Contrary to well-meaning advice that advocates limiting screen time, every parent knows that sometimes, you just have to plop a kid in front of a screen to get shit DONE. And since it’s no longer 1983, we have a variety of toon time picks to choose from, at any and all hours of the day (and night). Unfortunately, toddlers aren’t that keen on variety, as it turns out, and usually have just a handful of favorites that they beg to watch over and over and over and over and over and…well, you know what I mean. They also have a scary uncanny ability to choose the ones that most make you want to shove a rusty fork through your brain after about the third replay. Some of the most popular kids shows that we love to hate are:
1. Caillou. Marketed as “educational” from some well-intentioned sadists in Canada, (sorry Canada. I love you, but you screwed the pooch on this one!) this little bald whiny ass is the epitome of what we hate the most about our adorable but annoying as fuck offspring. Why is he bald? That’s what people on the peripheral want to know. Parents want to know why he whines all the bleepity bleep time and what kinds of drugs is his mom on that she stays so calm and peaceful in the face of his incessant whine-a-thons. Share your secret, oh medicated animation! And seriously, has no one ever explained negative reinforcement principles to this woman? He whines, so you give in to his demands every.single.time. (Much in the same dynamics as Angelina Ballerina, who also throws at least one scream fit per episode and still gets her way in the end.) No. Just, no.
2. Max and Ruby. Ruby is constantly whining “Maaaaaxx” in that nagging shrew voice, while she exhausts herself trying to entertain, distract, and parent her brother, with nary a learning point to be seen. And where the hell are Max and Ruby’s parents? That’s the question on everyone’s lips. Answers range from conspiracy theories about bossy little micromanaging Ruby being a teenage mom, to their parents actually being deceased in a horrific roadkill accident without Grandma spilling the beans yet, to abandonment in the way of wild bunnies across the globe. Whatever the answer, this 7 year old and 3 year old are left to their own devices for the entirety of the series, no matter where they roam, with cameos by Grandma at the end of the episode, usually to point out that poor little single word Max has saved the day in some fashion, in spite of being able to only shout one word at a time and Ruby’s constant bitching and batshit crazy control issues.
3. Doc McStuffins. This show is hailed as a breakaway from popular stereotypes and tons of people love it, but there are a significant number who also find it a wee bit creepy. It’s not just Doc’s imagination bringing these toys to life, which is clear from the way they can sometimes interact with the physical world even when adults are around. Doc’s like a little Madame Frankenstein, indiscriminately deciding who’s worthy of consciousness. OR…else she’s a little delusional and we the viewers are seeing her psychotic story unfold through her eyes the way it’s playing out in her overactive imagination. You decide. And does this poor little child have a real name, or was her mom so hung up on her own career that she named her daughter Doc for real?
4. Dora the Explorer. Even though Dora appears to be around 7ish, this annoying as fuckall show has actually been on the air for FIFTEEN FUCKING YEARS. (It’s now syndicated around the world in 20 different languages.) The epitome of animated parental neglect, this little shrieking queen is SO.FUCKING.LOUD. it’s no wonder her parents don’t give a damn how deep into the jungle she wanders all alone. Armed only with her magic backpack, purple monkey, and deranged sentient map (STFU MAP! For the love of all that’s holy, STFU. We KNOW you’re the motherfucking map.), this show is great for teaching your kids bits and pieces of another language, but horribly destructive to the concept of an “inside voice”. And just for the record, that fourth wall thing where she stares at the screen waiting for you to respond to every question is just disturbing.
5. Nina Needs To Go! Four year old Nina isn’t potty trained all the way just yet, and every episode revolves around the hassle of trying to get this little heifer to the potty before she wets herself. While we’re sure it was well-intentioned, because God knows, it’s pretty true to life with a 3-4 year old, so far it has inspired worlds of hate from parents all over the country who say all it’s teaching our kids is that it’s okay to wait until the very last possible second to tell someone you have to pee, even after they’ve asked you eleventy-billion times. She never learns her lesson and someone (usually Nana) is always swooping in at the last second to get her there before she has an accident. Nina doesn’t need to go, she needs to go AWAY (and possibly get checked for a UTI) and stop teaching my toddler to hold it until his little bladder bursts or until I physically carry him to the toilet.
Related post: My Kids Watch Way Too Much TV And I Don’t Care