Monday, August 6, 2012

Bob the Builder

Raphaela recently discovered the television programs, Bob the Builder and Thomas and Friends, and we watch it every day for all of its ten minutes before bath time.  I have several observations as an adult and a parent as to its so-called educational value, as well of some questions:

One, are Bob and Wendy dating?  Is Bob turned on by the fact that Wendy has as much skill in  construction, or does he find it threatening as a man?

What is the general phenomenon of talking vehicles, such as the trucks in Bob the Builder or the trains in Thomas and Friends?  As an adult, I find it odd and at times scary, especially the expressions on the face of the trains in the Thomas and Friends.  (I am impressed, however, that they convinced Ringo Starr to narrate.)  Perhaps the reason that every show features a crash or injury due to negligence is because trains are not supposed to talk unless they are possessed a la Stephen King, and cement mixers with ADD are not meant to be left alone to finish the job.

What kind of message does Bob the Builder send to children with the scarecrow character Spud?  This individual in the show, in every show, plays pranks, disobeys instructions, refuses to do his job and holds back the group with his lack of consideration and carelessness.  Instead of teaching him, it becomes a joke, and it tells children that you can misbehave and not experience the consequences of your actions.  Every show has Spud saying, "Sorry Bob, I won't do it again."  And lo and behold, he has forgotten his promise by the next show.

Spud is like Gilligan, vote him off the island and their little world will be a better place.

Random note to the politically astute, Barack Obama poached his campaign from Bob.  "Yes We Can!" is a trademark of Bob the Builder, and I wonder if the President had any qualms about stealing from a children's show.

Yes, both Bob the Builder and Thomas teach teamwork and some version of socialization and morality, but I do feel the need to watch it with Raphaela, and make sure that the better lessons are understood and stated clearly.

Quite frankly, I would rather introduce Raphaela to classic Star Trek episodes, we would both enjoy it more.


Midlife Singlemum said...

LOL. I don't think Ringo has much work these days so he was probably more than happy to do the voice. Thomas is very big in the UK. He's a classic - I'm sure I remember taking Thomas books out of the library when I was a child. Also, the creators of Bob tried to sue Obama for compensation over their catchphrase but they were told they didn't have a case. In the UK it was big joke that a presidential candidate models himself on Bob the Builder.

tesyaa said...

The Ringo episodes were produced around 15 years ago, maybe more. I am not sure your daughter would enjoy the original Star Trek as much a you think. Little communicating devices aren't as exciting today as they were in the late 60s.

koshergourmetmart said...

These shows are kids shows trying Kids shows can be boring to adults but kids love them (example: barney)but to analyze them with "are Bob and Wendy dating" is pointless -- "sometime a cigar is just a cigar" comes to mind. Bob and Wendy are friends like your daughter is friends with boys. They are also not soap operas where there is a continuing storyline. They are stand alone episodes and that is why Spud continues to misbehave and seems not to learn his lesson. Perhaps he is there to show how things can work out at the end even after mistakes happen. I am unsure even you would like watching the original star trek anymore. I rerwatched some of them recently and found them somewhat slow.