I’m not ashamed to say it, my kids watch television. They watch it while we watch it, they watch it alone. Recently my two year old has learned how to use the iPad in order to watch it on his time (not sure if I’m proud or terrified of this). And while we try to limit their TV time, there are certain shows they can not seem to get enough of. While I’m strung out on The Walking Dead, my kids are devouring Sesame Street like it’s paid TV. I’ve never minded Sesame Street. They have a lot of odd characters and many forms of entertainment. It’s more than a simple show, it’s like a variety show for kids. I’ll admit to even putting down my coffee and watching when a high profile celebrity show up to discuss the word of the day.
One show I can’t stand? Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Or, what I like to call “Devilish ear worms that crush your soul and take you to a very dark place”. If you’ve never seen the show, let me give you a quick overview.
The original Daniel Tiger came from a show called Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. If you don’t know that show, you should stop existing as a person. Even if you’ve never seen the show, I can’t imagine never hearing of it. Daniel Tiger was a nasty ass puppet that lived in a clock tower inside the Land of Make Believe. Often, he would sound like an elderly lady that smoked two packs a day. His nicotine habit was overshadowed by his other habit: heroin….Just kidding. Worry, he was worried a lot of the time. After Mr. Rogers retired from PBS (his pension provided by viewers like you) and ultimately went to his own land of make believe, Daniel Tiger was resurrected as a very colorful cartoon. This time though, in The Land of Make Believe we are seeing his son, also named Daniel. Daniel is joined by all the other children of the main Mr. Rogers setting. And no…Lady Elaine’s kid has not seemed to suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome.
Now that you’ve had that primer, let’s review why I hate this show so much. When my wife originally discovered it on Netflix, I was thrilled that my son would have something bedsides Elmo to watch. Now that I’ve seen (or heard) every single episode multiple times, I’ve realized Daniel Tiger’s neighborhood is a creation to the like of something from an HP Lovecraft story. Much like the discoveries of ancient ones, it makes you go insane.
Do you know what an ear worm is? Anything by Katy Perry is an ear worm. It’s a catchy tune (often created through sacrificing a virgin) that will not leave your head. As hard as you try, you will not be able to remove the tunes of Daniel tiger. Now I know, they’re for kids. The songs teach kids things like how to share, care and go potty. The songs were obviously written in the same key and roughly the same tune. And if that’s not bad enough for an adult. THEY’RE SUNG OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER! What absurd individual thought of this formula??
As stated in the overview, the characters in the show are nothing more than the children of the original characters from Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. Being children, they are your classic mix of annoying, intolerable and cute. They look at the world around them in amazement and joy. And even though my own toddler will watch the same episode over and over, the characters themselves seem to have no problem learning the same lesson over and over. The songs they sing to make themselves happy will forever be fresh to them. The problem I have with the characters is that I can pin point every single one of them from my own childhood. I’m thinking that everyone’s childhood had a similar cast. There’s Daniel, he’s nothing but average. Then there are his friends. The one who worries and reads and never shuts up about new and “interesting” facts. What about the loud mouth? Yup, she’s there, louder than ever. Don’t forget about the overly girly character who loses her shit on everything and everybody possible. She just happens to be the daughter of Henrietta Pussycat, who seems to be on a lethal dose of prozak. I almost forgot, the rich kid. The kid who no matter what you feel about yourself, makes it known that he has more (even if he doesn’t mean to). There is an entire town filled with an assortment of human, animal and somewhat imaginative characters, fortunately for me and you, I have no desire to pay attention to them. One character I do like: Music Man Stan, I don’t know why but he s the only one I don’t want to see burn.
PBS broadcasts some great infotainment. Their kid shows are top notch for learning. Daniel Tiger goes over the top to inform it’s viewing audience all about the life of a toddler. Personally, I’d like to see the show tackle some issues the toddler will eventually face. I’m thinking there should be an episode about the balance of power. Clearly The Land of Make Believe is governed by some sort of “loose monarchy”. While King Friday makes a speech every few episodes it’s very clear to even the youngest viewers that the adults in The Land of Make Believe don’t seem to give a shit. Perhaps they’re even on the verge of a revolution. There’s just something about how Daniel Tiger Senior looks at the king with blood lust in his eyes. If they did decide to do an episode about the revolution of the people, they could touch on wealth distribution. In a village where the only industries seem to be clock making, musical Instrument selling, and crayon production, it seems that the royal family is living high on the hog while the other villagers live in make shift homes such as trees, clocks, and a museaum. I’d like to see a balance sheet of where the tax money being collected goes. I’m not saying King Friday is giving his royal subjects the royal fucks…but I’m also not, not saying that.
A time warp episode might be good. One where we see Daniel tiger in his teenage years. That would be quite the shock. Little Daniel Tiger wearing a black sweater (still no pants), wearing earbuds, blasting Nine Inch Nails and telling his mother to go suck a strawberry. Late at night, he would break into the enchanted forest and convince Katerina Kittycat that if she wanted to be cool she should…steal the fruit. ahem. The entire thing could come to close in a violent movie type recreation. One where gang factions (set up by the lack of funding for the public schools) would kill each other off until the entire town burns (BTW, the the second time i’ve referred to someone or something burning in The Land of Make Believe).
It would also be cool to see daniel tiger go to space.
The last bad thing I’ll say about this show is about Trolly. In Mr. Roger’s, Trolly was the way into The Land of Make Believe. In Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Trolly seems to be treated as nothing more than an expected ride to anywhere in the city…for free. I hope to God he at least gets a nice card at Christmas, otherwise Trolly might go home every night to a miserable existence. He goes to bed and dreams of roaming free across the world, trollying into foreign cities and majestic lands, only to wake and discover someone needs a ride to the bakery because theyre too lazy to walk from their goddman hobbit hole.
I’m not bitter about Daniel Tiger. my kids love it. I’m more annoyed by it than anything else. The other night, Jude woke up sad. Alaina went in and rubbed his back. She handed over a small stuffed cat that he likes and told him it was Daniel Tiger. He repeated the words and nuzzled the cat, falling back asleep. I guess a show that instills that kind of love cant be all bad…unless thats how PBS is attempting to get more funding…