Friday, July 06, 2012

Dadpost: My New Television Schedule

Before Hannah was born, I was rarely up before 10 AM. Now, by the time 10 rolls around, I'm about four kids TV shows deep into my day before I head off to work.
Between PBS, CBC and TVO (three of the handful of channels I get for free on our HD antenna), we have a LOT of kids' TV options, and Hannah very much enjoys a wide variety of programming.

We're often at the mercy of weather conditions and/or construction on our building in regards to what shows actually come in on any given day, but this is roughly what we're watching. Most of these shows have their shortcomings, which of course only Sarah and I notice, but as long as Hannah is entertained that's the main thing.

The Earworm Factor refers to how much the theme songs/show songs get stuck in my head, 1 being "not at all" and 10 being "want to drill the song out of my skull, trepanning style."

8:00 - Curious George (PBS)

Curious George has always been one of my favourite characters. The first stuffed animal I ever got was a George, and I slept with it probably a lot longer than I should have. The movie was very well done and the show is also quite good. The animation style is modernized but the stories and the mood always bring me back to my childhood.

Earworm Factor (EF): 1 out of 10. None of the songs are similar to the original iconic theme, so they never get stuck in my head. The movie was a bit heavy on the Jack Johnson, but I guess his Dave Matthews-lite style works for something like this.

8:30 - Busytown Mysteries (CBC)

Based off the Richard Scarry series of books, a group of animals go around solving mysteries in BusyTown. This is a fairly recent addition to the rotation, but it's a pretty solid show, with one major flaw: Huckle the Cat ALWAYS solves the mystery, and the rest of the crew just throws out theories that end up being wrong. Also, the pig in the red shirt is kind of a dick, and is even drawn that way, with a frown 95% of the time.

EF: 5 out of 10. The main themes are starting to make their way into my brain; I suspect this number would rise if revisited in a couple weeks' time.

9:00 - SuperWhy (CBC/PBS)

SuperWhy is made by Decode (the company that made Undergrads, which was a pretty solid little cartoon about going to college) and uses fairy tales to help solve problems. It's a good show that is somewhat handicapped by a couple of things:

1) Every show is based around a "super big problem", and what qualifies as "super big" is sometimes a bit of a stretch. Whyatt's wasting water! He hears his baby sister say her first word, but no one believes him! He has nothing to do! Truly problems that rock the foundation of our modern world.

2) Red Riding Hood is USELESS. She's easily the least featured of the four major characters, and with good reason: her "problems" are pretty weak. In one episode this week, her "super big problem" was feeling bad for not sharing any of her bushels of apples. The Super Story Answer was "SHARE", but they should have added, "you selfish brat."

EF: 10 out of 10. By far the earwormiest show we watch, to the point where Sarah is singing it throughout the day. I'll be at work 5 hours later and one of the recurring themes will pop in to my head and refuse to leave, no matter what Rush or Metallica songs I attempt to counteract it with.

9:30 - The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That (CBC) / Dinosaur Train (PBS)

It's no surprise that Dr. Seuss translates well onto the small screen, and Martin Short as the voice of the Cat is perfect. The one thing that bugs me about this show, though, is the kids' mother. She lets them go, go, go, go on an adventure without raising much of a concern as to where they're going or what they're doing. Sometimes they don't even bother showing her saying yes; a voice just comes from the house. That's some kickass parenting there, lady. And the Cat knows he's basically running the show. He teases the kids as to whether or not they should go by adding, "Your mother will not mind at all if you do!" And you know what? He's right: she doesn't give a SHIT.

Cat in the Hat is also on PBS earlier in the day, but thanks to Busytown (and CBC's overall signal reliability) we've started watching it here, so Dinosaur Train often gets bumped altogether, which is a shame. I mean, dinosaurs AND trains! It's a winning combination. That said, the Dinosaur Train A-Z series of episodes is on WAY too often, and that can get repetitive.

EF: 7 out of 10 (Cat In The Hat), 3 out of 10 (Dinosaur Train). The song they play after the Cat takes off with the kids is pretty annoying, but at least it's the only one. Other than the A-Z song getting overplayed, Dinosaur Train's songs are pretty inoffensive. I can't be mad at an Elvis-impersonating dinosaur; he sounds like Johnny Bravo!

10:00 - Sesame Street (PBS)

Unparalleled kids TV awesomeness for 40-plus years. You know the Street is still the place to be by virtue of the absolute garbage that PBS and TVO throw on in their time slot. It's like NFL Sunday: everyone else gets the hell out of the way. Hannah LOVES Elmo, the old-school characters show up enough to keep me happy, and the celebrity guests are great. You can tell they're having fun and consider it an honour to be on the show, and that's because it is.

EF: 4 out of 10. Outside of the Abby's Flying Fairy School theme song, and the fact that all the songs in Elmo's World are set to the tune of Jingle Bells, the rest of the music in Sesame Street is solid.

11:00 - Sid the Science Kid (PBS)

If I'm watching Sid, it means I have the day off, as I usually start work at 11 and have to take off midway through Sesame Street. Sid is a Jim Henson creation, and he's part kid, part scientist and part reporter. It's pretty well done overall, though Sarah's criticisms of it are spot on.

EF:  8 out of 10. A close second to SuperWhy for most annoying songs. They do the same songs every time they leave for school, look for their friends at school, go INTO the's a bit much.

11:30 - WordWorld

WordWorld is a great concept: animals made of words build things using words. Hannah's too young right now to understand it, but when she's older I think she'll really dig it.

EF: 2 out of 10. Not much going on in the way of music; they're all about the words, yo. Word.

I'm not sure what it says about my skills as a father that I've written such a massive post on what I watch with my 5-month old daughter, but anyone who's watched their kid contently and quietly watching knows how invaluable a resource TV can be. Plus a cursory look at the most popular shows for grownups reveals they're not much more intellectually stimulating than any of the programs above, so don't judge me, bro.
To check out more posts from my boyfriend Chris, please visit his blog Below the Mendoza Line.

© 2012 YYZ Bambina. All Rights Reserved.


  1. Hi! Stopping by from MBC. Great blog!
    Have a nice day!

  2. Anonymous7/10/2012

    Hi, found your blog via the Bloggy Moms July Hop. Love this post. I know exactly how you feel - my nearly four year old son can schedule his day by what he gets to watch on tv.

    In fact I'm currently trying to ignore Huckle Cat while surfing the net! I like Word World though and will actually sit and watch that one with my son. I've written about Huckle and whether we watch too much tv on my blog too.


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