4 Horrifying Interpretations of Children's Shows
Some people believe that children should be kept as far away from television as long as possible. Art Attack believes that if DJ Lance Rock can keep our 2-year-old daughter entertained long enough to go to the bathroom then it can't be all bad.
However, we may be watching a bit too much Sprout and Nick Jr. Lately, we've been seeing sinister things lurking below the surface of these bright, colorful edutainments. We freely admit that it's probably more our own derangement than any intent on the part of the show's creators, but some rather disturbing interpretations have become to make themselves apparent to us. Such as...
Yo Gabba Gabba is an Adaptation of I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream
Few shows have revolutionized children's programming like Yo Gabba Gabba. Focused on the lives of five toys that come to life at the hands of a magic DJ, the show has become the cool place to make a cameo as well as a launching pad for indie bands. Think of it asSaturday Night Live with morals.
Netflix Presents: Here Comes the Funny Tour
TicketsTue., Apr. 11, 8:00pm
TicketsFri., Apr. 14, 7:00pm
Festival of Laughs featuring Mike Epps
TicketsFri., Apr. 14, 7:30pm
TicketsSat., Apr. 15, 8:00pm
Jeff Dunham: Perfectly Unbalanced
TicketsSun., Apr. 23, 3:00pm
Yet, just below the surface, the resemblances to one of Harlan Ellison's most famous and horrifying short stories abound. Both feature an omnipotent deity who controls the fate of five individuals for their own, unknown ends. Like the malevolent supercomputer AM of the story, DJ Lance Rock utterly rules every aspect of his test subjects', er... friends' lives. The further into the night we watch the show, the more his grin seems to imply that he enjoys the trials that the characters go through more than the lessons they learn from them.
Granted, Gabbaland is a much brighter place than Ellison's post-apocalyptic wasteland ruled by a hateful war computer dedicated to torturing the last of humanity, but it is still populated with giant worms and other horrors. Though Lance Rock has not yet begun to educate his subjects in the ways of his deep-seated hate, it can only be a matter of time.
On a similar note, we've taken to pretending Thomas the Tank Engine is actually a children's version of Atlas Shrugged narrated by George Carlin.
Lately, the kid has switched her allegiance from Yo Gabba Gabba to Ni hao Kai-Lan. Kai-Lan is an energetic young girl who lives with her grandfather in San Francisco and teaches kids about Chinese culture along with a cast of incredibly neurotic animal friends.
Now, we're not the first to ask where the hell Kai-Lan's parents are. There's even a Facebook group dedicated specifically to that question. However, we're pretty sure that we've figured it out. Kai-Lan is Street Fighter Chun-Li's little sister. She's being housed with their grandfather while Chun-Li hunts Bison for Interpol to avenge their parents.
Our basis for this is the silk brocades and ribbons Chun-Li wears in her hair. These usually signify mourning. Kai-Lan wears them as well in one episode. From there you realize that it makes perfect sense for Kai-Lan to be spirited off to America to hide from the forces of Shadaloo.
Caillou is a Figment of a Lonely Senior's Imagination
Caillou is an adorable young boy with a big imagination and a catchy-ass theme song. In general, we dig the Canadian show. It's just sweet, and not every other minute is dedicated to teaching me the damned alphabet in every language on the planet.
The show is generally narrated by Caillou's grandmother, and the more we listen to her the more we are convinced that this child doesn't really exist. Yes, we know that he doesn't really exist because he's a cartoon; what we mean is, there is a strange, desperate note to the way Pauline Little reads the narration that makes the whole thing seem more and more like a lie she's telling fellow residents in a nursing home.
Of course, that's the kinder of two theories we have about Caillou. The one that occurred to us while we were napping in the papasan chair with our daughter lying against us was that the whole thing was a psychotic break by Caillou's grandmother to deal with the untimely loss of her grandchild. Hey, speaking of psychotic breaks...
Blue's Clue's is a Hallucination of a Mental Patient
Blue's Clues features a young man named Steve, later replaced by Joe, whose best friend is a puppy named Blue. He also counts as close friends the kitchen condiments, the mailbox, soap, a clock, a pail and shovel, and a chair. Seriously, how did anyone not come to this conclusion before?
Episodes center around Steve or Joe trying to figure out something Blue wants to tell them by hunting for three clues and deducing their meaning. We're sorry, but that has got to be the most transparent analogy for therapy we've ever heard. It's clear that Steve and Joe are being held in an asylum and are spending their days playing association games with their psychiatrists in a desperate attempt to return to reality.
Steve obviously progresses throughout the show, becoming more and more lucid and questioning the surreal nature of his surroundings. Eventually, he leaves the house and his imaginary friends behind, while a new patient, Joe, begins undergoing the same therapy that worked so well on Steve.
It's worth noting that the lessons learned in the show are things that people who are the age of Steve and Joe usually already know how to do, such as use the bathroom properly, further illustrating that the whole thing is simply a schizophrenic way of dealing with learning how to survive in the real world. God only know what kind of work release the two of them are out on now.
Get the Theater Newsletter
Get a rundown of upcoming theater events and ticket deals in Houston.