M. Giant's
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Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks


Sunday, October 16, 2005  

Along my commute home, there's a bar that advertises that you can come in and play something called "Bango" on Monday nights. I don't know what that is, but given the neighborhood I suspect it's Bingo with guns.

* * *

M. Small loves him some Baby Einstein videos. If you have a toddler or infant, you're probably already familiar with this brainchild of some bored country-club wife. M. Small has about a half-dozen or more of these. The reason he has that many is that watching the same two or three with him over and over began to make us all a little crazy. So we bought a few more to keep the rotation moving.

I think that's an unspoken but vital part of the Baby Einstein business model. Once a household has one Baby Einstein video, it needs the whole set so as not to go completely yellow wallpaper on the poor kid.

They're basically montages cut together from stock nature footage, crap puppetry, and what seems to be a video toy catalog, displayed over minimal narration and simplified renditions of classical music. There are also little kids frolicking through them. We're even starting to learn the names of some of these kids, because they appear over and over. We think one or more of the little ones is the daughter of the bored country-club wife in question. She's an adorable blonde moppet who's already starting to get that jaded look one gets after a certain amount of time in showbiz. Like JonBenet Ramsay might have developed had she lived to age seven. She smiles and plays and dances, but behind her eyes -- especially in the more recent ones -- there's this look like, Was that take good enough, MOM? She even has a drawing reproduced in at least one Baby Einstein board book. I hope these kids are getting a piece of the action, or will at least be sent to a really good college.

Anyway, we always need more videos, because they wear so thin so fast. There's Baby Monet, all about the seasons; Baby Van Gogh, with segments about each primary and secondary color; Baby Noah, about animals, and so on. We just got Baby Neptune, whose subtitle is, appropriately enough, "Discovering Water." I've suggested to Trash that they should have a Baby Nietzche, introducing preverbal children to existential philosophy, or a Baby Machiavelli, teaching youngsters how to rule the sandbox with an iron fist; and Baby Dante, so that infants might enjoy a fun tour of Hell.

I just hope that wouldn't be redundant for the daughter who has to be in all the videos.

posted by M. Giant 5:34 PM 15 comments

15 Comments:

You should try Classical Baby by HBO- the music is better and the folks I know with kids don't find it nearly as ...grating? commercial? no real babies, but also no real toys. It's pretty new...

By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 16, 2005 at 6:19 PM  

My mom just got my sister and I the first season of The Muppet Show on DVD, and while we were entertaining ourselves and reliving our childhoods watching it, my 18-month-old nephew was absolutely mesmerized by it. A nice change from Baby xxx and/or the Wiggles!

- JeniMull

By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 16, 2005 at 8:23 PM  

"Completely yellow wallpaper"! That's bloody fucking brilliant. And yes, it demanded two intensifiers.

By Blogger Diablevert, at October 17, 2005 at 1:16 AM  

We've got every Baby Einstein video ever created and I can honestly say that it's made our kid smarter than all of his peers. And you're right about the girl in the videos ... it's the creator's daughter. She's got two daughters in the early videos and they do look as if they're returned to their cages immediately after shooting ends. And now our boy's into Little Einstein, which is geared toward pre-schoolers. Believe me ... you've entered a marketing machine that won't stop anytime soon, pal.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 17, 2005 at 3:49 AM  

I believe it is BARgo.. at least that's what they play at the whole in the wall bar by my house. The announcers are even more annoying then regular bingo houses.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 17, 2005 at 5:35 AM  

I hear you. Our son just turned two a few weeks, and he's still way into the Baby Einstein. That and the DVD of "Stranger in the Woods," which pretty much runs on a continuous loop at our house. Wait until he starts putting the video in by himself -- then you'll get a real sense of his preferences.

By Anonymous Lisa, at October 17, 2005 at 6:52 AM  

At least the Baby/Little Einstein videos use classical music - I'd rather listen to that all day than Barney's tunes, as catchy as they may be. Anyone ever watched The Big Comfy Couch? That show is actually pretty funny the first dozen times. My 2 yo niece can choose her own videos, but hasn't quite got down the concept of rewinding.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 17, 2005 at 8:48 AM  

We had a few of the Baby Einstein products - we missed Baby Machiavelli, but I think the toddler is already becoming adept at ruling on his own. Now, at age 2, he's got a huge celebrity crush on Dora the Explorer, or possible it's Boots the Monkey. I miss the cheerful little puppets and toys from Baby Einstein now, and the pretty music which grated on my ears much less than Dora's voice.

By Anonymous Nancy, at October 17, 2005 at 12:44 PM  

The worst is Blue's Clues -- the original host looks like he is suicidal, and the newer host is tripping. Or do I have them flipped? In any case, just look what you have ahead of you, M. Giant. You will dream of the days of Baby Einstein.

By Anonymous Andi, at October 18, 2005 at 6:48 AM  

I agree with the commenter about moving on to Little Einstein. It just started on playhouse Disney, and I have never seen ANYTHING suck in a two year old that damn fast. One time she was just standing in front of the television all poltergeist style and I asked her to please sit in her chair. She was so zoned she just sorta squated down where she stood and remained in baseball catcher position for the next twenty minutes.

It's like kiddie crack.

By Anonymous Nopenname, at October 18, 2005 at 2:52 PM  

Baby Old MacDonald is the favorite with our 14 month old. He starts waving his hands around like he's conducting. I find the later ones, like the MacDonald one, easier to sit through because they show more nature footage and the like, rather than the Spencer's Gifts advertisement the earlier ones like Baby Bach are. I believe in the credits of the early videos the girls are introduced as Aspen and Sierra. Poor things. You can see I know way more about this than I should.

By Anonymous Mandy, at October 19, 2005 at 6:20 AM  

Rocky and Bullwinkle is now out on DVD. Perfect for both children and adults.

By Blogger Liz, at October 21, 2005 at 9:24 AM  

If we've got the tv on in the house and it's before 5pm, 9 times out of 10 the digital box is tuned to Noggin. My son (1 yr) recognizes the little tune right before "And now it's time to move to the music, on Noggin" and then dances like a lunatic for the 1-2 minutes the music plays. Between that and "Jack's Big Music Show", the channel is worth it's weight in gold!

By Anonymous Melis, at October 23, 2005 at 8:17 PM  

Our three-year-old twins are hooked after one week. I decided to get them the Little Einstein video and as soon as it's finished they want more, (not that I let them). I appreciate the music though, just as an opportunity to get those Wiggles songs out of my head. It's kinda cool how they stand there and tell me the catepillar is going to change into a butterfly! They're so excited.
Hey, there are worse things they could want to watch, i.e. Barney.

By Anonymous michelle, at October 26, 2005 at 6:47 PM  

If you want to watch a really great baby video series that you and your baby will love, then check out Baby Nick Jr.'s Curious Buddies. Produced by the same people who do Jack's Big Music Show on Noggin. Awesome music and very funny!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 15, 2005 at 2:42 PM  

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