27 November 2011

Sesame Street vs Blue's Clues

So one direct result of this childhood regress is my son's renewed interest for the dvds he used to play eternally. I'm talking about his one-time enthusiasm for Sesame Street, which was my closest attempt to exposing him to the Filipino show that dominated my childhood - Batibot (Both shows actually had the same producers. Learn more about it here).

the little one in his Elmo phase

After a while though, this Sesame Street phase was overpowered by an obsession for Blue's Clues.I had no problems with Blue's Clues. Steve and Jo were cute "playmates" who definitely had the charism of getting kids to join them in their adventure. The shows were in many ways entertaining and educational.

photo from here

But watching Sesame Street with my son again made me feel sorry that I didn't pile up more dvds on this (much more bring them to Belgium since one can hardly find any of that here). I also felt sorry that this show has lost support through the years, to think that what they try to teach indirectly has more relevance today than ever before. 

I loved the way the characters injected a sense of humor in kids (and in mum and dad). Most of the comedy was subtle, which made it even more effective, and were hardly offensive. I loved how they covered a variety of personalities - the kind and gentle Ernie, the uptight Bert, the sweet and charming Elmo, the grouchy Oscar, the "motherly" Big Bird, and so on. I also loved the wide representation of races - a quaint picture of cosmopolitan New York in the 70s and 80s.

photo from here

What I loved most of all, which I can hardly find in any other kid's show today, is how they encouraged kids to play in the neighborhood. Ironically, this last feature is what makes the show lose its appeal today - because there is no longer such a thing called neighborhood. 

Blue's Clues doesn't have that - a sense of neighborhood. The play it encourages is confined indoors. Even  in the set where one finds  outdoor characters Shovel and Pail, play is still within the confined space of the backyard garden. One could say that this is a reflection of our  world today - where bridging ties with one's next door neighbor is such a chore.

I perfectly understand that.  I can relate to that. Like I doubt if I ever can just knock next door and ask if my son can play with my neighbor's children. Yet, coming from a childhood where I played with friends in the streets till the moon  was up stops me from saying that there's nothing I can do about what my child is missing now. 

I guess if we really want to teach our children something better today, we can start by taming this heightened paranoia for the outdoors and towards neighbors.  Like we can start by letting them watch shows like Sesame Street. (By the way, if you buy their dvds, you actually help in supporting their foundation. More of that here). 

No comments: