Friday, December 10, 2010

Things I Have Learned From Children's TV

So the Bug is starting to get to an age where she can tell the difference between suitable television programing and my secret pleasure, the Real Housewives. (I can't get enough of 'em, although I totally think all the New Jersey Housewives are completely whack-a-do.) She's been a bit under the weather the past few days, so I've been letting her watch more TV than usual, since she hasn't been as into chasing the dog around the sofa as she is when her energy level is normal.

So I've been watching Sprout and Nickelodeon.

Okay, so it is time to date myself a bit. The TV I remember watching when I was a preschooler is pretty much Reading Rainbow and Sesame Street. Beyond that, my mom watched Days of Our Lives and Another World.

Some things I have learned from this new generation of children's shows.

1. Australians are really freakin' weird.

Example 1a: Dirt Girl World

Okay, so it is actually a co-production of the CBC and the ABC, but all the creepy little people and bugs have Aussie accents, so I lay this at the feet of the Aussies.

2. Brits are a bit odd as well. (Perhaps I should have combined these into one and just laid it at the feet of the entire Commonwealth. Perhaps this oddness is the lasting influence of the royal family?)

Example 2a: Rubbadubbers, a series that takes place entirely in a bathroom in stop motion.

Example 2b: Fireman Sam. It seems that Fireman Sam and his cohort are Welsh, and it is interesting to note that when the show originally aired, it was in Welsh. Even for a kids show, however, the morals seem a bit tidy. Also, I find a few of the voices a bit off, and the Welsh accents make me think of the show Torchwood, so I keep waiting for Capitan Jack Harkness to swoop in and blame the rift, and possibly hire and/or sleep with Fireman Sam or his sidekick who is, inexplicably, named Elvis.

3. Math can solve anything. The Bug loves a show on Nick called "Team UmiZoomi" in which 2 Smurf-sized children and their handy Robot solve Umi City's problems with their Mighty Math Powers. The show actually reinforces important skills for preschoolers like shapes, pattern recognition and counting, but the breadth of problems they solve with math is nothing short of stunning. They've found lost toys, gotten planes off the ground, made sure Grandma got her "I Love You Day" cookies. The part the Bug likes best is the song at the end.

4. It's all good if you can end the day with a song. Just ask Team UmiZoomi or Dora the Explorer.

I still want to know what Dora would do if she didn't find her objective and couldn't sing the "We Did It" song at the end of an episode.

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