Here’s my new favorite television moment. No, it’s not when Paula Abdul told that David kid on American Idol that she wanted to squish his head and dangle him from her rear-view mirror. Though that, too, was rather good.
No, my favorite TV moment is when my boys sit in front of Noggin, drooling with excitement, as The Upside Down Show is about to begin. Just before it starts, there is a soothing, maternal voice which intones:
“The Upside Down Show builds deductive reasoning and abstract thinking through pretend play, and models alliteration!”
My kids think The Upside Down Show is funny. I don’t. But that intro? Now THAT’s hilarious.
The Upside Down Show teaches kids nothing. Nada. Zero. Zip. And that’s fine. If I can watch American Idol, then my kids deserve a few minutes of mindless trash as well. As long as they get their teeth brushed first.
If I did want my kids to learn deductive reasoning, about the last place I would turn is The Upside Down Show. My kids have watched each episode at least a dozen times, and as far as I can tell– from my seat at the laptop in the next room– it teaches them how to run around their living room, make annoying noises, and communicate with invisible animal companions. Quite the antithesis of deducing anything, or having reason, I would argue.
But, for whatever reason, my kids love it, so that’s fine! Why does everything for our kids need to be twisted into something superbly edifying? Why does Noggin feel the need to assert that Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Friends teaches children about diversity? Why not say, “Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Friends gives moms twenty-two minutes to not only shower, but also blow-dry their hair. Go! GO!!”
Or, if they really want to impress me? Teach my kids how to “count by two and tie their shoes,” like Franklin. Tell his frenemy Beaver to shut up, and let Franklin show his stuff, if he’s so freaking smart. Actually, why not have Franklin himself tell Beaver where to shove her holier-than-thou attitude? Maybe then my kids would learn something.
But don’t throw toys in the toilet and tell me it’s a pool party. Don’t tell me, as a parent, that your delicious sugary product is loaded with spirulina. No matter how many times you say so, Noggin, you are not like preschool on TV. Don’t ever change.