Sunday, November 30, 2014

We Need To Talk About DJ Lance... And Other Petty But Very Specific Complaints About Children's Television

Watch enough TV with a young child and a few troubling lifestyle changes will occur.

First, you will learn all of the words to all of the songs, indelibly and against your will. You’ll find yourself humming them during idle moments and then rush to the bathroom, staring intently at your bedraggled reflection in the mirror as The Map's voice from Dora the Explorer rings in your ears and you begin to really identify, on a deep level, with pretty much all of the characters from The Shining.

Danny's not here, Mrs. Torrance. This is Caillou.
Next, you'll develop strong attachments to some shows and passionate antagonistic relationships with others. This may result in a serious throw-down with a friend who thinks Steve from Blue's Clues is "a creepy eunuch," or rolls her eyes when you call out James and Gordon for being "the Assholes of Sodor."

Finally, you will begin to watch with the gimlet eye of the jaded adult you are, and thus will amass enough material for at least three senior college theses about gender roles in Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, or Daniel Tiger's maddening inconsistency with regards to wearing pants.

I realize that no one's hang-ups are the same, just as all snowflakes are unique and all Yo Gabba Gabba! songs are tuneless earsores, and so I can only speak for myself. With that said, here is a list of personal grievances, based on Sam's most beloved shows:

Yo Gabba Gabba!

Yo! So can we just all agree, from the outset, that DJ Lance Rock is in some kind of home for the mentally ill? I mean, he walks out into a blank white--possibly wall-padded--abyss with his “magical boombox” and then proceeds to anthropomorphize a tribe of tiny, plastic neo-Teletubbies for his own amusement day after day. He probably could have been a subplot on American Horror Story: Asylum if he wore more muted colors (and if you ask me, that big white crying dildo Gooble is way scarier than Chloe Sevigny with no legs).

I won't go into my issues with the characters' random genetic mutations, because I have discussed vented about that at length. Nor will I attempt to decipher the reasons why my child is terrified of the drawing segments in which Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh pretends to be Bob Ross, or why all of Biz Markie's Beats of the Day mostly sound like him straining to climb a flight of stairs. I'll just count myself lucky that Sam has recently jettisoned the Gabba gang in favor of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, who are much more violent but not prone to speaking in falsetto.

Thomas and Friends

On the Island of Sodor, ruled by the aristocratic, conspicuously earless blowhard Sir Topham Hatt, if you are a train and you are not "useful," then you might as well blow your own boiler out and end your, and everyone else's, misery.

OK, fine, I get it, they are trains. They're machines and they're supposed to work tirelessly without emotion. But in the world of the show they also have feeble, human-like brains that yearn to be chosen for a "special special," which they then invariably fuck up by not following the rules to the letter. This drives home the takeaway lesson from Thomas and Friends, which is: You are only special if you are useful, and you are only useful if you do not question authority.

Dora The Explorer

Hola, Dora! Hola, Boots! Time for another treacherous jungle adventure while your absent parents bake culturally relevant desserts?

No, kidding, actually I kind of love this show, even with its flaws. Like, the fact that the Map song is literally just him braying "I'M THE MAP I'M THE MAP I'M THE MAP I'M THE MAP" over and over. Or that Dora's adversary, Swiper the Fox, essentially teaches children that their primary concern in life should be that someone will try to steal your shit. But good news: You can just be all, "NO SWIPING" in a loud and authoritative voice and then they'll slink off, vanquished, so that you can continue on your way with the aid of any number of tools from your backpack, which--given the fact that at any moment it may be carrying four sets of snowshoes, rollerskates, bongo drums, or a trumpet--likely weighs twice as much as you do.

We made it out alive again! Excelente!

Blue’s Clues

I have complicated sexual feelings about Steve*, and I also legitimately think this show does a good job at simple, nonpatronizing toddler education, so I will admit to a bias. However I have trouble with the fact that a bedside table and bar of soap can talk, and yet the titular character, who is a mammal, and therefore at least possessed of vocal chords, cannot. You know, I could even deal with the soap thing except for the fact that the NEIGHBOR CAT CAN TALK, TOO. That is some Goofy/Pluto shit that I cannot and will not abide.

*The main complication is that I am married and he exists in 1996. 

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

Since I'm already on the subject, let's talk about inconsistencies, Daniel Tiger. Let's talk about the fact that while you joyride that trolley around the Land of Make-Believe, doling out helpful and developmentally-appropriate behavioral tips, you wear no pants.

Shoes, check. Pants, meh.
Now, I am not a pearl-clutcher when it comes to nudity. One of my mother's favorite stories revolves around me, at age three, streaking past my Catholic grandmother and pretending to take a dump on the hardwood floor, just to freak her out.

Also, it should be noted, Daniel's pantslessness seems to be an inherited genetic trait:

Apparently it only affects the Y chromosome.
No. My issue with Daniel's drafty fashion choice has to do with what he wears to sleep at night. And yes, I realize I'm giving this way too much thought, but how--HOW--can you look at this:

...and not go blind from irrational rage?

He's wearing PAJAMA PANTS.

....but why?


The only time my mom told me to not wear underwear was when I slept. She told me my vagina "needed to breathe." (This nugget of wisdom, as you may imagine, was confusing for a nine year-old. Did that mean my tie-dyed long johns were suffocating my nether regions? And was that somehow worse than potentially being bare-assed in front of fire marshals in the unlikely but still totally possible event that my poster of Jonathan Knight from New Kids on the Block posing with a shetland pony combusted from sheer sexual energy and caught our house on fire? But I digress.)

Daniel, I think Mr. Rogers would agree that we need to teach children that--if there must be a choice--pants should be worn during daylight hours.

Also, please tell Katerina Kittycat to stop saying "meow meow" after every third word out of her mouth. We get it, she's a fucking cat.

To be continued... probably.

Friday, November 7, 2014

My Fupa, Myself

Whenever possible, I like to post my holiday roundups at least a week later when no one cares.

Or, maybe I just didn't want anyone to see my Fupa.

You see, "Fupa"--in addition to being the acronym for Fat Upper Pubic/Penile/Orange is the New Black's Poussey Area--is what my son calls the pink, beflowered, butt plug-shaped member of the Yo Gabba Gabba Gang:

She also has a FUPA, if we're being honest.

Months and months ago, Sam decided that he wanted to be Muno, the character I often describe to friends as "the big red dildo cyclops." It's possible that I have a psychological problem in which I can only see children's television characters as they relate to sex toys, but seriously, you tell me:

Let us not speak of the bumps.

It was fine. After all, I grew up in a family that said "partner" instead of "husband," lest I be poisoned by heteronormative sexuality as a toddler. If my kid wanted to dress like one of the extras from the Disney ride version of the Caligula orgy scene, he was free to be you and me.

But then I made the mistake of asking, "What should mommy be?" I guess I was hoping he'd cock an eyebrow, think for a minute, and then answer, "a young Karen Allen." But instead... well, you know how this ends.

This costume doubles as the adult-sized onesie I'll be wearing for the next six months.
I have to hand it to Sam, this was actually the most comfortable costume I've ever worn, hands down, and the pockets were deep enough for the nips of whiskey I needed to consume on our trick-or-treating trail in order to maintain some semblance of dignity.

Happy Halloween, from my Fupa to yours.
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