I’ve got a confession to make, and I don’t think I’m alone in this, but I’ll put it out there and see what comments I get. Hopefully a few to make me feel less alone. This blog has never been fluffy or anything other than something which allows me to get some shit out of my brain. I don’t review products or merchandise and don’t intend to. I’ll review holidays. All expenses paid trips to far-flung places but, FYI, I do nothing less than 4 stars. So’s you know.
As such I feel I can say what I like. Obviously there are topics I cannot discuss for fear of offending others, and I’ve discussed that in a blog post a few weeks back. But today’s rant is, quite simply, how much I abhor most, if not all of, kids TV.
I know it’s not for me, as such. I’m not its target audience. Or am I? I still get to make some decisions. Or have I lost all power completely?
Really? I’ve lost it all? Well thanks for telling me.
Let me go through some of the main horrors on kids TV. This is just me and so I apologise for offending anyone, be they parent, child, human, TV producer, or TV character.
Baby Jake – in the intro the little boy talks about his maladjusted family and how one of them thinks he’s a tree. All these little behavioural quirks of the children mentioned in the introduction are, I believe, cries for help. The family have 10 kids for farks sake and live in a windmill.When T told me he didn’t like Baby Jake anymore, I cried a little, for at that moment I didn’t believe I could love something so much. I high-fived him, cuddled him and simply said ‘Thank you.’
In The Night Garden – in my opinion, it’s surrealist nonsense which makes no sense and confuses me beyond the issues of scale and sizing. Iggle Piggle looks like a stroke victim with camel toe. Makka Pakka has a series of OCDs ranging from collecting stones to washing others faces. When T was younger he used to collect tiny pieces of stone and grit from playgrounds and give them to me. I asked why and he said he was ‘being like Makka Pakka’. My pockets were so weighed down I felt like Virginia Woolf going off for a wee swim.
One thing Makka Pakka has going for him, he sleeps in a cool sleeping bag, but his cave must be cold and draughty or something. Just look at the dark circles under his eyes. That little fella needs some sleep.
Plus, its half an hour of your life you will never get back. Over a week that’s three and a half hours. You will never get that time back. Ever.
Mister Maker. Get Squiggling. I Can Cook – slow down guys! You’re showing us how to do stuff, like crafting and drawing and cooking, and you’re doing it so quickly I can’t keep up. Same goes for Annabel’s Kitchen. But another failure in that show is that the woman playing Annabel Karmel is a terrible actress.
Mr Bloom’s Nursery – no. No. No. I’m not learning about gardening and growing things because your compostarium takes in all sorts of shit and produces actual meals and food, like chips, and sandwiches. This is not composting. This is MAGIC and, as such, has no place in gardening which is actually a war zone. You against the slugs and snails. That’s a war. Now take your hat and your veggies and fuck off.
Waybuloo – TALK PROPERLY. I want my children calling olives “Bongle berries”, or tomatoes “plumatoes” as much as I want a tumour. I’ve been to a place called Nara, in Japan, and it didn’t look like that. I had a map so I didn’t get lost and it got nibbled by a goat and so, I got lost.
The Tweenies – fuck off. Not on my watch.
But there are some good ones. Ish.
Show Me Show Me – the Play School for the new generation. It’s good in small doses. When CBeebies moved it from 9.00am there was an outcry. This show provides a vital function. It allows mums and dads everywhere to clear the breakfast stuff, do a bit of tidying and sit down and have a coffee or a cup of tea while they’re kids are occupied for a little while. Take it away and we will take you down to Chinatown.
Abney and Teale – the heartbreaking story of a homeless girl who lives in a park with her blue teddy bear, a turnip, and a flatulent water beast. The music’s cool. I watch this even if the kids aren’t that fussed.
Numberjacks. Numtums – my kids both these shows which have helped them recognise and know numbers. T is always spellbound by the Numberjacks and wants to be Agent 001. I think he’d make a good 007 myself. K loves Numtums and, to be fair, so do I. It’s funky and sadly only 4 or so minutes long.
I was talking to a lady at a Baby Rhyme Time session once who was saying how a friend of hers had 4 kids, all within a year of each other, and that she was on the verge of a breakdown. She refused to put kids TV on. This lady advised her friend to do so. She said it’s not a babysitter or a substitute for what you provide, but it allows you 15 minute sessions during the day to get shit done. Cook, clean, tidy, have a poo. So many parents feel that they’re letting their kids down on a daily basis and by putting the TV they often feel like they’re resorting to doing a deal with the Devil to get through the day. You’re not. Most parents are constantly doing the best for their kids and, for me, doing your best is enough.Stop being hard on yourself and TV is not actually that bad as long as it’s not on constantly you do other things too. But I’m not one to lecture.
Mike The Knight, Thomas and Friends – computer generated cartoons which would ordinarily make my skin crawl but something in them captures my children’s imagination. T puts a blanket round his shoulders and tells me he’s riding on his trusty horse and I should to the same, so we’ve clip clopped and galloped around the house while K has laughed at us. And then, guess what? She joins in too. T’s little party piece is singing the Thomas theme tune to which K always joins in at the end with a hearty PEEP PEEP!
Actually, I’ve just realised something. If my kids like a show then I’ll like the show. I’ve hated shows which my kids have got into and then I’ve learned to love them. I’ve learned that these small people are the ones in charge. Turning off Justin’s House is just cruel, no matter how much I hate it. It brings a smile to their face and a glint to their eyes. They don’t watch it passively. They sit there and tell me what’s going on. We all sing along. They share this with me, like I haven’t a clue. Justin’s done what? Really? Why? The Octonauts have found the Humuhumunukunukuapua’a? Really? How can you say that yet not pronounce ‘conservatory’ properly? And yes, let’s run around like the Octonauts. I’ll be Khazi, or whatever he’s called. The gay penguin.
If they love it then I love it. That’s the rule.
Except for Mr Bloom. He can just do one.
Are there any you really hate? Really love? Must sees or must avoids? Please let me know. Also do you have any rules about TV? No TV ever, a set amount per day?
Oh, and thanks for reading.
First published May 6th, 2012