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w March 07, 2004

Toddler TV

As much as I sometimes hate myself for doing it, my need for a cup (or three) of coffee in the morning has necessitated our foray into the world of toddler television.
You know the shows I mean: Teletubbies, Rolie Polie Olie, and The Wiggles. All those shows that you're sure were created when someone had just a leetle too much...something...at a warehouse party three years ago.

I certainly don't plunk Bean in front of the tv for longer than half an hour, but it's been enough for me to realize a few things, and capitulate from my sanctimonious, slightly crunchy attitude towards TV for toddlers. One, these shows are utterly compelling, at least if you're still working on your first cup of coffee. I find myself staring at the Teletubbies and echoing "eh-oh!", almost unwittingly. Rolie Polie Olie is just soothing, all those gentle circles and squares. The Wiggles? Well, this morning we're watching our first episode, and it's a little like a cracked out The Monkees, but at the same time, you can't help but like a bunch of men who are willing to act terrifically silly for the benefit of the not yet toilet trained set. Plus, they're actually pretty good!

Two, while I realize that no two-year-old needs to be plastered against a TV for hours on end, it would appear that the quality (let alone quantity) of children's shows has really improved, at least on some channels. I'm not talking about those frenetic bad-joke fests that pass for entertainment on the unmentionable
Od(ious)eon channel, but it's kind of nice to have choices beyond Mr Rogers and Sesame Street.

Don't get me wrong, I love those shows, and they allow me half hour trips down memory lane, but I do like the new ones, especially Miffy. Miffy is this bunny who sort of seems drawn from marshmallows, but she's really cute and the pacing of the show is as gentle as that of the books by Dick Bruna. The one thing I particularly like about Miffy is that, just like Mr Rogers and Sesame Street, its simplicity does not equal stupidity. Miffy doesn't discuss nuclear physics or anything, but the intelligence of viewers is assumed, even as the characters do something as mundane as build a snow bunny.

I was also kind of curious if Bean would react differently to shows aimed at her age group; she doesn't see very well, and so I never really worry about the shows that I watch (granted, this might come around and bite me in the rear when she unexpectedly turns her preschool classroom into the Jerry Springer show). Toddler shows seem to be highly visual, and yet...she loves them. Well, she laughs semi-appropriately, wiggles around, vocalizes and babbles at them in a way I never observe when we're watching, say, a movie or the news. I can't help but think we're maybe even doing her a favor by letting her "watch" at least a few of these, occasionally.

Plus, you know, I get to have my desperately needed infusion of caffeine.

by at March 07, 2004 8:47 AM | TrackBack Comments
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