Thursday, May 15, 2008

Brought to you by the letter "A"

My sister has a two year old son whom I adore. Consequently I have become very familiar with children's television. Children's entertainment is BIG business these days, but sadly that has not produced really high quality programs. Don't get me wrong, it isn't a wasteland by any means. There are actually a number of shows that I would watch without the bambino's company. Charlie and Lola for instance, or Jack's Big Music Show. I even enjoy the Wiggles, but that's mainly because of Anthony. Umm....wait, where was I going with this? Oh yes. However, there seems to be the general impression from most children's entertainment producers that super bright colors, loud music and dialogue, and psychedelic backdrops or characters are all you need for a program. Seriously, some of the characters look like they were dreamed up by someone on a bad acid trip. And even stalwarts of my youth have been compromised by this trend. Sesame Street is really just Elmo these days. And what is up with teaching Cookie Monster that cookies are a sometime food? I hate to criticize the longest running children's program, but wouldn't it be better if the kids were doing something active instead of watching t.v. if you are that concerned about childhood obesity? And yes, cookies are a sometime food, but that's the point of Cookie Monster. He's our collective childhood Id, devouring cookies at the expense of everything else and missing out on the other great things out there. Focus on that lesson, which is so beautifully demonstrated in Bread and Jam for Frances, instead changing the integrity of a beloved character for the sake of political correctness. But I digress. For those who are interested because they have little ones in their immediate or extended family here is my list of the best kids programs.
1. Classic Sesame Street (available on DVD)
2. The Wiggles
3. Jack's Big Music Show
4. Charlie and Lola
5. Handy Manny (an enjoyable alternative for learning Spanish to Dora the Explorer)
6. It's a Big, Big World
7. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse