If you have a child born sometime after the year 2000, chances are you’ve pondered this question. My sister and I were discussing this very topic a few weeks ago. Apparently we are not the only people who have ever wondered about the status of these two orphan bunnies, because there are Facebook groups and pages dedicated to the question of their parentage or lack thereof. My point about these bunnies is this: why do I care? Why do I care that Ruby is too bossy? Why do I care that she has to watch Max all day under no adult supervision with the exception of the occasional visit from Grandma? Why do I care that Max seems to be about 3 years old, yet he barely speaks? (Get that bunny to speech therapy!) And who the heck is that Baby Huffington?
Several years ago I used to ponder life’s really important questions like, “What is the meaning of life?” “What should I choose for my major?” “What am I really put on this planet to accomplish?” Now I find myself thinking about cartoon bunnies. That's what this job does to you. It scrambles your brain with its once philosophical, intelligent thoughts and churns out thoughts about bunnies. (And don’t even get me started on Dora and her monkey running over mountains and rivers without the slightest help from anyone over the age of 18. "Hola! Is this Child and Family Services? Yes, I would like to register a complaint.")
Awhile ago some mom friends and I were drinking wine and discussing TV shows for kids. Somehow we got to talking about “The Wiggles.” (I know. You wish you were there. It sounds riveting, doesn't it?) My friend broached the topic. She said, “If you had to “marry” (actually she said something a lot more crude than “marry”, or even "sleep with," but I try to keep this blog somewhat G-rated, so use your imagination) a Wiggle, which one would it be?”
“I’ve never thought about it,” I said through my laughter.
“Really, Clare? You’ve never had to endure episode after episode of the Wiggles going on and on about fruit salad and Dorothy the Dinosaur and thought to yourself, ‘Hmm…they’re men. I wondered what it would be like to “marry” a Wiggle?’”
“Nope. Can’t say that I have.” (This is a lie, of course.)
So she said, “Well what if someone held a gun to your head and made you “marry” a Wiggle?”
Okay, I don’t know what kind of messed up country or political situation I’m living in where people hold guns to women’s heads demanding that they “marry” Wiggles, but I digress. I decided to play along. I said something like, “Well, the answer to that one is simple. Anthony. But only if someone held a gun to my head. Who knows anything about the new "yellow" guy that replaced Greg, Murray's way too nerdy and he wouldn’t put down his guitar long enough, and Jeff is always falling asleep.” (And who needs that? Am I right, ladies?)
It’s good to know that I’m not the only one who thinks about these things. Now, don’t get me wrong. Children’s television is very high quality these days. It’s educational, interesting, colorful, and musical. But once you reach adulthood, it messes with your head. You start over-analyzing the minutiae. What happened to the days when I had crushes on rock stars? Now I’m questioning the sex appeal of the Wiggles with my girlfriends? I find myself wishing Caillou’s mom would de-frump herself, get rid of that peter-pan collared monstrosity she always wears EVERY DAY, and change into a hip wardrobe. (Ever hear of bootcut jeans, mother of Caillou?) I also have a favorite Backyardigan. (Spunky little Uniqua, of course.) I wonder why Swiper the Fox just doesn’t give it up already. (They're on to you, sneaky little dude.) And what the hell is up with the demented gang from "Yo Gabba Gabba?" DJ Lance Rock? Muno the big, long, red thing with one eye? Who dreamed him up as a character in a kids' TV show?
It doesn’t get much better when they get older. My two oldest sons watch “Hannah Montana” and I found myself snorting (yes, I actually snorted) with laughter recently when Hannah’s brother Jackson made his armpit fart. Who me?
I tell myself to enjoy it though, because my children’s enjoyment of this innocent programming means that they aren’t jaded yet. My two youngest children still help Steve (or Joe) find all three of "Blue’s Clues", and actually get excited every time he solves it. They still sing along with "the Backyardigans" on their imaginary journeys. Max is pretty darn funny to them, and it also hasn’t occurred to them that something is a little off with those two aforementioned bunnies and their constant lack of supervision. Charlie and Henry are "too old" for Nick Jr. and Noggin, but they still laugh at crazy antics of Hannah Montana, Zack and Cody et al on the Disney Channel.
I shall enjoy it while it lasts, because too soon they will be begging me to let them attend the latest R-rated movie with their friends, and telling me I’m such mean for not letting them see it. It’s much easier now.
But I do have one more important question that bothers me from time to time: Who the heck names their kid Caillou? And why does he have a voice that grates on my last nerve?