Things Parents Do to Avoid 'Dora' and Other Kids
What annoys moms and dads about some children's
By Martha Brockenbrough Special to MSN TV
We can't all be "bronies," grown men so secure with their masculinity and so
in touch with their inner child* that they revel in episodes of the animated "My Little
No, some of us are time-worn adults, and the thought of certain children's
programming fills us with dread so thick you could cut it into slices, use it to
fashion magical pony shoes and gallop far, far beyond the most distant
What drives parents nuts about the kiddie channels? Let us count the things:
Caillou's voice. The nasal nattering of SpongeBob SquarePants. The incessant
sass on many a tween show. The relentless advertising for junk food and
If it weren't for the sad fact that many of us have owed our daily showers to
the boob tube, many parents would no doubt unplug the thing once and for all.
But good luck with that. Avoiding television is hard, even if you don't have
one. Amy Baskin lives the TV-free lifestyle in Portland, Ore. But people keep
trying to give them to her, telling her, "It's for the children."
And, as weird as it is to try to give other people's children television,
there is a certain logic to it.
We all knew the kid who grew up deprived of junk food at home and who'd binge
on it at every opportunity. Children's pop culture is like a vaccination. A
little bit can keep them from developing an incurable case of Hannah
Nonetheless, many parents are resorting to subterfuge to keep their least
favorite shows out of the family room.
One Seattle mom told her son that "Caillou" had been canceled, for example.
"The little kid on it whines throughout the entire show," Erin Miller
says. "It's like nails on a chalkboard." Her son believed her -- until he
started to read. He turned it on for his little sister and proudly announced,
"They brought it back."
Lane Morris Buckman, meanwhile, feels the same way about Diego and Dora. "It
is irrational how much I dislike these shouty, imaginary children," she says. "I
want to go find their imaginary parents and kick them. I have bribed my child
with treats to get him to turn them off before, then I just got wise to the
rotation schedule and made sure he was nowhere near a television at their
It's no wonder irritating voices are at the top of the list when it comes to
things parents despise about certain kids shows. We don't like whininess,
baby talk and the indoor use of outdoor voices when our kids do it. Why would we
like it when cartoon children do the same?
Next on the list of things parents despise about children's TV programming is
the incessant sass. It's a tween-show staple: Character kids speak
sarcastically to each other and even with their parents and teachers. It
can be funny on TV, but in real life, it's anything but.
And then there's the advertising. Junk food, sugary cereals, trendy toys,
movies, other TV shows ...
As graduation day approaches, tension begins to build between Frankie and Axl when he ignores her requests for answers about the graduation party she's planning for his special day. "The Middle" airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.