Monday, February 28, 2005

One ha.

So I'm walking downstairs a few weeks ago to get a Coke (no comments, please), and I hear that the Middles are watching their morning cartoons. This one is "Higglytown Heroes" (which has a clever theme song by They Might Be Giants, that reverse-crossover sensation that started out making weird, silly pop songs and then decided that they should be making weird, silly kids songs instead; I wish them all the best).

For those of you without 2-5 year old children and/or without one of the various Disney channels, Higglytown Heroes is a show about appreciating everyone around you. Even taxi drivers, ice-cream men, etc. It's trying to fill the old "Who are the people in your neighborhood/Mr. Rogers" vacancy, but it comes off only slightly less preachy than Captain Planet.

It's like a bunch of DINK's sat down and decided over chai lattes to create a patronizing appreciate-the-bourgeoisie show, with CG pachinko dolls who carry things in their stomachs. Seriously, what kid needs to be told to appreciate the ice-cream man?

It's new for Disney, and they're pushing it with all their might. How well is it working, do you ask? While I'm in the kitchen pouring my Coke (I'm not allowed to take the cans back upstairs), I hear Jonah exclaim "HA! He dropped his pizza!"

What does Disney get for all its development and marketing dollars? One ha. For a 30-minute show. How sad. A 3-minute Road Runner cartoon gets dozens of ha's, and provides ample lessons on purchasing shoddy products by mail and a role model for perseverance (either the Road Runner or Wile E. Coyote, you pick).

Note to trite TV producers: educational TV doesn't work that well. In fact, because it's usually so boring and/or condescending, kids don't watch it as much and so it ends up being less effective than normal TV.

Case in point: one of the only things I can remember from vast years of childhood TV is that rabbit meat is called hasenpfeffer in German. I used that information once in a come-from-behind win of Go To The Head Of The Class, an early precursor to Trivial Pursuit. I learned that from a Bugs Bunny cartoon.


At 9:06 AM, Blogger Becki said...

RIGHT ON! Respect the ice cream man? What if he's Michael Jackson in disguise? Mom.


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