Let The Show Begin! (Part 2)

Did you know that there are more than 80 scheduled TV shows  for your toddler or preschooler to choose from everyday? That doesn’t count on-demand choices and videos. No wonder it’s hard to get kids away from the tube! Last week, I mentioned a few of our favorites. Here are a few more good ones, as well as some that cause Daddy and me to flee from the room!

Bubble Guppies

Parent Annoyance Rating: Moderate to Severe

I really liked this show when it started earlier this year, but after six months of the same 10 episodes, annoyance is rising. (However, they must have found out I was writing this, because just this week, there were three new episodes in a row!) It’s about mermaid/mermen children, and the graphics and music are cute the first five times you see it. Now, I’d rather just listen to Miss Twin say the name over and over again: “Pubble Buppies.”


Parenting Annoyance Rating: Minimal

We’ve just started watching Olivia, and I admit that I’m impressed! I often intend to walk past the TV, but stop and get caught watching it. Olivia is a little girl pig who lives with her parents and two little brothers, which sounds horrendous, but is really well done. She’s precocious, creative, and demanding, and grownups can’t help but smile at her antics. There’s some adult humor on the part of her parents too, always a plus. In addition, the show is based on a series of books by Ian Falconer, which means library outings can be part of the Olivia experience.


Parenting Annoyance Rating: Absolutely none.

I realize this is just one parent’s opinion, but I love this show. It’s about a 3-year-old boy and his friends (Elly the Elephant, Pato the Duck, Loula the Dog, and Sleepy Bird). Best of all, it’s narrated by Stephen Fry. The graphics and music are adorable, and it just makes you smile. I sit down and watch the whole show with my kids with as much anticipation as they have. My only complaint is that it’s not on more often to break up some of the Dora and Caillou marathons.


Parent Annoyance Rating: Minimal, though it might put you to sleep

Oswald is a great show to put on when your kid wakes you up at 5 am. It’s so calm and quiet, you both might go back to sleep! It’s about Oswald the Octopus (voiced by Fred Savage), his dachshund, Weenie, and their friends. (And a favorite in our house since we have a dachshund.) The friends and city buildings often challenge reality and make grownups say “Huh?” but maybe that’s because we’ve lost some of our childlike imagination.

Yo Gabba Gabba!

Parent Annoyance Rating: Moderate to Severe, depending on the guest

If my children ever tell me that they’re going to try drugs, I’ll sit them down to watch an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba! and say, “There. That’s what it would be like.” This is a strange show, hosted by DJ Lance Rock, with people dressed up in costumes. There’s Plex the Robot, Muno the Cyclops, Foofa the Flower/Bubble, Brobee the Monster, and Toodee the Cat/Dragon. Despite the show’s oddities, the guests are pretty cool and have included Jack Black, Elijah Wood, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Sugarland, Sarah Silverman, They Might Be Giants, and Smash Mouth. The music does have a way of sticking in grownup brains!


Parent Annoyance Rating: Severely Severe

Oobi is absolutely the worst show in the world, which is why it’s only shown at 1 am and isn’t available on DVD. It’s about hand puppets, which are made by filming real people’s hands with eyeballs stuck on them. The dialogue is worse. It sounds like this in slow motion: “Oobi. Oobi sad. Oobi, Granpu, go home.” As long as your DVR isn’t turned on at 1 am, or you accidentally order it from Netflix (as I did), there’s no reason your child should ever know this show exists. Unfortunately, my children do know and they like it. We’re trying avoidance therapy to see if they forget.

I’d love to hear about the worst show you’ve seen at your house.  As for us, we’re turning off the TV and going outside to play!

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jill
    Sep 30, 2011 @ 08:20:03

    Abby: I love your writing style – fresh and honest – though you make me feel so old. Old is when you only know one or two of the shows you’re talking about. I admit that I didn’t like cartoons much as a child and tended to ignore them when my boys were little. However, I thought the guy on Blue’s Clues was hot and the brothers on some animal show were cute 🙂

    You’re right the controversy is how much quiet time to buy yourself and the risk of over stimulating and/or dulling out the kids. Ever a debate for young families!

    Great work!
    http://www.rocass.ca (website and blog)


    • abbyplambeck
      Sep 30, 2011 @ 20:54:58

      Thanks, Jill! We have a little crush on Steve from Blue’s Clues too. I found out recently that he left the show to start a band, which obviously didn’t go as far as he hoped. Darn. I’d still watch him on Blue’s Clues! 😉


  2. jcnierad
    Oct 01, 2011 @ 21:17:36

    I’m glad you mentioned Bubble Guppies. I like this show and will turn it on via Nick Jr’s Web site, even though baby girl hardly notices. The opening song is so catchy. We also have adapted Mr. Groupers’s “It’s Time for Lunch” song for many other events (i.e. What time is it? It’s time for bath!, etc..). I am in agreement regarding the frequency of new episodes. Watching online is even worse because they limit the number of full episodes available.


  3. Margo Dill
    Oct 04, 2011 @ 18:51:48

    Love your parent annoyance ratings. I don’t know about the worst show, but the very worst kids movie I have ever seen–which was just on TV the other day–is Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3D. It’s funny because Taylor Lauter (Sp?) is Shark Boy–and he never takes his shirt off in this movie! LOL


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