Friday, 13 January 2012

Hasta la vista, Dora.

It’s 06:00am, the kids are up early and are sitting in bed with us while Mrs D and I snooze the alarm clock for one last time. Miss D is chatting to Little Dude. ‘Why is she talking like that?’ I think in my half-conscious state. She’s speaking loudly, with an over-enthusiastic upwards inflection on almost every word. It sounds bizarre, it’s quite annoying, and somehow strangely familiar. Then it hits me…
‘She’s talking like Dora the Explorer’.
‘Oh no…’

I like to think I’m fairly tolerant when it comes to kids tv although I don’t understand the appeal of a lot of it. If I knew the secret formula that made programs like ‘In the Night Garden’ so popular I’m sure I’d be a pretty rich man. I’ve never used the tv as a babysitter, but they both have favourite shows and while they’re engrossed in them I can usually get a few chores done. To use a tired ‘management speak’ phrase, it’s a win-win situation for all concerned.

Program writing has definitely come a long way since I was young, along with the ever expanding choice of channels, and the shows themselves are a lot more educational than I ever remember. This is a good thing, and I’m pleased my kids can actually learn something from them. However, after being at home for nearly four year and in that time, having been exposed to pretty much every kids show in existence, there are a few things that irritate the heck out of me:

1) The out of tune singing on ‘Bubble Guppies’
2) Baby Jake’s stupid ‘Goggi Gi Ya’ catchphrase – how is this teaching children to speak properly?
3) The creepy weirdness of ‘Balamory’ and ‘Dirt Girl World’
4) The ‘Three Special Steps’ song from ‘Special Agent Oso’
5) The awful American to English voice dubbing on ‘Team Umizoomi’
6) ‘Pete’ from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse – What an asshole.

But, in terms of irritations, our amigo Dora gets her very own list:

1) I know repetition is a good tool for helping young children to learn but after hearing ‘The Map’ song for the first time I never wanted to hear it again.
2) The ‘Backpack’ song (for the same reason).
3) If my satnav repeated directions as many times as Dora, it would be thrown out the car window.
4) The ‘grumpy old troll’ clearly needs help, I’d suggest counselling.
5) The ‘Swiper, no swiping’ phrase sounds like ‘Swiper, nose wiping’. Indeed, my niece thought that was the case for several months.
6) Given a little time, my kids are perfectly able to find things in a picture without needing a huge flashing arrow to help them.
7) I wish Boots would stop complaining.
8) Swiper – What an asshole.

I know it’s supposed to be another educational show, teaching children about problem solving and introducing them to another language but, when every word of every sentence is shouted with a completely unnatural over-enthusiastic tone and upwards inflection, and ESPECIALLY when I hear my daughter talking like this, then I’m afraid it’s time for us to part company.

Dora, you are henceforth banned from our house with immediate effect.