November 13, 2011

My Daughters, Victims of a Philosophical Father

Many people, when watching children's programming, would consider the educational justifications of having their children plopped in front of the TV.

After over-exposure, some adults may begin humming the songs of the shows, refer to the actors as actual people, or even adopt the mannerisms and phrasings of the characters.

I, however, begin to contemplate the deep, philosophical questions that are invoked by cartoon reality.  I am out of clever introduction, so without further ado, here is a list of shows and the queries that pop into my head.


The obvious question here is "why is a four-year-old bald?" but a basic Google search provides the answer to that one.  Apparently, they felt that if he had brown hair, he would have only appealed to kids with brown hair.  If he had blond hair, he would only appeal to blond kids, etc.  This of course, begs the question, "why wouldn't a bald kid only appeal to bald kids?"  How big could that demographic possibly be?

Caillou, the boy of the giant bald head and absurd name, has a sister named "Rosie."  Why is her name so mundane (no offense to any readers named "Rosie") when his is so ridiculous?

Why does Rosie have no clothing except a housecoat with ruffled sleeves and collar?  Who dresses their child that way?  Then again, the mother wears the exact same outfit, but with pants, so I guess they shop at the same store.


In a world where anthropomorphic animals are the primary residents, where these animals act like people, how do they decide which animals get to act like people, walking, talking, owning property, and which ones have to remain as regular animals, scrounging in the dirt for food?

How does Kipper own a house, when he doesn't have a job?  How does he pay his mortgage with his life of leisure?

Also, is everyone in this world on sedatives?

Berenstain Bears:

Again with the choice of clothing for the mother, are those pajamas?  She runs errands in pajamas?

Someone wrote a blog post about naming, but apparently, the grandparents in this family didn't get the memo.    Can you imagine the emotional trauma that the parents endured going through school with the names "Mama" and "Papa"?  Just picture the conversation!

Bully:  Hey, Papa, what kind of a stupid name is that?  You a dad or something?

Bullies are not not known for their witty repartee.  Additionally, it means that the grandparents wanted to ensure that they had grandkids some day.  The destiny was guided by the names, much like naming a child Doctor makes it difficult not to become a doctor.  Or naming a child Chastity and being shocked when she becomes loose in the ways of women.  Sadly, this trend continued into the current generation.  Do they want the kids to become a monk and a nun?

What would they name a third child?

Sesame Street:

I understand that a large part of this show is about diversity, so I will run down the main diversities in terms of the personality disorders of the cast.
The Count: OCD
Cookie Monster: It's in the name!  Eating disorder.  (Again, see Berestain Bears for the destiny/naming connection) Also, his grammar is atrocious!
Elmo: Speaks only in third-person
Ernie:  Inability to read social cues, optimistic jerk
Bert:  Depression, pessimistic jerk
Grover: No clue, but something is seriously wrong with this guy.

Many of these characters have traits that would put them solidly on the Autism spectrum.

Bob the Builder:

Mostly, this show makes me want to build things.  But I am curious, as with Kipper, who decides which construction equipment is allowed to be alive?  Why isn't the shovel dancing around?

Who pays for all of the materials?

Thomas the Tank-Engine:

This show disturbs me on a level that I can't quite describe.  I want to see the first episode where some mad scientist creates sentient trains with human faces and emotions.  What could that motive possibly have been?

When I think of what hell might be like, it is close to being a train on this show.  Imagine for a moment that you have full control of your mental faculties and the complete and total inability to move anything other than your eyes and mouth.  If you want to travel, you can only move front and back along a track that someone else had laid down.  Above all of this, you need a constant supply of energy that you are completely unable to get on your own.  All the while, a small person with infinitely more freedom climbs in and out of your head and tells you what to do and where to go.

Also, why, on an island as small as Sodor, are there so many trains??

There are other shows, but I think this entry is too long as it is.  So much so, that both of my children have fallen asleep reading it.



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