Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Who's the Worst... Children's Program?

 

Doug: I bring no prejudice...



23 comments:

Humanbelly said...

Wellllll, there may be some subliminal prejudice goin' on, there, Doug--! It'll be a tough topic to get a consensus on, as folks w/out kids will be drawing from their own childhood memories, right? And folks in our age range will be drawing largely from the shows we watched w/ our own kids in the 90's and aughts. And newer parents will be facing whatever's out there at the moment.

All that being said, of the major, main-stream kids' programs? Pfft-- BARNEY--! C'mon, can there be any question?

Ooh, more later, gotta run the youngest child to *sniff* high school.

HB

William said...

I've only seen snippets of Teletubbies, but that thing looks pretty heinous.

For my own part, I'll have to go with Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. For some reason that dude always creeped me out a little, even as a kid.

Anonymous said...

Worst is tough? I try not to commit those to an already failing memory. But, HB I must chime in on Barney. That was the first new kid's show that I became over-saturated with as a parent in the 90s and my immediate reaction was "Is this what my poor kids have to look forward to?" Alas, true confessions here, it kind of grew on me.

On the other hand, Teletubbies??????!@#$%

Tom

Doug said...

As a kid watching PBS on WTTW in Chicago, I always liked Sesame Street and The Electric Company. However, whenever Mr. Rogers Neighborhood came on, I would cringe at the portion of the show with the puppets (I can't recall their names, but Lady Fairchild rings a bell). Wasn't there also some guy dressed in a dog suit? Man, I did not like that show at all!

Doug

Doug said...

Here's another news bulletin for you --a live action title sequence for Batman The Animated Series! Very fun!

Doug

Humanbelly said...

Teletubbies is almost like low-hanging fruit, here-- except I'm not sure I'd call it "Worst" as much as perhaps "Most Incomprehensible". . . which may be splitting hairs. And, IIRC, it was a deliberate, calculated attempt to program directly to 2-year-olds, which hadn't been tried before. So, it's awfully hard to judge, since the audience it sought literally would not be able to remember watching it when they were at the targeted age.

Mr Rogers never worked for me, either. It was soooooo dull and slow-paced and low-budget. . . but I recognize full well that he clearly connected with kids across a pretty broad cultural spectrum. And Fred really was an awfully, awfully good guy-- so I give him a pass.

But BARNEY? Man, it's like the Stepford Wives version of kids' programming. The kids don't act like kids. . .they act like idealized versions of what little old lady librarians think kids SHOULD act like. It's a perpetual barrage of chirpy, cloying, over-the-top forced good-cheer and hyper-positiveness that, I know, had the best of intentions. But the stridency. . . the pacing. . . the one-dimensionality. . . the relentless nature of the characters. . . ugh. ANIMANIACS did a very apt send-up of it called "Baloney & Friends".

But, as HBGirl points out, for decades, kids have truly loved that big purple dinosaur. . . so who am I to take that away?

HB

Dr. Oyola said...

And here I thought my choice of Mr. Rogers would be controversial!

Could not stand that show as a kid, esp "The Land of Make-Believe" which made me feel nauseous for some reason - but I just could not relate to his vision of the neighborhood. It was about as different from my life grouping up in 70s Bklyn as possible.

Another one I could not stand was Captain Kangaroo.

I am sure Teletubbies and Barney were terrible, but I never saw them.

Pat Henry said...

I remember a late Mr Rogers episode when Captain Kanagroo dropped by. Imagine the two nicest nice men in the world trying to out-polite one another. The saccharine level induced a diabetic coma.

But for worst, I'd have to go with the Friendly Giant. Canadian television always way out-lames anything comparable in the States.

Humanbelly said...

Whoops, and there I was, Dr Oyola, about to use Captain Kangaroo as the gold-standard to which Mr Rogers needed to be measured-! 'Course, I'm pretty sure the Captain's show in the 70's had lost a bit of the charm of its 1960's heyday.

As an adult parent, a show that I found myself watching sometimes even without a toddler or child present was ARTHUR. I think it falls more into the realm of animated Children's Programming as opposed to just being a cartoon, naturally. But geeze, a really engaging and often quite funny little program w/ some refreshingly subtle writing and storytelling. Also very solid work with the voiceover acting and direction. The only problem? Which was clearly an unintentional by-product of its promotion of diversity? In this society populated with all SORTS of anthropomorphic animals living a (more or less) harmonious, mutually-tolerant existence, you never saw any "blended" families. Chimps married chimps. Aardvarks married aardvarks. Bunnies married bunnies. Pit bulls married pit bulls, etc, etc.

What was to be the fate of the clear attraction between aardvark Arthur and chimp (or gorilla?) Francine???

HB

(PS-- when one is a sleep-deprived father over the course of months, THOSE are the kinds of questions that burn themselves indelibly into your mind. . . )

Doug said...

HB --

We loved Arthur in our house! And even the boys had that same question you asked, about the mating possibilities (well, they didn't ask about mating...) of an aardvark and a simian.

Doug

PS: I recall liking Captain Kangaroo when I was a kid. Did any of you outside the Chicago area see Bozo's Circus?

Humanbelly said...

On a very clear summer day, Doug, we could sometimes pick up the Chicago station that carried your Bozo (we lived just around the corner of Lake Michigan from you, in a tiny little SW Michigan town). Was it WGN, I'm hazily thinking? A. . . chaotic program, to say the least. I remember thinking that I would never EVER want to be one of those kids that volunteered for the shaving-cream-baloon-throwing-type contests. . . !

But didn't different local markets have their own Bozos? Sort of like there were different local Romper Rooms? (OMG--there's a weird old artifact. . .) I distinctly remember a Bozo w/ the raspy voice that Krusty the Klown is based on, and another one who was clearly the inspiration for Barney's voice. We had some years of trailer camping, and would come across different Bozos in different regions. . .

HB

Doug said...

HB --

WGN Channel 9 was indeed the station that carried Bozo's Circus. They also had a fun show on in the mornings featuring Ray Rayner (who was also Cookie the Clown on Bozo). Rayner's show was a mix of live studio and vintage Looney Tunes and MGM cartoons. I did not care as much for their third big children's program, Garfield Goose and Friends.

Doug

Rockett Davey said...

Wow! Where To Begin?
MR. Rogers
Glad to read so many others that Hate that Show.
Now It's Fun to be nostalgic
The New Zoo Review
Wow That Freddy Frog, Henretta Hippo etc.
That obvious one arm costume.
So You can pretend to speak!
Not so bad. I'm not at so young to understand how a costume works.
That is so disarming HA!
To be so obvious that...
You are not using both of your arms!
OK Even when I was a young boy
I knew...
I was so much cooler than that Eyeglass wearing dude.
Because I Love You Emmy Jo
-Sam

Garett said...

Hey Pat I have to disagree about Canadian tv for kids shows. Mr. Dressup was better than Mr. Rogers (even though Rogers was a nice guy). Ernie Coombs seemed like a down to earth guy, and did drawings on the show.

Garett said...

Also the Hilarious House of Frightenstein is one of the greatest kids shows of all time. I don't think anything quite like it ever came out in the States, or anywhere else for that matter! : ) Great Canadian show.

Anonymous said...

HB, my first thought, when I read today's topic, was Romper Room. I just did not like it. For me, it could have been too close to actually school. And I think my time to watch it was when they were really pushing the "Romper Room" line of toys and gadgets. I think we had the Romper Stompers? Upside down buckets with plastic ropes attached. You would stand on them and, as you walked, you would have to pull up. I don't know. Just didn't like it.

An aside to Rocket Davey, I am usually not a fan of poetry that doesn't rhyme, but I liked yours so, finger snaps. Kudos on a job done well.

The Prowler (backpack backpack, Swiper no swiping).

Edo Bosnar said...

Hmm, I actually really liked Capt. Kangaroo as a kid, and I didn't mind Mr. Rogers that much - although whenever I did watch it, I also hated those "Land of Make-Believe" bits.
Anyway, for all of you guys expressing dislike for Mr. Rogers, I think he has a rather apt response.

Garett said...

How about SCTV's Mister Rogers as portrayed by Martin Short? : )
Battle of the PBS Stars

Redartz said...

My early years were filled with the Captain and Mr, Green Jeans. Somewhat later, the local Indianapolis kid show hosts Cowboy Bob and Janie (of Popeye and Janie) hosted my afternoons. Fond memories all.

Of course the topic today refers to the worst, so Teletubbies it is. That smiling baby sun is truly disturbing...

Humanbelly said...

Ah, my day got much busier later on, so I wasn't able to rejoin and tell Rockett Davey & everyone that I totally withdraw BARNEY and yield to the amnesia-inducing dreadfulness of NEW ZOO REVUE. Along with that though, Davey, comes a curse for dredging it back up into the light and air for renewed contemplation.

I'm pretty sure it wasn't even a network or PBS show, but rather an independant production that likely could be had to fill a vacant time-slot on the cheap. I'm guessing not everyone's familiar with it, even. It was sort of an earlier Barney-esque undertaking, minus the cast of kids. The "guy in glasses" (thick horn-rims in the mid-70's, mind you) was "Doug" (Hmmmm, no. . . no, couldn't be our o-- never mind--). As in, "We learn from our friend Doug (bomp-bomp), and his hel-per Emmy Jo (bomp-bomp)." Doug seemed to fancy himself an undiscovered folk singer-- possibly a cleaned-up former hippie. Emmy-Jo was an uncomfortably voluptuous, vapid young woman without any apparent talent of any sort whatsoever. And even a kid had to wonder what the heck Doug needed an official "helper" for, since he didn't actually seem to do anything, either, but hang around and sing songs about important life lessons.

A pre-Family Feud Richard Dawson showed up as a guest star in one episode, and it was just painful to watch a down-on-his-luck actor obviously trying to get through the job in order to get the paycheck. . .

HB

Anonymous said...

The people have spoken! Barney it is! Nuff said!

- Mike 'Oscar the grouch has issues' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Dr. Oyola said...

This is the only Mr. Rogers related thing I really love.

Edo Bosnar said...

Osvaldo, thanks for the link - that's really awesome.
And Garrett, yes! Hilarious!

Otherwise, I see I haven't cast my own ballot for worst. I agree with Rockett Davy and HB - New Zoo Revue all the way.

Related Posts with Thumbnails