If you are not the parent or caretaker of a child under the age of 10, you probably will have no idea who the heck most the characters I am about to mention are. But if you spend any time watching television with a little one, I’m betting you have many of the very same questions about some of today’s most popular children’s programs.
Let’s start with one even most non-parents have heard of: Dora the Explorer. While I’m all for letting children explore and discover their environment, I have to ask why this little girl is allowed to trek all over the place, including through the spooky woods full of snakes, accompanied only by a little monkey in red boots? Come on now, would you send your young child trespassing over a bridge that belongs to a grumpy old troll? Would you not be worried that she is constantly trying to evade a sneaky, thieving fox named Swiper? You just know that Swiper is going to steal those yummy cookies that Dora is trying to deliver to her dear abuelita. And don’t even get me started on Dora’s cousin Diego, the animal rescuer. He is just a little kid, yet his parents don’t mind that he has a wild baby jaguar for a companion.
And what about Max and Ruby? Where in the world are their parents? If it weren’t for the occasional visit from their grandmother, these little bunnies would have no parental supervision at all!
Then there is the beloved Yo Gabba Gabba. Where do I begin with my list of questions? Why don’t the characters on this show live with their own families? Why are they prisoners, locked up in DJ Lance’s boombox? Poor Brobee is only four years old! Poor Muno had to be diagnosed with vision problems and fitted for eyeglasses by his fellow prisoner, a robot named Plex. His parents were nowhere to be found that day. And why is all the food on this show thrilled to go to the “Party in My Tummy”? Don’t those dancing strawberries and chicken legs know they are going to be chewed up, digested, and…well, you get the point.
Why doesn’t little Kai Lan have any human friends? Why does her grandfather allow her to pal around with a tiger, a rhino, and a host of other characters with short tempers who are always getting mad, mad mad? Perhaps Kai Lan should befriend a little girl named Maggie, who could use a human playmate, as well. Currently, she spends her days playing with a Ferocious Beast! They should also invite Emily from Little Bear to their playdate. She also has no friends other than wild animals and a doll named Lucy.
Why are the Little Einsteins allowed to fly a rocketship? They are barely old enough to remove the training wheels from their bikes.
Thomas the Tank Engine is an endearing character, but I’m not sure that I would let him transport my children around the island of Sodor, given how much trouble he gets himself into. He and his friends have drivers or conductors, yet they are still self-directed. Thomas and his pals have minds and wills of their own, often getting off task to have races and other adventures. What are the drivers and conductors doing? Sleeping on the job?
Finally, there is Phineas and Ferb. I suppose the obvious question about them would be how do they do ANY of the impossible things that they do over summer vacation? But here’s a less obvious question: Why does their older sister always want to “bust” them, when they are nothing but nice to her? At least Phineas and Ferb are spending their summer doing something constructive, rather than watching cartoons all day!