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Thursday, February 22, 2007  

Kid Videos

We don't let M. Small watch that many videos, but they're so damn brain-drilling, it seems like we do. And yet we're always telling him, "No, no Curious George." "How about Dora the Explorer?" "No, no Dora the Explorer." "How about Blue's Clues?" "No, no Blues Clues." How About Curious Buddies?" "No, no Curious Buddies." "How about Curious George?" "No, no Curious George." And so on.

Most of you, especially the parents, are probably already familiar with the chronically outside-voiced Dora and the sloppy-pawed Blue. And I've already written about the new jazz-inflected, Hirshfeld-looking, shamelessly in-cashing Curious George series narrated by Bill Macy. But maybe I should tell you about the slightly more underground titles.

We discovered Curious Buddies when we were visiting Trash's mom in Iowa. We'd had the foresight to bring some videos, which was unfortunate because they'd just moved and only had their DVD player set up. We found a Curious Buddies DVD in the Wal-Mart bargain bin and picked it up as a stopgap, with no idea that the series would become a favorite. His, not ours.

These videos feature kids playing and running around in keeping with one of several themes, interspersed with the low-impact adventures of a quintet of plush, primitively rendered animal puppets. The Curious Buddies include a dog named Dog, a cat named Cat, a bear named Bear, and a porcine specimen burdened with the moniker -- get this -- Pig.

Wait, that's only four right? That's because I forgot Elephant. That's because everybody forgets Elephant. He's not an official Curious Buddy per se. He's more like their roadie. His official job appears to be facilitating scene changes after the Curious Buddies do something fun without him, and stepping in when the Curious Buddies hit some kind of seemingly insurmountable obstacle, for which they'll then offer perfunctory thanks. His unofficial job seems to be trying to get the Curious Buddies to like him enough to join their little club, which will never, ever happen. The poor little stunted pachyderm is doomed to forever exist on the unpopular fringes of Curious Buddihood.

Naturally, I identify strongly with him. If M. Small ever starts doing the same, I'll know it's time for him to stop watching them.

Currently, he's an even bigger fan of Kipper. Kipper is a British animated series based on a series of British children's books. The title role is a red-and-white cartoon mutt voiced by the guy who played Richard Burbage in Shakespeare in Love sounding as prissy as possible. I think it's the only way M. Small's going to hear British accents until I decide he's old enough to watch Rome.

The funny thing about Kipper is not that he talks, or has other animal friends who also talk, or that they all sound too English for the BBC. The funny thing is that Kipper appears to live in a house built for humans on a human scale, yet he lives there alone. How does he pay the mortgage?

He also has a couple of equally British friends, one of whom is a pig named Pig (not to be confused with his Curious Buddy namesake) and the other of whom is a schnauzer named Tiger. The thing about Tiger is that he's consistently cowardly, boastful, and selfish, but he never seems to exceed Kipper's saintly patience. I guess the message is that sometimes, boys and girls, you're going to have to put up with a best friend who's kind of an asshole. Tiger's still better than Pig, though, whose main character trait appears to be "congested." If M. Small ever starts identifying with Tiger, it will definitely be time for him to stop watching Kipper.

Oh, well, it's still better for him than Battlestar Galactica.

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posted by M. Giant 9:38 PM 8 comments


On demand, Blue's Clues, 5 episodes, only Steve Blue's Clues.
No Joe No Joe Dteve Boo Coo's (as said by a 2 year old) But hey - gives me time to nap, do laundry, cook dinner and stuff. And, I sorta heart Steve a little so it's ok to watch OVER AND OVER

By Blogger Libragirl, at February 23, 2007 at 2:28 AM  

"Between the Lions" rules in our house (although our boys are a bit older than M. Small). Once they start identifying with Cliff Hanger (he can never get off that cliff), then it's time for them to stop watching.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 23, 2007 at 7:35 AM  

Do not let him discover Boohbah. Most disturbing kids' show EVER.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 23, 2007 at 1:08 PM  

Oobi is another scary one.

We're into Jack's Big Music Show in our house these days but it's entertaining enough that I haven't fully zoned out when it's on yet.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 23, 2007 at 1:13 PM  

I'm probably a total geek to mention this, but Veggie Tales is hilarious! - JeniMull

By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 23, 2007 at 3:39 PM  

I do not miss those days at all.
My kids absolutely loved Blues Clues, Kipper, and Little Bear. And actually, I did not mind Little Bear. But if M. Small ever gets started on Franklin (about a turtle) just turn the TV/Video/DVD player off. Franklin is not worth the insanity.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 23, 2007 at 5:45 PM  

Well, you could do what I used to do, and let him watch Alias (except the make-out parts). My daughter loved it, and we had to promise to send her to butt-kicking school when she gets older.

By Blogger Sleepless Mama, at February 23, 2007 at 10:58 PM  

I think you should let him watch The Goodies (because let's face it, who doesn't love Kitten Kong?) and Sooty - both with excellent examples of how actual Brits speak.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 5, 2007 at 9:13 PM  

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