Ah TV my friend and nemesis. Isobel’s would-be constant companion and my evening sanity saver. TV is on fairly often in our house (no-ones eyes have turned square yet so sorry not sorry) and I generally try to talk with Isobel about what we’re watching and engage in conversation. I also try and point Esther away from the screen but for some reason she seems to rotate? Weird. In light of all the time I am investing in children’s TV (usually like 2 weeks of binge watching 1 show before moving on to the next) I thought I would create an output (I’ve just done a PBRF portfolio can you tell?) and so I present to you my very formal children’s TV review:
Paw Patrol 🐶🐶🐶
We are currently watching Paw Patrol on lightbox. I resisted for ages because we did not actually have a lightbox subscription but there is only a limited number of times you can hear “why can’t you play Paw Puptwal like good Aunty Joe” before being driven to spend the $12.99 just to end it. Paw Patrol is very intense. The puppies drive really fast and people yell “go” a lot. The adults are generally incompetent (a friend pointed out that when you want puppies to be the hero’s you need the competence level of most characters to be pretty low) but the animal sidekicks are awesome. Chickaletta is the family favourite and has boosted toddler corn consumption. Yesterday Isobel told me “Mum I love you so much. You’re really good at putting Paw Puptwal on the big TV for me. Great job.” Such Praise.
Watch this show when you are desperate and need a guaranteed attention grabber while you angry clean the house. Or (completely hypothetically) you have just had to pee in yard because your toddler took soooo long getting up your stupidly long path from the car that there was no time to get in the house and you really need a moment to gather yourself and think carefully about your life without the very slow and sad toddler. In that completely hypothetical situation I would recommend Paw Patrol. Hypothetically.
When we finish watching Paw Patrol Isobel weeps and asks for more Paw Patrol.
Pros: Isobel has started yelling “Chase is on the case” as she completes tasks around the house.
Cons: Isobel now points out Paw Patrol merch everywhere we go and I feel like soon she will realise that these things are available for purchasing. Also we only have season one and there is only 1 girl puppy. Boo. That means that only 1/7 (14.3%) of the main characters you see every episode (6 dogs and their human leader Ryder) is a girl. Every little girl I speak to about Paw Patrol (including Isobel) tells me that sky is their favourite. Usually because she can fly, which is awesome yay flying, but I’m fairly confident that it’s not a coincidence that all the girls I know love the girl dog the best. A friend noticed recently that when they were out with other people her daughter would say that Sky was her favourite pup but at home when it was just them she was all about Rubble. She already knew what puppy she “should” like (the girl puppy because she is a girl) and was fitting herself in with that expectation at age 3. Boooooo!!! I think this stuff really matters and if you’d like to read more about it I suggest you head on over to Sacraparental and read a couple of posts about the Maisy test for sexism in kids shows.
Isobel’s review: Me: “Isobel what do you think about Paw Patrol?” Isobel: “Good”
Sarah and Duck 🦆🦆🦆🦆
Sarah and Duck is a lovely show about a girl (Sarah) and her duck (Duck). Sarah likes cherry tomatoes and Duck likes bread. They spend their time solving mundane problems in a calm manner. Mrs Patmore from Downton Abbey is their neighbour “Scarf Lady” and they a friends with a collection of kind and unique children including “Plate Girl”, the “Ribbon Sisters”, and Flamingo and John (who are actually one child and one flamingo). It’s quirky, whimsical and kind spirited and Isobel thinks its funny.
When we finish watching Sarah and Duck Isobel asks to bake a poppy seed cake – because Sarah bakes a cake with poppy seeds in it. She also writes a shopping week each week which is usually just ingredients for a poppy seed cake.
Pros: They spend a lot of time calmly travelling on the bus to the shops. It’s very relaxing to watch. They also bake a lot of bread and wear a lot of knitted things.
Cons: Weird things are alive. Rainbow, Moon, and Umbrella are all alive and can talk. Duck and Flamingo are sentient but only quack/honk. Other birds, including other ducks, are weirdly just birds. Also, in season one they bake a cake which comes alive and instructs them on how to cook it. Then they debate whether or not they can eat it (they decide no thank goodness). THEN in season Two it turns out cake has been living alone and depressed in the fridge for like a year so they solve the problem by taking him to a bread shop where cakes are baked and eaten!!! Cake is so chill with this that he stays to become an assistant. I don’t think his time int he fridge was that good for him.
Isobel’s review: Me: “Isobel what do you think about Sarah and Duck?” Isobel: “Good”
Bonus award for the best Christmas episode! It features no Santa or presents. Instead Sarah and duck follow bug through the hedge to pick Christmas light flowers. It’s like Willy Wonka but minus the creepy and cavities.
Doc McStuffins ⚕️🐑☃️🐉
I feel like even non-kid people know about this one right? Our most musical addition to the TV line up, Doc and her collection of animals spend time playing, breaking, and getting fixed. Yay. Isobel got a doctors kit for Christmas (thanks GG) and now regularly declares that “I’m being Doc McStuffins for Esther” before aggressive poking her with a scalpel (like she literally chants “I’m chopping you up into a sandwich” while sawing at her foot). It’s nice to see the girls playing together. The other day Esther was bleeding a tiny amount from her foot and Isobel immediately got super excited and retrieved the plasters from where she had secretly hidden them in perpetration for this very moment. She insisted on putting it on herself because she is big enough.
When we finish watching Doc McStuffins we usually transition into playing Doc McStuffins.
Pros: The songs are pretty fun. I sometimes actually sing the “hey what’s going on?” song to Isobel when she is sad. It doesn’t usually make her tell me whats wrong but does remind her that she could nag me for Doc McStuffins instead of weeping. Also Doc’s mum is the doctor and her Dad cooks most of the dinners and is kind and sensitive. It’s rad.
Cons: Isobel gets very excited about playing Doc with Esther. Esther does not always want to have her ears and eyes checked by an overly enthusiastic 2 year old. I have a lot of sympathy for Esther’s position. Disagreements ensue.
Isobel’s review: Me: “Isobel what do you think about Doc McStuffins?” Isobel: “Good”
Puffin Rock 🥌🥌🥌🥌🥌*
*(there is no puffin emoji and this curling stone was the closest thing to “rock” I could find)
This is my favourite!!!! It is beautiful and funny and calm and interesting. The music is quiet and instrumental. I learn things about nature and did I mention it’s beautiful? Chris O’Dowd (the guy from The IT Crowd that isn’t Moss) narrates as a lovely collection of animals run around doing animally things. There is a running fart joke that hits the spot with Isobel. The joke is accurate to nature as the character is a pygmy shrew using stink to build up a defense against predators. It turns out I prefer my fart jokes accurate to nature and a little educational. No one yells “go” over and over, no adults do inexplicably bizarre and incompetent things, and it’s beautiful (did I say that already? I have seriously investigated buying Puffin Rock art to fill my house with because I love it so much). When we finish watching Puffin Rock Isobel runs around in the bushes yelling “Oh no Mousey that was a terrible smell” and “Where’s Baba??”. Very cute.
Pros: It is quite nice to look at.
Cons: I am now even more deeply suspicious of seagulls due to their role on the show.
Isobel’s review: Me: “Isobel what do you think about Puffin Rock?” Isobel: “Good”
I’d love to know what you enjoy watching at yours (either with your kids or for your kids while you do other things!). Eventually we’ll get tired of these four and need something else, right????