Last year around this time, I decided to share with you the absolutely terrifying conclusions I had drawn from being forced to watch children's programming with my one-year-old daughter every day. Well, here we are with her quite a bit bigger, but no less in love with the folks on Sprout and Nick Jr. While she maintains a fondness for almost all of the programming available, she has a new crop of favorites that I'm being Clockwork Oranged into experiencing, and once again the wheels of my madness are turning.
So pull up a chair and pull down your pants because I'm about to steal the innocence of all that you previously considered sweet and good. Here's what Psycho Dad thinks is really going on.
Jack's Big Music Show rocks. Especially because it features the single hottest woman in children's television as a regular guest. You know there's a just god in the world when he makes a genie so banging that rubbing her lamp would actually be what I wished for. I digress.
Each episode features Jack, his dog Mel and his best friend Mary playing songs, meeting wacky characters and learning lessons. It would be awesome if there was any doubt that it wasn't the painfully desperate fantasy world of an over-managed child.
See, each episode opens with Jack running out the back door while his mom calls out to not be gone long as they have to leave soon for a scheduled activity...and it changes every show. Hopscotch lessons, toboggan lessons, boomerang class (Okay, that one sounds awesome), and a host of other activities that either Jack continually quits out of frustration or, even worse, is forced by his type-A mom into participating in simultaneously.
Think about it...there's nothing odd about Mel being out in the playhouse, I guess, but Mary is always there, too. She just appears and instantly joins in. Either she lives in the clubhouse, or she's not real. I'm going with the latter, as Jack's high-strung behavior seems like a tell-tale sign of severe overwork heaped upon him by his deranged soccer mom.
Miss Spider's Sunny Patch is already a little weird to watch considering the main character was voiced by Mrs. Up-The-Butt, and that makes the whole thing a little non-consensual for me when my daughter is watching it. However, that's not the creepy bit.
Miss Spider and her husband have something like six kids, and three of them are insects. That is in and of itself odd, kind of like if I read a chicken a bedtime story and then deep-fry its relatives for dinner. The disturbing part comes from whenever one of the bugs asks the pretty obvious question of where they come from seeing as they aren't, you know, spiders.
Miss Spider explains that she "finds" them as orphans and raises them. That sounds sweet, but the show makes it pretty clear that the Sunny Patch community rallies pretty well when somebody goes missing. Surely a lost baby would've been found quickly. I think the more logical explanation is that Miss Spider is suffering from mental illness brought on by secondary infertility.
Trust me, I know how crazy going through infertility is. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. It doesn't seem too far-fetched that in her desperation to continue to have children, Miss Spider is actually kidnapping these baby bugs and raising them as her own. Possibly she just takes them since spiders are the biggest and strongest creatures in Sunny Patch.
After all, Bounce apparently just wandered away from home and Dragon fell into a river. Rather than find these children's homes, she just keeps them. This is why I put a chip in my daughter.
Go, Diego! Go! has one of the best theme songs in children's television, but it also makes no damned sense. He was introduced as a cousin of Dora from Dora the Explorer, but that's very strange because Dora's features are Mexican while Diego is clearly Colombian. Granted, there may be a lot of mixing involved here, but it does lend some credibility to my personal theory.
Diego spends all of his time rescuing animals, usually deep in the forest. Supposedly he does this under the supervision of his parents, two "animal scientists" who are never named and are rarely featured. Since educational cartoons go out of their way to enshrine every scientific discipline in order to inspire kids to follow their footsteps, it seems odd that Diego's parents are so vaguely referred to.
That's because they aren't scientists. They are drug smugglers using a naturalist cover story to make deliveries in the dense jungle. While everyone is occupied with Diego's adventures, they seal the deal. Whenever they need an in to America, they get in touch with Diego's "cousin's" family for easy access across the border.
I mean, who else but drug czars would have so little respect for parenting that they'd let their son play with a freakin' anaconda?
I hated Max and Ruby when I first saw it because it seemed like a patient sister being forced to take care of the worst little brother in the whole world. Now I understand that it's the opposite. Max is a precocious child that does his level best to deal with Ruby, who is clearly unhinged in ways that are just shy of serial killer behavior. Now, how did she get that way?
The absence of Max and Ruby's parents is often a humorous subject of debate, and there are no less than ten different Facebook groups dedicated to that question. It's even more puzzling because their grandmother is a frequent guest character. If you look closely at pictures in the house, though, you never see parents. Only Max, Ruby and their grandmother.
Hold on because this is going to be bad.
Max isn't Ruby's brother. He is her son. Remember the Doctor Who episode "The Empty Child" where the little gasmask boy was spreading a bizarre plague throughout London looking for his mother, who it turns out was the girl he thought was his sister? Yeah, just like that except worse.
In the Doctor Who episode they were on their own because of the blitzkrieg. In the absence of such circumstances, you'd think if someone had impregnated a girl as young as Ruby, her parents would be on hand to help her overcome what was at least a molestation and at worst a rape. But they aren't there, not even in pictures.
Maybe Ruby's dad was the guilty party, or maybe Ruby's mom was divorced with bad taste in boyfriends. Whatever the reason, the pathological behavior of Ruby to normalize every aspect of her life fits in real well with the mind-set of someone who had undergone such a traumatic experience at such a young age. Now she cares for her "brother" under the guardianship of her grandmother, who has systematically erased all evidence of Ruby's parents to help her forget what happened and maintain her illusion.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.