Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Maybe 1 Hour of Kids TV A Day is Too Much for Me

If you have kids you have probably been subjected to Dora. That's Dora The Explorer for those of you who haven't officially met her. And she can be a dumb bish most of the time. I have several problems with Dora that I would like to list out here:

1. What the hell is wrong with her parents? Who lets their pre-schooler roam around without supervision? With a monkey as a sidekick? 
2. And not just roaming around, but going so far away that you need a freaking MAP to get places. First off, 4 year olds can't read maps. Secondly, maps don't talk. It's a fact. It would be more believable if she had GPS.
3. She always need help. What is that teaching our kids about life? Can't see the BIG GIANT (insert object of the moment here)? JUST LOOK BEHIND YOU. Turn around! I'm not asking much. If you lose your keys, I will definitely help you look for them but when you ask me where the giant hot air balloon is I want to scream.
4. A fox is always lurking around trying to steal her stuff. Again I ask--Where are her freaking parents? I've heard of CPS being called for MUCH less. 
5. I don't know about you, but I don't know many kids who are allowed to ride in submarines, climb mountains or ride around in cars being driven by a bull. It's a bit much is all I'm saying. 
6. Interesting that her damn backpack has exactly what she needs and then 5 other things that make no sense at all. Yesterday her backpack had honey, a sand shovel, an umbrella, some tape and a piece of string. WHO PACKS LIKE THAT?

Needless to say, we watch a lot of Dora around here and I have had plenty of time to think about these things. We also watch a bunch of Handy Manny and I have some thoughts on him as well. Like Dora, he also teaches kids to speak Spanish. So, you know, if you ever need to know how to say "nail" in Spanish ("clavo"), Manny is your type of show.

Other interesting things I've noticed about Handy Manny:

1. Everyone in Sheetrock Hills loves him. I mean love loves him. Kelly from the Hardware store totally wants him. I'm not sure if you've noticed but she totally undresses him with her eyes every time he goes into her store.
2. He has to go to Kelly's Hardware store a lot. As in every time he repairs something. No wonder repairmen make so much money. Don't they carry anything around with them besides the tools? I've seen him go there for nails, wood, screws, and hinges. You'd think those would just be things he had laying around at all times.
3. Mr. Lopart from the candy store also wants Manny. He is always breaking things but never wants Manny's help so that he can appear more manly. He is a total nerd and even his cat has a comb over so there is no way he stands a chance with Manny.
4. Mr. Lopart is also in love with his own Mom. He calls her "Mother" (as in, "Mother likes banana nut muffins best") and everything in his life is done to please her. She also lives alone, probably because her husband left her since she raised a pansy-ass son; but I can't be sure because the story doesn't go that in depth. I am sure if E! did a True Hollywood Story on the people of Sheetrock Hills we would learn that Mr. Lopart has always been a bit of a sissy and his dad left the family after many attempts to make him a man. 
5. Manny's dog is a robot. I just think that if you aren't going to have the real thing you should just forget about it all-together. 
6. The screwdrivers pretty much hate each other. Well, that's not exactly true. Felipe is kind of naive and likes everyone and Turner (that's the slotted screwdriver, duh) is older and grouchy. He tries to be stern all the time and pretty much doesn't like anyone. There was an episode where a lonely little girl who was neglected by her work-a-holic father dressed Turner up as a doll and played house with him. Boy was he pissed. All the other tools had a great time mocking him while he wore a pink dress and southern belle-style hat. Manny finally rescued him and the father realized how lonely his child was and everyone was happy in the end--except Turner. He remained grumpy about the whole doll thing and kind of spoiled the whole mood of the show.  See what I mean...not nice.
7. There is always someone in a wheelchair on the show. They may not be a central character but you see them wheeling along in the background or on the sidewalk in just about every episode. I guess it is meant to add some diversity to a show but it is kind of awkward at times.
8. The tools are the ones that actually do all the work. Manny gets all the glory but he doesn't even really touch the tools...they just kind of do everything on their own. He pretty much starts things off by telling them what to do and then he thanks the tools for a job well done. Everyone cheers for Manny after that. Maybe it's because he has opposable thumbs and the tools don't. I don't know. But whatever it is, I think the tools deserve more credit.

And then there is Barney. I think we can all agree that Barney is a special kind of hell. Those kids on that show are extremely cheesy and the story lines aren't even realistic. And it isn't just Barney anymore. Now there is a whole slew of imaginary dinosaurs roaming round that park. 

1. First off, if he is imaginary then the whole premise of the show is that all these kids (and adults) can all see an imaginary dinosaur at the same time. I think the only way that is possible is if they were all dropping acid together. Is that the kind of programming we want shaping our children's moral character?
2. I don't know if Barney and Gymboree are partner companies but the songs are practically the same. And they stay in your head. It is torture. You'll be at work preparing a presentation and suddenly you find yourself singing, "Growing...Growing...you're getting big and it is showing..." and then you want to punch yourself in the face. 
3. I think the show has some kind of trance effect that causes young children to stare at the screen. They can't resist. And when it is over you are subjected to the "I love you" song which kills the soul of most adults. 
4. Are they even making any new episodes of this show because everyone on their seems to be stuck in the early 90s. The hair styles, the clothes, the video clips they use...it's all very dated. And yet, the story lines are, unfortunately, timeless. You find yourself wondering when the heck this was taped and it makes you want to start using drugs. Which takes us right back to the show's values. Is this really the kind of thing we should be subjecting our children to?

Those are pretty much the only shows the kids watch. Sometimes Mickey Mouse Clubhouse will be given a shot but that is few and far between. Avery is starting to also like Franklin (which, kill me now. that turtle is a real downer) but her hour a day of TV is mostly filled with a Dora-Barney cocktail while Jack enjoys watching Manny and all the tools on a different TV. 

I think as they get older we'll be moving on to different (fingers-crossed) shows and I'm sure I will have a thing or two to say about those shows, too. But no matter what, we are DONE with Dora if she turns into a middle-school skank. It's one thing to be dumb and always need help. It's another thing to turn an innocent girl into a sexualized character. Jerks.


Lauren150772 said...

OK! You are "on" today. First the Chuck Norris comment and now this! But...I totally know what you are saying. I haven't gotten quite as "in-depth" with my analyzations, but I have often wondered how Dora's mom can let her roam the neighborhood and "country" on her adventures. I can't wait for Olivia to ask me why she can't just take off with a monkey and roam Austin. Oh yeah, Dora is what you would call a "f@g hag." I love "my boys" and Boots is definitely one of them! Speaking of my boys, Mr. Lopart is one of them too and he definitely LOVES Manny. Adam and I have had this "convo" several times. Though I can't say too much because Adam says he has a "man-crush" on Manny! (Do you like my over-use of quotations in this super long comment? I should have called you for this!)

Amanda said...

you put a lot of thought into this - and it is all true


Lindsay said...

Thankfully Jaden isn't into Dora so I have never been subject to the torture. As far as Barney goes, I refuse to let him watch it and have forbid my mom to let him watch it because he just scares me really. He is really an Elmo boy. He also loves Word World and SuperWhy, but when they ask where a letter is, he nearly has an anurism (spelling?) pointing it out as they say, "Well, do you see a D?" As my son is jumping up at down pointing at the tv, like "ok you stupid idiots, how and why the hell don't you see the D?" Every once in a while he may watch Curious George, Arthur, or Clifford. He does occasionally catch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse too. But, I have to say, I did donate money to KET because their programming taught my son all of his letters. Good stuff.

Theresa said...

whoa, Amy