Wednesday, October 19, 2016


I left Lilly Tomlin in because we don't have a pet, and sometimes I pretend she's my mom.
Today, Jeff and I have been married nine years.

[Hold for applause.]

Just kidding. I mean, that's kind of anticlimactic. It's not like ten. At ten, you can throw yourself some kind of luau-themed vow renewals at a luxury resort, invite all of your friends and drink too much until you push someone into the infinity pool.

Let's face it: Nine is juuuuust shy of impressive. I mean, the anniversary gift for ten is diamond jewelry; the gift for nine is leather.

It's a subtle difference, but I think it speaks volumes.

Nine is not a show pony. Nine is a workhorse. Nine is hard-earned, like tanning a gross piece of rawhide to make a sexy anniversary codpiece. Nine is also a 2009 musical drama directed and produced by Rob Marshall. Basically, nine is a diamond still in the rough.

What I'm getting at with these heavy-handed metaphors is that marriage can be hard. (In retrospect I think the hora was trying to prepare me for this fact, as I struggled in vain to hold onto a chair with no arms, hovering eight feet over a drunken mob.)

That's not delight, it's pure terror.
I'm sure some people have effortless unions based on shared values, matching Christmas pajamas, and compatible astrological signs, but Jeff and I... are not those people. We love each other--a lot!--but we're very different, and always have been. He is dark by every definition of the word, hirsute and enigmatic, a steak-loving chain-smoker who reads historical nonfiction and suffers from what he calls “emotional constipation.” I, by contrast, am light in interests if not in body hair. I live for awards show red carpet specials. I have read all of Janice Dickinson’s autobiographies (there are three). I eat a lot of avocado and sometimes drink green juice. Emotionally, I tend towards hyperbolic overexpression, and am prone to dramatic weeping during arguments (if anything, my heart requires Pepto Bismol). Finding common ground, for us, often takes work.

The past few years have been especially rough. Co-parenting is a constant, humbling struggle, money is tight, quality time is scarce, and stress is high. It's a recipe for resentment, and for forgetting why you liked each other enough in the first place to fund an extravagant, legally-binding party just to rub it in people's faces.

I don't think we actually uttered the words "for better or for worse" in our vows nine years ago, but everyone knows that's the deal you make, before you step on the glass or jump the broom or almost fall to your death from your hora chair. And while we're lucky beyond belief in many ways, we've been wading towards the worse end of the spectrum for a while. Which is why I'm writing this post. Because in between bliss and divorce is a wide, murky middle where most marriages go to float like so many lanterns launched hopefully onto a moonlit lake. And we should talk about it.

We should talk about how much it sucks that passion fades. I listened to the Aziz Ansari audiobook, so I get it--our brains can't handle that much dopamine; we would never get anything done if that new-romance high lasted more than a few years. But still, it sucks! It fucking sucks!

We should talk about how a child can change a relationship in ways you don't expect. A baby is literally the manifestation of love (or, OK, at least lust) between two people, so it seems logical that it would multiply affection instead of divide it. But parenting is hard, sleep deprivation is real, and sometimes, at the end of the day, you only have enough love left for one person (and the kid always wins).

We should talk about how every couple is cosmically destined to have the same fight over and over again, at least once a month, for the rest of eternity, like a really terrible remake of Groundhog Day starring those Children of the Corn-looking Hough siblings from Dancing With the Stars.

We should talk about how there's a reason that romantic comedies usually end with the first kiss, because if you followed people through a real relationship--especially one that spans a decade--it would stop looking so romantic and comedic and would quickly start looking more like a documentary with no plot and increasingly infrequent nudity.

I don't mean to scare or depress you. Jeff and I are not teetering on the brink of divorce. In fact, I've been feeling extra grateful for him lately. It's easy to stop really seeing your partner when you're mired in the day-to-day slog, so I try to look up more often--to notice his smile when he comes in the door, or stand up and kiss him before I go back to building whatever 1500-piece Lego set Sam has dumped onto the rug. Jeff and I have been together for thirteen years now. This recent stretch isn't the first skid we've hit. We have a life and a child and a long history together and we are still in it.

I mean, look, we're not exactly living the plot of 9 1/2 Weeks over here, but we also haven't gone the 9 to 5 route of trying to poison and/or kidnap each other. Which bodes well, I think.

We must be into leather.


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Pre-Order YOU IN FIVE ACTS and Hillary Wins! Or You Get Another Book. Anyway, Something Good Will Happen, Probably

OK, fine, I may have exaggerated. 

My new book, YOU IN FIVE ACTS (out November 1!) has nothing to do with the upcoming election. Hillary has no idea who I am, and neither does Trump... unless he stumbled across my 2012 Open Letter to Racists while furiously self-Googling in the unholy dungeon full of discarded clown wigs and Doritos fragments that I am convinced he sleeps in, and draws his frightening power from.

(I am not voting for Trump.)

But I am humbly asking that you pre-order my upcoming novel, YOU IN FIVE ACTS, regardless of your political leanings.

I realize this is a big ask--it's at least $14, in hardcover, depending on where you order from... and you don't even know if it's good yet! Sometimes I order a lot of take-out to meet the delivery minimum because the idea of using my legs for walking or my voice for human contact seems like too much work, and if I don't like the food I am very disappointed! I mean, I still eat it--all--but with an angry face, like this:

Anyway, my point is, you are taking a risk, much like Amelie when she decided to gaslight that dick of a grocer. 

So. Here are some things that might convince you that the book is OK:


"Una LaMarche perfectly captures the competitive, high-stakes atmosphere of professional-track ballet through the eyes of a refreshingly strong protagonist who you can't help but root for. I loved it from beginning to end."

-Sophie Flack, author of Bunheads

(Highlights mine)

"Five teenagers live for their art in this coming-of-age story of achievement, ambition, and heartache. LaMarche's latest novel (Don't Fail Me Now, 2015, etc.), which chronicles the tribulations of a group of friends in their senior year at a prestigious New York arts conservatory, is a pleasing mix of Fame and Gossip Girl. Each character narrates a section, addressing it to the titular "you," who changes depending on the narrator: Joy, the black ballerina and a passionate perfectionist terrified of failure; Liv, a Puerto Rican actress whose party-girl ways have tragic consequences; Ethan, the nerdy, white Russian immigrant's son, a playwright with Broadway ambitions; Dave, a white teen celebrity desperate for a fresh start away from his mistakes in LA; and Diego, a Latino dancer for whom ballet is a ticket to a better life. The author knows her subject matter well, and she effectively captures the essence of teenagerhood, from the hormones and the slang to the heartbreak and paralyzing self-doubt.As in a Shakespeare play, everyone is in love with the wrong person, and it takes most of the novel and some dramatic events for everyone's feelings to be sorted out correctly. Of the five storylines, Joy's—in which she copes with body shaming and other indignities that have kept the rarefied world of ballet largely off-limits to black women—is the most compelling. Given the current political climate, the characters' struggles with the white establishment create a poignant and timely socially conscious narrative."


Well, you could ask me, and I will spoil it for you--for free!--if I've been drinking.

Or you could pre-order it from Barnes & NobleAmazoniBooks, or your local independent bookseller (you have to use your legs and/or voice for that option, which is why I listed it last even though I love independent bookstores more than I love a dancing Paul Rudd gif!)

Why pre-order instead of getting it when it comes out? Well, pre-ordering helps show booksellers that there is some excitement/demand for the book, which might mean they order more copies, or display it someplace prominent, like next to other exciting new YA books, or maybe by Donald Trump's upcoming memoir, Why is My Sphincter Where My Mouth Should Be? 
(OMG please vote. I cannot stress how important it is that we all vote in this election.)

If you pre-order You in Five Acts, I'll send you a second book or audiobook of mine--signed, sealed, delivered. No matter where you live, as long as it's on Earth. (If you have already pre-ordered, you are still eligible!)
I currently have 50 of my own books taking up space on my shelves. It makes me look like a real asshole when I have guests. So please, take them off my hands.
Here are the choices:
FIVE SUMMERS, hardcover:  7
FIVE SUMMERS, paperback: 13
FIVE SUMMERS, audiobook on CD: 1
LIKE NO OTHER, galley paperback: 3
LIKE NO OTHER, official paperback: 3
LIKE NO OTHER, audiobook on CD: 1
UNABROW, paperback: 5
DON'T FAIL ME NOW, paperback: 13
DON'T FAIL ME NOW, audiobook on CD: 4
Here's how you get one:
Email me at Email should include:
  1. Proof of pre-order for YOU IN FIVE ACTS (you can forward your receipt from an online store, or attach a screen grab or other receipt). Must be dated October 31, 2016 or earlier.
  2. Top 3 choices for which book/audiobook you want (first come, first served--if none of your top 3 choices are available I'll let you know; otherwise it'll be a surprise when you open the package!)
If somehow I get more than 50 responses I'll start giving away other books by more popular authors, but signed by me. Which might be illegal. Let's find out!


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Adult Curse Word Coloring Book Giveaway!

A few months ago, I ordered a coloring book from Amazon. I had been reluctant to hop on the "adult coloring" bandwagon, mostly because my "adult" method of stress relief usually involves a fishbowl-sized glass of wine and a certain reality TV show in which beautiful but kind of dim-witted people are forced to fall in love under contract while being held hostage at Sandals Jamaica.

However, this particular coloring book had the word ASSHOLE on the cover in fancy script, and since curse words are part of my DNA, I really had no choice.

I ordered it, it arrived. I took a picture and posted it on Instagram. On a whim, I shared it on my Facebook page. Where it got shared... 406,111 times.

This asshole went viral.
It was a total surprise, and a total delight. The coloring book hit #1 on Amazon a few days later. Publisher's Lunch even did a story on it. I will never know how much my post influenced this trend, but apparently it was enough for the creator of the coloring book to send me some free copies as a gift! Here they are, in all their obscene glory:

Since I already have one, I'm giving these beauties away. Use the embedded box below to enter. You can follow me on Twitter or tweet a link to the Amazon page to enter (I'm using the affiliate link for my son's public elementary school, so if you buy one, 10% of it will go to education!) The raffle will start at midnight tonight and run through Wednesday, and at the end the program will select three winners at random.

Good luck! May your cursing be creative and passionate.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, May 2, 2015

5 Reasons Indie Bookstores Rock My World More Than a Dancing Paul Rudd Gif

Hi, guys! Today, I read the following essay live at Brooklyn's BookCourt in celebration of Independent Bookstore Day, and thought I'd publish it here, too. YAY BOOKS!

Yeah, I know--that's not technically a book. But it IS a purple corduroy jumpsuit, so act impressed.

I came a little... late to reading. When the subject comes up, I usually blame this on my early education, which mostly took place in a Hobbit hole of a Waldorf classroom outside of Austin, Texas. Day after day we sang songs and leapt off of tree stumps and wove rough cornhusks into the sort of dolls the Blair Witch might have hung on her Christmas tree. But we didn’t learn to read.

My parents, who both then and now took pride in their impressive and eclectic home library, read to me often, but I much preferred it when they made stuff up. For a number of years in the early 1980s for example, I forced my father into an episodic tale of a princess trapped in a castle cellar with a family of trolls—a sort of proto-Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. I begged any adult I could find to tell me “boo-boo stories”—which were detailed accounts of every time they had ever been badly injured, and one memorable babysitter made Ronald and Nancy Reagan the protagonists of his improvised tales, sending them to fantastical places like outer space, or the vaguely R. Crumb-inspired “Big Butt Island.” But I still did not learn to read.

The turning point came when I left the rustic embrace of Rudolph Steiner and transferred to a local public school for first grade. I was placed into the slowest reading group, but showed such promise that my teacher decided to move me into a different class. Unfortunately I didn’t understand at the time that this was a compliment, and so when she attempted to bodily remove me from my desk I responded with my first—and, so far, only—attempt at fisticuffs. As penance, I was forced, finally, to learn to read.

It’s become cliché to describe a relationship with books as “a love affair,” but in my case I think it’s distressingly accurate, as almost every romantic flush or fallout I had with a partner, I had with a book first. As a child I would lie in bed with them, figuring things out, slowly burying us both in a pile of cracker crumbs—which still my signature move. As an adolescent I experienced alternating, hormone-fueled bouts of euphoria and crushing betrayal. To this day I cannot forgive Louisa May Alcott for letting that little bitch Amy March end up with my Laurie, and I let her know it with some extremely emphatic graffiti on the spine of my dog-eared paperback. As an adult I tend to treat my books not unlike Jeff, my husband of 8 years: they’ve all been read and re-read, over and over, their contents known but no less precious. Their dust jackets don’t fit like they used to, but I don’t make them feel bad about it, just like they don’t make me feel bad about the fact that I sometimes fall asleep while reading them.

But I suppose the end of the similarities between my books and my men is that I prefer to buy the former whenever possible. I love and value libraries, but I have trouble following their rules. I’m not great with due dates, as evidenced by the book on the Emperor Tiberius that I took out in fifth grade and returned on the way to a friend’s Sweet Sixteen. I fold down the corners of pages to mark my place. I bring books to the beach, staining their covers with smears of sunblock and filling their spines with deposits of sand that will later sift out into my sheets, comingling with the cracker detritus. And I still occasionally feel the need to express my feelings in the margins. So with all due respect to Dewey and his decimals, bookstores are clearly where I belong. And at the risk of seeming like a total suck-up, I’ve taken it upon myself to list for you the five reasons that I think independent bookstores should be considered national treasures.

1. They’re romantic

It’s a scientific fact that there are only a handful of jobs you’re allowed to have if you’re one of the leads in a romantic comedy: dog walker, architect, kindergarten teacher, cupcake chef, florist, special needs veterinarian, suspiciously well-paid magazine writer, and independent bookstore owner. So it stands to reason that the likelihood of meeting your soul mate in one is high.

It is here that I will confess to not having any bookstore memories interesting enough to spin into a single story today, and that is because all of my bookstore memories involve me, standing alone, waiting for someone who looks like Idris Elba or Ethan Hawke to make meaningful eye contact with me from across the room.  This has never happened, unfortunately. It could be my palpable anxiety, it could be my wedding ring, or it could be the fact that the book I’m conspicuously reading is never Anna Karenina or even Lolita, but inevitably one of the salacious autobiographies by erstwhile supermodel-cum-reality star Janice Dickinson.

2. They’re beautiful

Carefully curated and lovingly decorated, most indie bookstores I've visited make big box stores look like one of those shipping containers where Dexter killed his victims. Truth.

3. They support the community

Shopping at an indie bookstore is basically like joining a CSA, only you learn new words and don’t have to pretend you know what to do with three pounds of kohlrabi.

4. You can meet authors and observe them in their semi-natural habitat

[Imagine me doing an offensively bad David Attenborough impression] The American novelist stands nervously at the front of the room. While this species feels quite at home behind a keyboard in its unmade bed, interrupting its writing approximately every ten seconds to tweet about how hard it is working, in public it can appear standoffish and even vaguely nauseated at the prospect of reading its work aloud to mammals other than its house pets.

5.  They’re REAL

I’m no saint; I don’t buy everything in a physical store, despite my fantasies of being the kind of person who could bike around the city with a baguette under one arm without being instantly killed. I have, I’ll admit, fallen into Amazon k-holes on occasion, emerging confused and temporarily blinded.

There’s a disassociation inherent in online shopping—you click a few buttons and enter some numbers, but you have no memory of seeing or touching what you’ve bought, and so when the box—seventeen times the size necessary for its contents and filled with enough bubble wrap to clothe Lady Gaga for the coming winter—finally arrives, you have no idea what it is.

There’s something wonderful about holding a book in your hands, feeling the weight of it. You don’t have to judge it by its cover, or by its misspelled, all caps one-star reviews. You can judge it by more intimate factors, like the font choice, whether you might slip a disc carrying it in a shoulder bag, or what kind of Zoolander face the author is making in his or her photo.

There’s also something lovely about buying it from a real person, a person who’s working there either because they’re very passionate about books or because they’re hoping for a meet-cute with a quirky but unbelievably attractive dog-walker played by Paul Rudd.

Both of which, I might add, show incredible character.


Some of my favorite local(ish) indie bookstores, in no particular order, are: BookCourt,  Oblong Books & Music,  McNally Jackson Books, Greenlight Bookstore, Community Bookstore, and R.J. Julia Booksellers. Rhapsodize about yours in the comments, or just share more gifs. I can never have enough gifs; they truly are the gifs that keep on gifing.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Continuing Ed For the Post-College Decades

17th Grade (Ages 22-23) 

  • 4 Tax Exemptions: Trying Not To Screw Yourself
  • Dividing Utilities Between Seven Roommates, One of Whom Is Unemployed And Runs The A/C All Day: Math For The Post-College Years
  • I Don’t Care What You Say Anymore, This Is My Life: Billy Joel Lyrics For Everyday Use
  • Philosophical Rationalizations For Living With Your Parents
  • Chutes & Ladders, Hold The Ladders: Navigating The Entry-Level Job 
Supplies needed:
  1. Unchecked narcissism and feeling of entitlement
  2. Crate of Cup O’ Noodles and the cheapest hooch you can find
  3. Empty savings account
  4. At least two forms of government-issued ID 
22nd Grade (ages 27-28) 

  • Student Loans And Credit Cards: How To Pay Them Off Without Selling Drugs, Or Your Eggs
  • But Where Will My Amps Go? Spatial Geometry For Cohabitation
  • Who’s The Boss? How To Survive a Management Job You Are In No Way Qualified For
  • Unreal Estate: Someone, Somewhere Will Probably Let You Buy Property
  • Out Of The Shot Glass, Into The Wine Box: Late Twenties Drinking Made Simple 
Supplies needed:
  1. Gnawing sense of unease
  2. Lease co-signed by no more than one other person
  3. At least one piece of framed wall art
  4. A 401K you don’t understand 
27th Grade (ages 32-33) 

  • 50 Shades of Gray: Understanding Your Changing Scalp
  • Literally Anyone Can Create Another Human Being With Frighteningly Little Effort: Parenting For The Emotionally Unprepared
  • Yes, You Need A Will, Even If Your Net Worth Is Negative
  • People Who Became Wildly Successful At The Age You Are Right Now And How To Discredit Them
  • Metabolic Betrayal: Physiology of The Early Thirties 
Supplies needed:
  1. Chilling realization that your mother had already had three kids by this age
  2. A checkbook you rarely use but balance anyway, because if you don’t you fear that Suze Orman will somehow know, come to your house, and beat you unconscious with a stack of savings bonds
  3. A pet, plant, spouse or small child you are responsible for keeping alive
  4. Preventative wrinkle cream 
35th Grade (ages 40-41) 

  • It Is In Fact Mathematically Possible For You To Have A Child Who Is In High School: Beating Denial With Simple Algebra
  • There Is No “I” In Comb-Over: Embracing The Hair You Have Left Without Shame
  • Identifying The Celebrities On The Cover Of Us Weekly, Especially If They Were Born After You Turned 25
  • Grape Expectations: Oenophilia For The Over-40
  • Menopause or Meningitis? Fun With WebMD 
Supplies needed: 
  1. Suspicion that you have Benjamin Button disease and are in fact aging in reverse
  2. A gimlet eye
  3. Coupons for “family-size” sundries
  4. At least three sets of keys that open who the hell knows what
To be continued...


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

9am-5pm, Stuck at Home With Your Sick Child


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

National Lampoon's Puerto Rican Vacation

So I'm going on vacation tomorrow. We all are, but it's really Jeff's vacation--because fall is his busiest season, by the time Christmas rolls around he's like 68% dead inside and at least 89% dead outside, so for the past two years he's combatted Seasonal Affective Disorder by throwing his Amex at the tropics--but he's been kind enough to invite me and Sam along. What a sucker.

See, it's a proven fact (by Jeff) that I ruin all vacations by picking fights on the first night. This was true when we went to Paris in 2005, for reasons that I have since repressed, as well as on our honeymoon in 2007, when I became so irrationally angry at not being able to speak any sort of semi-coherent Italian to our waiter that Jeff had an actual panic attack.

I also attempted to make tomato sauce from scratch, which ended so horribly Jeff continues to mock me about it to this day, but he has yet to seek an annulment so you tell me.

It is also a proven fact that our child, while undisputedly the light of our lives and mostly sweet and charming (note: mostly could mean anywhere from 10% to 90%, as he is currently three years old, which as it turns out is way more terrible than two, but I guess whatever genius came up with that phrase [sub-note: genius in this context means "asshole"] must have been too ashamed to modify it once she realized her mistake), ruins vacations by preventing us from relaxing during every moment that he remains conscious.

I swear I'm not trying to complain about going to the beach in January (except for the obvious re-shuffling of Bikini Season to follow directly after the Eggnog Equinox, which seems patently unfair), but it must be said that a vacation with a child or children no longer conforms to the definition of the word as you previously understood it. Kind of like "sleep" or "abdominals."


While I'm going into this next week with expectations and low as my tolerance for rum-based cocktails and direct sun exposure, I'm eternally grateful to the brave man who is taking his Terrible Three and Temperamental Thirty-Four--a.k.a his permanent carry-on baggage--on a holiday.

THANK YOU, HONEY. I promise not to attempt any Spanish or so much as *touch* a vegetable. Maybe ever.

Friday, January 16, 2015

An Ode to Funny Women (or, My Fey-kspearean Sonnet)

Shall I compare thee to a Tina Fey?
Thou art quite funny, though not as talented.
Or perhaps you’d rather I say Mindy K.?
Whose one-liners reflect your lowbrow taste...
Miss Dunham’s brilliance seems unfair,
And makes you hit the wine a little hard;
Amy P.'s the queen of guts and flair
That Emmy voters cannot disregard!
But thy eternal Tina shall not Fey-d,
(That pun’s a stretch, but cut a girl some slack.)
Nor shall your tweets make people throw you shade,
Even when of your book deals thou dost yak.
So long as peeps can read, or T can V,
So long live women who write great comedy.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Stop Trying to Make New Year's Happen! It's Not Going to Happen!

Ah, New Year's. So full of hype designed to make us ring in midnight feeling strangely empty despite the gallon of cheap champagne we have literally just consumed through a spangled funnel.

I've always felt that in using New Year's Eve as an excuse to stay up late binge-drinking, we as a species are setting ourselves up for feeling bloated and cranky on every single January first, which is kind of like spelling your name wrong on the first page of the SATs. It just... doesn't bode well.

I tried to get Decembuary 0 to happen for awhile, but now I think I'm just going to start the new year on January 2nd, after I've digested the fifteen brunch bagels I used as my inaugural 2015 meal. And I urge all of you to do the same.

New year starts tomorrow. Fuck this noise.



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.
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