Wednesday, July 31, 2002

South Africa’s version of Sesame Street, known as Takalani Sesame, has announced that it will be introducing an HIV-positive muppet to its cast. After seeing the bold step taken by the Sesame Street Workshop in using children’s programming to introduce young viewers to adult subjects, other children’s shows are quickly following suit. Here’s a list.

Powerpuff Girls – In an episode set in the future, a riff develops between Bubbles and Buttercup as to who will take in the increasingly senile professor. Meanwhile, Blossom takes a lover – Mojo Jojo.

Themes addressed: Racism/Speciesism, the shoddy state of elder care, sibling competitiveness

Blues Clues: Blue is taken to an animal psychologist to confront his inability to directly express his wants and desires. Later, when Steve mysteriously disappears, Blue addresses his feelings of rejection and abandonment.

Themes addressed: Passive-aggressiveness, co-dependence, overcoming a diminished sense of self.

Dexter’s Laboratory – Dexter is taken into custody by the FBI when it’s discovered that his “secret lab” is actually the nation’s premiere producer of military-grade anthrax.

Themes addressed: The importance of parental involvement, differentiating between traditional and emotional intelligence in child prodigies, citizen participation in homeland security.

Rugrats - It’s double trouble for Chuckie, as he apprehensively follows Tommy into an East Harlem crack den on a dare, and then Angelica sells him into prostitution in exchange for a package of chocolate chip cookies.

Themes: Rejecting peer pressure, setting boundaries, the problems inherent in our nation’s drug policy.

PB & J Otter – Social services removes Peanut, Jelly and Baby Butter from the home after neighbors who witness The Noodle Dance ritual call child welfare authorities.

Themes addressed: The dangers of the drug Ecstasy.

CatDog – Cat and Dog face the hardest decision of their lives when medical science devises a way to separate the two via a controversial, experimental and possibly life-threatening operation.

Themes addressed: Fear of mortality, separation anxiety, understanding feelings of intimacy among siblings

Hey Arnold! – Arnold learns the potential dangers of being too trusting due to the predatory nature of a new “friend,” while Helga’s desire for attention from her neglecting parents drive her into the arms, and habits, of a shoplifting, meth-addicted high-school dropout.

Themes addressed: The difference between acceptable and non-acceptable touching, the importance of tough child protection laws, prison reform, drug awareness

Johnny Bravo – A cadre of Johnny’s ex-lovers stage an intervention regarding his relentless bed-hopping.

Themes addressed: Sex addiction, fear of intimacy

Dora the Explorer: Dora’s use of her native Spanish in a school presentation sets off a wave of protest from the local English Only movement, igniting a media frenzy.

Themes addressed: The debate over bilingual education, multi-culturalism vs. jingoism

The Wiggles – Close-minded attitudes on the part of neighborhood parents find the Wiggles barred from performing around children.

Themes addressed: Tolerance and understanding of gender-preference diversity, gay rights

Bear in the Big Blue House: Bear is faced with a difficult choice when the local condo board rejects blue as an acceptable color for a home’s facade, dictating that all homes be painted either beige or salmon.

Themes addressed: Individuality vs. conformity, defining community standards, the seduction of power.

SpongeBob SquarePants – In a tragic series finale, SpongeBob awakens to the fact that every character in the history of the series has regarded him with contempt, and he embarks on a shooting spree, killing 15 and wounding 33 with an Uzi he obtained on the black market.

Themes addressed: Self-esteem, bullying, gun control, subjugating violent tendencies through other means, the importance of treatment for the mentally ill.


Friday, July 12, 2002

Weird overheard quote of the day...

"I can't wear this skirt at work. It's anti-feminist."

Thursday, July 11, 2002

They’re running a Pepsi commercial now where Austin Powers kicks Britney Spears in the head. Finally, a company smart enough to cater to the tremendous “people who want to kick Britney Spears in the head” demographic.

FUN FACT - If you spell check “Ozzfest,” it comes up “Ooziest.”

Re: Highlights from July 4th (a little late, I know)

1. Walking into a room at a party to find seven people sitting in a semi-circle, silent, staring at a guy who was reading the dictionary.

2. Later on, during the same party – I walk out of the bathroom, and as soon as I enter the living room, the first thing I hear is, “So now I’m inseminated.”

3. The same woman as in #2 told the story of one possible donor she wound up rejecting (he wanted to “donate” the old fashioned way), and her story ended with the sentence, “so that’s why I need a new handyman.”

Re: Crappy food

I went to a picnic recently, and some friends said they were bringing food. They brought Humus. Which was great, because I had a wall that needed spackling. Since when is Humus acceptable food for anyone except Deadheads and Greenpeace-slumming trust fund kids? You know what goes well with Humus? Not bathing. If the best food you have at a party is Humus, that’s not a party, that’s an Ethiopian relief effort. It’s like, “hey, let’s see what we’ve got. Steve brought beers, John brought vodka, Sue brought burgers, and oh, look, Mary brought ground-up chic peas. How cool. We know who the life of this party’s gonna be. Hey Mary – why don’t you just hang the coats? We’ll be in the other room, laughing at you.”

What’s that you say? You LIKE Humus? You think it’s really tasty? Oh really? Well, when was the last time you went out of your way to buy chic peas? Think about it.

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