Thursday, July 06, 2006

An Off-Topic Rant

The boys and I have been discussing a complaint lately, and I am interested in hearing others' views as well. Our complaint was brought about by the yearly schedule change that occurs every summer when school lets out, when PBS rearranges their programming. It seems that each year, they do away with yet another good show, and replace it with something awful.

Back when Troyer was a baby, I used to spend afternoons watching Bill Nye the Science Guy and Carmen Sandiego with him. I looked forward to the future when he would actually be old enough to learn from them, but they also really amused me. Of course, 4 years later when he was old enough to start watching educational PBS programming, those shows were gone. Sesame Street has become a disappointment to me, and I miss The Electric Company from my own childhood. We found Zaboomafoo, which the kids loved, and I like Arthur and Cyber Chase. When we moved we lost Zaboomafoo. This year, they have taken off Zoom, just when Troyer was getting old enough to enjoy it.

And what have they chosen to replace these shows? Annoying PC teach-your-child-how-to-deal-with-situations shows. My kids like Dragon Tales and Clifford, but I don't find them particularly "educational." Same for Berenstein Bears, Sagwa, and Maya and Miguel. I can NOT stand Caillou. I like Reading Rainbow but unfortunately I can't get my kids to watch it. I understand the appeal of Barney, and they watch sometimes, but the whole marketing bonanza from the show annoys me. I have never allowed a Teletubbies or BoohBah to run more than 1 minute before turning them off.

What happened to the good shows? What about Newton's Apple or 321 Contact? Why the dearth of educational programing that actually taught you something? If I want mildly entertaining cartoons, shouldn't I turn on Disney or Nickelodeon? Ah but wait, those shows are even more annoying.

So what I want to know is, what shows did you watch and learn from? What do you wish was still being aired, and what shows make you run for the remote to turn them off? I hear they released The Electric Company on DVD this year, I'm looking into buying a copy for myself....

9 comments:

Jody said...

Here, here! I have totally given up on PBS. S.St just irks me now, as well as the rest of the cartoon shows.

Where is Angelina Ballerina? Mia loved watching her. It was soft and sweet, and calming.

We do Animal Planet and Discovery, and of all things, the Weather Channel, now, as well as tapes.

Beck said...

My kids really like Max and Ruby - and it's a great show. Oswald is terrific and has a fun soundtrack. Our very favorite? George Shrinks, and his beatnik parents. Hilarious! If your kids (i've just discovered your blog) are a bit older, they may like PBS's new "Fetch" show, which is excellent.

Lisa said...

What do I remember from childhood? Not educational...Gilligan's Island. It ran like three times a day. I know every episode. How pathetic! My mom used to try to get me to watch Captain Kangaroo but I preferred Gilligan. My own kids are mesmerized by the horrible Sponge Bob. It is Fletch and Mel's favorite show. We all hate Mr. Rogers!!!

Melanie said...

My kids would sit and watch tv all day if I let them, so for summer I told them they weren't watching tv at all during the day. Once in a while I will let them watch a show or 2. But because of not letting them watch it this summer, I don't know if PBS has rearranged their schedule here. I don't mind them watching Clifford (not exactly educational). Personally Between the Lions cracks me up. The kids like it. They don't get all the humor in it, but it's pretty educational. They also like Arthur and Postcards from Buster which are pretty good, and we talk about the things on those shows we don't agree with or believe (ie. Islamic religion on Buster). Buster replaced Reading Rainbow about a year ago on our PBS station. I like both, but wish they didn't have to replace one good one with another. Why can't they have both on and get rid of those brainless ones? JMHO

Gretchen said...

Oops! Did I leave out Between the Lions? I love that show! Did you know that the producers of that show are the ones who produced The Electric Company? No wonder it's so good!

S'te said...

I loved all the old shows as well and miss them. We got the Schoolhouse Rocks on DVD and the kids love it!!

Lisa said...

HI! This is my first time here (popped over from Notes from the Trenches) and I had to laugh because I agree completely with your post. And I hate hate HATE Caillou. (I'm using the word 'hate' here to describe a cartoon boy!) My kids have discovered "Real Wheels" but we can't for the LIFE of us figure out when it's actually on. (I hate the way PBS does that - switches the times around!) They also like ""The Big Comfy Couch" which is a bit annyoing to me, but it gives me a good excuse to leave the room. They also like "Zoola Patrol" which I think is great and is quite educational. Alas, we don't have expanded cable, otherwise we'd be watching Animal Planet all day. (I miss Jeff Corwin!)

liz said...

The Electric Company set is totally worth it. And the Muppet Show is also out on DVD.

Also, School House Rock.

If you get Noggin, Oobi is worth a look-see. Excellent story lines, nice and short and amusingly told.

Christina said...

I happened across your blog today and thought I would put my 2 cents in. I do think your right. Too many stupid shows out there. I miss the old ones. I used to love the Electric Company. We watch alot of Animal Planet and my son loves Blue's Clue's which sometimes is educational. I plan on reading these comments to see what others suggest.