Kids’ TV for the Hallucinogenicly Inclined

8 04 2008

Forgive me if I seem a little loopy today. I’m dealing with a one-two punch of rotten headcold and serious sleep deprivation the best way I know how: A mouthful of Dayquil and a shitload of black coffee. Last night, Baby Squiggles developed a fever, and when she has a fever, she demands some specific things to keep her from ripping the roof off the place with her angry howls. First she wants a breast. The left one. Once satisfied with that, she wants to be waltzed around the living room while I rub her back and perform Jingle Bells in the key of cat.  Meow meow meow. Meow meow meow. Meow meow meow meow meeeooow. This Christmas-y version of a Whiskas commercial is her favorite lullaby. Finally, she wants to sleep. On my chest. With me sitting in an upright position. She wants this cycle repeated every hour or so, which allows me to rack up a whole three, maybe four hours of sleep, all taken in 20 minute chunks. 

With me in this state, and the girls still feeling under the weather, we’ve been parked in front of the TV a fair bit. We have a large arsenal of dvds to combat days like this, but Neener and Roo will have none of them. The other night, they accidentally discovered their newest TV love. It’s called In the Night Garden. I’ve always been pretty good about making sure that the shows they watch are age appropriate, but somehow, this time I’ve failed. They shouldn’t be watching this show, but I don’t have the will to stop them even though I know Neener and Roo are either too old for this show, or not old enough. On the surface, it appears to be aimed at the toddler set. It’s on Treehouse, after all. But upon closer inspection, I think it is more geared toward the university crowd. The giddy, pizza-eating, ‘hey-let’s-trip-out-on-kid’s-shows-at-3 o’clock in the morning’  crowd. The same crowd who watched Teletubbies. I am aware of this phenomenon because I watched Teletubbies long before I ever had children. My university roommates and I spent long stretches in our early twenties engulfed in a purple haze, and engrossed in the antics of Lala, Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Po, and that damn adorable baby face in the sun.

The two shows were created by the same folks, who also brought us the slightly phallic looking, frequent fart noise making BoohBahs. Compared to In the Night Garden, Teletubbies makes sense. Clearly the descendants of an illicit affair between a television and a troll, the Teletubbies goof around in their whimsical land until it’s time for Tubby bye-bye. They are the model of a modern family, complete with a man-purse toting Dad (Tinky Winky), a favorite family meal (Tubby Toast, which, as far as I can tell, is smiley-faced toaster pancakes) and even a pet, Noo Noo (a vaccum/dog who cleans the kitchen floor. I want one.) Sure, there are the weird little trips into their TV tummies that replay the same live footage over and over and over, but there was nothing really nuts. Even after I got over watching kids shows with an illegal smile, I got Teletubbies. In the Night Garden, I don’t get at all, and I’ve even gone to the website and read the explanations. The creators describe it as “a modern televisual interpretation of a nursery rhyme picture book.” Here’s how I describe it: a bunch of weird characters (Igglepiggle, Upsy Daisy, Makka Pakka, and the three Tombliboos) and a bunch of weird machines (like the Pinky Ponk, a gigantic farting zepplin) do a bunch of weird things. Igglepiggle falls asleep in a boat that takes him to the garden where he meets Upsy Daisy, and he falls over in a fit of anxiety every time something surprising happens. Makka Pakka comes along to inexplicably wash Igglepiggle and Upsy Daisy’s faces with a sponge. And soup I think. The Tombliboos’ pants fall down at random moments. The Pinky Ponk does a fly-by farting. All this action is interspersed with appearances by the Tittifers (crazy looking technicolor birds that just sit on a branch making weird noises) and the Pontipines (a family of 10 miniature dolls who share a semi-detached doll house with their neighbours, the mysterious Wottingers.) The 8 Pontipine children get lost in the forest on a regular basis, but all Mr. and Mrs. Pontipine can do is wiggle around making – you guessed it – weird noises, in response to the narrator’s repeated question “Where are the children?” The narrator sounds just as lost as any adult watching the show would be. Then, everyone says Pip-pip, onk-onk (which apparently means goodbye.)  I’m left feeling dizzy, hungry and confused. My kids are laughing their asses off.

Maybe it’s because I don’t remember what it felt like to be a crazy kid. Maybe it’s because I don’t remember what it felt like to be a stoned university student. Or maybe it’s because today’s crazy kids need crazier TV shows to hold their fly-like attention spans, and today’s university students are doing harder drugs and so need much more fucked up kid’s shows to trip them out. Whatever the reason, I don’t understand In the Night Garden. But my kids do, and on a day like today, that is all that matters. So, I’ll wash back another mouthful of Dayquil with another mouthful of black coffee and laugh along with them. And when Baby Squiggles starts crying, I’ll have just enough energy to pick her up and meow out another lullaby in the key of cat.




3 responses

9 04 2008

That’s wacky. Have you ever read Bones of the Moon? That book made me feel a lot like how your post just read regarding the tv show.

BTW, thanks for the lovely comment. If you ever need any info, just ask, and if I don’t find it/don’t know it, at least you have my guarantee that I’ll look and pass the question on down the chain.

9 04 2008

P.S. You’d probably like my friend’s blog as well . . . – she’s a mama with kids on the spectrum too.

9 04 2008

Thank you. I’ll be sure to check it out (awalkaboout’s blog, that is…never read Bones of the Moon…I think I need to get my head around In the Night Garden first! LOL.)

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