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There's nothing educational about Minnies Bow Toons

October 17, 2014 The Wine Time Dad 0 Comments Category : , , , , , , , ,

Fair warning: I will never post about this topic again, I promise. You haven't even started reading and I'm burning with shame.

Here it is. Several months after I wrote this post about not letting my pre-social toddler watch too much TV, and after a week of her gorging herself on just about everything WETA, Nick, and Disney have to offer, I feel like a bit of a hypocrite. For this, I apologize to my half handful of readers. I did not stay true to my hardline approach to TV. Sometimes it's just too easy to sit a child down infront of one of those things (most of the blame goes to my wife because I prefer to use scapegoats).

If its any consolation to anyone still reading this blog, I do feel extremely guilty and apologetic to her developing mind for the 3+ hours of TV a day. Worse still, I noticed some deleterious effects by Wednesday. She was noticeably more lethargic, and on one fateful day she fell asleep in my arms by 11:40 am- something she hasn't done since she was an infant. It should be noted that she was fully awake by 6:15 am, though.

My wife and I decided that while it would be a good week for being lazy, horrible parents, we'd cut the TV way down the following week. You know like, cold turkey, man. I'll let you know how this goes after the landslide of tantrums I'm expecting from atop Mount Bliss.

On a more positive note, while we were conducting this unplanned experiment in excessive TV, I had the opportunity to get an in-depth look into the absolutely unbearable programming my daughter and (much to my horror) my wife have been watching AND enjoying together. (last week, during our lapse into lazy parenting, I didn't really let my daughter watch the cartoons she frequents with my wife, she only gets to watch what I want to watch...) (... Yes, I'm a selfish bastard).

In any case, wifey and baby watch the type of shows that, if you're like me, might make you want to blow your brains out or drink yourself into a stupor. I realize that these aren't the only two options and they're hyperbolically extreme, but given the appalling gaudy cuteness of these shows, no true curmudgeon would be able to ingest this type of programming sober. Sorry, shouldn't ingest sober. Also, you wouldn't get a sense of the horror I feel watching these types of cartoons without the hyperbole.

However, as an awesome dad, I  felt obligated to make an honest attempt at us sitting together... To watch Disney.

So after mentioning my discomfort to my wife, she suggested I just give in and let the vibrant technicolor adorableness just wash over me (not her exact words). It sounded reasonable. And, to be fair, other types of programming, like Kung Fu Panda, were becoming much more tolerable, probably due to the brainwashing affect. But, we're not talking about a Kung Fu Panda, we're talking about Disney Jr. and shows geared for brainwashing toddlers.

Ah, the last bit of cultural stereotypes I thought I'd be watching on a daily basis, and exposing a my tabula rasa to, were the embedded gender stereotypes of Disney. Fucking Disney princess stereotypes! It's like being trapped in a classroom full of screaming Japanese elementary kids all over again.

Fuck that- even that last sentence makes me feel strange. It's an arrangement of words I never would've thought to escape my lips. Until now...

But, there we were, watching "Sofia the First" (the little princess who is well on her way to having an affair with her stepbrother) and "Doc McStuffins" (a show about a disturbed young girl who has long conversations with toys only she can see move and hear talk, while other, ostensibly "normal" children, play around her, oblivious). Then, there's my personal favorite, the pure candy injection to the eyeballs, Minnies Bow Toons, a cartoon that needs no description because the title should be enough.

It's true, I'm now one of those millions of American fathers who finds himself watching this crap. I can not only see my daughter's burgeoning mental development leak out of her ears, but can also feel my own brain rotting away.

What possible value or enjoyment could I derive from this concoction of visual cocaine sugar? The short and honest answer is nothing. I don't even feel as if there is any value for my daughter. She can't yet discuss what she's watching. On some level, I know she understands something about the interaction of the characters because she giggles and smiles at the right moments (usually), yet there can't be any scientifically proven benefits to this shit.

That's more like it.
Also, there's no real character development or moral lessons cleverly enshrouded by action and fighting like in "Panda".

Sure Minnie and Daisy work together in a friendly and cooperative way to solve ridiculous problems. They're overly polite, bubbly, and happy to the point of absurdity. They even use valuable concepts like shapes, numbers and letters. But, the lessons are probably lost in the colorful packaging. Within minutes, the good juices are flowing in their little developing brains and they're just high on Disney. Fuck the learning.

The lesson part of the show is most likely a ploy to satisfy a tired or lazy parent's worry about content. Hey, it's Disney, it can't be too bad. Ooo, numbers and letters! How educational!

However, five minutes in (yes, I made it that far), two distinct personality types emerged. It was so subtle (and probably nonexistent) that I only saw it because my pattern recognition centers were grasping. I noticed that Minnie, the stereotypically more girly character (bows and polka-dotted dresses), is a privileged rich girl. Yet, even though she's rich, she doesn't rub it in Daisy's face. Still, her polite and friendly demeanor is what's expected of her. However, Minnie is the type of person who needs other group consensus to hatch her plans. Without the adoring approval of everyone else, she's just an empty shell.

Being out in front, without the backing of the group, scares the shit out of Minnie, and if Disney allowed you to see this side of her, you'd realize what a vapid soulless creature she really is. Once everyone grows up and goes there separate way, Minnie will turn to hardcore drugs, partying, plastic surgery.

On the other hand, it would seem that Daisy, as Minnie's sidekick, plays a distant second to the crown princess of the Disney empire. But, a closer look will reveal a much cooler individual with a sturdier backbone.

Your first thought would be to feel sorry that Daisy has to take on this role of second best, but she wouldn't let you feel sorry for her. She knows where she stands and she also knows her self-worth. Not having to be the star all the time, gives her more freedom. And, contrary to popular opinion, the schemes of Minnie's that go well, Daisy knows who really set that shit up. She just lets Minnie take the credit because she knows these petty little victories mean more to the mouse than they do to the duck.

A fact of life. Or, Disney...


After15 minutes of this, I realized that Disney was just fucking with my mind.

Someone at Disney was either really clever to slip all this into one 10-15 minute cartoon, or really high. Maybe they were both. Either way, I sat there slack-jawed and in awe as my daughter sat there just slack-jawed. Was my daughter's brain was slowly being warped by this?

I started to wonder if my wife was seeing all this. If I told her, would she agree or think I'm a dipshit?

"Hey, wife! You know what this show is really about? It's about..."


Whoa! No need to carry on with this post anymore. It's getting weird...

What were we talking about anyway?

Oh yeah! That stupid Disney Jr show that my daughter was watching...

See what happens when you watch this stuff? Minds wander off and start inventing absurd subtexts.

Jesus, it's just a cartoon.

Time to grab a beer and clean the kitchen.