Tag Archives: children’s TV

New Kids Show: Mutey and Friends!

The Things and I were eating at Wendy’s and came up with a fabulous idea for a new kid’s T.V. show.  In their Kid’s Meals, they got “smart links” that you can attach together to form a giraffe.  If you squint.  A lot.  They each got a set, so we decided to make our own . . . creation.  Meet Mutey – the mutant giraffe.

Meet Mutey

Meet Mutey

Mutey is a mutant, but he’s just like YOU!  Only he was raised in nuclear waste.  And has two heads.  And two stomachs.  And we’re not sure about the other parts.  But otherwise, just like YOU and ME.  He’s special!  Not only that, he has special friends too!

Roadkill Racoon

Roady the Roadkill Racoon

This is Mutey’s best bud.  My husband came up with him while we were excitedly discussing our new show in front of several somewhat worried Wendy’s customers.  Roady the Roadkill Raccoon was involved in an unfortunate accident and flattened but reanimated with the powers of electricity and play-doh!

But that’s not all.  Mutey has other friends who make special appearances from time to time to freak out brighten everyone’s day!  They also teach lessons like the ABCs, only backwards, and numbers from eleventy billion to -286.

Zombie Duck, Confused Penguin, and Sabertooth Kitteh

Zombie Duck, Confused Penguin, and Sabertooth Kitteh

Creepy Face - like Baby Sun from Teletubbies, only Creepier!

Creepy Face – like Baby Sun from Teletubbies, only Creepier!

Tito, the world's smallest elephant

Tito, the world’s smallest elephant

And many, many more as soon as our twisted imaginations come up with them!  Anyway, we put a lot of thought into this (like the last 20 minutes or so) and decided on a title and a theme song.  Check it out:

This is going to be picked up by PBS any day now!

This is going to be picked up by PBS any day now!

And the theme song for “Mutey and Friends”

M-U-T, A-N-T

Mutant, Mutant Giraffe!

Mutey goes on adventures

With his friends!

Doodle doodle pop!

And remember kids

Mutey is like Me and You

Special Too!

We Love You!

Doodle Doodle Poo!

Catchy, isn’t it?  We thought so.  And so will the kids!  Once they climb out from under their beds!

So what do you think?  Have we got a great pitch, or what?


Can you think of any children’s show you actually like?  Well, I could try.  How about . . .
Before anyone gets up-in-arms, I will say that I am not going to trash Sesame Street.  I just couldn’t.  It’s an awesome little show.  Almost everyone forty and under grew up with this show.  The fact that it is still on the air after over thirty years, with many of the same actors, is testament to the quality.  But I wish to review it anyway, because the shows I snark on could stand to learn a lot from their example.
Bite. Me.
Are there sunny characters that make you want to puke?  Oh, sure.  But for every Elmo (more on him later) there is an Oscar.  Oscar the Grouch is a hairy green puppet that lives in a trash can.  And he LIKES it there, thank you.  In response to his relentlessly cheerful neighbors, Oscar says, essentially “Bite me.”  I admire that in a puppet.  There is also Bert, who contrasts Ernie in an odd couple sort of way (there has been endless speculation from people with too much time on their hands – like me – who wonder what their relationship is exactly.  I say they’re brothers, since they live in the same house.  And I’m sticking to that.)  Ernie is chipper and bouncy and loves stuff like lollipops.  Bert, on the other hand, likes to sit quietly and read (while Ernie tortures him with joy and gladness).  He prefers linoleum to lollipops.  I like Bert.  My husband has said that when Bert finally snaps, he’s sure to take out Ernie first.  But he hopes Elmo is next.
“H” is not for Homey, Elmo.
Elmo is a special case.  Elmo came after a lot of the first generation of Sesame Street viewers grew up.  He is an INVADER.  And not only that, he has his own little spot on the show, called “Elmo’s World”.  Elmo is another scarily cheerful puppet with a high-pitched voice who speaks in third person.  Elmo wants this, and Elmo wants that, etc.  You know a show has a loyal following when adults get violently angry about a new puppet usurping authority.  “We had Grover, darn it, and we were HAPPY.”   But little toddlers love Elmo.  Which means their parents, people of my generation, had to watch him.  And buy the toys.  One of them, “Tickle Me, Elmo” (less said about this the better) was one of those hard-to-find toys one Christmas.  Which meant parents were tackling each other to get a toy of a character they felt had ruined a part of their childhood.  Ironic, that.
WTF?  Where me freakin’ cookies???
But Elmo is still only one character.  Most of the characters are multi-faceted.  They aren’t just nice or mean or happy or sad.  They have personalities.  Grover is sweet and lovable (and also speaks in third person) but has a definite mean streak, like when he’s acting as an incompetent waiter.   And Big Bird has such vivid delusions they actually come to life.  Anyone else remember when Snuffleupagus was his imaginary giant friend?  Now everybody sees him.  I guess they figured if they were friends with a six-foot tall bird, an enormous  whatever-he-is wasn’t such a big leap.  Cookie Monster will always be one of my favorites because of his total lack of self-control.  Don’t listen to those guys trying to make you eat healthy, Cookie Monster!  “C is for Cookie” is good enough for me, too.  He has been paired with polar opposite Prairie Dawn, who is one of the few puppets that you can actively imagine has a stick up her behind. 
And that’s what makes this show so good.  You forget these things are puppets.   People develop genuine love for these characters.  They are purple, and blue, and green, and no one is better than the other (not even Elmo).  Without resulting to syrupy didacticism, this show does present good values to kids, partly because it all just comes naturally.  Seeing such different looking creatures – and their non-caricatured adult human friends – interact promotes diversity.  You don’t have to spell it all out, as in – “Look, here is Cookie Monster, an obsessive-compulsive blue puppet who is hanging out with a hairy, green, homeless hoarder named Oscar!”  Kids can see that for themselves.
The 70’s were a long, long,
 LONG time ago
Sesame Street also has something to offer adults.  There are parodies of everything from “Saturday Night Fever” to the more recent “Law and Order”.  Even Dr. Phil has been puppetized, to hilarious effect.  Also, there are the guest puppets like the “Yip-Yip” aliens.  These wacky looking characters beam down with their giant mouths yipping as they try to understand human culture, usually mistaking clocks and phones for humans and cows.  I can still watch clips of this show and laugh out loud.
Sesame Street is located on a city street, not a sanitized suburb.  This is not a gated community like so many children’s shows.  This is real life – only with puppets.  It’s true that too many of these inner-city neighborhoods are violent, and unsafe, but not all.  Some of them do have neighbors that will work together and form a community.  And even if they don’t, Sesame Street is something to aspire to – it is hope.  The songs, which also stick in your head, are actually meaningful.  It isn’t easy being green, but there are good things that come with the color, along with the bad.  You can come and play here, everything’s A-okay.  Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?
But my favorite message of all comes from crazy old Cookie Monster.  “What is friend?  Friend is somebody you give up last cookie for.”  If Cookie Monster can give up a cookie, maybe there is hope for the rest of the world as well.
Final Analysis
Hairy, red usurper – YES
Multiple Personalities and Disorders Presented – YES
Diversity Promoted Without Nausea – Yes
Is C for Cookie? – YES


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 your taxes in that sort of situation.  Are they dependents or work related expenses?
Surprise, Wendy
                Either way, they are a little unsettling.  Machines were created because they offered many of the positives of an employee (working until they break) with none of the downsides (expecting a paycheck).  But here Bob has to deal with both.  So you have to wonder – does he pay the machines?  If not, are they slaves, or even weirder, adopted children?  They do act like children, often running off and doing their own thing and messing up Bob’s projects.  He and Wendy  do seem like parents, always disciplining their construction equipment.  And from what I can tell, just like children, the machines have no freaking off switch.  What a pain.
                The machines had names.  I don’t remember all of them, but there was a cement mixer named Dizzy that particularly got on my nerves.  That one was supposed to be a she, I think, although I don’t want to know how you would determine that.  She had an irritating voice, and was always spinning around, cement sloshing around her insides.  Then there was a crane named Lofty, who suffered from self-esteem issues.  I wish I was making this up.  Whenever the crew would yell their catch phrase – later cleverly stolen by Obama as a campaign slogan – “Can we build it?  Yes we can!”, the crane would always add, “Yeah, I think so.”  Because you can never be too sure of your abilities, even when you were specifically built to do the job. 
Haha, welcome to the
nighmare, kids!
                Oh, no, I almost forgot Spud.  No, he wasn’t a talking potato; that would be silly.  He was a talking scarecrow, and a real jerk too.  I wanted one of the machines to “accidentally” rip the thing apart.   Spud proves that the delusions extend past the construction equipment, although interestingly enough, not to the animal characters.  The idea that these machines really are alive reminds me of a Stephen King horror novel, so I’m going to say that they must be Bob and Wendy’s delusions.  Of course, I’m not certain that Wendy – and the other people in the town – are all having the delusion.  Maybe they are just humoring Bob, because they’re afraid he’ll snap like that Killdozer guy.  If you haven’t seen him, you should really check him out on youtube.  Talk about a trip.
                According to Wikipedia, “The show emphasizes conflict resolution, co-operation, socialization and various learning skills.”  Well, okay, I guess it emphasizes all these things, but personally, I think Bob would be better off getting his socialization AWAY from the construction equipment.  Just me, though.
                But it’s not just Bob who has a strange attachment to work related objects.  There’s also:
Handy Manny
                Handy Manny is a lot like Bob, only he’s Hispanic, and he talks to tools, not construction equipment.  His “friends” all ride around together in his tool box, until he needs to take them out to help him with some project.  This show came on after my children were a little old for it, thank goodness, so I don’t have quite as much experience with it.  I have seen bits and pieces of the show, as well as the toys, and it’s enough to be a least a little curious about the prospect of animate tools.
                I had to look up the characters on Wikipedia, since I didn’t know their names.  I think I am even more disturbed now.  Observe:
Turner:  a flat head screwdriver with a fondness for babies (don’t even want to think about it)
Imagine opening your toolbox
to find . . . .THIS
Pat:  a stupid hammer (maybe they shouldn’t have pounded him against nails)
Squeeze:  a female pair of pliers (again I don’t want to know how they tell)
Rusty: a paranoid monkey wrench
Dusty: a female handsaw.  Don’t make her angry, she’ll cut you!  And laugh while you’re bleedin’!
Flicker: a bilingual flash light.  He flashes his light when excited.  Okay.
                There are others, but I got bored going through the list.  I think they’re enough, anyway.  Could you imagine if your tools could talk back to you?  Now I’m not a mechanic, but I do use tools.  I have to wonder how pleased my pencil would be with me, what with repeatedly shaving his head off, then forcing him to leave a trail of his lead blood on my paper, just so I can write. 
Wrench: My teeth hurt
Hammer: Bang. . . bang . . . bang
                Manny’s tools are part of his team, and his good pals.  No one else seems to think it’s strange that he talks to them, and they talk back, so maybe they’re humoring him as well.  I’m guessing he and Bob have the same psychiatrist.  That would make things simpler.  Anyway, I’m sure you’re thinking that I’m overanalyzing a cute kid’s show.  But think about it.  Especially the hammer.  He’s pounding the thing, over and over again, right in the face.  Is there a CPS for tools, because that seems a bit much.  No wonder the thing is a moron; all his brain cells were pounded out.  And all so Manny could get a nail in some wood.  Are you happy, Manny?
                Then there’s Dusty, who you must remember was used as an effective weapon in many horror movies.  I could just see that freak scarecrow grabbing Dusty, jumping into Muck the bulldozer and going on a homicidal rampage through cartoon land.  Let’s hope they stop at the World Tree on their way.
                Final Analysis:
Talking construction equipment/ tools: Yes
Tool Abuse: Yes
Delusional characters: Yes
                                                                                                                                       Didacticism: Just Weird


I decided to combine the next two shows together because they are 1) both about personified modes of transportation and 2) both full of nightmare fuel.    First up, the oldest:
Thomas the Tank Engine
Better make yourselves
useful – FAST
                This is a show about trains.  Living trains.  With giant, creepy faces on their fronts.  Thomas is the main character.  He and his friends – the other trains – want more than anything to be “very useful engines” to their boss, Sir Topam Hat, who looks like that guy on the cover of the Monopoly games.  They have a weird competition going on with the steam engines, who are the bad guys, supposedly, although it is really hard to tell, because there isn’t a single likable character.
                I’m not sure if the trains are so grumpy because they are British, or just because they are forced to carry lots of people figurines around all over the place without a tip.  I don’t think I’d really like to carry people around in my stomach and eject them at various train stations.  I carried two people in my stomach, at different times, and that was really quite enough, thank you.  So I can’t imagine someone carrying a whole trainload of people inside them at once, with the exception of the some of the reality show stars on TLC.
All Aboard!  Hahaha . . . I’ll walk, thanks.
                But for whatever reason, these trains have serious attitudes.  They are always griping at one another about something, and getting all whiney and offended about the stupidest things.  Basically like most people on Internet message boards.  Sometimes they play nasty tricks on each other, just for the heck of it.  Some people have linked the show to a celebration of communism (everyone must be “useful”) but I think we shouldn’t disregard the possibility that it’s just a really awful kid’s show that happens to sell a lot of overpriced toy trains. 
                Anyway, I spent my time watching this show either bored to tears or hoping that somehow the trains would take part in one of those Math problems and smack into each other going at high velocity.  If I were at Shining Time Station, I would seriously reconsider other modes of transportation than climbing inside a living train with a surly personality.  Like, say, a plane.
Jay Jay the Jet Plane
“Gosh, Tracy, we sure are creepy!”
“You said it, Jay-Jay!” 
                Like Thomas, Jay-Jay is a living form of locomotion, this time for the “friendly skies”.   He also has a scary human face on the end of an otherwise normal looking vehicle, only instead of grumpy, his face could best be described as “manic”, sort of like the Joker on speed.  He has friends – a pink, female plane named Tracy and a young plane with a propeller for a nose, called Stuffy, because the propeller causes nasal congestion.  Or something.  There are a couple of other planes, one of them with an irritating Southern drawl, and finally, there is one human.  An actual, real-live human woman in a mechanic’s jump suit.  She takes care of the planes.  And talks to them.  And, as far as I can tell, never leaves the airport.  This is a woman in serious need of a date.  Or possibly psychiatric drugs (more on this in our next installment: Adventures in Psychosis: Bob and Manny.)
“Yeah, I dunno, she’s been standing on that lot talkin’
 to the planes for over an hour . . . better get the white coats.”
                These planes are more cheerful, flying about over “Terry Town”, wasting fuel all over the place, and almost never carrying around any passengers.  They are certainly not being “very useful planes.”  I figure Sir Topam Hat would have them stripped for parts in about five minutes.  They are usually learning lessons, like . . . actually I can’t really remember any of them.  I just remember . . . those faces.  OMG, the faces . . .
                I’m not sure how these shows could fail to freak out small children.  I mean, riding on a plane or a train can be scary all by itself.  You don’t need to think about it having a mind of its own – a creepy, twisted mind of its own at that.   If I’d watched those shows, I probably would have refused to board a plane or a train, just to be on the safe side.  The only use I can see for these shows is as a way to prevent terrorism.  Who would want to hijack something like that?
Final Analysis
General Weirdness: Yes
Scary, Maniacal Faces: Yes
Animate forms of Transportation: Yes
Useful Against Terrorists: Yes


                 As anyone who has read my blog knows, I’m a big, bleeding heart liberal.  So I care about the environment, sure.  Pumping every bit of oil out of the ground only to dump it in the sea is Bad.  I get that.  But sometimes, a show comes along with a Very Special Message that , frankly, makes me want to burn down a whole rainforest full of spotted owls.  Case in point, our next program:
Big, Big World




                This is a show with puppets, but not the cute, funny kind like Grover on Sesame Street.  These puppets make you want to commit puppetcide almost immediately.  The animal puppets all live in this Big Tree O’ Life – the World Tree – in a rainforest and teach kids about loving every creature and taking care of nature and all that crap.  As in: “We are the world!  We are the puppets!  We are the ones that make you want to puke and rip your hair out!”  The main character is a sloth.  He had a name, I’m sure, but a fellow mom friend (who also doesn’t like doing dishes) and I just called him “Hippie Sloth”.  I’ve never seen a puppet so stoned.  This guy made Bob Ross look like an ADHD poster child.
How can I stop eating
                And he had friends.  There were two irritating monkeys, an old, wise turtle (how original!), some bitchy bird, and finally an anteater that loved ants.  I mean, the anteater actually wanted to be friends with the ants despite them being the core of his diet.  He was constantly fretting and whining “The antssss, why won’t they be my friendssss?”  I don’t know, because you EAT them?  That would put a damper on a relationship.  That’s like me wanting to befriend Chicken McNuggets.  I’m not sure what the writers were going for education wise with this character.  Hey, kids, some people need therapy, and that’s okay!
Monkey: That thing’s gonna eat us!
Sloth: Far outttt.
                This show was literally painful to watch, with its repetitive message of reduce, reuse, regurgitate! Naturally it came on at a time when the kids were out of school.  So we got to see a lot of Hippie Sloth chilling out in his tree with his message of peace and love.  Not that I can blame the guy – if I had friends like his, I might look into weed too.  My friend came up with the name “Reefer Tree” because that seemed to fit better than Big, Big World (after all, they didn’t show us the world, just the stupid tree).  Also, it made us laugh, and that was the only way to keep our sanity.  Our kids did pick up on it, though, and one of them remarked during a hospital visit that “Hey, Reefer Tree is on!”  Luckily the nurse was amused, and didn’t hop on the phone to CPS.  I bet she had kids too.
                Bottom line, taking care of the environment is a good thing.  This show did not help the cause.  I’ve never hated my environment more than while watching this show.
Final Analysis:
Stoned Puppet: Yes
Peace, Love and Nausea: Yes
General Weirdness: Yes
Didacticism: YES


PBS means well – they really do.  Back around 2000, they started making more shows with minority characters, because I guess they felt left out of the wackiness.  Which brings us to my next children’s program:


Two kids, Max and Emmy, who look white and speak English like Anglos, yet have a disembodied parent voice with a Mexican accent, find a glowing scale in their playroom.  No, not one you weigh on; it turns out it’s a dragon scale – and it’s magical, of course.  I’m thinking if I saw something strange and glowing in my room, I might get Mom and Dad.  But not these two.  They say some magic words – I guess whoever left the dragon scale left instructions or something, I forget.  Anyway, these magic words  – which are repeated every episode so they can reuse the same animation – transport them to dragon land.

Hey wait my hand is stuck arghhhhhh . . .

Hey wait my hand is stuck arghhhhhh . . .

Now I’m a big fantasy fan, and I’ve read a lot about dragons.  They’re big, scaly, and they breathe fire and eat people, especially knights.  They seem oddly fond of kidnapping princesses.  So I’m waiting for these kids to get roasted, but, alas, turns out they’re friendly.  And they can speak Spanish.  No, really!  Who knew?

Anyway, there are several eccentric (read: annoying) dragon characters.  Cassie is the pink one, who shrinks when she’s unhappy and whining, which is pretty much all the time.  Org, or Ord, I was never quite sure, is the token big, stupid one.  And then there’s . . . Zack and Wheezy, the two headed dragon.  They have one body, two heads, yet one’s a boy and one’s a girl and . . . anyway, they also have opposite personalities.  Zack is paranoid, and Wheezy is so obnoxious you want to kill her.  Talk about your therapy issues.

Toys for confused children

Toys for confused children

They also have a teacher, Quasimodo, no wait, that’s the hunchback.  At any rate, he’s the typical old, wise teacher, and apparently the only adult Max and Emmy come in contact w/ besides disembodied parent voice.  From time to time there are guest star dragons, like the one in a wheelchair.  Cause his legs don’t work.  In that case, I don’t know why he doesn’t just fly, except that they all have such tiny wings on such huge bodies that I’m not sure how any of them fly.

Dragon paraplegic?

Dragon paraplegic?

From what I can tell, Max and Emmy spend most of their time in this dragon place, and their parents never know the difference.  They never say how long the kids are gone, but when my kids got quiet for more than five minutes at a time, it usually meant they were covered in Noxema or something and it was time to check on them.   Either this doesn’t occur to the parents, or they’re just so glad they’re gone that they don’t care.  Maybe they left the dragon scale there on purpose.

I really didn’t like Dragon Tales.  I’m not certain which character was the worst – I guess they all tied for last place.  Where the heck was St. George when I needed him?


                                                                                                                                             Final Analysis:

Spanglish: Yes

General Weirdness: Yes

Two-headed, Bi-Polar, Dual Gendered Dragon: Yes

Didacticism: Yes


Originally, I had intended the last post to be one post with many summaries.  But since I know a ridiculous amount about this topic, it simply could not be fit into a single blog post.  So now we continue, with the next show on my list:

Clifford the Big Red Dog

Clifford is based on a children’s book of the same name.  The plot is very complex.  There’s a girl named Emily Elizabeth (E.E cause who wants to repeat that name?) and her big red dog.  They have adventures (though none of the ones you would expect with that situation).  That’s pretty much it.  Now this series has always prompted a lot of questions from me.  The first would have to be – how did Clifford get so big?  The show attempts to answer this in the opening song that clearly should have been a Grammy nominee: “Her love made Clifford grow so big, that the Howards had to leave their home.”

Funny adventures alright! Please don’t eat me!

I think the show is lying to our kids, cause I had a dog growing up, and I loved her, yet she did not grow into a forty-five foot dachshund.  So, gonna have to call B.S. on this one.  I’m thinking his growth spurt could only come from one of two possibilities: (1) They live near a leaking nuclear plant or (2) they are putting major steriods in that dog’s food.  Since E.E. has only one head, gonna go with the steroids.

Speaking of the dog’s food, that’s another question.  How do you feed something that big?  The show has a semi truck come and deliver his food.  Okay, fine, but how long are we supposed to think that food will last?  The dog is bigger than her house (or can fit into her house, w/ his head sticking out – his proportions really depend on the artist / animator in question) so he’s going to need a lot to keep going.  Even if they could get that much food every day (and they must, cause E.E. and her family have not been turned into kibble yet), how could they afford it?  I think the answer is simple.  The family signed on as reality T.V. stars, probably with a show on TLC.

Clifford. Must. Feed.

Okay, my last question (and really, this barely scratches the surface) is what happens to the dog poop?  Oh, come on, I cannot be the only person who has wondered about this.  Everything that eats has to eliminate the stuff sometime.  Can you imagine the magnitude of manure the Howards are dealing with?  It would have to be worse than every house ever on Hoarders.  What do they do with it?  Do they rent a forklift as a pooper scooper?  This is never explained, possibly because no one on T.V. ever has to go to the restroom, but I really think it should.  It’s the major reason I have given my children for not having even a regular sized dog.  Come to think of it, Clifford all by himself is a reason not to get a dog. While I don’t think it’s very likely that loving a dog too much could make it mutate to such enormous size, I really don’t think we should take that chance.  The environment will surely thank us.

Look what your dog did to my lawn!

I haven’t actually said much about the show itself.  Besides E.E. (a little girl who NEVER changes her clothes) there are her friends, who happen to be mulitcultural friends.  Because everyone I’ve ever known has a Jamaican friend, an Asian friend, a wheelchair bound friend, and a jerk friend.  Okay, maybe just the jerk friend. Her name is Jetta, and she is pure evil in child form, because E.E. can never show negative emotions.  Why E.E. and the others hang out with this kid is a mystery, but I guess it’s because without her, they’d all be sitting around complimenting each other politely all day.  She certainly helps teach the Very Important Lesson of the day which is: don’t act like a jerk like that Jetta kid.

Clifford also has pals, and when the humans aren’t around, they hang out and also learn Very Important Lessons.  His pals are a weenie bulldog and a self-absorbed (surprise) poodle.  They are not mutant sized dogs, so it’s got to be hard to be friends with things you can accidentally step on and smash into the ground.  I admit I used to wish he would step on them, because they are seriously annoying and likely the reason why dogs do not talk in real life (as far as I know).

Hey, what happened to Bob? Oh, nooo!

This show spawned a sequel called “Clifford the small red puppy” about . . . Clifford as a small red puppy.  I watched it a few times, but I never saw E.E. slip the steroids into the food, so I think there is major editing going on there.  Also, they have effectively removed the only thing that made Clifford interesting, which is his size.  If you can’t ride the darn dog to school, then what’s the point?

Final Analysis:

Giant Dog: yes

General Weirdness: yes

Steroid Use: yes

Didacticism: YES


Best. Babysitter. Ever.

Most parents are exposed to a whole new world they never would have stepped into or even known about had it not been for those little bundles of joy.  For one thing, few people watch children’s programming unless they are parents, or possibly young adult males, for some reason.  I would say the majority of parents have plopped junior in front of the T.V. for a least a few minutes, even if it was only to chisel bits of teething biscuit off the highchair.  However, if you are one of those parents that insist that neither you nor your child were ever exposed to the evil television, I believe you are either:

A. a liar
B. dumb
C. both
                Now that we have those people out of the way, we can move on with the real people.   While many parents have used children’s programming to distract children so that they can finish housework or other chores, there are those who often just sat in front of the T.V. with the kids.  I was one of those parents.  I did it because there is research showing that it’s healthy for parents to watch shows with their kids, and most certainly NOT because I was too tired / lazy to wash the dishes.
                Because I have so much experience with kids’ shows, and because my brain adamantly refuses to forget any of it, even though it frequently forgets the location of my glasses, I thought I might give some summaries for those of you who somehow missed all the fun.  These shows are on a variety of networks but if you were poor when your kids were very young, like I was, a lot of them came from PBS. (Peasant Broadcasting Station). 
                So here is number one (more to come!):
This is a show about four friends who live in their own little world and spout nonsense to each other.  Basically, Seinfeld for children, only the actors wear chubby costumes with TVs on their bellies and antennae on their head.  Which makes them more useful than anybody on Seinfeld, cause who wouldn’t want a T.V. on their stomach?  Talk about the ultimate in convenient travel entertainment.  Except you would probably get a crick in your neck from watching your own belly.  I suppose you could watch your neighbor’s belly, but then you’d want to change channels, and that might be getting too close for comfort.

Vacuums make the best pets.

But back to the show.  The four aliens – or whatever these things are – are Dipsy, Laa Laa, Tinky-Winky, and Po.  Dipsy (that’s dipsy, not tipsy, she’s not drunk -probably) is green and has an antennae that points straight up.  Tinky Winky is purple and has an upside down triangle antennae (more on that later), Po is red and has a circle antennae, and Laa Laa is yellow and . . . confused apparently, because there’s no way she’s getting reception with that thing on her head. 

They live in an almost psychedelic environment, with bright green grass and freaking huge rabbits hopping around.  Their only diet seems to come from Tubby Custard and Tubby Toast, which has to give them major digestive troubles.  But that’s okay, because they have a living vacuum cleaner for a pet (now THAT’S the kind of pet I want) named “the Noo-Noo”. 

Now with demon voices!

About the only intelligible words they say are “Hello, Bye-bye, eh-oh, and Naughty Noo-Noo”.  This, of course, didn’t stop people from freaking out that the toys were saying bad words.  And that wasn’t the only controversy.  There were also rumors that Tinky-Winky was gay, due to being purple (gay pride color) and having the triangle (gay pride symbol) on his head.  He didn’t help speculation by carrying a purse and wearing a tutu (not that there is anything wrong with that).  Luckily, it was Jerry Falwell, right wing religious nut job, making the accusations so most people just ignored him, and Tinky-Winky avoided the paparazzi. 

This was one of my favorite kid shows, for while it was undeniably bizarre and

It’s not a purse. It’s a bag.
A bag!!!

repetitive (take a drink every time they say “bye-bye”) it was low on the didactic vomit meter.  You couldn’t understand a word these guys were saying, which was fine with me.  Some thought there wasn’t enough educational value, but I will tell you that my kid could say “eh oh” better than anyone else on the block, so there.

            Final Analysis:
                                                       Eye-pop out color:  yes
                                                        Huge Rabbits: yes
                                                        General Weirdness: yes
                                                        Didacticism: no