10.01.2009

What On Earth is Up With Kid's Cartoons?

Now, this is more of a personal rant rather than a political one, but I do think that the observation of the media kid's are being drowned in today says something about society in general. So here goes...

Have you watched the plethora of cartoons being touted as "educational" lately? Now, back in the day cartoons were for fun. No one mistook Tom and Jerry or Wile E Coyote for some sort of life instructional, unless you wanted to be sure to avoid running off the side of a cliff or how to make a body imprint as you ran through a wall. The signs were neat, too. But they were not educational, and they did not run 24 hours a day every day. You got them on Saturday morning, and then you went out to play.

Today we have entire channels devoted only to "children's educational cartoons" and I have to say after watching some of these cartoons, I'm pretty sure my IQ actually dropped a point.

A few cartoons that irk me to no end include:

"Wonder Pets". These little creatures talk "baby talk", which drives me straight up a wall. I mean, what is beneficial about constantly hearing "Ohw No! Dis is sewious!". ARGH! That causes linguistic backsliding, not learning enhancement! It's a butchery of the language! Further more the characters are animals, who can speak, break out of their cages at will, and rescue other animals but fail at figuring out the small problems they face. They can't rescue a baby raccoon from a garbage can, but they can build a working helicopter from recycled paper towel tubes and coat hangers.

Really? What kind of message does that send? How is that educational?

"Special Agent Oso". This one is at the top of my list of annoying cartoons. I have never seen a dumber bear or group of characters in my entire life. Again, with the inability to figure out the simplest of things, and needing step by step hand held instructions on things like...how to put lettuce in a bowl, or how to ride a carousel horse. Kids are much, much smarter than the producers give them credit for, obviously. Talk about dumbed down....

"Wow Wow Wubzy." Do I even have to say it? "Wubzy" there, I said it. (God, really?) With characters who are supposed to be children, who apparently have no parents, living in some digital world and play games like "kickity-kick ball", no problem solving skills of their own, and the uber sugary sweet reward for not actually doing anything.

"Yo Gabba Gabba". What kind of tripped out person created that show? Whatever drugs they're on, they must be good. I see nothing "educational" about that one. Except maybe a lesson in why one shouldn't do drugs.

Did I mention that none of these cartoons deal with anything a kid might actually have to deal with in real life? Such as losing a game, hurting their knee, being naughty, winning a game (while others lose), having to deal with siblings, friends, pressure, day care, parents, the whole nine - these shows exist in some kind of sick parallel universe where kids are dumber than a box of rocks, and no one's feelings ever get hurt.

The next big cartoon will probably having the characters shitting out rainbows and vomiting butterflies.

Calling shows like this "educational" is like adding vitamin C to sugar pops and calling it "healthy".

There a few cartoons I do like, however.

"Calliou". It's actually a pretty good cartoon, although a little sugary, it deals with a kid, who speaks like a 4 year old actually speaks (NO baby talk!) who has to deal with actual life issues. Things like daycare and preschool, working parents, a little sister, a pet and it's responsibilities, friends, and winning and losing games gracefully. The characters have tantrums, experience the full array of emotions, and actually do real problem solving on the level of a preschooler. Some say it's boring, but for a toddler and preschooler, it's like watching something they can actually relate to.

"Arthur". It's a great cartoon for older kids. Again, it deals with kids experiencing things real kids experience. They have fun, they get into trouble, the parents are ever present as they are in real life, homework, school yard bullies, etc and so forth.

But I simply cannot stand all of these terrible, horrible, babyish, dumbed down, huggy bear, kissy face, tip-toe-through-the-tulips crap cartoons!

And I do think it speaks to the mindset of society at the moment. We wonder why our kids are doing poorly in school, have the parents stopped to see what their kids are watching, and have been watching constantly? And who thought these things up? The producers no doubt claim to be "educational specialists" who can design programs to enhance children's learning.

If they're planning the school curriculum too, we are in deep shit.

And...that's my rant for today....

3 comments:

Jesse M. said...

I agree there is some really weird stuff out there now...

Dave Dubya said...

The kids are simply being groomed, as in dumbed down, for their future of adult cartoons at CNN and Fox.

"We'll have to leave it at that..."

Kelly W. Patterson said...

The reason that you have all this stuff labeled as educational is because of FCC requirements for the networks to have a certain percentage of programming be educational in nature. Which means that anything that could be remotely classified as a children's show is now marketed as educational, regardless of the actual content.