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Never watch children's television with me.

To counter their fabulous weekday children's programming (kids' stuff from 0700 or 0730 to 1800 except for an hour and a half in the early afternoon which is either arts/crafts or women's issues, then a half hour of a GED or ESL program), the statewide PBS in North Carolina puts their Saturday morning programming really early so there's crap to watch after 1000 on Saturdays until the cooking shows come on (I love America's Test Kitchen, it appeals to my stomach and my inner geek) since we refuse to watch crap like Trading Spaces: Boys vs. Girls and Endurance on NBC's Discovery Kids block. I'd guess this is why normal people get cable. (If Noggin still showed vintage 'Street, Electric Company and such in the wee hours of the morning I'd get digital cable just to PVR/tape them.)

So since I'm heading into that last premenstrual day where I'm suddenly manic, I woke up with Laurel for once and turned the TV on and said "holy sh*t it's Elmo!" before I realized she was in earshot. Not a pleasant thing for me to see this early in the morning, that's for sure. I want Grover back. I want to hear Jim Henson's Muppet voices. And I want to get the piano at my parents' tuned so I can play it after I get home until I'm threatened with a beatdown if I play "Somebody Come And Play" one more time.

Also, I want to go out and get a McGriddle. They can't screw those up like the last time I ordered a bacon egg and cheese biscuit and got a biscuit with the egg, but something that looked like poorly made cheesesteak instead of bacon and cheese. I'm still giggling at the memory of dictator88's comment that their thesis should be lack of pork causes terrorism... except that the only pork I eat is bacon. I don't like the texture of pork.

Now that Angelina Ballerina's on, I fail to see what children see in it although the line "Mrs. Thimble's turned to stinky cheese!" made me laugh. At least they speak intelligible English, unlike Maisy or the increasingly speech-impedimented Baby Bear. I dislike his presence on Sesame Street too since part of the original aim of Sesame Street was to model good English-speaking skills for children.

kenwestervelt, if you want our recliner I'd appreciate it if you could pick it up sometime soon.

I swear the heavily accented ballet teacher on Angelina Ballerina just said the foreign student coming to visit was from her "homeland of Wachovia". (Wachovia is a bank/financial services company in the southern United States.) I need to turn the captioning on since this is almost as difficult to understand as when local news channels are "cute" and have local schoolchildren read the weather in a drawl so thick it could be canned and sold next to pie filling. Denver people: am I the only one who looks forward to Kathy Sabine's weather forecasts on channel 9? She's yummy.


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 26th, 2003 06:30 am (UTC)
It's odd, because my mom claims that I used to watch Electric Company, but I don't remember a time when KCTS showed it, and I tend to remember almost everything from TV, from about being 3 or so. Jesus Christ, I still remember VEGETABLE SOUP, and _NO ONE_ knows that show. [_NO ONE_ isn't missing much either. From what little I remember of it, it was a bunch of poorly animated figures going around and doing presumably educational skits, intercut with live action people doing presumably educational skits. If I recall, the educational bits were less on the side of Actual Knowlege (but I seem to remember some of those, too, of the Math variety), but more on Interaction With Others, but it's been almost 20 years since I saw it last, so....]

But yeah, Grover rules while Elmo drools. I do NOT get the allure of that little red irritant, but I've gone off on this many a time, so I shan't write more on that for a while.

The McGriddle, those are those things being advertised as "bizarre but tasty" or something, despite the fact that they're not actually terribly bizarre (unless the bizarreness isn't so much of making a breakfast-biscuit-sandwich, but the appearance of actual edible food at McDonalds) and this is the first word I've had that they are tasty, or at least some value approaching "tasty" (my assumption on this was based on the fact that they are, indeed, from McDonalds. Which occasionally I get cravings for, but it's rather rare.)

(Non-Cured) Pork's an odd beast. I like the sourness of the meat, but (again, non-cured) Pork Fat is gross (although I do like bacon fat) and kinda slimy. That's one thing I don't really like about Pork Chops. If they're dry, they're not that good tasting, but if they're moist, you've got a higher chance of Pork Slime. Pork Roast on the other hand is pretty awesome, though. You get the sourness, and a minimum of porkfatslime. Even though there's fat in it, it seems to... cook differently, and also is easier to remove, it seems. That, and it doesn't ever cook up on the tops of the pork chops and look vaguely like that horrible gel that covers soft catfood. The day I saw that was when I basically insisted on not actually seeing the pork chops out of the oven, because even though I know it's nothing, it's disgusting to look at, and even though I know it's _there_, if I don't see it, I don't mind so much. Luckily, Shake and Baking tends to help this a bit. If I have to have a pork chop, I want it Shook and Baked. Which, I realise, isn't exactly like saying "Well, if I have to have Escargot, the snails must be from the SOUTH of France!" or anything, and is probably more akin to saying that you only want the Moonshine from the still on the other side of the barn. And the horrible ad with that hideous hick girl going "it's shake'n'bake an' i hep'd!" doesn't help that comparison any.

I have never seen Angelina Ballerina. I don't think we have it here. Either that, or it's one of those PBS shows that is on at such a time that I always sleep through it, even when I have insomnia and only sleep for, like, 2 hours then get up for the rest of the night. There must be a very small window of programming I don't get to see. Luckily, Mr. Rogers is in the Insomniac Window, so if I can't sleep, at least I get to see Mr. Rogers, which makes things not quite so bad. And "Arthur" is on on the other side of the Go To Bed THe First Time Window, which is good, since I like that show. But, if I had to choose, I'd rather watch an hour of Mr. Rogers and then once-in-a-while catch Arthur when I can't sleep. Or maybe even one half-hour of Mr. Rogers and one half-hour of Arthur (preferably the Canadian Half-Hour, because those don't have those stupid-ass "word from us kids!" segments that I HATE HATE HATE and always have on all those shows where they do those sorts of things. PEOPLE OF EARTH: I DO NOT CARE WHAT YOUR CHILDREN ARE SAYING AS IT RELATES TO AN EDUCATIONAL CARTOON SHOW. Although, I was one of those people who Adored Sesame Street, except for the bits where they take a look at a night in the life of Kids Like You (but I think I've talked about this too much before, so I shall stop, much like the Elmo bit).
Jul. 27th, 2003 12:53 pm (UTC)
WGBH stopped showing Electric Company around 1984; I only remember that because I initially thought it was because we moved. Noggin pulled it for good, it seems, earlier this year. I am not happy about that, but hopefully it will be released on DVD like some eps of the Muppet Show have been.

I wouldn't call the McGriddle good, but they're strangely addictive, like the ESL series on PBS (remember me being addicted to that one last year and being so disappointed when they didn't show the final episode because Thanksgiving fell on a weekday?). Normally when I have breakfast from McDonald's I go for the Bacon, Egg and Cheese Biscuit but I've been skittish about getting them from the McDonald's near base since the last one I ordered there had the strange steak and cheese crap in it.

I don't really like animal fat, although I have a small container of lard around for the holidays since I haven't found an adequate substitute for the flavor in my refritos (refried beans). If you mean pork roast like the little loaves sold next to the turkey roast, Himself loves it. We'd never seen it (pork roast) until we moved here and we tried it out of curiosity.

Angelina Ballerina is a cartoon based on the children's book series of the same name. (Incidentally, the Pleasant Company, purveyors of the expensive historically-themed American Girls dolls, also sells an Angelina line with books, dolls and props. It's funny-creepy.) It only runs on weekend mornings here, but it's entertaining since all of the mice have European accents... and they dance ballet, which is even funnier.
Jul. 27th, 2003 05:02 pm (UTC)
One of these days I'll watch the Electric Company, and maybe it'll be one of the ones Tom Lehrer did a thing for. That'd be awesome. Although, in Elementary school, I did see this one Filmstrip that had "Pollution" (From TWTYTW) in it, with an animated bird host. I can't remember if the filmstrip was narrated by Tom Lehrer too, but it did have that song. I think at the time I either didn't know who Lehrer was, or if I did, I had pretty much only known him from stuff on Revisited/Evening Wasted With that got played on the Fake-Dr.-Demento show, because I remember being _really_ impressed with the "Like lambs to the slaughter/they're drinking the water/and breathing/the air" bit.

Rightfully so, as it's an awesome bit of the song.

Heheh, yeah. I like shows like that. For a long time, I was addicted to this remedial reading show starring Famous Amos. It was for adults learning to read. My parents didn't get why I liked it. Then they took it off, and then I went back to watching the news, and then probably MASH. This was around the time when on weekends, some cable channel would turn into the deaf network. Which I'd watch usually, although I liked it best when they'd have subtitles, rather than being all in sign language. Odd thing is, I seem to remember there being actual ambient (nature and stuff, I mean, ambient relating to the images, not just a hum or anything) noise (I mean, on the all sign-language ones.)

[Side note: "Whatever Happened To Robot Jones" just showed the one where they watch the music video for "The Nudist and Mr. Pendleton" which is, to date, the only good thing about that show. Only it's _REALLY_ good. It's this sort of 60s Pastiche Rock Song, and the character/environmental design is all by Paul Coker, Jr (guy who worked for Mad Magzaine for _YEARS_, he might still be there even, I haven't got an issue since about 2000-1, and he also worked with Rankin Bass for a long, long time, doing character designs for their specials, including most of the Beloved Christmas Specials, like Frosty, Santa Claus is Coming To Town, Rudolph, and then a bunch of the ones that only I remember, because I really like Christmas Specials) so it's extra neato. Pity the rest of the show is unwatchable, aside from the intersting decision they made to use all sorts of muted colors to make it look like it's an old-unrestored 1970s independent-studio-type cartoon. Actually, kinda like the aforementioned Vegetable Soup.]

Anyway, those American Girls things, those were those things about 10 years ago, where they'd be books about, say, Molly, and then you'd read the book and then go "wow, I am compelled to consume!" and then buy the Molly Doll and then make up your own Frontier Schoolmarm Adventures with Molly and your Other Dolls Like Jane, Susie And Mr. Twibblepants the Giant Talking Frog, right? I remember when that was the Big Fad, then it sorta seemed to disappear.

Jul. 27th, 2003 05:47 pm (UTC)
As soon as I manage to get a couple of episodes on tape, I'll make a copy for you. (I'm hoping Noggin sticks it back in their overnight stuff.)

I've watched that series! The series I didn't get to see the last episode of was Connect With English, which I swear had the most addictive theme song ever.

Molly's the WWII-era doll, but they're booming -- there was only three dolls in the series when a classmate showed me the catalog in third grade, but now there's eight American Girls, plus the American Girl of Today line from which you can select the combination of eye, skin and hair color for the doll. They're still absurdly expensive, which makes me wonder how much I could sell mine (Samantha, the Victorian doll, which I saved up for and bought when I was 12) for on eBay or someplace.
Jul. 26th, 2003 06:30 am (UTC)
[con't from last]

But yes, I hate Maisy (If you're going to speak gibberish, does it have to be such a FUCKING AWFUL sound? I mean, god, scraping metal on metal sounds better than that. Unless they redubbed it since the last time I watched it with something that isn't like the past 6,000 years of Human Misery compressed into a single sound.) and Baby Bear is irritating. While Big Bird was never my favorite character, I liked that he was both Childlike but also Reasonable Eloquent. I mean, he wasn't about to go off and deliver a monologue on the use of old english from Shakespeare or anything, but he speaks very precisely and correctly, and if he DOES make an error, it's a reasonable one. None of that Bwaybwy Bweah cwahp. Or Elmo's sociopathic 3rd person. Correct English is AWESOME. People need to speak more correctly. Or at least a reasonable approximation of same.

also: "homeland of Wachovia" like "watch-over-ya"? Or is there another reference-type thing I'm missing?
Jul. 26th, 2003 11:29 am (UTC)
Shakespeare wrote in modern english, but I probably shouldn't point that out because

a) It's lame
b) There's maybe a 10% chance that you said it just to get me to be lame and point out that Shakespeare wrote in modern english.

hell, I don't even like Shakespeare that much.

Also, I personally would watch Maisy if the sounds were actually metal-on-metal. The world needs children's shows that sound like Rejected.
Jul. 26th, 2003 04:17 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it was one of those things where I sorta knew that, but was using Old English to mean "He done wrote lon' time 'go, so alla his stuff is ol'. An' it's in English, so it's therefo' Ol' English! Like that likker!"

Anyway, I think I've imitated the Maisy sounds for you. But, yeah, if it was more like Rejected, that would be awesome. As it is, it's "OH LOOK MAISY'S GOING TO TO GO THE FAIR!" "AAYNNGH AAYNGG AYYNGGGH AAYYYYNGH!!!" "MAISY SAID SHE LOVED YOU!" and crap like that.

I actually kinda like that Oswald show, though. The one with Fred Savage and there was the episode about how it was Big Banana Day, and so he lumbered around town with a giant Banana giving hunks of it to people he didn't even know. Who were all "HEY! Free chunk-of-giant-banana! rock!" And it was just sort of strange. And there were other episodes that were pretty surreal too, but that's the only one I remember. That, and (well, since it's Fred Savage), all of the voice acting is really, really sedate and quiet. It's almost Jam-like, if, y'know, Jam were more children-geared and less frightening.
Jul. 27th, 2003 02:01 pm (UTC)
I'd have to get my hands on a copy of the original education report on Sesame Street (it pops up on eBay occasionally) for a cite, but I'm pretty sure one of the original proposals of what Sesame Street wanted to do was model correct English.

One of my favorite recent Big Bird moments was in Elmopalooza (1998); after they finally open the stuck door that's been preventing Jon Stewart from hosting the show, Big Bird takes the tape of "One Small Voice" to control room and before entering, he looks up at the sign and says "Con... trol... Room. Gee, all those years of living on Sesame Street sure paid off!"

Wachovia is a bank in the southeastern US. They have near-constant advertising on the NBC affiliate in Raleigh that range from forgettable to annoying.
Jul. 27th, 2003 05:04 pm (UTC)
heh, I like those jokes. Like the one in the Muppets Christmas, where Ernie and Bert are talking to Doc (from Fraggle Rock), and they're saying things like "Hey, Doc starts with 'D'! Other words that start with 'D' are dog, door and domino!" and then Doc says that he knows and then something about the oddness of the conversation, and Bert goes "Where we come from, this is Small Talk."
Jul. 26th, 2003 06:45 am (UTC)
I don't know if you have it down there but the worst childrens show around lately is George Shrink, or as the spawn calls it "Joe Spink". Its just..*shakes head*.. stupid. What ever happened to the quality programming we had when we were young?
Jul. 26th, 2003 06:56 am (UTC)
Hm, is that the one with the kid who's either tiny or can be tiny at will? That's one of the ones that occasionally worms its way into my insomnia window. I tried to watch it once, but it sucked, so I changed it. It just struck me as boring and poorly done. Not really deserving of rage or anything, though, at least from me, but, well, I saw maybe a half episode max. I'd probably hate it more if I had to see it more.
Jul. 26th, 2003 07:45 am (UTC)
George Shrink is this little boy who's perminantely small and has all these helicopters and dumptrucks to assist him with his "big kid" stuff. They over-emphasize the "Size doesn't matter" thing a little too much.
Jul. 27th, 2003 01:16 pm (UTC)
George Shrinks? Our local public TV station put that in the 3 PM slot a few months ago to replace Liberty's Kids, which I found much more annoying (fake anime style American Revolution stories, plus the theme song was done by some current teen pop star).

I think part of the problem is the greater amount of time a lot of stations want to fill with children's programming. My local station shows 9 1/2 hours of children's programming on weekdays, 8 of it non-repeating during the day (the same episodes of each in the early morning and late afternoon). I'd guess it's simply too expensive to fill that all with shows with the quality of Sesame Street, Mister Rogers, Between the Lions (which has a lot of writers from Sesame Street and The Electric Company) and Reading Rainbow (which will probably be ending this year as they've been producing fewer episodes for a few years due to a lack of funding).

If I ever come into a large amount of money, funding public television and radio is right up there on my list with funding women's health and health education programs.
Jul. 27th, 2003 05:06 pm (UTC)
Hm, what's "Between the Lions"? I haven't heard of that one. I don't think we have it here (or if we do, it's outside of the Insomnia/Normal Awake window).

The loss of Reading Rainbow is sad. Some rich dude should descend from the skies and give Levar Burton a whole mess of money.

Also, A+ for wanting to fund Public Media.

Well, and the Women's Health/Health Education stuff too, it's just that we weren't really talking so much about that in the other posts.
Jul. 27th, 2003 06:14 pm (UTC)
Between the Lions
Between the Lions is one of the newer shows on PBS kids (I think it debuted in 2000?) and its tagline is "get wild about reading!". It's set in a library where the librarians are lions and their mouse (if they made a Click figurine I'd buy it) can drag and drop things into or out of books, which is the basis for most of the plots -- something the lion kids had pulled out of the book or someone dragging and dropping themselves into something creates trouble. A few others rotate around "Famous Author" Babs Caplan coming to the library to work on her writing and becoming frustrated.

The presence of former Sesame Street and Electric Company writers on it is very obvious. Regular shorts in it include:
- Gawain's Word, a parody on Wayne's World where two knights "run together at high speeds to make a word", taped at a renfest and put together in post;
- Chicken Jane, an animated short with two Dick and Jane-type kids and their pet Chicken Jane, who scratches out words so they duck, scram, or whatever so they avoid somethng unpleasant while she takes the fall for them;
- Sam Spud, a pun-filled take on the detective genre starring a potato in a trench and fedora with his manual typewriter and, ocassionally, his assistant (a peach);
- Cliff Hanger, a silly animated short with a top-heavy adventurer hanging from a cliff who schemes to get off (he has a Survival Manual he regularly consults) but always winds up back up where he started;
- What's Cooking with Theo and Cleo, a silly cooking slot where the two adult lions follow a simple recipe for a meat dish but always stop at cooking it and just eat the meat instead (it's funnier than it sounds);
- various shorts involving Arty Smarty Pants (aka The Great Smartini) and his mother, Smarmy Marmy, as they do magic (putting words in his oversized smarty pants, heh), silly game shows (Not As Smart As A Puck) and other things.

If the sharp wit doesn't get you (I think I enjoy it more than Laurel does), the music will get you -- between their "in house" bands FONIX (three women that remind me of En Vogue sound-wise), Sloppy Pop (guitar-driven pop/rock quintet with a male lead singer) and 14 Karat Soul (male a cappella, they sing "Below the Street" on the Sesame Street album Sing-Along Travel Songs if you'd like me to rip you an MP3 of that track), the two adult lions parodying all sorts of genres (Theo does BB The King of Beasts, Cleo's done a torch song ("S-H") and a country-western one ("W Troubles") that really stuck in my head), and the guest musicians (India.Arie has been my favorite so far, but it's almost as varied as Sesame Street), it's the best half-hour of original PBS programming right now.

If I haven't scared you off with my glowing adoration for the show, I should tell you where Theo (the adult male lion) got his name from -- Dr. Seuss.
Jul. 26th, 2003 10:33 am (UTC)
baby bear irritates me SO MUCH.
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