NEW CASTLE —
When I found out that I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, everyone gave me advice on child rearing. I was informed (warned) about the responsibilities, the sleepless nights, the loss of personal freedom and the expenses that come along with raising kids. People also tried to articulate to me how wonderful it would be and how in love I would become with the tiny little person living inside of me.
I felt prepared for parenthood in many ways and scared in many others. What I was not forewarned about, however, was how much I would DETEST the shows that my children would love.
Notice the word choice there: DETEST. Hate, loathe and despise were just not strong enough to truly embody the aversion I have toward the shows that my children enjoy watching.
Gone are the days of Lifetime movies and reality television. I am now forced to spend my days watching human hands with eyeballs and glasses, talking pig families and dogs that save sandwiches from kittens and bilingual children with talking maps and backpacks, chasing down alligators to brush their teeth.
Does this all sound a little strange?
That’s because IT IS.
I understand that each children’s show strives to be educational, but sometimes they just go a little too far.
I don’t allow my kids to watch a lot of television, but when they do it is always something that causes my skin to crawl.
Case in point: “Yo Gabba Gabba.”
My firstborn was about 5 months old when she first laid eyes upon Brobee, Toodee, Foofa, Plex, Muno and DJ Lance Rock of Gabba Land.
They are bright, colorful, giant creatures that live in the boom box of a DJ and teach lessons to kids about playing with others and accepting people’s differences.
Sounds harmless right?
Not only do they have strange mannerisms and body movements (the green one has arms that are longer than his entire body and frequently drag on the ground at his sides) they sing songs with very odd messages. Some of the lyrics to various songs on the show include phrases such as, “Don’t bite your friends,” and “Your skin’s bumpy and our skin’s smooth, because we use lotion, we do.”
And the show’s plots are no better.
In one episode, it is the Brobee character’s birthday. For most of the show Brobee is made to feel like his birthday has been forgotten, but then at the very end the other gabbas surprise him with a cake that is an exact replica of himself. I should also mention that the cake walks and talks and at one point asks the Brobee character, “You want a piece of me?!”
Is this cannibalism?
Kind of. But, in the cutest way possible.
If the mainstay characters on the show are odd, the special guests are uncomfortably odd.
Some of the regular guests include an Asian man who plays air as his musical instrument, Weird Al Yankovic (’nuff said) and a creepy white character named Gooble, who appears on certain episodes, is always upset and crying and never seems to receive much acknowledgment or consolation from anyone else.
I find the show to be almost disturbing, but my children are put into a trancelike state when it comes on. I even allowed my daughter’s first birthday party to be “Yo Gabba Gabba” themed, which involved me hanging-life sized posters of the cast all over the room.
Oh what we do for love.