Not Your Father’s Sesame Street

When you have young children, you get exposed to a lot of children’s television programming, well beyond the Muppets and Sesame Street of yesteryear. Most of these are good, educational, well thought-out and well written shows, perfect for kids, but if you watch too many of them as an adult—as I do—you begin wish you could apply some grown-up sensibilities to them. I’m going to do that here.

Read on if you like; if you’re not a parent, you may wonder just what the hell I’m talking about.

Basically, I’m just listing several shows my kids like, and what goes on in my mind about those shows. Probably most adults who spend any amount of time watching them think the same way.

Bob the Builder

This is a cute little claymation program about a builder accompanied by talking machines (the kinds that little kids like: backhoes, steamrollers, dump trucks, etc.) who, well, build things. Educationally, there’s not much there, other than presenting a good message about working together and being nice to each other.

My main issue with the show is that Spud needs a major beatdown. Big time.

Also, isn’t anybody worried about the machines taking over? They’re all highly intelligent and utterly independent, yet they seem content to serve the humans. That worries me.

Blue’s Clues

This show might be the best of the lot. Kids learn a lot from this show (I’m guessing; it certainly seems to me that kids should learn a lot from it), which involves an animated dog that plays guessing games with her human counterpart to solve the puzzle-du-jour. Campy, but it works.

I just gotta wonder, though, how old must it get for Steve and Joe to play Blue’s Clues every day, probably several times a day, for even trivial stuff. That would drive me insane. Something like this:

“Hey Blue, it’s five til eight, what do you want to watch tonight? Friends or Survivor?”

Blue jumps up and slaps a big blue pawprint on the screen.

“Aw man, can’t you just tell me for once? Chrissakes, we got five minutes, these games take forever, all I wanted to do was relax tonight…”

And you know what? The talking salt and pepper shakers really freak me out. Why the hell do they talk with a French accent?


Oobi the bare-hand puppetIf you think talking granule dispensers are freaky, how about talking hands? With eyes? Literally. Oobi is a show that features bare-hand puppets. Bare-hand puppets. Does that even qualify as a puppet? It’s a clever show, but you can’t help but feel like they didn’t even try to put any effort into it.

On the other hand (ha ha, pun sort of intended), it occurs to me that you’d have to have model-quality hands to perform a bare-hand puppet TV show. No warts, scars or ragged nails accepted. A missing finger might make for an interesting puppet, though…

Plus, I can’t even get my mind around how these characters are supposed to walk around and interact with, well, anything. Are their mouths their hands? Are their hands their mouths? Don’t think too hard about it, or you’ll wake up on a stretcher mainlining an IV of Haldol.

5 Replies to “Not Your Father’s Sesame Street”

  1. Agreed. Spud needs an ass kicking. Bad.

    Agree on Blue’s Clues, too. If I were Joe/Steve I’d be like "Look, you piece of crap dog, don’t make me beat you senseless. Just tell me WTF you want."

    My daughter’s addicted to most of the Nick Jr. shows. I’ve been watching them now and again with her, making sure to mute the commercials (as they’re more obnoxious than the shows).

  2. you must not have any children??? OOBI is awesome!!! it may be simple but it is entertaining & teaches chilren little life lessons at the same time. if you watched my 2-year-old mimmick oobi, uma, grampu & the gang you would change your mind!!! THREE CHEERS FOR OOBI!!!

  3. No, I have kids, they watch Oobi a lot. The weird thing is, the show’s compelling, and well-handled… it’s just such a weird concept for a puppet/kids show.

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