and animating them along with cartoony stuff.  I learned the word “photo-puppetry” from Wikipedia, the source of all knowledge.  Anyway, that wasn’t the worst part by far.  They also had the bright idea of having these adorable little animals sing their lines at an impossibly high pitch through  the entire show.  An operetta, if you will, only with baby animals.

And it’s just as fabulous as you’re imagining, if by fabulous you mean “want to plug your ears up and scream”.  There are three main characters.  Linny is a guinea pig, Tuck is a turtle, and Ming-Ming is a duckling.  Whenever I saw Ming-Ming I thought of that Chinese dish, Peking Duck.   I bet she’d have been tasty in a nice orange sauce.

But I’m getting off topic.  These three animals are classroom pets during the day, but when the kids go home, they bust out of the cages and go on rabies inspired homicidal rampages.  Um, okay, that didn’t actually happen, but it would have been cool, right?  I’d have totally watched that show.  But no, the trio instead rescued baby animals.  Every day they’d get a call on the pencil holder about some baby animal that needed rescuing.  I’m not sure why these baby animals were getting in trouble so often.  After a while, I started to suspect sabotage on the part of the Triumphant Trio.  I mean, we’re talking job security here, right?

Got another call from Commissioner Gordon, guys!

Anyhoo, the same thing happened every episode.  They’d get the call, wake up, and stop pretending to be normal pets sitting around in their own poop and become super annoying pets that sing!  The same song, every time.  “We’re Wonder Pets and we’re on our way . . .”  Scream, er, sing with me!  They’d change into outfits in the scrap box, so they could, you know, blend in with the locals. Then they’d hop in the flyboat, composed of various objects from around the classroom, and take off to wherever the animal was in trouble. 

They visited all sorts of exciting new places.  One time they entered a Chinese painting and helped out a baby crane that was too dumb to get away from a volcano, I think.  It was a moving experience.  After the trio freed the baby, the parent would show up out of nowhere (about time) to thank them and the Wonder Pets would reward themselves with a thrilling snack of celery.

Most Annoying Character: That award would have to go to Ming-Ming, the Chinese duckling that speaks with a cute little lisp.  I hate cute little lisps on cartoon characters.  If it’s on your own child, it’s sweet, because hey you spent 9 months making the kid, so you’ve got something invested there.  But on a cartoon character, it’s forced, fakey, and grates on your nerves.  I often thought that if Ming-Ming said, “This is sewious” one more time, I was going to eat my Peking Duck right in front of her.

This is sewius, guys . . . hey, why does that lady have a knife and fowk?

Speaking of investments, it is unbelievable how much time and effort is invested in each show.  According to the Wikipedia entry prepared by people who know way too much about this show, a ten member live orchestra performed the music.  Can you imagine spending your entire life learning an instrument, only to grow up and have to play for a children’s cartoon show?   That would be a fun thing to put on your resume for the Phil Harmonic. 

Also, each episode supposedly took 33 weeks from start to finish to complete.  33 weeks?  We’re talking (hold on, math is hard) a little over eight months here.  That’s almost enough time to gestate another kid.  What could possibly have taken so long?  The beginning and ending are almost totally the same every episode.  Is it the annoying sing-song dialogue?  The songs?  The animation?  Because I think they’re going to way too much work here, especially considering there have been other shows on the same station like Oobie, a show that consisted totally of people doing stupid things with their hands.  I haven’t covered that one yet, have I?  Oh, wow, are you in for a treat.

But back to Wonder Pets.  Sure there were some redeeming factors.  Kids got to learn about opera early, because it’s never too early to learn to hate opera.  The art was at least bearable, unlike some of the freaked out creatures you’d see in other shows like the dolls with button eyes two different sizes.  And kids got to learn that you no matter what country you’re in, you absolutely cannot trust parents to take care of their children.  Great lessons.

This show is still on, folks, so you should be sure and watch.  Just invest in some ear plugs while junior zones out.  Trust me on this.  You’ll thank me later.

Final Analysis:

Annoying lisping character: Yes

Operatic dialogue: Yes

Deadbeat animal parents: Yes

Best watched with ear plugs: Yes

CRAZY TOWN

       We’re back to the kiddie shows in this latest installment of bizarro-world.  There’s more than enough freaks in this one for your very own freak sandwhich, with some to spare for a friend.  Next up is:
 
LAZY TOWN
 
           When I first heard the name of this show I thought, “A town of laziness?  At last I have found my people!”  Sadly, it turned out that the town wasn’t what I’d hoped for.  There were only three humans, and all of them were disturbing.  I mean more disturbing than the puppets, which is saying something.
 
  Okay, so the story is this.  There’s this town of puppets that is getting along perfectly fine being lazy jerks and then comes this pink-haired human girl to ruin everything.  She decides that everyone in this town should be healthy and exercise like she’s Michelle Obama or something. 

Oh, the perkiness . . . .

 
            And she had help.  Her help came in the form of an adult man in an uncomfortably (for me anyway) skin-tight jumpsuit.  His name was Sportacus.  Yes, really.  He flew in a sporty blimp and dropped down from the sky every once in a while to help out pink-haired girl.  I don’t remember her name, and I’m not looking it up, so I’ll just call her Katy Perry. 
 
            So Dork-a-cus and Katy spent every episode trying to educate the puppets on physical fitness and nutrition.  There was a stupid puppet mayor and several stupid puppet children.  I remember one was obsessed with candy and often had a lollipop stuck to his forehead.  Another one was called Stingy. I think he was a member of the Young Republicans.  And there was a black one with headphones because . . . I don’t remember.  Maybe he was trying to block out the sound like I was.
 
            But, oh no, I’m leaving out the bad guy!  The oh-so-subtle Robbie Rotten of the

Robbie and his victims . . . er, disguises

fake chin and freaked out disguises that could fool no one but Our Hero and Katy Perry.  His mission in life was to bring down Sportacus, so you kind of had to cut him a break there.  Guy’s heart was in the right place, but sadly his brain wasn’t.  So his plans to keep the lazy in Lazytown were always thwarted.

 
            I remember one episode where there’s this race and Sportacus goes on about how fruit is fuel for your body blah blah crap and so Robbie decides to trick him with a sugar filled apple.  Sporty takes a bite and ka-blammo!  Instant Diabetic!  He immediately has a total spaz attack right on the track.  I think even Robbie was weirded out.
 
            The thing that was ickiest for me was that little pink-haired Katy had to have this adult guy hanging out

Yeah, nothing creepy at all about this picture

with her all the time.  And he was totally French on top of that.  At least I think he was.  He kind of had an accent and this stupid Hitler stash.  Point being, it just seemed kind of odd for him to be hangin’ around a young girl all the time.  Couldn’t Sportacus find someone his own age?  Creeper.

 
            Also Katy was way too darn perky to live.  She always had this dance number at the end with Sportacus in which she bounced around like a caffeine fueled Chihuahua.  After watching a half-hour of that show, I was ready to eat several sugar apples, or possibly throw the sugar apples directly at her head.  I mean, what’s so wrong with being lazy?  Must we all conform to your impossible standards, Michelle – er, Katy???  Maybe we don’t want to be fit and healthy.  That’s why we’re here in front of the television and not at the gym. 
 
Besides, if those two freaks are the spokespeople for fitness, I’d rather chill with Robbie.
 
 
Final Analysis:
Creeper-Factor: High
Psychedelic Hair: Check
Irritating Puppets: Yup
Perky-Meter: Please make her stop