Too Bad, So Sad, Caillou

January 28, 2009

Poor Caillou has been kicked to the curb.  And then had coal dust kicked in his face and was also run over a few times by a very smiley little train.

I wish I could have warned you, Caillou, but I had no idea that Thomas the Train was planning a sneak attack – he’s a devious little blue engine.

It’s true, I used to hate Caillou.  But then, just as Moo started to learn about the holidays, Caillou’s holiday episodes came along (Caillou goes caroling!  Caillou dresses up for Halloween!  Caillou ruins the cornucopia!), joining Moo in all the wonder and discovery.  Plus, I realized that Caillou couldn’t help but whine sometimes – he’s just a kid who’s four, after all.

Then, all of a sudden, Thomas roared into our family room one quiet Sunday morning.  We flipped on the television, intending to queue up “Caillou Helps Out,” when Thomas’s grinning train face suddenly filled the screen.  Moo recognized him immediately thanks to her friend Hit-It, who caught the Thomas bug a few months ago.

“Mommy!  I watch this!”  Moo insisted, and we haven’t seen Caillou since.

Herbie and I are not great fans of Thomas.  First of all, I don’t like how they’re always talking about shunting freight cars, because “shunt” really, really sounds like a bad word.  Second, it drives me nuts that each episode starts off with a little quip about how Thomas is a little train who wanted to leave the station yard and see the world!  Nice, but he NEVER DOES.  He’s trapped on the Island of Sodor, which sounds like it could be Sauron’s vacation getaway, going round and round in circles, FOREVER.

Herbie doesn’t like Thomas because he doesn’t think it’s educational at all.  At least Caillou taught her about the holidays.  Thomas and his cohorts pretty much just shunt.  I guess they’re trying to teach kids about problem-solving (oh NO! Thomas got biffed and bashed by mean ol’ Hector the Horrid – seriously,  that just sounds perverted), and big-idea issues like envy, courage, and vanity, and Moo is just not there yet.  On the other hand, Thomas did teach Moo the word “portcullis,” and who knows when she’s going to need to know the word for a “medieval castle door.”  Probably tomorrow.

And on the other other hand, Thomas has certainly inspired Moo’s imagination – she loves playing with her trains, even though they’re not technically Thomas trains.  She calls the blue one Thomas, and he loves to play hide-and-seek with the other trains, “his friends,” and help them when they fall down.  And if that’s the lesson she’s learning from Thomas, I suppose we should be able to suffer through the Thomas phase, at least until the next obsession comes along – but oh God, please don’t let it be Barney…

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One Response to “Too Bad, So Sad, Caillou”

  1. Jen Says:

    Around the educational children”s programming globe… I have learned (through 5 kids [2 step]) that there is a whole world of wonderful and not so wonderful programming out there. My Favorites include The Upside Down Show (Noggin), Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (Disney of course), Blues Clues (Noggin), and Sesame Street (PBS). In my adventures I have grown to dislike many, for example… The Doodlebops, Oswald, and Barney. There are many more that crawl under my skin and make me wonder what kind of drugs the writers are taking. In the long run I think the kids always choose the ones that will drive you up the wall. I can not tell you how many hours of Barney and Teletubbies I endured with my first son.


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