Pop Rocks

Pop Rocks: The Most Annoying Kids' TV Shows

Being a parent is tough, especially when the kids are toddler age or thereabouts. You're basically on 24-7 suicide watch while the little hobgoblins cram everything they find into their mouths and clamber to the top of the bookshelves, while at the same time you try to feed them properly and nurture them along the road to becoming decent, educated, well-rounded adults.

But I'm not talking about any of that crap, I'm talking about putting up with children's television.

Complaining about kids' shows is about as original as making jokes about airline food, and I swore I'd never go down that road...and then I had children of my own. Now I too have learned to dread the words "Yo gabba gabba," and I have to physically resist guzzling the entire liquor cabinet every time I hear the "Elmo's World" theme start up.

"Surely," you're saying, "Surely not all children's programming is like sticking your head into a blender filled with drywall screws?" That may be true, but my kids - all three of them - apparently have horrible taste. Here then is my list of the ten most annoying examples of kids' television.

All programs were ranked according to the General Adult Goat Getting (GAGG) Factor, a highly scientific formula utilizing several variables including (but not limited to) deliberate speech impediments, uses of the phrase "cool beans," and inappropriate puppets. The higher the number, the more annoying the show is to grown-ups.

I'll also point out that Teletubbies went off the air in 2001. Right before the 9-11 attacks. You don't suppose...?

Sesame Street GAGG Factor: 3

I know, I know. Years ago, I couldn't have imagined saying anything negative about the denizens of the one neighborhood in NYC seemingly free of dog shit and human urine, but that was before the Dark Times. Before...Elmo. As the show has re-tailored itself for a much younger audience, bits like "Muppet NewsFlash" and "Monsterpiece Theater" have given way to "Elmo's World" and the steaming mid-show turd called "Abby's Flying Fairy School." I can't hate on the show that I literally grew up with, but all three of my children have, at one time or another, clamored for "ELMO!" like he was peanut butter-flavored crack. And that ain't right.

Caillou GAGG Factor: 5

As if toddlers aren't whiny enough, they have to be reinforced by this sniveling bald twerp. He's largely flown under the radar in our house, probably because he's Canadian, and the only entertainers from the Great White North allowed in the Vonder Haar compound are Rush, Shatner and Aldo Nova.

Toot & Puddle GAGG Factor: 6

Less confusing to me than the fact that two pigs from Appalachia (that's where I assume the town of "Pocket Hollow" is located) can afford to go on so many intercontinental journeys is how they can get away with visiting countries that don't dig on swine (they go to Egypt in one episode). I can only assume they have no plans to visit Israel.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar