Books are Moovelous.

16 Jul

That’s right. MOO-velous.

Holy carp.
Have you seen this kids show on TLC?
I don’t quite know why but this show just annoys the daylights out of me (and it’s getting very dark in here these days).

Wilbur is a calf (a baby cow.)
The intention of the show is to foster a love of reading/literacy.
The tag line is “Books are MOO-velous”.

Yes. I said, “MOO-velous”.

Combined with a calf who has a serious lower body wiggling/gyrating spasticity issue whenever he gets the urge to read a book. I’m not kidding.

Thank goodness Alex still parrots me a little. I now have him correcting Wilbur and saying “books are marvelous”. (and he also says “freakin’ awesome” and “freakin’ guys” when either something is freakin’ awesome or someone bumps their head…)

Close call there.

Anyways. For those of you that are a bit older than the Barney craze (I’m 31 and except for the occasional babysitting exposure, I wasn’t really exposed to Barney first hand) I’m sure you do know that Barney drives plenty of people bananas…He’s not my favorite and I have learned to zone out the sound of his voice (in the same way I learned to zone out the FAO Schwarz “Welcome to My World” continuous loop theme music when I worked there during college… side note: I worked in boys action/figures, legos, and the “nerf-al region” as we affectionately called it. Damn it was fun being the only girl.)

Well, I’m trying to summon all of my meditative powers to block out the sound of Wilbur.

Oh and the show uses this technique called “Shadowmation”.
About “Shadowmation” (Thanks PBS!)
“Shadowmation” is a unique, patented animated process that utilizes real time virtual sets and bun raku style team puppetry, integrating live action animatronic characters and computer generated animation in real time, high definition virtual environments. This process combines all the advantages of animatronics, the expressiveness of live performance, and the freedom and range of computer animation. It has a distinctive and compelling immersive visual quality.

Well, Wilbur doesn’t looks that compelling to me. PBS has a show using the technology called “It’s a big, big world” (which Alex and I both like- one of the main characters is a sloth which I swear is my spirit animal once again :-) and the look is great. Wilbur looks jerky and layered. Big, big world looks fairly natural. Like when you were a kiddo and you got sucked into The Muppet Show. You didn’t think or care about any technology- you just suspended all disbelief and got sucked on in.

and listen to this:
(from the wilbur.tv site….yeah. I think I may have a problem. but it’s on right now and I’m only 1/2 way through my first cup of joe so I can’t do work yet….)
Wilbur has no inhibitions at all. If he feels like wiggling he wiggles with glee. And if he feels like giggling, his giggles are infectious. He’ll do anything if it looks like fun and he always invites his friends to join in.

Along with all the things Wilbur already brings to the show, there is an element of magic about him. He can make things happen in a way that nobody else can. He can make something appear just by reaching out of view for it. AND he often seems to know what the kids at home are thinking, which in itself is a magical quality. He brings them into his special confidence and responds to what they say.

and he’s got these big black eyes- they are all pupil. It’s all too mad cow and a little too trippy and not in one of those “making me reminisce about my younger years” ways….

Ugh.
Anyways.
The good news? Noggin/Nick is bringing us “Yo Gabba Gabba”
Here’s the myspace page: http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=59615836
“There’s a party in my tummy” was stuck in my head most of last week. Alex and I totally cut a rug every time they air the clips on Noggin. AND it got him to try some new foods last week.

It will all be ok. Maybe this is the universe’s way of achieving balance.

Maybe not.

Hugs. Kisses.
Read a book. Books are MARVELOUS.
b

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2 Responses to “Books are Moovelous.”

  1. Lindsay August 6, 2007 at 8:01 am #

    You should really seek help. The fact that you are so upset by a cow…is disturbing. My 6 month old niece LOVES Wilbur. It’s for kids…not adults. Which is probably why you do not like it. I think it’s a great show for kids though. There is nothing wrong with getting children to read. I don’t think the show needs you to correct it that books are Moovelous….I think they are trying to be cute. What they do works and my niece loves it.

  2. beclever August 14, 2007 at 8:36 am #

    I should seek help? Do you have credentials to back up such a referral? :-)

    I’m really not “upset by a cow”, but I do feel that there are better ways to use the technology and the budgets than the current incarnation that is Wilbur.

    Basically- what I’m trying to say is:
    Morally sound? Check.
    Educationally sound? Check.
    Use of branded and patented technology? Check.
    “Cute” catchphrase? Check.
    Attempting to combine brain and body? Check.
    Good TV? I’m shutting the TV off and losing the remote on purpse.

    I’m happy your 6 month old niece loves Wilbur. My experience with kids of that age is that they respond to pretty much any stimulus… They “love” pretty much anything you put on TV for them. Barney. Wilbur. Hip Hop Harry. VH1. The Weather Channel. Baby Einstein. Just because little kids are sponges and absorb everything doesn’t mean that each and every “tool” to come along needs to be spilled for them…

    Random fact: Did you know that the American Academy of Pediatrics says children under 2 shouldn’t watch TV? At all?

    “It’s for kids…not adults. Which is probably why you do not like it.”

    Really. Keep your eyes peeled next time you watch TV with your niece. Or re-watch something you enjoyed as a child. Pay close attention as to where your mind wanders and to what makes you chuckle. I’m guessing you will be surprised. Most people would be surprised. Me? Not so much. But I have a background that has taken me through many aspects of media production and marketing so I’m more sensitized to the existence of sub-text in most types of media.

    Kids shows are geared, on one level, for kids. Most shows do, though, have a bit of an edge to bring parents in because face it- most kids shows make their mint in merchandising and who holds the wallet? Junior? Doubtful.

    Also, Wilbur is totally appropriate for small kids, but that doesn’t mean they can comprehend it (at 6 months old, for example, they are more than likely responding to the visuals (patterns, colors,etc)and audio than actually understanding what is happening. (at least from my understanding of small children)

    Before I became a parent I thought Teletubbies were pure evil (with the exception of Tinky Winky, who appeared to be the rebel band member…I was kind of hoping that he’d have a spin-off, but no luck :-) in annoying, brightly colored packages. Now I have seen first hand how educational and effective they are (still annoying, but not as much…). I also found, as a parent, that lots of the widely hyped and lucratively marketed concepts fell short with our family.

    I wanted the Wilbur vehicle-with it’s mom-powered, grass-roots origins, to be the best thing to happen to TV for the under 5 set. But it isn’t, at least in our family and in my opinion.

    You are correct in saying that “there is nothing wrong with getting children to read”. I never said there was. Reading is great. And I have to say that Wilbur has been successful in it’s mission… Instead of watching Wilbur, we now spend that time reading a book.

    And that to me is MARVELOUS.

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