Monday, May 3, 2010

Hunting For Unicorns

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about Snook being a hippie. I intended to follow that post with another ever so interesting post about cartoons. Unfortunately even the best laid cartoon plans get derailed sometimes. The topic is late but not forgotten.

Many of today's cartoons do something that bothers me a little a bit.  They ask questions.  The little cartoon people stare at you out of the TV.  They ask their question.  Then there is silence as they stare at you and wait for your answer.  It freaks me out a bit. Who can focus on properly answering a question when a cartoon mouse is giving you the stink eye.

When I was a kid the closest thing we got to interaction with our cartoons was when the Road Runner would look toward you and say beep! beep!  Now Dora, Mickey Mouse, The Little Einsteins, and practically every other cartoon are constantly quizzing the kids.

I can see the obvious benefits of this concept.  The kids love to participate, and who can blame them. Trivia is a lot of fun, and until Alex Trebek figures out how to make millions off a kindergarten jeopardy tournament this is pretty much all the kids are going to get.  Don't count out Trebek though. He is a crafty one. The future kindergarten tourney might go something like this.

Trebek: This ruminant's milk can be used on Froot Loops and it often makes the sound moo.
Kid1: My uncle Johnny has a cow. It's name is Elsie.
Trebek: Judges?....sorry we can't accept that.
Kid2: Mr. Startrek, do you know Luke Skywalker?
Trebek: That is incorrect. We were looking for "What is a cow?"

Trivia aside I have one major problem with all these cartoon queries other than being weirded out. They don't always listen to your answer. Once the Little Einsteins asked me and Braden if we wanted to help them find the purple unicorn to save the woodland orchestra. I said NO! I do not now nor do I ever want to help anyone find a purple unicorn.

These little hooligans just ignored me and jumped right in their rocket ship and started carrying on about adagio and moderato.  I guess it doesn't really matter what the kids think to these arrogant TV stars. The cartoon bullies just do whatever they want. They are teaching our children that their opinions don't really matter.

No one is going to tell my son that his opinion doesn't matter. I don't care if they have their own TV show, their own rocket, or their very own magical kingdom in Florida.  If these cartoons are going to insist on asking hundreds of questions a day then the very least they can do is listen to the kids answers.  

And staring isn't polite either.


Brian Miller said...

lol. yeah i understand that feeling when it comes to the modern kids shows...give me super friends anyday. smiles.

Drew Gilbert said...

There's a decent exploration of the children's TV format from Sesame Street, to I think Blues Clues(the latter being what the rest since seem to be doing), in The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. It explains how both programs were able to keep kids engaged but in different ways and was a fascinating read. I only wish it was interesting enough to make those programs watchable:)

seashore subjects said...

You and my son would get along great. He often says no - to irk his sister I think - and then tells her "see, they're not listening!" She just gives him an eye roll.

WeaselMomma said...

That particular feature always annoyed me too.
That being said, I once read a priceless hysterical piece from Busy Dad that I think you would appreciate.

John said...

I wish we could go back to the Animaniacs. Man.. they were awesome.


SurprisedMom said...

I'm sitting here late on a Monday night laughing softly to myself after reading your post. The dog just jumped off the chair and the cat is giving me a weird look.

As I kid, I never interacted with my cartoons. (A few live shows mentioned "the children at home watching, but that's it.) I think they were starting the cartoon interacting thing even when my kids were Braden's age. Now they have it down to a science.

And, no, it's not polite to stare :D