This is an excerpt from an entire chapter (from Naptime is the New Happy Hour) devoted to TV. But I just chose to show you guys the snarky part.
As a parent it’s our responsibility to know what our kids are watching and which shows may have adverse affects on our children’s still forming brains. So to help you out and save you a little time I’ve compiled a list of must avoids!
Wonder Pets – And in the category of “Theme Song Most Likely to Drive a Pregnant Woman to Drink” the Academy award goes to Wonder Pets! Oh, if only it were just that the theme song is annoying. The show centers around three friends with major issues who have deluded themselves into thinking that the world’s problems can be solved through teamwork – pretty naïve fellas. First there’s Linny, the bulimic Guinea Pig, who blurts out “This calls for some celery!” no matter how inappropriate the occasion. Then there’s Turtle Tuck, a needy little guy who’s constantly asking for hugs from any random stranger who will oblige him – abandonment issues anyone? And finally, rounding out the dysfunctional trio is Ming Ming Duckling who, despite the disclaimer at the start of each episode that the show is designed to build vocabulary in preschoolers, has an obvious speech impediment. You only need to hear her catchphrase “this is sewious” just the once to want to deep fry her ass.
Doodlebops – If you want your child exposed to their first menage-a-trois, this is the show for you. Three very jauntily-dressed musicians (1 female, 2 male) hang out, play games and wear a lot of make-up. There’s Rooney, the grossly effeminate guitarist; DeeDee, the raunchy little go-go girl with the big voice; and Moe, the “cool” drummer who is always hiding in the Doodlebops Central “closet.” The supporting cast includes Jazz and Bus Driver Bob, two alternates in the on-going tryst between the main characters. Sure the sexual messages may be subliminal but if you freeze frame the episode where DeeDee gets her dancing shoes, you’ll see what looks a little too much like a bondage mask fall out of the prank closet. And I swear Roonie and Moe once made a rhyme about the time they “crossed swords.” Kids may find it endlessly entertaining but, I’m sorry, it’s just too high a price to pay for thirty minutes of peace and quiet.
Wiggles – You’ll know you’ve been home with the kids too long when you start having sexual fantasies about Anthony, the cutest Wiggle, and by far the most charismatic. But he will frequently dash your hopes when he trots out his lovely Italian wife and his kids. Bastard! He doesn’t love her! Who needs that kind of disappointment in an already trying day? Plus the other characters aren’t exactly setting a good example for the kids: Jeff, I think, has a developmental delay. He is always just a little off rhythmically and Captain Feathersword is obviously a failed porn star, most likely still using the name because it’s already monogrammed onto his regular clothes, or initialed onto the side of his Camaro.
Blue’s Clues –Luckily for me, my daughter doesn’t seem to like this half-hour bore-fest anymore than I do. The trouble with this show is all the drama surrounding the original host, Steve Burns. First there were a slew of rumors that the guy died of a heroin overdose – which turned out to false although, if they were true, who could’ve blamed him really? If I was forced to wear a green striped rugby shirt and beige chinos everyday of my life, I’d be snorting a little shmackedy shmack myself. Then, two seasons later, he pulls a David Caruso and leaves the show at the height of its popularity to pursue his dream of playing in a nameless rock band. Now the only publicity this guy’s getting is through his My Space page. Good thinking, Steve! Looks like we figured out who really needs to get a clue. But when Joe, Steve’s replacement, appears in random episodes, and your innocent baby asks “momma, where’s Steve?” you try explaining all the sordid details without causing nightmares. Confusing and disturbing.
Dragon Tales – So there you are minding your own business, eating a piece of toast with peanut butter on it and checking your emails while your little sweetie kicks back for the PBS Kids’ morning line-up when suddenly you sense something’s wrong. You come out of your office to find your heretofore engaged toddler scraping a quarter along your coffee table leaving welts as deep as tire tracks while simultaneously using your cell phone to call Japan. What went so terribly wrong? You glance up at the television only to see a two-headed dragon named Zak and Wheezie (and no, not the Wheezie from The Jeffersons). Dragon Tales is what went wrong. Dragon Tales is the wrench thrown right between Clifford and Big Big World. It mainly involves Max and Emmy, the most earnest kids on the planet, and not a half a personality between them. Every episode these two go off to Dragon Land to have fun and adventures plus learn a lesson which would be well and good if it held a child’s attention longer than an NPR radio show. A program that can’t keep your toddler occupied gets rated a “D” for downright dangerous.
Thomas & Friends – Here’s the run down of this British snooze-a-thon. Thomas the Train (wreck) and a bunch of other tank engines with stuffy names like Percy, James, Edward, Gordon…I’m sorry, I drifted off for a minute while I was typing this… live on the fictional island of Sodor. If your child was literally born yesterday they might not notice how old school this is – but the real problem for me lies with the upper crust British narration. Do you really want your toddler imitating this speech pattern? It can only lead to schoolyard beatings for walking around with a pathetic fake British accent. Just look at Madonna.
Nip/Tuck – At first glance this doesn’t even seem like a kids show at all. Call me old fashioned but I’m not sure gory boob jobs and tummy tucks are appropriate subjects for babies. But even more disturbing, the plot lines are not challenging enough for even the youngest of viewers. My daughter was completely over it by season two.