Monday, July 26, 2010

PBS Programming

So, Gareth has been watching a lot of television while we've been here. Yes, I'm a horrible mother. Actually, I'm quite excited to get back home where we don't have television anymore. It was awesome to have it during the World Cup and for watching a friend compete on Jeopardy! (she's won twice and is still on - watch her tonight!), but it's annoying because Gareth wants to watch T.V. all the time. And it's way too easy for me to use it to keep him out of my way while I get stuff done.

It's been a great opportunity to watch a wide variety of PBS Kids programming and see what we've been missing. I must say, I'm not much of a fan of Sesame Street these days. Elmo's voice has got to be one of the most obnoxious things on television. And his little song for Elmo's World makes me want to kill someone. Oh, and whatever the name is of that girly fairy character that's so popular, she's annoying too. If we get up early enough, Gareth catches the end of that show, but often we miss it entirely, thank goodness.

Curious George usually comes on after Sesame Street. This one's fine, though they seem to repeat shows an awful lot. But, it tries to teach some math skills (though sometimes what they're teaching seems a bit old for a 3 or 4 year old) and Gareth is a fan of the books and monkeys in general, so I'm okay with this one.

Then, comes Sid the Science Kid. This is even worse than Sesame Street. Who came up with such annoying characters? And why do the adults act like imbeciles??? Yes, the things it's trying to teach are great, but my sanity isn't worth it (thankfully I'm usually showering at this point).

SuperWhy! is pretty cool, I think. It's done a fairly decent job of reinforcing recognition of letters, especially lower-case ones (Gareth needed some help on these ones). And they occasionally have parts that discuss what sound letters make, which I think made it easy for Gareth to pick up when I started working with him on that the other day. The characters don't have obnoxious voices and are pretty likable.

Dinosaur Train is okay, though I highly doubt that a Pteranodon family would ever raise a Tyrannosaurus Rex...and the dinosaur information imparted in the show really doesn't seem to be sticking with Gareth at all. He's learned a lot more from reading How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? at every nap and bedtime.

Gareth enjoys Dragon Tales. It's sometimes annoying, but not horribly so. Clifford isn't bad, but we usually miss that one, so maybe I just haven't watched it enough to be annoyed yet. I'm not sure if Dora the Explorer is still on tv. We don't ever watch it there, but Gareth discovered it on Netflix and he adores it. I hate it. I've racked my brain, but I can't think of what it's supposed to be teaching the kids, except for a bit of Spanish. The map song is incredibly dumb (so much so that Brian Regan even makes fun of it).

Gareth also has discovered Thomas the Tank Engine on Netflix. I'm a little perplexed as to why it's so popular, but I guess it's not as horrible as some of the other shows. I just find Thomas to be a pain in the neck. He's either full of himself, incredibly obtuse, or too easily offended, depending on the episode. I guess maybe that's the point - he's supposed to teach the kids not to be that way.

Martha Speaks isn't too bad. Occasionally characters are annoying, but not often enough that they grate on my nerves much. Caillou is okay, except for the voices of the characters. Too high-pitched all the time. That just gets to you after a while.

I guess I've discovered that, as with most other television programming, there isn't usually anything worthwhile on, even when it comes to kids shows. Two and a half weeks until the television is gone! (Oh, and we don't watch all of those shows in any one day. I'm not that horrible a mother.)

7 comments:

Momof8 said...

I have to admit I am familiar with most of those PBS shows. Sesame Street is much better than it was about 10 years ago. It was so bad, I refused to let the kids watch it (mostly too much Political Correctness). Savannah and I enjoyed Curious George and Martha Speaks. We only like parts of Sid the Science Kid. I liked Super Why more than she did. She liked Dragon Tales more than I did. I refused to let her watch Dora the Explorer, and we never saw Dino Train, Thomas the Tank Engine or Caillou. Now that she's in school, we rarely watch PBS any more, except for one of our favorite shows: Arthur (not a preschool show). We also watched a few other cable preschool shows, like Little Einsteins (not bad), the new Mickey Mouse Club (ok), Handy Manny (uhm) and a few other forgettable shows.

Although school is not in session right now, we have not turned on the TV in the mornings (except for the World Cup). Every now and then (especially if I'm trying to work) I will put a movie on for Savannah in the afternoon.

If you are a bad mother for letting Gareth watch some preschool TV, then so am I. I would have done the same thing in your place.

amyrose said...

Hallie likes Curious George (we call it Georgie show around here) and she likes Clifford and Martha Speaks (both are referred to as the dog show) and she LOVES super why.

That's about all we watch, and we usually check them out from the library and watch it that way... then I get to pick when we watch them and don't have to put up with dinosaur train or something...

We don't watch much at all now (just what we get at the library occasionally), but when I was pregnant with Hanna and kind of just wanted to die every morning that's what we would do, and I became very much more acquainted with those characters from ALL those shows than I wanted to be. Probably why we seriously limit it now!

Erin said...

I mostly feel horrible for the amount of watching he's doing lately. Back home it's limited to Mondays (when I do laundry) and the occasional time when he can't do anything to help fix dinner. It might be a rough couple weeks for him adjusting to that when we get back.

Amy, not only am I way more familiar with the characters than I want to be, but so's Gareth. It was so wonderful when he had no clue who the characters were on the kids toothpaste or fruit snacks boxes. Now he picks such things up and wants them because of the characters. Thankfully he's still very amenable to my direction to put them back. I'm hoping he'll start to forget them if he goes long enough without watching...

Kristine N said...

You make me so glad not to have a TV. I don't remember TV being so annoying when we were kids. Sure, upon re-watching a lot of the plots are pretty contrived, but I don't remember annoying voices, or inconsistent characterization.

Alanna said...

My kids usually watch a movie while I shower, and that's about it. We don't have cable or any actual stations, so they're limited to what we have on DVD, which is mostly Disney movies (and some REALLY awful Monster Truck movie that I regularly hide from them). We have one DVD that shows one episode of a bunch of TV shows and it's amazing to me which ones the kids like-- for example, they love Sid the Science Kid, something about a submarine called Ollie, and this really weird one featuring some aliens called Bing and Ping or something like that.

I guess there's no accounting for taste in little kids.

But I remember that one of my sisters and my favorite shows was Muppet Babies, and watching it today, I'm horrified by how annoying everyone's voices are! So I think it's a factor of age. Don't worry-- Gareth will have better taste some day! ;)

Ryan said...

Whoa whoa!

Alanna, your comment just triggered the Muppet Babies song in my head as surely as if you had hit a "Play" button. I haven't had a single thought about that show for at least a decade and a half, and yet there it was.

Aye Spy said...

Muppet babies! ooOOooooooo! :D I think little kids shows have always been inane. But I like what I've heard of Charlie and Lola--clever and with English accents!