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The Net Takeaway: Brits control our youth...


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Brits control our youth... · 02/11/2007 06:31 PM, Trivial

In watching “Sprout”, the PBS 24/7 channel for kids programming, I started to see a pattern emerge on the shows they ran and the ones my kid likes… They are all British.

Even ones you’d think are American, like “Bob the Builder” (a claymation rip-off of Tim Allen’s Home Improvement sitcom, except for kids) are actually made in the UK. And my kid would throw me off a bridge for a chance to see Kipper some more. We’ve all heard of Thomas the Tank Engine, but don’t forget about the Teletubbies (or their scary tripped out cousins, the BoohBah, really freaky stuff). And Jakers is an Irish import full of stories and blarney (I heard that word on the show).

And even I find that they are clever and more interesting than the American ones. Trying to replicate Thomas, Americans chose to make “Jay Jay the Jet Plane” which is poor in every way. Besides being boring, its production values are even weaker than the UK shows. Berenstein Bears are inane. Amy Tan aside, Sagwa, The Chinese Siamese Cat neither teaches about Asian cultures nor holds any attention. And Barney goes without saying.

Like Dad, the kid is figuring out that the UK is a pretty cool place. I just hope he gets a good British accent instead of a NJ one. And hey, US: step it up. Since Sesame Street and Electric Company, we’ve only made products we can sell instead of good and educational TV. Don’t even get me started on what Nickelodeon has become. Should we be turning over all children’s television to imports? This is the future of America, right?

PS: gotta give credit to Canada who made Caillou.
PPS: Yes, its clear that both the kid and I watch too much TV, so we’ll be working on reducing that.
PPPS: Except for Kipper, that’s a pretty good one actually.

* * *


  1. Michael, I am right there with you! Fortunately my three year old (I’m three-and-a-half, daddy!) loves Zobomofoo which I suspect is U.S.-produced. Otherwise it is James the Cat, Kipper, Jakers (no Barney, please!) and the like.

    One thing: Have you tried Sesame Street? We sometimes let the kids watch an episode OnDemand and I’m surprised at the positive, interactive response we get. Plus, Elmo, and who doesn’t love Elmo? ;-)

    Anyway, from one dad who believes in all things in moderation, children’s TV included, to another … great post!

    Eric T. Peterson    Feb 12, 01:22 PM    #

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