Tag Archives: TV Tuesdays

TV Tuesday: Oobi

My husband: That stupid “Oobi” show is on again.

Me: What IS it? It’s always on at the most random times. Where is the regular programming?

My husband: Is that that weird one with the talking hands with the eyeballs coming out the top?

Me: I don’t think so, but I don’t remember.

My husband: Do you know what I’m talking about? There’s this totally freaky show with talking hands with faces on them and eyeballs on top. Which one is it?

Me: I’ve never seen that in my life. I think you’re making it up.

My husband: No. I think it’s that “Oobi” show. It’s totally freaky and weird. Let’s see…

*Switches the channel*

Me: ACK! WTF is that?!

We changed the channel immediately to avoid all of us having nightmares.

I thought I’d seen EVERYTHING on children’s tv. I guess you live you learn.

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TV Tuesdays: Fresh Beat Flashback

Sunday my kids were watching “The Fresh Beat Band” with my husband while I ignored them checked my facebook email. I was vaguely listening when suddenly I realized what was going on. “Is this a flashback episode?!”

It was.

The show has only been on since 2009. I am shocked right now to read on imdb.com that there have been 28 episodes because I could have sworn we’d seen every single one and there were maybe 12 of them. Apparently we are just seeing the same 12 episodes over and over and over again, which tends to happen in children’s tv so I shouldn’t be surprised. Still, 28 episodes in which they already repeat a lot of the same song videos does not constitute the need to do a flashback episode.

In the episode they were remembering all the songs they’d ever done. But seriously, they replay the songs OFTEN without the pretense of flashback. Why have a flashback episode when you flashback all the time anyway? Not to mention, like all Nick Jr. shows you are rerun multiple times a day. I can see a flashback if I watch at a different time slot.

Flashbacks are annoying enough in regular sitcoms, but in children’s tv having a flashback is absolutely ridiculous. Seriously Nick Jr., you did this with Dora recently and it was stupid then, please stop with the flashbacks!

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TV Tuesdays: Dino Dan

I’ve been meaning to write something about “Dino Dan” for some time now, but to be honest despite my best efforts to sit through the show I’ve never actually made it through an entire episode. The gist I’ve gotten so far is that Dan is obsessed with dinosaurs and can relate them to any situation. He sees them everywhere he goes. I’m not sure if he’s playing make believe or if he’s delusional. I’m leaning toward him being delusional.

When Dan relates something to dinosaurs, he acts all disgruntled that he is burdened with this dinosaur knowledge that other people don’t know. He sighs and tells people what he knows, the looks out the window and sees his delusional pet dinosaur du jour. It is apparently really hard to be smarter about dinosaurs than other people.

I would know more about “Dino Dan” despite my inability to pay attention, but my daughter has recently decided that the show is “too scary”. She screams and runs to turn off the tv the second it comes on. So, it seems I will be in the dark about the mockability that I’m sure “Dino Dan” contains.

I’m not the only one with “Dino Dan” fright woes. My neighbor’s son loved the show, but started having dino nightmares so she had to turn it off too.

I guess there’s more “Jurassic Park” in “Dino Dan” than the preschool can handle!

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TV Tuesdays: Sleeping Beauty

Plot issues I have with Disney’s Sleeping Beauty:

*If the king ordered all the spinning wheels in the kingdom destroyed, how did people in the kingdom obtain thread to create cloth for the next 16 years? That must have been some clothing shortage!

This woman was doomed to the streets after King Stefan took away her only source of income.

*The good fairies have Aurora at the cottage for 16 years, but they have not learned how to cook without magic throughout this time. How did they eat for the past 16 years? It doesn’t look like there’s a Papa John’s nearby. Besides, getting a lot of medieval takeout would draw attention to their location! They make it sound like Aurora does a lot of the housekeeping, but she had to learn how to do it somewhere. And even if she were a cooking natural, surely she couldn’t cook when she was a baby. It doesn’t make any sense.

*I’ve always wondered what gift Merryweather would have bestowed on Aurora had Maleficent not cursed her. Since Flora and Fauna gave her beauty and song, I can only hope that Merryweather gave her something more useful, like intelligence or humor or the ability to magically clean a room by looking at it. Unless Aurora had a future career as a pop star, beauty and song don’t get you much– though Prince Phillip apparently disagrees.

If Aurora became a pop star, she’d have bigger worries than spindles. What if people deem her performance with a red muppet inappropriate?!

*It makes absolutely no sense to return Aurora to the castle on the EVE of her 16th birthday. Did no one listen when Maleficent made her curse? Aurora was safe AFTER her 16th birthday. Why on earth would anyone return her before the curse expired? If they had waited one day she would have been safe!

*Why does Maleficent need to find Aurora to make the curse happen? Shouldn’t the curse in and of itself be enough to insure Aurora gets her finger pricked? The 16 year search for her just doesn’t make any sense.

*Considering Merryweather’s counter-spell required Aurora to be kissed by her true love to be awaken, you’d think the fairies would be overjoyed to hear Aurora had fallen in love in the forest.

*Does Maleficent have nothing better to do than make sure Aurora meets her fate? Surely there is other evil to do in the world. Couldn’t she curse the king and queen themselves? And doesn’t she notice the fairies have been missing for 16 years?

*This one is more of an observation: Prince Phillip has the sharpest sword in the world. It cuts through those thick vines like butter!

*None of the characters names in this movie are spelled the way I thought. I thought Merryweather was “Merriweather” and Maleficent was “Millificent”. If this was a “Sleeping Beauty” spelling test I would fail it.

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TV Tuesdays: Toy Story Preference

Warning: Contains “Toy Story 3″ Spoilers.

Of all the children’s movies I’ve ever seen, “Toy Story 3″ has the most upsetting moment. I was surprised when my 3-year-old watched it again and again with very little concern for the toys as they scrambled hopelessly through the tumbling debris whirling toward a pit of fire and their almost certain deaths.

Finally, the other day she asked me “What’s that orange?” She meant the fire. So she didn’t understand it! Ah, now I get the lack of concern for Woody’s safety. I explained what it was and that fire could hurt her and her Toy Story friends. Now she yells “That’s fire!” when she sees that scene, but still is not upset that the toys are in peril. Of course, at this point, she knows they will be ok, but that doesn’t seem to stop her from getting upset during scary moments in other shows and movies she’s seen repeatedly.

Since we’ve watched “Toy Story 3″ per her request nearly every day for the last four to five weeks, I’ve been urging her to choose another movie or tv show. Whenever I turn on something else, she gets upset it is not “Toy Story 3″. She even rejects our other Toy Story movies. At first, she said it was because she wanted to see Jessie and Mommy Potato Head. I’ve pointed out that both Jessie and Mommy Potato Head were in “Toy Story 2″, but she still rejected it.

While I agree that “Toy Story 3″ is the best of the Toy Story trilogy, I couldn’t figure out why she didn’t also want to watch “Toy Story 2″. Finally the other day she gave me her very legitimate reason.

“I don’t like ‘Toy Stoy 2′. It’s too Woody’s arm broken.”

She doesn’t like it because Woody’s arm is ripped at various points throughout the movie. This is apparently VERY upsetting. Much more upsetting than Woody swirling through garbage toward his almost certain death.

You heard it here first, guys. “Toy Story 2″ is way more upsetting than “Toy Story 3″ because Woody’s arm hangs precariously from his body for parts of the movie… and then is repaired twice. Then Woody gets to live with Andy “forever” (or until the end of “Toy Story 3″).

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The Elmo’s World Takeover

When Elmo first struck it big and was hanging out on Rosie O’Donnell’s show, I really liked him, but these days I just wish I could see a little less of him.

Remember when Elmo was just a cute and cuddly muppet that sometimes participated in “Sesame Street” skits? Not so much anymore. Now at least 1/3 of each show is dedicated to Elmo.

That’s right, “Elmo’s World” now takes up approximately 20 minutes of the 60 minute show. I timed the live action plot segment of the show and it was only 15 minutes. “Elmo’s World” takes up more of “Sesame Street’s” time than the plot. That’s just wrong.

Elmo’s role on “Sesame Street” isn’t just restricted to “Elmo’s World”. He often plays an integral part of the plot and makes frequent appearances in the muppet comedy/educational skits. Instead of “Sesame Street” these days the whole show should just become “Elmo’s World”. The other major characters rarely get the chance to shine when Elmo is almost always on the screen.

I know Elmo is adorable and his merchandise sells like mad, but this is definitely a case of too much of a good thing. I don’t understand why “Elmo’s World” needs to take up 1/3 of the show. Twenty minutes is nearly long enough for it to be its own independent show separate from “Sesame Street”. If Elmo needs more screen time (and I really don’t think he does), make “Elmo’s World” its own independent show.

I know I’m not the only one who feels that Elmo gets far too much screen time. In fact, Elmo’s Wikipedia page makes reference to Elmo being called “The Little Red Menace” by Sesame Street traditionalists.

What’s worse is that it seems like “Elmo’s World” paved the way for the heavily segmented show “Sesame Street” is playing today. I think it was a gateway drug for “Abby’s Flying Fairy School” and “Bert and Ernie’s Great Adventures”. The show was so much better before they started dividing it up into big chunks like this. It’s lost itself along the way. If more of the show is devoted to “Elmo’s World” than the plot, how on earth are kids supposed to care about any of the characters? They barely see them.

For now, we’ll just do most of our “Sesame Street” watching in the form of “Play with Me Sesame” on Sprout, where Cookie Monster, Ernie, Bert and Prairie Dawn still rule the show in those old school skits we adore.

(How on earth could Elmo ever compete with greatness like that? Exactly. He can’t.)

And that concludes “Sesame Street” week. Regular Kids Play stuff returns Monday.

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Muppet Swap

One of the things that makes me saddest about “Sesame Street” lately is that a lot of characters have had their roles taken over by new characters. Take Kermit, for instance. Kermit used to make pretty regular apperances on “Sesame Street”, but now, as far as I’ve seen, he’s completely disappeared. The other day when I was watching Prairie Dawn did a Muppet News Flash instead of Kermit. Why on earth would anyone take over Kermit’s job as reporter? He does such a great job!

Murray also seems to have taken over Kermit’s role as a reporter. Murray is one of the few new muppets I actually like, but I’d still rather have more Kermit and less Murray. In “Word on the Street”, Murray interviews people about the meaning of words, then throughout “Sesame Street”, Murray introduces what’s coming up next.

Even though Snuffy is technically still around, for some reason they’ve created a new elephant character. Horatio the elephant is the most annoying and strangest looking muppet I’ve ever seen. I hate him the most of all the muppets. I had trouble finding a video to illustrate my justified hatred and that makes me hate him even more. Horatio shows up at about 3:20.

Why, “Sesame Street”, why?

And of course, there is the ultimate muppet swap. Grover is still around, if just barely, but Elmo has taken over most of his roles in “Sesame Street” skits. Elmo’s personality is a lot like Grover’s, only Elmo is more annoying and red and Grover is funnier and blue. Here’s what I mean by Elmo taking over Grover’s role. Grover used to play an antagonist to Kermit.

Here’s Elmo playing Grover’s role as Kermit’s antagonist.

Yes, Kermit is no longer on (as far as I’ve seen), but I feel like this shows how Elmo slowly moved in to outplace Grover. Grover is still around, but his role has been minimized. It really is a shame because Grover is much more funny than Elmo. He has great physical comedy.

As with all my other posts this week, I don’t understand why “Sesame Street” tried to fix something that wasn’t broken. “Sesame Street” was great with the old characters and I think today’s kids would like those old chracters as much as we did. When we play classic “Sesame Street” clips on youtube for my daughter, she asks for the ones with Grover and Kermit over and over again. Why not keep wonderful skits like these alive on “Sesame Street” today instead of overfilling the time with new characters and animated segments that aren’t nearly as funny and, in my opinion, not as educational either?

Stay tuned tomorrow when I wrap up “Sesame Street” week with my thoughts on “Elmo’s World”.

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Taking away the simplistic

When I was growing up, I thought the muppets were real, and I think this is what has made “Sesame Street” work for the past 40 years. They are furry, cuddly and cute. Even though they are basically overdressed pieces of upholstery strapped to people’s hands, the muppets seem to have souls, and eternally youthful souls at that. Big Bird will be 6 forever, and that helped me understand where he was coming from when I was a little kid. 

The realness of the muppets is so important to “Sesame Street” that it baffles me as they decided to turn muppets into animated figures for two of its major segments. When “Sesame Street” turned Ernie and Bert into clay, they might as well have turned them into stone. They just aren’t real enough when they are clay. If that weren’t bad enough, Abby Cadabby has been turned into a computer animated series within the show in “Abby’s Flying Fairy School”.

I don’t know who decided to turn Abby into computer animation, but I think it was a horrible idea. If I wanted to see a sketch with Abby in it (and I don’t, really. I don’t like Abby as much as some of the old school muppets.), I want to see her in her real fur, as a muppet performed by a puppeteer.

I don’t understand the need to try to “improve” this classic show with technology. I feel like directors and producers are overly impressed by computer animation and throw it in wherever they can just to show how cool and current they are. They’re like “Look everyone! We can make a computer animated Abby Cadabby that looks just like REAL Abby Cadabby. Isn’t it neat?”

Sure it’s neat, but you know what else looks just like real Abby Cadabby, is more fun to watch and (I’m pretty sure) costs way less to operate? Real Abby Cadabby. There is no need to prove that there’s technology to make a computer likeness of a muppet.

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Why did Ernie and Bert turn into clay?

The first time I saw “Ernie and Bert’s Great Adventures” I was amused. Ernie and Bert as claymation? Cute. Little did I realize, the claymation Bert and Ernie is a regular thing, and in fact, it seems to have replaced many of the puppet Bert and Ernie skits.

(Don’t even get me started on the possible meaning of Ernie and Bert riding in bed together. Or with the fact that when Bert says “That’s kicky” it sounds like “That’s kinky”.)

An occasional claymation Bert and Ernie would be fun, but I have a real problem with it being a regular thing. It seems to be a built-in segment to the show these days and that time could have been spent on funny muppet skits or the live-action plot line. I love claymation, but I don’t love Bert and Ernie in claymation. While they technically still have their odd couple banter, it just doesn’t have the same effect in claymation as it does in muppet form.

See? Now that’s perfection. Why mess with perfection?

I’d rather see more of these old school skits than claymation any day. If “Sesame Street” wants to have a claymation segment, I say they use characters unique to the claymation skit itself– not bastardizations of muppets we usually see in live-action skits.

And really? Ernie and Bert start their great adventures in bed together? Really? Of all the muppets to start a voyage in a bed together, “Sesame Street” chose Ernie and Bert? Interesting choice. That’s all I’m saying.

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Remembering Sunnier Days

When I had my daughter, I really looked forward to watching “Sesame Street” with her, but the truth is now that she’s old enough we hardly ever watch it. “Sesame Street” just isn’t what it used to be.

Maybe I’m remembering things wrong, but when I was a kid “Sesame Street” had an episode-long “real people” plot line that was broken up by educational “commercials” about letters, numbers and Spanish, as well as short comedy skits with muppets. I would sit through counting “commercials” like these just to get to the live action plot line that ran throughout the show.

Classic pinball action.

The baker falling down is one of my favorite “Sesame Street” memories.

And we can’t talk about “Sesame Street” number “commercials” without including “Ladybug Picnic”.

These days, all of the live action plot line happens at the very beginning of “Sesame Street”. The learning “commercials” are few and far between and usually incorporated in one of “Sesame Street”‘s heavily regimented schedule. Instead of an episode-long plot line with commercials, now there’s a short plot at the beginning, “Ernie and Bert’s Great Adventure’s” in claymation, “Abby’s Flying Fairy School” in computer animation, “Murray Has a Little Lamb” and “Elmo’s World”.

There are still learning “commercials”, but they are usually integrated and explained into a segment such as “Elmo’s World” or “Murray Has a Little Lamb”. They are usually clustered together into one part of the show instead of spread throughout.

I’m sure there’s some heavily researched reason “Sesame Street” changed its format, but I liked it better the old way. With the “commercials” clustered together, I’m less likely to watch them. Honestly, I’m less likely to watch most of the show. I used to stay tuned just to see what happened next in the live action plot line. Now that segment ends within minutes of the beginning of the show. I have no motivation to continue watching or to sit through the “commercials”, especially since I don’t like many of the other segments (I’ll be ranting about the other segments for the remainder of the week).

I miss old “Sesame Street”. I wish it would go back to how it was during my childhood. Despite this, I know I should just learn to love “Sesame Street” as it is now since my kids still enjoy it. In fact, in 25+ years, my daughters will probably be whining that “Sesame Street” isn’t as good as it is NOW. At least, they will be whining about it if I can ever get over myself enough to turn the show on.

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