The troubling world of children’s television

Do you ever watch a kids TV show and feel really troubled by some aspect of it? I do. All the time. Here’s a rundown of the ones that worry me the most.

Sarah and Duck

Now I love Sarah and Duck. I actually watch it sometimes when the boys aren’t around because I think it’s that bloody good. BUT. There’s some really weird shit going down here. For a start… WHERE are Sarah’s parents? I mean, I reckon she’s about, what? Eight years old? And she lives in a house with only a duck for company and NO parental supervision. Except for maybe Scarf Lady, who checks up on Sarah every now and again, appears to have the early signs of dementia and is mostly looked after by her knitting bag (unless she leaves it on the bus, which she has done once or twice). None of Sarah’s friends have parents either. One of them has a flamingo as a pet/companion, another one is weirdly obsessed with plates and there are mostly mute twin girls living in the house next door. And Sarah is pretty chummy with the moon too, FYI. There are adults around, mostly doing jobs (baker, crayon shopkeeper, etc), but none of the kids in the show appear to belong to them. At first I thought I was missing something, like maybe it was a Charlie and Lola kind of set up where there ARE parents, you just don’t ever see them. But no. No parents. And that troubles me.

Bing

While we’re on the subject of absent parents… BING! Where are his bunny family at? Bing is looked after by a brown sack thing called Flop, who has endless patience for all of Bing’s infuriating habits and struggles to reach the front door handle without a stepladder. Some help he’d be in a house fire. Flop basically keeps Bing’s moral compass on track and looks after his equally irritating friends every now and again (when they’re not being looked after by a sack elephant called Ama at playschool). Flop even has baby photos of Bing, but there are no parents anywhere to be seen in any of them. Did Flop snatch Bing from his crib in the night? Who knows?! I suspect he probably wanders around the house swearing a lot after Bing has gone to bed though. And I have to wonder, since there are no adult animals anywhere to be seen and only weird sack creatures doing anything responsible… Is there a rather horrifying transformation in Bing’s future, or is he doomed to live in some kind of perpetual state of toddlerhood forever?

In The Night Garden

God, this show is creepy. For a start, Mr and Mrs Pontipine need to get a handle on their parenting. They never fucking know where their kids are. I mean, I don’t know if there’s some alcoholism going on behind that red door or what, but somebody needs to do something about that. Aside from the troubling parental issues, there’s Makka Pakka and his cleaning OCD, Upsy Daisy and her frankly terrifying singing and possessed bed, and three funky little critters called Tombliboos who play ghastly music and lose their trousers far more often than is strictly necessary. Then there are the Ninky Nonk and Pinky Ponk, both of which regularly try to annihilate all inhabitants of and visitors to the garden with their crazy upside down, head-on collision antics respectively. And then. Then there’s Iggle Piggle, the Night Garden overlord himself. That thing is nightmare fuel. Enough said.

Nelly and Nora

I might be missing something here, but I don’t think these kids go to school. They live on a caravan site and kind of run around doing not very much and most episodes seem to have something to do with the weather. Maybe they’re homeschooled? I don’t know, but I suppose at least these children have parents, even if those parents do abandon them on a hot beach in one episode while they go frolic in the sea. Not that I’m being judgy, but who does that? Pack your kids some fucking flip-flops in the beach bag FFS.

Mr Bloom

There isn’t anything wrong with this unless you overthink it. Which, of course, I have. This show is basically about vegetables. Singing vegetables with names and personalities. And that’s sort of where this becomes problematic for me. Because I really want my kids to eat vegetables, but I worry that this show might cause them to empathise with their butternut squash risotto. So far, O has not made the connection between Margaret the cabbage and co and anything he’s seen in the fruit and veg aisles at Sainsbury’s. But O is nothing if not observant and he will make that connection one day. The best part is, I haven’t got a fucking clue what I’m going to say to him. I am prepared for the Peppa Pig/bacon debacle, but anthropomorphised vegetables is another matter entirely.

Tree Fu Tom

Where do Tom’s parents think he goes when he’s actually gadding about in Treetopolis? I’m a little concerned that they let him go raking about in the woods by himself in the first place, if I’m completely honest. But then he pushes the boundaries that bit more by doing his magic shrinky thing and disappearing off to a magical land. What if something happened to him there and he didn’t make it back in time for tea? His poor parents would be doomed to spend the rest of their lives searching for him in vain and making ever more desperate TV appeals whilst cursing themselves for letting him play in the woods by himself to begin with. What a thoroughly depressing series that would be.

What about you? Have I missed any shows that give you the willies? I must confess that we only really watch CBeebies in our house, so there could be all kinds of freaky stuff going on over on Nick Jr that I’m not even aware of! Let me know in the comments or via Twitter/Facebook.

image
image

Advertisements

66 comments

  1. colleyswobbles · May 2, 2016

    Brilliant! This is a great post and I wholeheartly agree. The one that bothers me is Topsy and Tim. They’re not even related, have fake parents, and they’re incredibly annoying.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · May 3, 2016

      Oh, I know. That one gets to me too. And those kids are so annoying, yet their parents never fucking bat an eyelid when they do something stupid or naughty! What’s up with that?!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Baby Anon · May 3, 2016

    Ha ha ha, this made me laugh. Normal rules are completely suspended for children’s TV – In the Night Garden gives me the creeps too. We also find our books pushing the boundaries – for example, one of our books had the line about a bear ‘doing what a bear does in the woods’ (and accompanying pic!) Then there was a random book about an owl who was a master of disguise who kept trying to eat everything!! It’s so random! #chucklemums

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · May 3, 2016

      I don’t know if you had it when you were a kid, but we have “The Hairy Toe”, which O absolutely loves. But that book is fucking terrifying! I honestly don’t know how he sleeps at night after we’ve read it. The owl book sounds like nightmare fuel to me! And as for the one about the bear… What about “The Story Of The Little Mole Who Knew It Was None of His Business”?! Gah!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Baby Anon · May 3, 2016

        Oh I didn’t have that. We had ‘rainbow’ (showing my age) which seemed innocent enough but turned out to have subversive messages in some episodes. I reckon programme makers had some fun with the viewers 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • Motherhood IRL · May 3, 2016

        We were watching that “It Was Alright in the 80’s” thing a few weeks ago and I can’t believe some of the stuff we were allowed to watch growing up! Even The Magic Roundabout had undercurrents of the fevered mind of a drug addict going on…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Baby Anon · May 3, 2016

        It’s incredible what people used to be allowed to get away with! I didn’t realise that about the magic roundabout – how funny!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. islandliving365 · May 3, 2016

    This is brilliant and I agree with it all. Especially Sarah and Duck, I have to say that plate kid really scares me with his love for plates….where are the parents where? Perhaps we need to be looking at plate kid for the answers! #chucklemums

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · May 3, 2016

      She does have a certain suspicious look about her, doesn’t she? Like you probably wouldn’t want to meet her in a dark alley…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. ourrachblogs · May 3, 2016

    Brilliant post, I wrote a similar one last year regarding kids tv and the different between when I grew up and what Kids TV is like now for my son. It certainly aint what it once was. On the subject of In The Night Garden, Upsy Daisy is basically a brazen hussy who lifts her dress up at any given opportunity! #chucklemums

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · May 3, 2016

      Right! And that! You’re absolutely right with that! Did you ever watch Trap Door as a kid? Now THAT was good kid’s TV.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. justsayingmum · May 3, 2016

    Oh this is brilliant! None of these programmes were out when mine were small but the general theme of no parents and outrageous behaviour ran strong – Hmmm I wonder why we get toddler tantrums!?! #chucklemums

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Fran @ Whinge Whinge Wine · May 3, 2016

    Bahaha what are you planning to say about Peppa/Bacon? I think I’ve said before this terrifies me. Tips please! Totally with you on the veg though. If vegetables have feelings too we are screwed.

    My friend did a guest post for me many moons ago which called into question the Paget/Bing relationship. Who the hell knows, it seems no one has the answer!

    Thanks for linking to #chucklemums. It’s great to have you 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · May 3, 2016

      Well, technically it should be easier for us because N and I are veggies. I genuinely don’t think O or F have ever eaten bacon though… I need to read that post! Can you link me to it on Twitter, please?

      Like

  7. mumzilla · May 3, 2016

    I am frankly perturbed by the relationship between Yellow Hat Man and Curious George (have been thinking about doing a post about that actually, but it might go very, very wrong!) and I always thought that Mr Bloom’s veggies are a bit rudely shaped. I’m just filthy aren’t I?! #chucklemums

    Like

    • Motherhood IRL · May 3, 2016

      Not at all! I’ve never seen Curious George, but now I’ll be watching out for it so I can see what you mean! And you’re right about the veggies; with the exception of Margaret, most of them are somewhat phallic in shape!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Mrs T (@SothisismeMrsT) · May 3, 2016

    fab! Bing drives me insane why cant he or any of the other character speak properly? don’t get me started on sarah and ffffing duck!!!! acid for pre-schoolers! #chucklemums

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · May 3, 2016

      I just love it sooooooo much though! It’s funny and quite clever, but it’s just so bloody weird and worrying that nobody has parents! Flop just gets on my wick, to be honest. It’s like he just doesn’t even have the ability to get annoyed. Like that episode when he’s trying to make himself a cup of coffee and Bing does about 12 really irritating things in the space of five minutes! If that was me, I’d be muttering “for fucksake” under my breath!

      Like

  9. Mummy Rules · May 3, 2016

    Hahaha! I am going to have to share this, it’s brilliant. Bing is so annoying, I don’t know how Flop can be patient and say ‘it’s no big thing’ all the time in response to Bing’s constant whinging (perhaps he says shut the f-up in his head and hides behind a cupboard door to stuff his face full of chocolate, or something stronger, or perhaps he is indeed just a saint. Or a brown sack). Also, it seems Bing is always pissing his pants, not a great example to the potty training tots. Mr Maker is a show I can’t have on; he’s just far too ‘wacky’ for me – how does he have all that energy? I noticed the other day he looked like he’d been out the night before. I Can Cook is a pleasant show and good for recipes but Katy is sometimes far too perky for my liking too. Why don’t her children throw flour everywhere and rub snot into their cakes? It’s not very realistic. #chucklemums

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · May 3, 2016

      I really don’t know where children’s TV presenters get their energy and seemingly constant sunny disposition from. It baffles me. I read an article in Mother & Baby about Katy and apparently she’s like that all the time! And you’re right; you never see those kids picking their noses and then sticking their hands in the mixing bowl. My kids are always fucking sneezing in the mixture whenever we bake. Which is not very often, to be honest, because baking with children under the age of about 7 is a special kind of hell!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. mymommybrain · May 3, 2016

    i love this! being in the States we have different shows {although Sarah and Duck is familiar}, but we definitely have some that are just not ok – in our house anyway. do you have Caillou? he’s an annoying, whinny preschooler from Canada. oh the whining!!! it’s like nails on a chalkboard! and his parents always give in! so not only is that little sh** teaching kids it’s ok to whine, the parents are teaching the kids that it’s an acceptable and effective way to communicate. um… not in this house! my kids know to hand over the remote when that show comes on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · May 3, 2016

      That sounds a lot like Peppa Pig. She’s a really bratty little creature who constantly makes fun of her poor daddy and upsets her little brother. We are not big fans of her in this house! I’ll have to look Caillou up on YouTube, although apparently not when the kids are around…

      Like

      • mymommybrain · May 3, 2016

        ah yes. Peppa. we have her too. my kids think it’s funny how they all fall down laughing, kicking their legs at the end of the episode. but Peppa is not very welcome in our home, although more so than Caillou. :-/

        Like

  11. jaxbest · May 3, 2016

    I have no patience for The Night Garden. It’s kinda like the Teletubbies.. Happy my children aren’t “into” those shows 🙂 Great laugh!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Louise · May 4, 2016

    Brilliant – these are all the same questions that I find myself asking when watching CBeebies, especially with Bing and wondering whether he’s going to have some kind of strange metamorphosis as an adult and turn into a Flop-like creature! My husband’s theory about why Flop is so calm is that he puts a little something extra in his cup of tea or sits and smokes weed after Bing goes to sleep! #bloggerclubuk

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · May 4, 2016

      Haha! Your husband might just be right. He has that stoner demeanour, doesn’t he? Maybe he’s on the mushroom tea…

      Liked by 1 person

  13. lauracharlie1988 · May 4, 2016

    In the Night Garden scares the hell out of me! It’s that Iggle Piggle chap… what IS he?!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. anxiousgeek · May 4, 2016

    I have very little patience for kids shows. We have netflix so my niece has access to a lot of crap when she stays over. #BloggerClubUK

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · May 4, 2016

      I can get along with some of them, but others are just eugh. Grandpa In My Pocket is the worst thing on TV bar none!

      Like

  15. babiesbiscuitsandbooze · May 4, 2016

    Ahaha this is so funny! I don’t really have to watch children’s tv yet and I am relishing this time, not looking forward to it. I’ve seen in the night garden with my nieces and it’s freaky!! #BloggerClubUK

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · May 4, 2016

      Some of it is fine, but there’s some crazy stuff going down on CBeebies!

      Like

  16. TiredHappyMummy · May 4, 2016

    I can’t stand the flipping Pontipines, I actually have to leave the room when they are on! And yes to Bing, how does Flop keep so calm and what on earth is he? We think Monkey has a little crush on Tree Fu To, she giggles a lot, blows kisses and stands with her nose against the TV, which worries us as she’s only 18 months! #BloggerClubUK

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · May 4, 2016

      Aw! Bless her! O has a thing for one of the presenters, although I can’t remember which one! I think it might be Rebecca. And Andy is his idol.
      I have actually read a lot of threads about Bing and I STILL have NO idea what’s going on there!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. sisterk1n · May 5, 2016

    Ha ha you really nailed it! I was so obsessed by what Robert the Robot (Justin’s House) looked like without a silver face that I googled him. Had to have a stern word with myself after that! #coolmumclub

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Mrs Tubbs · May 5, 2016

    Peppa blooming pig … Too weird for words!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Faye Elizabeth · May 5, 2016

    Lol! I had to laugh at these! I’ve never understood the concept of Bing and Sarah and duck either, although my little one loves both.
    Don’t get me started on in the night garden, I have no idea as to why it is so successful – my theory is subliminal messaging that only little kids can pick up on… Making them go bat shit Crazy in the middle of asda so you buy the merch to shut them up. Also, fart sounds? And also, why do things keep changing sizes? Like, one minutes iggle piggle and the gang are 10 times bigger than the winky wonk pinky pink (whatever..) and the next they can ride on it? Ugh? Confused!
    On the whole, I think we can safely say I agree with you lol! #coolmumclub

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · May 5, 2016

      Yeah, that whole perspective thing has always really troubled me. It doesn’t exactly teach kids good things about size, does it? So confusing. I remember the first time O asked me how come the Ninky Nonk was suddenly huge and I didn’t know what to say to him!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Faye Elizabeth · May 5, 2016

        Yes! I know, it’s really insanity-inducing! I can’t stand kids TV anymore, but, with that said Miss K has started watching things like amazing world of gumball and adventure time which are just as confusing lol

        Liked by 1 person

      • Motherhood IRL · May 5, 2016

        What IS Adventure Time? I have adult friends who watch that and I don’t get it at all!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Faye Elizabeth · May 5, 2016

        I *honestly* don’t know, but weirdly I enjoy it… I’m kind one of those adults who enjoy kids shows, like My little pony. But, adventure time confuses me, but I get sucked into it lol

        Liked by 1 person

      • Motherhood IRL · May 5, 2016

        I really enjoy kid’s shows and movies, so maybe I should check it out! I remember the original
        MLP… The new manga version is just a bit *too* psychedelic for me!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Faye Elizabeth · May 5, 2016

        I’ve not seen the manga version, I watch the friendship is magic one and it’s brilliant 🙂 I’m the same though, I love movies and shows for kids too lol

        Like

  20. Lol my son has very limited interests (not sure if that is a blessing or not) and we only have Peppa Pig, Ben and Holly and Thomas on here and just lately has he got really into the nighy garden too. I totally agree that ITNG is a very odd programme and it gets my son high as a kite. We’ve had to ban it before bed now because he was running around like a lunatic until 11pm at night! He’s been much calmer since we’ve told him “no more Iggle Piggle before bed”.

    #stayclassy

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · May 5, 2016

      I don’t have the TV on after 6pm now because of that bloody show! Sometimes it goes on in the day when the kids are driving me up the wall (and I do kind of like to watch Sarah & Duck), but strictly no ITNG!

      Liked by 1 person

  21. occupation:(m)other · May 5, 2016

    Haha! This is fab…oh so troubling. There are so many many troubling and confusing programmes out there! But you have definitely hit the nail on the end with these ones. I mean Bing? So annoying and just who is flop?? Sarah and Duck is bonkers. The night garden a mystery! #coolmumclub

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · May 5, 2016

      I really don’t have a clue what Flop is… He looks like a toy… But he’s taking care of a toddler… I can’t even.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. wordsofamom1 · May 5, 2016

    So true! Some of the shows are soooo weird. The weirdest ones seem to have kids loving them the most. I worry when a show turns my kid into a zombie who doesn’t realize there is a world around them. For some reason Mickey Mouse Clubhouse does that to my kids. #stayclassy

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · May 6, 2016

      That happens a lot with O… He just zoned out completely. It’s always a good indication that the TV has been on for too long and we need to go do something mentally stimulating like a puzzle!

      Like

  23. mummuddlingthrough · May 5, 2016

    Back in our day the TV programmes were proper weren’t they?! Bring back She-Ra!
    Thank for linking to #coolmumclub

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · May 6, 2016

      That was such a good show! Also that one with the acid green hare… Buckio Hare? I loved that!

      Like

  24. Michaela Ruud · May 6, 2016

    Haha I love this, my daughter only watches In The Night Garden which I find strange anyway but all these others seem strange to. It has give me a giggle though #BloggerClubUK

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · May 6, 2016

      I’ve always thought In The Night Garden was really bizarre, even before I had kids. But the more I see of it, the more troubled I am!

      Like

  25. The Mum Project · May 6, 2016

    Hahah great post! Where are all the parents?! The shows should highlight the kids listening to their parents so that we get a fucking break right?! I can’t really say much though, my son is still too young for TV, but I’m a bit scared now about the selection haha! Thanks for linking up with #StayClassy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · May 6, 2016

      So true! But then we’d probably all complain about how unrealistic they are 😂.

      Like

  26. randommusings29 · May 6, 2016

    This really made me laugh! Personally I find Peppa Pig and co quite disturbing – who has two eyes on the same side of their face – and they move whichever way they happen to be facing! Freaky
    Thanks for linking up to #BloggerClubUK 🙂
    Debbie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · May 6, 2016

      What’s up with her snout too? She doesn’t really look like a pig to me!

      Like

  27. everythingsrosieandgeorge · May 6, 2016

    I LOVE this, it cracked me up. Honest to god though, where are all the parents on CBeebies?! Even the ones that are there have questionable parenting skills at best. I basically have a (overthought and cynical) problem with every single kids TV show but my least fave has to be Gigglebiz, that show is for adults right?! Why is Justin ALWAYS dressed like a woman? There’s too many questions. X #bloggerclubuk

    Liked by 1 person

  28. ShoeboxofM · May 6, 2016

    I like Sarah and Duck!

    In the Night Garden is a really odd show. It’s ever shifting sense of proportions messes with my head. One minute the Tombliboos are packed into the ninky nonk / pinky ponk and they have a ton of head room and then they come out and it’s an eighth of their size. What is this, Lovecraft?! What eldritch horrors lurk beneath the garden? The episode with they mash the piano for what feels like 3 hours was enough to swear me off the show for good.

    On the relationship between Curious George and Ted (the man in the yellow hat) seems to be one of Stockholm Syndrome.

    I still hold that kids TV ‘in our days’ had its fair share of crap, we’ve just chosen to forget it in favour of the good stuff!

    Trap Door still holds up though!

    http://www.denofgeek.com/tv/the-trap-door/39538/the-trap-door-celebrating-a-much-loved-80s-animated-series

    #StayClassy
    #BloggerClubUK

    Like

  29. mumrambles · May 7, 2016

    Love it! Haha! I have similar feelings about everything on CBeebies. It’s all very questionable! Xx #stayclassy

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Omg Bing is so weird, so weird – what are those sack people? Are they their parents, their advisers? Their voices are so annoying! We love Tree Fu Tom, simply because my son really thinks he’s ‘doing the magic’ and I just seeing his little face and his enthusiasm! Great post #stayclassy

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · May 10, 2016

      O loves Tree Fu Tom for the same reason, and it’s so cute watching him. He’ll say to me “I’m doing the magic, mummy!” Bless him.

      Like

  31. Caroline · May 24, 2016

    Fab post and I’m so glad I’m not alone in my thoughts of some of these!
    my little boy doesn’t actually watch much TV. He watches TV, but mostly things/programmes/shows off Netflix. However, at peoples houses or places he has seen mr Bloom, Bing and Peppa Pig. (I’d done so well keeping these off our TV! 😦 )
    I’ve always thought In The Night Garden was weird. Those creators/producers definitely had a fun-filled evening coming up with that! And Mr Bloom just scares me. I’m happy to get that off my chest..
    Bring back 80’s/early 90’s TV. Paddington Peas. Rag dolls. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s