Heebeedee funnee happidee horbdee postee!

OK, if you got that, we’re good. If not, here’s a quick primer:

…I don’t know about you, but I feel much better.

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Seriously, the replenishment people came through like champs, the leggings are on their way, and all’s right with my little world once again. Of course, the warehouse people could still take issue with my polybags, but I have a backup plan. To wit: I care nothing for such petty matters as employment, for I have this day uncovered the GREATEST POP-CULTURE MASHUP EVER IN THE HISTORY OF STUFF.

Hint: Star Wars: Episode IV was filmed partly in England, yeah? And the Muppet Show was also filmed in England, right around the time the ST phenomenon was peaking…

Oh yes, my friends, they did. Luke, the droids, Chewbacca, and the Princess Leia… sort of. That’s where the Pigs in Space crossover comes in.

Why there hasn’t already been an Internet shrine erected to this half-hour of film, I have no idea. To think, all those poor souls out there scarred for life by the Holiday Special… perchance I can bring a new hope into their trembling lives. (‘New hope’, see what I did there? Just made that up now. Dang, I’m good.)

All this, and an Argyle Gargoyle too…

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But do you really care/When you’re a marmoset?

I may have mentioned this before, but I have a deep and abiding fondness for the Sesame Street song about marmosets. Out of all the thousands of songs they played on the show, repeated over and over again, this is the one whose lyrics I learned by heart. Occasionally, to this day, i break out singing them in public. I cannot explain this; apparently, I was a weird kid. This is the view Shoemom endorses anyway.

Later, as all good little weird kids did pre-Nicktoons, I graduated to The Muppet Show. I frankly had no idea who most of the guest stars were, but the worldview of Henson & co — as definitely distinct from what’s happened to his creations since his death — I grasped instinctively and wholeheartedly. Just the other day, in fact, I taught Shoesis the proper way to cavort — and she turned out to be a model student. There may be hope for our relationship yet.

The Seven Days meme: Day One

As gacked from . I like the occasional post-a-day challenge as much as the next lazy blogger, so…

Day 01 | a song
day 02 | a picture
day 03 | a book/ebook/fanfic
day 04 | a site
day 05 | a youtube clip
day 06 | a quote
day 07 | whatever tickles your fancy

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Besides, boy-oh-boy, have I got a song to share. This song is so good I am going to risk announcing that I used to watch the PBS geography game show Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? on a very regular basis. Hey, it was cute and funny and I really like Lynne Thigpen.

Also, it had a kickass theme song by Rockapella.

I love this theme with an ‘e’, because it is excellent, and because it remains the only song that has ever driven me to an encyclopedia… what? [sigh] No, kiddies, Wikipedia didn’t exist yet. (Now that it does: Bonaire.)

The link below even provides the lyrics, just so you don’t miss a second of the awesomeness. You’re welcome.

If you wanna have fun, it doesn’t matter at all…

Happiness week @ Shoe Central continues with a theme of universal love, hope and brotherhood…

…well, OK, not exactly. We haven’t reached the ‘bang the tambourine at airports’ stage of happiness yet, and frankly, we hope we never will. We have fond memories of encountering George Carlin in a book of advice to young people: "Question everything. Question – and resist!"

Of course, we also recall a painfully apt line from the Barenaked Ladies: "I’m so sane/it’s driving me crazy…"

Somewhere in-between lies our enduring fascination with children’s media.

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So, can I drop the royal ‘we’ now? Oh, I already have? Great.

Ahem. Not to worry, I’ve already rambled on at some general length on this subject… no, not the third person majestic plural, children’s TV. And faithful readers will recall that the outlook at that point was pretty grim.

Well, guess what: this post is about the tiny little ray of sunshine that’s burst through since then. Big & Small. Airing on TreehouseTV, here in its native Canada. (Although I am linking to the CBBC version because it includes much more introductory goodness). Various points on the schedule. Fifteen minutes a pop. 100% pure, unadulterated happiness. Go on, try a clip. See if you’re not grinning like an idiot within seconds.

OK…so the Canadian version doesn’t have Lenny Henry’s voice. Everything else – the charm, the wit, the riotous imagination – is blissfully intact. Big is still a gentle giant who invents good luck machines and dreams of counting the stars. Small still has a pet sock named Fang and dreams of being the Best Camper Guy Ever and…looks like a cross between a bunny and a goldfish.

As it turns out, he and Big are actually Grogs. This recent discovery clicked everything into place for me, because it means they’re from the same creature shop that has been making me very happy indeed since ‘way back when their ancestors used to show up between YTV programs in the early ’90’s.
These are good people to have in your corner when you’re stuck babysitting on a rainy afternoon. They have the same understanding Henson & co. (the original generation at least) did – that using felt critters means that you can actually get away with a whole lot of good stuff. Because nobody would ever dream of questioning the motives of cute fuzzy puppets, would they now?

No, really. Despite decades of warning, you can still get away with a surprising lot. You can, for instance, create a realistically hyper, egomaniac little kid, pair him off with a realistically capable but imperfect guardian, give them a common fascination with all the world has to offer…and somehow sneak it onto the international kidvid slate without a single parental complaint (that I can find, anyhow). It is the last best hope for resistance against the perfection of the average: the human personality, in all its chaotic glory.

As it happens, that’s also the foundation of the finest comedy humanity has to offer, so it’s no huge surprise that the average Big & Small episode is a mini-screwball masterpiece. Pocoyo does something similar with childish attitudes, but it’s hampered more by its peculiarly British sense of mission. B&S on the other hand are purely North American, over-the-top parodies of the spoiled brat and ineffectual parent archetypes that’ve been pervading our ether since Dr. Spock.

In recognising them, you laugh at them; in laughing at them, you learn from them; in learning from them, you understand them…and hey presto, expanded horizons. I have never, ever understood why more kids’ series haven’t picked up on this very simple formula. Probably saves a metric buttload in Child Development consultants. Not to mention songwriters.

Right, enough gushing, more sleep. It’s impossible anyway to really convey the funnie of this series in print; the fun comes from watching the expressions and voices and reactions. So…go watch it, OK? Seriously.

Ooh, this hurts.

Topless Robot recently did a ’10 Most Ridiculous Things About the Original GI Joe Movie’ list, and lo, I was gleeful. Because I loved the original GI Joe series with all my little mindless-pop-culture-consuming heart, and that damn Cobra-La trifled with that heart like Aztecs looking for fun on Saturday night.

And then I read the opening paragraph, about the live-action movie remake. I had not known there was to be a live-action remake, possibly because my brain shut down and started going ‘nuh-uh! nuh-uh-uh!‘ whenever I tried to take it in. I mean, we can all agree there are inherent issues in recreating the Joeverse in living colour, yes? For one thing, just try casting Cobra Commander. "Er…yes, you do wear a totally face-concealing mask for the entire picture. But it’s shiny!"

Apparently, though, there are depths to which my inner child’s heart can still sink:

"In just a few weeks, the majority of us will be exiting theaters on the opening night of the live-action G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra, either laughing till we puke or pummeling each other out of sheer, unadulterated rage. Between Schumacher-esque Joe body armor, Storm Shadow’s sneakers and Duke’s childhood buddy Cobra Commander, we all know we’re in for something painful–but whether it’s Troll 2 painful (hilariously bad!) or Love Guru painful (assisted suicide) remains to be seen."

Sneakers? SNEAKERS?

…’scuse me, I’ll be over in this corner weeping for a little bit…

Et cetera et cetera/Ad infinitum/Ad astra, forever…or not

So yes, in the course of rambling on about Feminism in Watership Down, below, I got a little carried away. Especially does this bug in terms of children’s media (which Watership really isn’t, but we’ll ignore that for now). It’s something I’ve been personally confronting lately, as I rummage around in my Sesame Street-intensive past. Do you realise, fellow Gen-Xers, that the newest DVD sets of the show carry a disclaimer to the effect that "These early episodes of Sesame Street are intended for grown-ups, and may not meet the needs of today’s preschoolers"?

Sad, and a little strange – not least because accurate. On the one hand the belief is that children are more sophisticated than ever before; on the other, that they’re fragile flowers whose every input needs monitoring for fear it’ll corrupt the mechanism.You see it reflected in the pages and pages of ‘what behaviours is The Mole Sisters teaching my child’-type posts to the TreehouseTV forums, complete with just-saw-it-on-Oprah-so-I-know-it’s-scientific vocabularies. In the Fat Albert movie, which disavows the crude-but-funny ‘snaps’ that made the show famous in favour of hauling in a little (white) girl to teach the gang proper English. In the attitude of my nephew’s pre-K teacher, who reacts to the news that this four-year-old has taught himself to read with ‘Well, we need to think about how much he actually comprehends…’

Yes. She really said that. I swear, you just want to grab these people by their PTA-attending pencil necks and hiss, "Look, I spent an entire ruddy childhood watching a trenchcoated Muppet sidling up to innocent kids and asking if they wanted to buy an ‘O’ – that’s when he wasn’t off stealing the Golden An just for kicks – and somehow I managed to become a fully functional member of society…" [shaking them violently] "DO – YOU – UNDERSTAND?"

…Heh. [ahem]. Well, maybe there is something to be said for social conditioning. I’m not advocating wholesale exposure to disturbing imagery, either; children’s mechanisms can certainly suffer from neglect, and on the whole it’s a Very Good Thing that those closest to them realise that. But you can get carried away with it, is all I am saying. This obsession with socialization, with carefully categorizing every possible influence in the here and now, actively works to stifle any imaginative possibilities for the future. Worse, it gives kids the impression that intelligence, thinking about the answers, is much less important than getting the answers right. If you’re going to ensure the world is laid out exactly as it should be, then where’s the inspiration to think about what could be?

More rantiness under the cut…

It’s, like, the License to Ramble meme. What’s not to love?

Comment to this post and I will give you 5 subjects/things I associate you with. Then post this in your LJ and elaborate on the subjects given.

So the other day, charmed and curious, I commented to this post of  kalquessa ‘s…and…

Blogging in Shakespearean English, feminism in Watership Down, Pearls Before Swine, Philistine Pollyanna, detective fiction.

OK, self, the moral here? Try not to be so dang memorable next time. Or at least, try it re: favourite bands, or chocolates, or something.

Anyway, elaboration under the cut.

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