Posts tagged ‘Kidcore’

Kidcore: Fuck you, Dora.

Being of a child-like mentality in most critical ways, I have always had a soft spot in my heart for childrens’ entertainment, even as an adult. This means I have been known of my own free will to watch cartoons, pay money to see a Disney film, and chortle like a moron at episodes of Sesame Street.

I think this has made me some kind of kids’ entertainment snob, because when my daughter is watching something, I can’t help but dismantle it in my brain, even as she sings and dances along happily.

Which is a roundabout way of saying that I HATE DORA THE EXPLORER.

The show is cheaply and poorly produced; it lacks even a baseline modicum of wit, intelligence, or creativity; it seems designed specifically to annoy the living shit out of anyone over the age of four within viewing or hearing range; and it has achieved an undeserved level of phenomenal popularity that insures it is EVERYWHERE you look, if your path happens to cross that of any child at any point.

I’ve watched a fair amount of the likely hundreds of hours of Dora cartoons produced, and I could not tell you WHO Dora is, or her companion Boots, if you put a gun to my head. I know Boots is a monkey who wears boots. Dora has a talking backpack and a talking map, both of whom sing obnoxiously catchy songs.

But does Boots enjoy bananas, like Cookie Monster loves cookies? Is Dora driven by curiosity, a passion for learning, or just the requirements of lame plots cobbled together by fat white guys in stuffy rooms in Southern California? Do these characters exist for any reason other than to shout numbers and Spanish words at my daughter and sell merchandise?

I probably revere Sesame Street and the Muppets too much, but I can’t help it; I think it’s just that good. Sesame Street teaches my kid numbers, and letters, and Spanish, just like Dora. Unlike Dora, the Muppets of Sesame Street DO have personality, and through those characterizations, kids learn even more valuable lessons, about people and relationships.

I think what pushed me over the edge is a recent episode where I realized the lazy bastards who make Dora actually reuse animation in the same episode–I watched the EXACT SAME FOOTAGE of Boots and Dora dancing down a path and singing their happy song three or four times, separated by embarrassing segments involving a mud mountain and a pile of goo. (Seriously. A PILE OF GOO.)

I know kids won’t notice, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to take shortcuts and produce the bare minimum required to entertain and educate them. And that’s what Dora the Explorer, and its spinoff show Go Diego Go, offer to kids–the absolute least amount of entertainment and educational value required to gain popularity and sell toys.

To which I say, one more time: Fuck you, Dora the Explorer.

(As is often the case, parody captures what I hate about Dora far better than my bitching ever could.)

October 10, 2007 at 10:01 am 4 comments

Damn you, Hootie! And damn your Blowfish!

My daughter has sung her first song, and it is “Hold My Hand” by Hootie and the Blowfish.

This is pleasing, yet disturbing. Pleasing, because she is smart and cute, and hearing her sing makes my ears happy, and sometimes the song will actually encourage her to hold my hand.

Disturbing, because I FUCKING HATE HOOTIE.

bk_hootie.jpg

Always have. Probably always will.

In college, I wrote for a school paper and engaged in a major hate campaign against this god-awful band. Let’s hop in the wayback machine and read a classic from October 1995, when Hootie were in their greatest vogue.

(more…)

August 23, 2007 at 1:24 pm Leave a comment

Kidcore: Let’s go to the Wiggly Concert!

Every once in a while, you hear someone say, “My kids never watch TV.”

These people either don’t have kids, or are fucking LIARS.

Every kid watches TV. If they didn’t, you’d see house after house on suburban streets with doors hanging wildly open and crazed parents running up and down the sidewalks screaming, “PLEASE! Take a NAP! I’m going BATSHIT CRAZY trying to entertain you!!!”

Our one-year-old Cate watches TV. I’m happy to admit it, because the days of childrens’ television as a thinly-veiled excuse to sell toys are (somewhat) over.

There’s whole NETWORKS dedicated to largely commercial-free educational kids programming, much of it made incredibly well. (I hope to get around to ripping apart the bad stuff soon.)

One of Cate’s favorites (and hell, I’ll admit it, one of MY favorites) is the perennial staple of modern kids culture, The Wiggles.

the-wiggles-pic.gif

The Wiggles, for the childless, are four musician/performer types from Australia who jump around and sing and dance in a daily exhibition of energy that puts Jack Lalanne to shame.

Seriously. Just watching these guys in concert is exhausting; I can only imagine how it must feel to actually PERFORM. They do taped bits, they plug in brief gags, and they have these songs.

The songs. Maybe I’ll regret saying this someday, but I think the Wiggles put out some damn good kids music. It’s catchy, it’s in a rock/pop style I can totally get behind, and unlike some of the more antiseptic kids tunes you hear, the musicians actually sound like they’re playing their instruments with verve and excitement.

They’re the Beatles for kids, basically. People think I’m nuts when I say this, but seriously:

Greg=Paul (the lead singer, sweet, smiley)
Anthony=John (the sardonic one)
Murray=George (the bug-eyed guitar lover)
Jeff=Ringo (the useless one; both could sleep through a show/recording session and no one would notice*)

Then there’s the crew they hang with, Captain Feathersword and the weird animals in costumes. Feathersword’s cool but the others are a mixed bag. Especially Henry the Octopus, who sounds like Charles Nelson Reilly on helium and lacks the panache of, say, a Dorothy the Dinosaur. Dorothy’s deal is that she likes roses and rosy tea; Wags the Dog loves digging bones and laughing.

Henry loves running around flopping his flaccid tentacles all over the place. Creepy.

henrybig.jpg

My wife and I have also overanalyzed the dancing crew that supports the Wiggles in their series and concerts, to the point where we have nicknames (you’ll know “the Gay One” when you see him, trust me). But that’s more for our own entertainment.

For Cate’s entertainment, there’s fun songs about being nice and eating right and having a good time, and it makes her happy, so it makes me happy.

In November, we will hopefully see the Wiggles live in concert. I’ll file a full report. Wish us luck on getting tickets! (Although I’m not above scalping from some skeevy dude in a trenchcoat who smells vaguely of pot. Been there, done that.)

*I know Ringo walked out of some White Album sessions, but wasn’t there an anecdote someplace about him falling asleep during a session one time too? Help me out here.

August 7, 2007 at 11:19 am 1 comment


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