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Friday, 30 November 2007

DVD Notes : Of trains, cranes and dinosaurs

One degree at 8am and frosty. Clear skies. The distant snow-tipped Alps are bathed in pink.

We don’t have tv in Carmine Superiore. But this year we have discovered the DVD (played on my cranky old Inspiron 500m) as a great way to hypnotise the children. Most of the DVDs we own are in English, and almost all of them are sent by Grandma from the UK. They’re all second-hand; Grandma combs the charity shops and car boot sales with the same efficiency as a shame-faced mother picking nits from her children’s hair.

To succeed in our house, a children’s programme needs a.) to keep the two little angels quiet, enabling Mama to feed them, wash them, put on their shoes and clean their teeth all without the little eyes becoming unglued from the screen; b.) to teach numbers and the alphabet, problem solving in physics and mechanics, conflict resolution and the basics of nutritional science, all in the same 20-minute slot; and c.) to help Mama’s day start out right with a decent soundtrack, especially when heard for the millionth time (this week).

So, which children’s entertainment offerings make the grade in the house on the hill?

The scale is 1-7 where 1 is ‘this DVD is so bad it’ll get hidden in the back of the wardrobe until next summer, when it’ll be used to keep the birds off the grapes’ and 7 is ‘this DVD is so great Mama might even be watching secretly while Pappi is away on business’. For ratings of less than 1, use your imagination (as that grinning American dinosaur would say (and I don’t mean George W. Bush)).

Barney
“Anything can happen,
Anything can be,
Anything can happen
In the
land of makebelieve…”

Wasn’t that George W. Bush’s campaign song in 2000?
Mama rating : 2; she can’t stand purple.

Angelina Ballerina
Myomorphic balletic ambition meets incidental music from the soundtrack of Myst (remember?), bringing a slightly sinister undertone to the chintz, the squeaky voices and the heinous headgear.
Mama rating : 5

Fireman Sam
Nightmares are made of how closely Naughty Norman Pryce resembles No.1 son. Hide the matches.
Mama rating : 4

Hi5
Spot the brain cell, shoot the songwriter.
Mama rating : 1

Ready to Learn : Diggers and Dumpers
Don’t allow this DVD in your home more than ten minutes. Give it away to the next birthday boy in your diary – do anything to avoid playing it to your kids. The soundtrack alone is enough to curdle the milk in the fridge, but, like crack, it will hook a young, vulnerable mind in seconds. ITV should be ashamed to put its name on such dross.
Mama rating : ABSOLUTE ZERO

Rosie and Jim
Thrill-seeker Ragdoll Rosie leads naïve boyfriend Jim astray. Tootle’s so busy tootling on his tootler it’s surprising he doesn’t crash the boat.
Mama rating : 4

Thomas and Friends
A grim tale of shunting-yard violence, unquantified carbon emissions and obesity at the top. Interesting to note that a series dreamt up in the post-WWII period to teach children the value of unthinking industriousness and unquestioning respect for people in top hats has become so successful in the post-millennium period….
Mama rating : 6, because we like the songs

The Wiggles
Four cute Ozzie blokes in colourful T-shirts wiggling their hips and pumping pom-poms. Mama’s doing the Wiggle Groove, and so are the kids.
Mama rating : 7

Tractor Tom
Smart-arse tractor saves the day again and again and (yawn) again. Keep your eye on the sheep – they’re groovy.
Mama rating : 4

Bob the Builder
A job finished in every episode plus a woman working on the building crew. Clearly, no-one at Hit Entertainment has had the builders in recently.
Mama rating : 3

Kipper
Last of the Summer Wine for pint-sized dog lovers. Groovy soundtrack designed to chill even the most hair-raising Monday morning.
Mama rating : 6

Gardener’s World (oh yes)
The children soak up hot tips from the BBC’s best gardeners. I fantasize that the stray coppers I thrust into AJ’s piggy bank from time to time will one day add up to enough to buy a day of Monty Don consultation on my pile of builder’s rubble and unidentified Italian invasives.
Mama rating : 7

2 comments:

Sarah said...

Have you tried Shaun the Sheep ?

Gets a 9 here.

He really likes it, I love it.

Louise said...

Shaun the Sheep - that's a new one on me. Since I wrote this, I've banned Transformers, Gormiti and Ben10. We've also discovered YouTube and endless repeats of three seasons of ScoobyDoo.

Friday, 30 November 2007

DVD Notes : Of trains, cranes and dinosaurs

One degree at 8am and frosty. Clear skies. The distant snow-tipped Alps are bathed in pink.

We don’t have tv in Carmine Superiore. But this year we have discovered the DVD (played on my cranky old Inspiron 500m) as a great way to hypnotise the children. Most of the DVDs we own are in English, and almost all of them are sent by Grandma from the UK. They’re all second-hand; Grandma combs the charity shops and car boot sales with the same efficiency as a shame-faced mother picking nits from her children’s hair.

To succeed in our house, a children’s programme needs a.) to keep the two little angels quiet, enabling Mama to feed them, wash them, put on their shoes and clean their teeth all without the little eyes becoming unglued from the screen; b.) to teach numbers and the alphabet, problem solving in physics and mechanics, conflict resolution and the basics of nutritional science, all in the same 20-minute slot; and c.) to help Mama’s day start out right with a decent soundtrack, especially when heard for the millionth time (this week).

So, which children’s entertainment offerings make the grade in the house on the hill?

The scale is 1-7 where 1 is ‘this DVD is so bad it’ll get hidden in the back of the wardrobe until next summer, when it’ll be used to keep the birds off the grapes’ and 7 is ‘this DVD is so great Mama might even be watching secretly while Pappi is away on business’. For ratings of less than 1, use your imagination (as that grinning American dinosaur would say (and I don’t mean George W. Bush)).

Barney
“Anything can happen,
Anything can be,
Anything can happen
In the
land of makebelieve…”

Wasn’t that George W. Bush’s campaign song in 2000?
Mama rating : 2; she can’t stand purple.

Angelina Ballerina
Myomorphic balletic ambition meets incidental music from the soundtrack of Myst (remember?), bringing a slightly sinister undertone to the chintz, the squeaky voices and the heinous headgear.
Mama rating : 5

Fireman Sam
Nightmares are made of how closely Naughty Norman Pryce resembles No.1 son. Hide the matches.
Mama rating : 4

Hi5
Spot the brain cell, shoot the songwriter.
Mama rating : 1

Ready to Learn : Diggers and Dumpers
Don’t allow this DVD in your home more than ten minutes. Give it away to the next birthday boy in your diary – do anything to avoid playing it to your kids. The soundtrack alone is enough to curdle the milk in the fridge, but, like crack, it will hook a young, vulnerable mind in seconds. ITV should be ashamed to put its name on such dross.
Mama rating : ABSOLUTE ZERO

Rosie and Jim
Thrill-seeker Ragdoll Rosie leads naïve boyfriend Jim astray. Tootle’s so busy tootling on his tootler it’s surprising he doesn’t crash the boat.
Mama rating : 4

Thomas and Friends
A grim tale of shunting-yard violence, unquantified carbon emissions and obesity at the top. Interesting to note that a series dreamt up in the post-WWII period to teach children the value of unthinking industriousness and unquestioning respect for people in top hats has become so successful in the post-millennium period….
Mama rating : 6, because we like the songs

The Wiggles
Four cute Ozzie blokes in colourful T-shirts wiggling their hips and pumping pom-poms. Mama’s doing the Wiggle Groove, and so are the kids.
Mama rating : 7

Tractor Tom
Smart-arse tractor saves the day again and again and (yawn) again. Keep your eye on the sheep – they’re groovy.
Mama rating : 4

Bob the Builder
A job finished in every episode plus a woman working on the building crew. Clearly, no-one at Hit Entertainment has had the builders in recently.
Mama rating : 3

Kipper
Last of the Summer Wine for pint-sized dog lovers. Groovy soundtrack designed to chill even the most hair-raising Monday morning.
Mama rating : 6

Gardener’s World (oh yes)
The children soak up hot tips from the BBC’s best gardeners. I fantasize that the stray coppers I thrust into AJ’s piggy bank from time to time will one day add up to enough to buy a day of Monty Don consultation on my pile of builder’s rubble and unidentified Italian invasives.
Mama rating : 7

2 comments:

Sarah said...

Have you tried Shaun the Sheep ?

Gets a 9 here.

He really likes it, I love it.

Louise said...

Shaun the Sheep - that's a new one on me. Since I wrote this, I've banned Transformers, Gormiti and Ben10. We've also discovered YouTube and endless repeats of three seasons of ScoobyDoo.