Category Archives: television

Toddler TV

Song Lyric of the Day:

We’re looking for our friends / We’re looking for you / Hey, there’s Sid / Did you hear the one about the kid who wanted to know everything about everything?

Sid the Science Kid / “I’m Looking for My Friends

Coraline’s always been very into books and playing, more so than she was into watching TV. A few months ago, though, she started to watch a bit more TV. While Rich and I are happy that she’s still nowhere near being a couch potato, we appreciate that with the exception of one TV show, her favorite shows are all on PBS and educational with positive messages. And even that one Nick Jr. show, Olivia, is somewhat educational in that it encourages using your imagination and being creative; it also has really positive messages about family and friendship.

Granted, Coraline is still only 20 months old, so when I say she watches TV, that amounts to 5, maybe 10 minutes of sitting and watching before running off again to go play or to choose a book she wants us to read to her. She may or may not come back to watch some more; mostly I think she just likes knowing her show is on and that she can sit down to watch more if she wants. I say this from experience — once she wanders off, I’ll change the TV to something I want to watch. No sooner does she hear the change in voices/sounds than she comes running back to ask “Elmo?” (or whoever was just on). I switch it back to her show, she smiles, then takes off to go play again.

"You do know I'm trying to watch TV, right?"

The first TV show we noticed Coraline enjoyed watching was Curious George when she was several months old. It airs early in the morning, so we would turn it on while we were getting ready for work. As she’s gotten older, she’s now more interested in brushing her teeth, following us around while we get ready, and playing in the closet (petting my high heels while lovingly whispering “shoes” under her breath). But she still loves watching that monkey get into mischief.

Added perk: The show has a lot of Latin characters and one of the better theme songs.

Coraline of course loves the classic Sesame Street. She’s a fan of Abby, the fairy in training, as well as Big Bird and Bert and Ernie (Ernie more than Bert). But it’s that little red guy, Elmo, who she adores. Actually, adores may not be strong enough a word. Worships. She worships Elmo. As do most toddlers.

Added perk: Watching Sesame Street with her is a trip down memory lane.

Watch Elmo’s Song on PBS. See more from pbs.

As a word nerd, I can’t express how much I love that Coraline loves WordWorld, a show all about — you guessed it — “building” and spelling words. This is one show where the first notes of the theme song bring her flying across the room to watch and dance to the music. She’s also gotten pretty good at saying “WordWorld.”

Added perk: It’s always impressive to see how creative the show is in building the words — the letters form the shape of whatever object they’re spelling.

I admit: At first glance, this was not one of my favorites. The characters are a bit wild looking, part of a very vivid, very atypical kids’ show aesthetic (the ones I was used to, anyway). But as I’ve watched some episodes of Sid the Science Kid with Coraline, I’ve been impressed with its approach to teaching science. Although I could’ve done without the episode about how/why we poop. Well, at least until Coraline’s ready to be potty trained.

Added perk: The show plays equally well in teaching boys and girls all about the how and why of science.

The fact that Coraline likes Dinosaur Train warms my heart. I minored in anthropology and have long fantasized about going on an archaeological dig for dinosaur bones. In reality I’ve had to settle for watching Jurassic Park 317 times. That said, Dinosaur Train does a great job of teaching about the different kinds of dinosaurs. It also has live-action segments featuring Dr. Scott the Paleontologist sharing facts about dinosaurs and teaching kids how to say the often-complex (particularly to kids) scientific names. The show also has a “blended” family in that a baby T-Rex has been adopted by a family of Pteranodons after his egg mistakenly ended up in their nest.

Added perk: I get my dinosaur fix while Coraline learns about something a bit more unique than most kids’ shows present.

I can’t believe I’d never heard of Super Why! until a friend with a daughter slightly younger than Coraline mentioned it. The show is all about books — reading them and finding answers in them to solve riddles and help the stories’ characters. A kids’ show about books! It’s perfect for Coraline. The show’s protagonists have are imbued with reading, spelling, dictionary, word, and alphabet powers, which help them work together and solve each episode’s mysteries.

Added perk: Even Rich enjoys watching this because it’s about books. (Yes, we are a family of geeks. Book-loving geeks.)

I never thought anyone could take Elmo’s place in Coraline’s heart, but lo and behold, that’s exactly what Olivia has done. An adventurous little girl, Olivia is all about using her imagination and creativity in any and every situation. She calls her younger brother Ian her “little bother” and dotes on her cat and dog. Coraline is so into this show now, that when we start it for her she throws her arms in the air and hollers “OLIIA!!!” (She somehow makes the V disappear.) It airs at 7:30 each night, so it’s a great way to get Coraline to sit still and wind down in preparation for her 8 o’clock bedtime.

Added perk: Catchy music and a family-friendly show we can all appreciate. It’s also the first show at which Coraline has laughed at something she found funny.

"Ah ... there's Elmo!" (I took this picture before Olivia usurped Elmo.)

Leave a Comment

Filed under coraline, television, tv

Happy 40th Birthday, Sesame Street!

Forty years ago today, Sesame Street first aired. So to honor my old friends Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Bert, Ernie, Grover, Cookie Monster, Snuffleupagus, The Count, Gordon, Maria, and the rest of the gang, here’s a story the Today show aired to commemorate the milestone that is Sesame Street turning the big 4-0.

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

I grew up watching Sesame Street. Oddly enough (or maybe not so oddly), of all the things I still vividly remember from it, the death of Mr. Hooper has stayed with me all these years. I think it was the first time I really understood what death meant, the finality of it. And all because poor Big Bird couldn’t grasp that Mr. Hooper was never coming back, never going to make his bird seed milkshakes again. I cried all over again watching this — it still has the power to affect me like that, to remind me what it was like to be that little girl crying for her friend Big Bird, who wanted nothing more than to see his friend Mr. Hooper again.

While I, no doubt like countless others who grew up watching it back in the day, still miss Mr. Hooper, I can only smile when I think of everything else I enjoyed about Sesame Street: the songs, the silliness, the friendships, and, most importantly, learning without feeling like I was being taught. Even now, I still watch it some mornings as I’m gearing up for the work day ahead. Because if there’s one thing the show taught me, it’s that you are never, ever too old to enjoy Sesame Street. Here’s to 40 more years.

Bookmark and Share

Leave a Comment

Filed under 40th birthday, personal, television

TV Worship

Song Lyric of the Day:

I can’t remember anything / Can’t tell if this is true or dream / Deep down inside I feel to scream

Metallica / “One”

Lost” Recap Haiku:

Charlie and Claire gone

All are looking for Ethan

Charlie dead alive

I can’t believe we have to wait until January to see another new episode of Lost! Actually, I can, because I’m fully aware of how TV networks program after November sweeps and around the holidays. It’s just that last night’s episode, “All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues,” was so good and it left us with a couple of cliffhangers—one small, one big. I don’t remember the last time I was this addicted to a TV show. And it’s astonishing to see how involved Rich is, since watching TV is not one of his favorite things to do. At least when Lost returns in January it will now be followed by Alias. Which means Rich and I will be glued to the TV every Wednesday night for the rest of this year’s TV season.

While I love, love, love movies as well, I guess I love TV a bit more. Why? Probably because a great TV show is like a great book. You get these wonderfully involving, multi-layered plots that unfold over the course of several episodes or a series’ entire run. You can have myriad characters, both minor and major, who can flit in and out without causing a ripple or who can turn everything on its head. You get to really know characters, see them evolve, and watch them grow, sometimes in genuinely surprising ways. And every now and then there is a reference to an earlier event/joke/episode that feels like a reward for being loyal.

Tonight I’ll be watching my two favorite dramas-which don’t quite fit the formula in that they’re not serialized-“CSI” and “Without a Trace.” While we continue to get to know and see these shows’ characters evolving, it’s not necessary to watch every episode to know what’s going on. And I think that’s why they’re so successful. Some viewers gripe about how unrealistic it is that a criminal is caught and a lost person found in one episode. While I understand where they’re coming from, it is TV. And in TV land, normal rules do not apply. Even these two shows do not always have happy endings. From the TV industry perspective of things, this non-serialized format is sheer genius. Repeats do almost as well as first-run episodes precisely because someone who hasn’t watched the show before can jump right in and know exactly what’s going on. That’s why shows like “ER” and “NYPD Blue” do badly in repeats—a new viewer is not going to have any clue as to what’s going on, since episodes start in the middle of the very long stories they’re telling. Also, in “ER”’s case, I think the continually depressing story lines have something to do with that. And why, oh, why won’t the writers let any character be happy anymore? Those are but a couple of the reasons why “WAT” is stomping “ER” in the ratings lately.

Before I get to my appointment TV viewing tonight, I have to tidy the house up some. While it’s very festively decorated for the holidays, we have yet to put away the ornament boxes and various other items involved in decorating. I need to restore order before I can kick back and relax. And relax I will.


Filed under personal, television, tv, tv and me