A blog about a kid. I like her.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Tragic TV Moments

So, here's the thing. Since Aletheia turned two, we've been letting her watch a little TV--about an hour a day. As far as she knows, there are only three programs in the world: Sesame Street, her Laurie Berkner Band DVD, and Super Why

Now, some of you might not be familiar with Super Why. It's a show aimed at the preschool set that teaches kids how to read using a variety of techniques. The main characters all live in "Storybook Village" which is populated with characters from classic children's stories. The big four are Little Red Riding Hood, Pig (one of the Three Little, I think), Princess Pea, and the ringleader, Whyatt (the only non-story character). The episodes are incredibly formulaic, like Law and Order for the pull-ups crowd. Whyatt gets a picture message on his iPhone, finds out one of the gang has some kind of dilemma, and calls them all to the clubhouse where they fly into a book with a related situation to learn from the characters. "I lied to my mom and I don't know what to do--let's go talk to Pinocchio!" (Yeah, there's a whopping big inconsistency in the whole show. In theory, they already live with all the storybook characters, so they should be able to walk down the block, but inside they pull a book off the shelf and fly into some weird 2-D book environment.)

In order to enter the story, they turn into the "Super Readers" complete with costume and name change. They become "Wonder Red, with Word Power!"; "Alpha Pig, with Alphabet Power!"; "Princess Presto with Spelling Power" and "Super Why, with the Power to Read!" And, of course, there is "Super You with the Power to Help!"

Here's the gang, in their Super Readers pose:

Aletheia loves this show.  Loves it, loves it, loves it.  Like capital L-O-V-E with smooches and hugs.  And she has a mad, deep, toddler crush on Whyatt.  Probably five days out of seven we hear the "Super Why" chant from her.  "SuperWhySuperWhySuperWhySuperWhy Pleeeeeeeease?"  But what's weird is her love for Whyatt does not spread to the other characters.  She is, at best, indifferent to Princess Presto and Alpha Pig.  She'll watch when they are on, but you can tell she's just waiting for her beloved Super Why to get back on the screen.  And then there is Wonder Red.  Aletheia hates her.  Take her crazy love for Whyatt, multiply it by five and throw a minus sign on it, and that's how she feels about Red.  When there's a Wonder Red segment going, Allie bursts into tears and refuses to watch.  The chant starts again.  "SuperWhySuperWhySuperWhyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!"  She almost acts scared, like Red took a machete to her teddy bear.  It is seriously intense.  I've tried to help her get over it.  "Hey, that's Wonder Red!  She's really nice.  That's Super Why's best friend!"  But it gets nowhere.  If I didn't know any better, I'd think she was jealous.

We've seen something similar with Sesame Street, where Aletheia is a huge Elmo fanatic and obviously perks up when he is on, but there's no real particular dislike of another muppet, just a special love for the little red guy.  This thing with Wonder Red is just weird.  It's a good thing that she's just a cartoon, because otherwise I think a restraining order would be called for.  I wouldn't trust Aletheia not to hire a hit man.  It's that bad.

Toddler brains.  They are funny things.

Got to go.  Wonder Red is on again, and I need to fast forward.

Update:  Here she is, the object of my daughter's passionate rage.

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I'm a guy with a small daughter and a big bookcase. You can reach me at gate42b(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

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