I watch more children’s television than I’d care to admit. I remember before Vader being born, I thought that we’d have that kid who didn’t like TV and instead built small homes in our backyard out of twigs. We’d have that kid who said, “no, I have no interest in TV, I’m writing my memoirs.” It turns out that, as a general rule, kids like TV. And when your darling son wakes up at 5:23am and you can either “watch” Netflix while sleeping on the couch or try to entertain your child silently while your wife and baby sleep, it’s time to turn on Diego. But there is some absolute garbage in children’s programming so I thought I’d take a minute to tell you about the shows “we” love, the shows “we” hate and why.
I hope that whoever created Caillou is proud of their self. When we talk about the coming generation and why they’re such awful people, I hope the appropriate amount of blame is balanced between prescription medication and that abomination of a toddler. Caillou is the shittiest person on TV. Want to know why you kid whines and sooks and sulks and is generally an awful person? It’s becausr they’re emulating Caillou. Every episode of that show begins with him being shitty and ends with his parents giving in to his terrible behavior. Now, I don’t JUST blame Caillou. Have you paid attention to how his parents behave? We have one book where Mama Caillou goes to lay down (presumably hung over) and is just furious and floored that while she was sleeping, her toddler of a son couldn’t stop her baby daughter from coloring on the walls. It’s not like he didn’t try. Have you ever tried to stop a baby girl from doing…anything? It’s literally impossible.
I know we’re all just over the moon with getting to learn the names of 176 trains of various sizes and colors, but I really hope Thomas goes off the rails and Sir Toppum Hat is killed in a horrific fiery blaze. Thomas is SLIGHTLY better than Caillou in that each episode, one of the trains learns a lesson. Now the problem is that a, they start out as terrible trains and the lessons are things like “don’t be a jerk and run other trains off the track”, real sociopathic stuff, and b, every episode, it’s like they’re starting from scratch. It’s like Groundhog Day if Bill Murray wasn’t aware of what had happened the day before. It’s just terrible trains learning temporary lessons in how not to be awful.
I’d like to take a moment here to thank Netflix for taking Sid The Science Kid off of their Canadian programming. For sure, we need more shows about dinosaurs that can turn into trucks and of course we require more 88 minute movies about a marijuana fueled detective and his dog. This is why we can’t keep up with China. This is why people think we all live in the woods and don’t have power and can’t catch baseballs.
Now, if you haven’t had the pleasure of watching Paw Patrol, you’re missing out. There are, among other reasons, a great number of reasons to love this show. Firstly, season one is really focused on taking the fantastical and making it normal. Is that a ghost pirate? No. It’s a walrus eating cookies. Is that a snow monster? No. It a chicken riding on a goat riding on a cow covered in snow, obviously. It puts the kids minds at ease and helps them come up with really inventive and creative solutions. Sure, season two says to hell with it and is riddled with merpups and actual dinosaurs and introduces a cast of villains and a lot of conflict but the original season is great. It happens. COUGH. Spider-Man 3. COUGH.
The thing I really love about Paw Patrol is that not everyone gets to participate. I get it. Your beautiful snowflake needs to be in on everything that’s happening at all times but I believe our kids need to learn two things. One, sometimes nobody needs your skill set. Paw Patrol focuses on “you can do this because you have this skill”. If your talent is that you can climb trees like a mofo and this particular mission is underwater, you’re a liability so you can stay home and eat kibble and bits while the professionals take care of this. Bow wow wow yippee yo yippee yay. Second, not everyone has to do everything all the time. I know that your kid has 5 minute breaks between art class and soccer and interpretive dance and hockey and cooking classes but your kid doesn’t have to be involved in everything that happens everywhere all the time.
Then there’s Shezow. Let me start by saying that we no longer watch this show because Vader is unable to NOT use the relatively violent Shezow super maneuvers on Chewy and she’s currently not having that. But conceptually this show is the greatest thing that has ever happened. Here’s the concept. Boy puts on ring. Boy gains super powers. Easy peasy. Right? Wrong. Boy gains super powers while becoming SHEzow, a female super hero. While in Shezow form, he’s a straight up woman. So a great deal of the show is him dealing with gender and identity issues. When Vader is a little bit older and a little less violent, we will bring back this unique take on secret identities.
What’s your fave kids show? Do you pray at the church of Dora? Do you give a damn about Timmy Time? I’d love to hear what everyone else is “watching” while they sleep on the couch at 5:23am