Bored Housewives Network

Getting through the day, one bonbon at a time.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Children's television troubles me

Despite the not-at-all-inflammatory and certainly-not-trying-to-cause-a-panic "findings" of this Slate article that speculates TV might cause autism, we watch a fair bit of kids' programming in our house. Commercial-free programming, yes, but television nonetheless.

For one thing, Sam insists on having the TV on at all times (I think this may be genetic, and I'm not talking about the genes on his maternal side), even when he's playing in the other room, so it's easier just to humour him. And for another thing, man oh man, it sure is easier to make a coffee/go to the bathroom/prepare dinner ever since Sam discovered the boob tube.

In total, though, he really doesn't watch that much actual programming. He's generally too busy trying to ride his Thomas train through the wall to pay attention. No, I'm the one who ends up helplessly absorbing all this kiddie TV. And it troubles me. It's insipid, of course, but I'm not staking new territory in pointing that out. I'm just wondering about the weird messages that some of Sam's favourite programs might be sending him, creating questions I'm not in a position to answer, such as:
  • What kind of turtle IS Franklin that his legs are so freaking long?
  • Why do all the bears in Little Bear's family talk as if they've just been dosed with ether?
  • How come the dumber machines on Mighty Machines speak with southern accents?
  • Do the makers of Rolie Polie Olie know that Olie's mother sounds just like Cartman's mom on South Park? I keep expecting her to start explaining what a rim job is.
  • What's the deal with Miss Spider and Mr. Spider? Are they co-habitating out of wedlock while they raise their insect foster children? Are they fattening the kids up for future consumption? What about when the embarrassing questions start to emerge, such as what happened to the kids' parents? Will they be shown a secret web of horror full of parental exoskeletal husks? I'm not saying this isn't a darkly compelling story that needs to be told, but are children really the right audience for it?
Has children's programming always lent itself to such cognitive dissonance? I fear that, as I get older, I'm becoming more and more literal minded. Someday I'm going to be watching Sesame Street with Sam and finding myself sniffing, "A green monster who lives in a garbage can? And he has a pool AND a grand piano in there? As if!"

Am I the only one having this problem? I might be overthinking this a bit, but it never hurts to check.


  • At 7:24 PM, Blogger Melissa said…

    The only thing A watches is the only thing I can stand, which is Signing Time. Although I have dipped into Maisy and Max the Bunny occasionally. They seemed pretty harmless.

    A is currently in a car/truck-obsessed phase so I am keeping her well away from Thomas, because he sounds annoying.

  • At 3:09 PM, Blogger ... said…

  • At 3:11 PM, Blogger ... said…

    i give up. it looked right in the preview...

    the 'one word' was supposed to be 'Caillou'.

    at least the link works... i have to leave the computer now before i lose my grip on sanity and try to repost that comment...over and over and over and over...

    damn you, Caillou! you may have won this time...

  • At 3:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    And how come on Little Bear, all the animals can talk, even that stupid duck, but Emily's dog can't?

  • At 12:21 PM, Blogger White Trasherati said…

    "I keep expecting her to start explaining what a rim job is."
    Heh. Only then would I start watching it....


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