Monday, December 17, 2012

King Of The Jungle

Before I get going here are some obligatory photos of our Christmas tree I let my daughter take one, my son and then I set the timer. None of them worked.

Here's the one my daughter took. Annoyingly she chose a close up of herself on an ornament. That kid of vanity worries me. It's a bit like watching Olympics coverage on US netowrk television - not a single idea about the context or broader picture whatsoever.


Having said that it's less worrisome than the only picture my son took.


And as the pièce de résistance - I did this one. And my daughter ran away before it went off making it look like all the females in the family have either fled or been bumped off.



I'll obviously have my wife take a real photo with her good camera that isn't blurred, doesn't have toys on the floor or isn't too far away, isn't just of my daughter's face or my crotch and has all of us in it. Basically every single element of the above three photos will be different.

Moving on - there's a show on TV that I've mentioned previously that is unlike any other kids show on. It's called Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood and is based on an old segment from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. Here's a clip.

 
It's quite nice I suppose. But after a few it begins to hurt your brain. It's mainly different from other shows for three reasons.

1) It's cloyingly nice - except when it's terrifying. When someone does anything they'll gush about how much they love it and everyone and how special it is - and then they'll sing a twee song about it. An example being today's show the main character is told to put his shoes on. He finds them - says how much he loves shoes - sings about how much he loves shoes, feet and walking - and then puts them on. Then his parents sing the same song about how much love they all have for shoes. Which would reek of a fetishism if it weren't for the fact that they did it about toothpaste, bathing, boats and not being alone. Which is unbearably saccharine. But what makes it worse is that for almost every single situation these moments are invaded by a horrifying neurosis that the kid tiger has. So after they've all sung a song about how bath bubbles are like a blanket of fluffy love a brooding minor-chord swells up and the kid asks, "what if I get sucked down the plug hole....." before his mother reassures him he isn't about to drown to death. Again - as a one off it would be fine. But in the last five minutes it's been on Daniel has said he's scared of going to bed in case he never wakes up, and he's afraid of the dark in case there are killers hiding in the shadows. And my word is that tiger afraid of his parents leaving and never returning. It all conveys the idea that whoever wrote this show was left in a cardboard box outside an orphanage as a child.

2) My son laughs at a few things - but he laughs all the time at this show. Not at jokes or anything obviously amusing. He just explodes with laughter at random moments. I have no idea why. I tried videoing him but it's so random I kept missing it. He just laughed because the kid sang a song about brushing teeth. Not during the song, or because there's a tiger with tooth paste - but randomly in the lull between when the kid expressed how much absolute love he gets from pleasing his mother by having healthy teeth and wondering if he's brushed them well enough to die from virulent gingivitis.

3) The male tiger characters don't wear pants. Everyone else does. Even the Mom tiger does. It's patently a choice by the illustrator. I can overlook the fact that - for some odd reason - anthropomorphic jungle animals seem to be living amongst the human population. And I could even overlook the fact that the tiger family just had a "healthy dinner" that mostly involved spinach. But why on earth is EVERYONE wearing pants except the male tigers? Not believing me? Here -:


That's bizarre. So weird in fact that it took my wife mere seconds upon seeing the show to ask why the boy and his Dad naked from the waist down. The only explanation I can think of is that - in a world where animals live with humans - the best way to emphasize their "King of the jungle" status is to have them prancing about with their lion-bars wobbling about all over the place. I can envisage some odd Crocodile Dundee-style "that's not a knife - THIS is a knife" willy comparison going on somewhere. It even brought to mind an old Jack Dee joke where he said after holding his newborn child he feared he may not be the real dad because of the enormous appendage - until the nurse pointed out, "that's the umbilical chord Mr. Dee."

And if you don't believe me why don't you take a stroll around town today in just a hoodie and running shoes and see how long you go before being tasered.

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