Sunday, October 01, 2006

What's new in children's programming

There are some new kids programming on Noggin lately and these shows caught my eye this weekend.

One is called Wonder Pets, a show that focuses on three school classroom animals that lead a double life of derring-do. The pets in question are a guinea pig, a duckling, and a turtle. The show itself seems to be combination of Young Einsteins and Finding Nemo.

Let me explain:

Young Einsteins (an animated show from the popular Young Einstein company) tells the adventures of four kids that team up with their super-duper Rocket to go on missions, all the while accompanied by and learning about classical music and famous art. The characters are animated, but it is usually superimposed on real photographs of the outdoors, famous cities, etc. A similar visual style is effected on Wonder Pets.

It's also like Finding Nemo in that these animals lead a secret life that is unknown to the humans around them. Their adventures, as a matter of course, take place after school is over for the day.

You might not think this is all that amazing. But there is one sinister part to this whole story. One thing the Wonder Pets always say/sing is what amounts to the mantra of the show: "We're not too big and we're not too tough, but if we work together, we've got the right stuff." Worried yet? Well, you soon will be.

Another show that I've actually started to like is something called The Backyardigans. This show is set in the backyard of one of the characters. The five friends--a hippo, a penguin, a kangaroo, a moose, and a something? imagine a new destination and story in each show. And then the backyard and the characters magically transform into that scenario until the story is over.

The good thing about The Backyardigans is that the quality of the songs is top-notch. The music and lyrics are far superior to the bland middle-of-the-road repetition of the Wiggles. In fact, yesterday the girls were watching an episode and I was intending to read a bit of a book. But I found myself mesmerized by the story, in which Pedro the Penguin was a surfer trying to find the perfect wave at mysteriously located Tiki Beach. During his search he encountered other surfers, learning and teaching new "rad" surfing moves along the way, guided by the mysterious lifeguard that kept pointing them along the way.

It caught my eye because the songs were sort of contemporary (elements of rap and slang and lingo that's sort of "hip" today) but also aimed at kids. This isn't the best example, but I could find the final song of the imaginary adventure as they are surfing on Tiki Beach.

So, what exactly is my problem?

Well, to put it bluntly, I think these shows are part of a threat by the Japanese to weaken the youth of America and make them ready to accept the eventual rule of the inevitable Japanese invasion.

You think I'm crazy, right? Well, think again. Go back to what I said about the mantra of the Wonder Pets--"We're not too big and we're not too tough, but if we work together, we've got the right stuff?" Doesn't that describe the Japanese, a small nation that achieves power and influence by teaching it's citizens to conform and unite for a common purpose?

And doesn't the point of The Backyardigans seem to be ignore the real world and embrace an illusionary world of dreams and fantasies? Wouldn't a whole generation of dreamers who wander about in a fog of imagination be easy pickings to an invading army?

If you have kids, you should make sure they are not watching this insidious programming. Make them read books or draw or for goodness sake, get them outside cutting your grass and painting your fences! TV this insidious is clearly dangerous to the future of our country and you should definitely NOT be letting your kids get wrapped up in it . . . unless you're dog tired and simply need to sit down and read a book that wasn't written at a five-year-old's comprehension level.

1 comment:

lulu said...

I can only hope that your theory of Japanese invasion comes true. I'm so, so weary of most Americans (especially the political kind) and could use an infusion of cheesy pop, outrageous fashions, and reliable cars and electronics.

Vive la Japan!