Sunday, 16 January 2011

Participatory Cartoons


Jack has always liked the participation kid shows like Dora and Diego, they irritate the hell out of me, especially Diego.

When he was little he would just watch them, he didn't really get that the characters were supposed to be talking to him. The first time I really remember him speaking back to any of them must have been shortly before he was two, when prompted to say 'Swiper no Swiping' he grabbed for a cannon, shouted OPEN FIRE!, and blew the poor little fox away. As he got older and better at speaking, so his participation escalated.

Jack does get irritated, particularly with Dora, when he's made to repeat himself. One such occasion was at the beginning of a Dora episode when Dora asked his name, to which Jack replied Jack Morrey. Dora then said, "What was that?" Jack sighed impatiently, Jack Morrey! I told him to cut her a little slack, it's hard to hear on the other side of the TV. We'd just, the day before, spoken about how he shouldn't break open the TV because he wouldn't be able to then be a part of the cartoon, now Dora is talking to him and I'm playing along. Poor confused child.

There's another of these shows is called Little Einsteins. This is all musically themed stuff, there's lots of musical terms and information about composers etc, somehow they've worked in all into resolving some little problem, usually a rescue. They instruct him in dancing about and have him flap his arms to difference classical selections at different volumes and tempos. Music fuels their rocket you see... We watch this show as often as we can really, I can tolerate it and Jack always really loves it. So today when I saw that it was on I switched to it and we caught the last five minutes.

The episode revolved around rescuing one of the characters' pet melody, some weird little purple creature that spoke only in oboe sounds. Jack participated more actively than I've ever seen before. He danced about and chanted and flapped his arms very enthusiastically desperate to help rescue Melody. But alas, it was over in just a few minutes, Melody was rescued but we didn't have anything more to watch. Jack was disappointed that it was over so quickly.

As luck would have it, I found the show repeating on a plus channel very shortly after, so I asked Jack if he wanted to watch it again from the beginning. Yes Yes he said, so I called it up. We watched the show and Jack resumed dancing about and followed their instructions to the letter. However once the plot unfolded and became clear to him, he stopped participating all together and flopped himself on a chair. As the show neared the previously viewed last five minutes Jack looked at me and said, I'm not doing the actions because I've already rescued Melody once today. I couldn't help but smile. "So you're just going to leave her in the crevasse?" Yes, I already got her out and now she's just back in there again. She shouldn't have gone in there again.

It would seem that Jack is happy to help rescue but if you get into the same trouble again, you're on your own.