The average child under 4 will watch 63 hours of TV a week (I made this number up). My son doesn’t watch quite that much, but he certainly consumes his fair amount of television. His two favorite channels are Playhouse Disney and Treehouse. Both of these stations feature shows that, while very child-friendly, are mind numbingly tedious. Over the course of my three years, I’ve been subjected to 738 hours of children’s programming (I also made this number up) and when you’re forced to watch that much bad TV your mind tends to find ways to keep itself occupied.
With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of things that make no sense to me in these shows. I appreciate they’re not meant to hold up against nerd-like scrutiny, but these have really got me thinking.
Thomas and Friends
1. If Thomas is sentient, what does his driver do? Is this some kind of meta-comment on runaway technology and how we’re all just hopelessly strung along, unable to control our own destinies? By the same token, is the driver blamed when one of the trains causes confusion and delay? (note to non-Thomas fans – this happens in every episode). This is not the first time this show has confused me.
2. How did anything get built in the “Cars” world? Cars have no oposable thumbs. Yet they have buildings, roads, cameras, maintenance crews. Something fundamentally doesn’t add up. I assume that there is a subplot that was left on the cutting room floor about a secret underground human slavery ring.
3. This show is ostensibly about machines. Mighty Machines. They’re working for you, doing Mighty things, they’re (clap clap) Mighty Machines. In light of that, what is the criteria for becoming a mighty machine? Because from some of the episodes I’ve seen, it’s literally any piece of machinery. Doesn’t matter what. There was an episode on pop dispensers. What makes that a mighty machine? Honestly, if you’re just going to show something you run across in your day to day life, just call the show “mechanical stuff”.
4. This is a show about the Wiggles, except they’re from New Orleans, their music is better and they apparently run their own business. They’re in the problem solving game, according to the canon of the show. But do you really think singing at me is going to solve my problem, Imagination Movers? What if I have a heroin problem? Can Dave pull some Buprenex out of his hat? Let’s see you dance your way out of that!!!
5. I appreciate almost no one has seen this awful show. It’s difficult to explain, so here’s the clip.
Are those hippity-hippity-hippity-hop guys on 4-square supposed to be the vanguard of an invading alien army? If not, why is it “Captain” Hoppette? In what military organization does she designate her rank from? I’m assuming she outranks the other three and that’s why she gets to tell them what to do. I think when you watch them, you’re supposed to pretend like you’re an alien overlord and she’s making a brief, if exceptionally confusing status report on her ongoing earth investigation.
“Hoppette. Please report on the status of the Earth Military”
“Touch your nose. Hup!”
“… You’re… very very fired”
Dora the Goddamn Explorer
6. WHY DO DORA’S PARENTS THINK THIS LIFESTYLE IS SAFE FOR A 9 YEAR OLD???? Also, her head is shaped like a football.
7. Okay, this is kind of a newer show. It’s about trains (note – 70% of the shows are about vehicles. Kids love vehicles except when they have to go drive in your car). In the Chugginton world they all talk, and when they’re teasing, they refer to each other as “scaredy-chuggers”. But “chuggers” is basically the name of the society. They’re all chuggers. So that’s like me calling you a “scaredy-human”. Which, FYI, I’m going to start doing all the time now.
My Friends Tigger and Pooh
8. This is a reboot of the Pooh mythology. What J.J. Abrams did for Star Trek, this show did for Winnie the Pooh. Astute fans will notice that they no longer feature Christopher Robin and Owl. What I struggle to understand is what did Christopher Robin and Owl do such that they’re not included in the cast? What market segment determined that those two characters are unlikeable and that a cute girl named Darby will have better penetration with 4 year olds?
9. I actually kind of thought that Grover was Elmo’s dad and that Elmo just had horrible roseola.