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View Full Version : Franklin the Turtle from Noggin is inappropriate for young children?


Morrison
07-28-2008, 03:10 PM
I happened to catch an episode of Franklin on Noggin last night (my one year old loves Noggin and watches all the shows, including Franklin, even though he has no idea what's goin on..). Anyway, this particular episode involved Frankin's grandmother explaining to Franklin the meaning and significance of a "time capsule", and how she made one when she was a five and buried it in the backyard, hoping to dig it up years later. When Franklin asked her if she ever retrieved it, she said that she never had the chance. I expected the reason to be because she moved or something along those lines. However, she proceeded to tell the tale (along with an emotional recreation) of how while she was playing in the yard a couple of days after she buried the time capsule, her house caught fire and burned down, killing both her parents! (I mean, even for me - an adult male - it was pretty deep watching this little turtle crying while watching her house burn down and whispering "Mother??? Father???".

This scene was followed by another scene in which Frankin's grandmother is all of sudden lying in bed, incredibly ill and dying, so Franklin decides to go find the time capsule in an attempt to "save her" by making her feel better.

I mean, I imagine that the average viewer of this show is 4 or 5? How is this appropriate subject matter??? What happened to the drama of learning how to share or eat your vegetables?

Freudian Slit
07-28-2008, 03:16 PM
Wow. I've seen episodes of "Franklin" and...wow. I had no idea it got this dark. That just seems so out there for such an overwhelmingly wholesome show. Usually the darkest it gets is cheating on a spelling test or taking a toy home from school that you shouldn't.

dangermom
07-28-2008, 04:09 PM
That's kind of bizarre. Are you sure you weren't watching the Adult Swim version of Franklin?

Hal Briston
07-28-2008, 04:27 PM
No worse then when Dora and Boots finally did it.

"ˇBestialidad!"

Morrison
07-28-2008, 04:28 PM
That's kind of bizarre. Are you sure you weren't watching the Adult Swim version of Franklin?


I wouldn't have believed it if I weren't watching it with my own two eyes. Even after my son was no longer watching, I continued to watch and see if they killed off the grandmother as well!

Antinor01
07-28-2008, 04:28 PM
That's kind of bizarre. Are you sure you weren't watching the Adult Swim version of Franklin?

It would have turned out that grandma set the fire if that were the case.

Miller
07-28-2008, 04:33 PM
The best children's entertainment is always horribly scaring.

Gus Gusterson
07-28-2008, 04:34 PM
There's an episode of Arthur called "Bleep". I forget the particulars, but it's about swearing. D.W. learns a swear and starts swearing in all sorts of inappropriate situations (since she's five years old or so, that would be every situation). They didn't just suggest that she was swearing - they bleeped out the swears. The Berenstain bears have a similar episode.

Most kids who are young enough to want to watch Arthur or The Berenstain Bears have no idea that there are swear words. The worst word they know is "stupid" (say "stupid" in any context and every kid will tell you that it's a very bad word). Who thought that teaching them that swears exist would be educational? If there are kids who already know swears watching, is a TV show going to make them stop? They probably learned the swears from TV in the first place.

MissMossie
07-28-2008, 04:40 PM
I wouldn't have believed it if I weren't watching it with my own two eyes. Even after my son was no longer watching, I continued to watch and see if they killed off the grandmother as well!
Well, did they?

Morrison
07-28-2008, 04:54 PM
Well, did they?

Thankfully, no. Saved me from finishing off the Prozac...

Rhythmdvl
07-28-2008, 04:55 PM
Some children’s shows get it right. (http://youtube.com/watch?v=YZTvDZHRFrU)

Wallet
07-28-2008, 04:57 PM
This was a full length Franklin movie, entitled "Franklin and the Turtle Lake Treasure".

I'm sorry I don't know how to write a proper link, but here it is at Amazon:

http://amazon.com/Franklin-Turtle-Treasure-Louise-Cheka/dp/B000NTMA1K/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1217278076&sr=8-1


I also thought it was a pretty out-there episode of Franklin. Usually the stories are gentle - usually the worst thing that happens is Franklin loses Sam, or he thinks his friends don't like him anymore.

I don't think the grandmother actually says that her parents were incinerated in the fire - she says something like, "I lost everything that day". Still, a heavy topic for little ones!
-Wallet-

Lemur866
07-28-2008, 04:58 PM
There's an episode of Arthur called "Bleep". I forget the particulars, but it's about swearing. D.W. learns a swear and starts swearing in all sorts of inappropriate situations (since she's five years old or so, that would be every situation). They didn't just suggest that she was swearing - they bleeped out the swears. The Berenstain bears have a similar episode.

Most kids who are young enough to want to watch Arthur or The Berenstain Bears have no idea that there are swear words. The worst word they know is "stupid" (say "stupid" in any context and every kid will tell you that it's a very bad word). Who thought that teaching them that swears exist would be educational? If there are kids who already know swears watching, is a TV show going to make them stop? They probably learned the swears from TV in the first place.
Wait, you think 5 year olds don't know about swear words?

They don't learn about swear words from the TV. They learn from listening to their parents. I remember being a bit embarrassed when my 2 year old dropped a crayon and loudly exclaimed, "Fuck! I say Fuck!"

Morrison
07-28-2008, 05:21 PM
I also thought it was a pretty out-there episode of Franklin. Usually the stories are gentle - usually the worst thing that happens is Franklin loses Sam, or he thinks his friends don't like him anymore.

I don't think the grandmother actually says that her parents were incinerated in the fire - she says something like, "I lost everything that day". Still, a heavy topic for little ones!
-Wallet-


Yeah, that's true, but as the voice over says "I lost everything that day", the flashback is the young 5 year old girl staring at the house buring down and saying "Mother??? (weep weep) Father?? (weep weep)"

Maybe it's meant to go over kids' heads, but who are they writing these shows for anyway?

maggenpye
07-28-2008, 05:22 PM
Yep, my five-year old got to be the coolest kid in class by saying 'Oh, fucking hell!' when it was to wet to go outside and play.

I apologised to the teacher for teaching my kid that phrase. My dad spent the next week teaching her worse ones - he's like that.

Sesame Street was great for dealing with BIG issues. When I was little, it was about the only show that did (IIRC). Then during the 80's and 90's there seemed to be a whole landslide of little kid shows dealing with Huge Life changing Events TM (that didn't affect the cast or set-up for next week's show).

We used to have a Franklin book that dealt with mixed race families and prejudice - so the OP wasn't such a shock to me.

KneadToKnow
07-28-2008, 05:25 PM
I was watching Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends the other day; the episode was "Go Goo Go," which introduces the character of Goo. Goo is described by one of the other characters as having an over-active imagination and being easily over-stimulated. Consequently, she is banned from Foster's because when she comes there, she winds up stuffing the place with brand new friends she imagines on a whim and then essentially abandons. Oh, and by the way, she is African-American.

I've seen this episode before, but for some reason, it never struck me until the other day: Goo is a welfare queen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welfare_queen).

I would really like to know if McCracken et al. got any grief over that.

Captain Amazing
07-28-2008, 05:28 PM
I remember being a bit embarrassed when my 2 year old dropped a crayon and loudly exclaimed, "Fuck! I say Fuck!"

Were you embarrassed because he swore, or because your 2 year old is Foghorn Leghorn?

jackdavinci
07-28-2008, 07:03 PM
We used to have a Franklin book that dealt with mixed race families and prejudice - so the OP wasn't such a shock to me.

What! Like... a bear marrying a rabbit? What did the kids look like?

While the parents dying seems a little bit of a tonal departure for Franklin, it's certainly not unusual for kid stories, in which the great number of orphans is far in excess of the statistical norm.

maggenpye
07-28-2008, 07:26 PM
What! Like... a bear marrying a rabbit? What did the kids look like?

Something very much like that. Definitely a critter of differing phyla, which lead to a discussion about why they couldn't really breed in real life, which lead to a discussion of why mixed race families are even considered odd when we're all human, which was probably the point of the story.

I'm starting to wonder if it was Franklin because I think the kid was half rabbit, half turtle. Definitely one of those deep and meaningful series where every story is a Life Lesson. The main character's dad helped them build a fantastic tree hut, so that all the other mean kids had to be nice to the rabtle (turbit?).

Great message; "Bribe them into being your friends!"

Freudian Slit
07-28-2008, 07:27 PM
I'm starting to wonder if it was Franklin because I think the kid was half rabbit, half turtle. Definitely one of those deep and meaningful series where every story is a Life Lesson. The main character's dad helped them build a fantastic tree hut, so that all the other mean kids had to be nice to the rabtle (turbit?).
I'm open minded, but...a half rabbit-half turtle? That's a little freakish.

On "Sagwa," there was an episode where the cats' cousin is a dog, but it's because he's adopted.

jayjay
07-28-2008, 07:30 PM
No worse then when Dora and Boots finally did it.

"ˇBestialidad!"

Is this like "Only Nixon could go to China"?

Diogenes the Cynic
07-28-2008, 07:38 PM
My kids know what swear words are. They hear them every day from their father. My 3 year old says "fuck" when she drops something and then my wife glares daggers at me. I'm going to have to get her to stop that before she starts pre-school.

As to the OP, my kids watch Franklin and I think the episode you're talking about is pretty atypical. Usually its's total fluff. Baking cookies, playing baseball, stuff like that.

Diogenes the Cynic
07-28-2008, 07:41 PM
Something very much like that. Definitely a critter of differing phyla, which lead to a discussion about why they couldn't really breed in real life, which lead to a discussion of why mixed race families are even considered odd when we're all human, which was probably the point of the story.

I'm starting to wonder if it was Franklin because I think the kid was half rabbit, half turtle. Definitely one of those deep and meaningful series where every story is a Life Lesson. The main character's dad helped them build a fantastic tree hut, so that all the other mean kids had to be nice to the rabtle (turbit?).

Great message; "Bribe them into being your friends!"
I have no idea what that is, but that's not Frankin. Franklin is 100% turtle. My 8 year old doesn't know of a turbit show either, and she knows all the cartoons. What channel were you watching? That sounds really odd.

Freudian Slit
07-28-2008, 07:46 PM
I was watching Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends the other day; the episode was "Go Goo Go," which introduces the character of Goo. Goo is described by one of the other characters as having an over-active imagination and being easily over-stimulated. Consequently, she is banned from Foster's because when she comes there, she winds up stuffing the place with brand new friends she imagines on a whim and then essentially abandons. Oh, and by the way, she is African-American.

I've seen this episode before, but for some reason, it never struck me until the other day: Goo is a welfare queen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welfare_queen).

I would really like to know if McCracken et al. got any grief over that.
Not sure if I'm being whooshed, but I saw Goo as just being an over the top, short attention span, overly imaginative type kid. She happens to be African American but I never really saw that as being terribly relevant.

KneadToKnow
07-28-2008, 07:53 PM
Not sure if I'm being whooshed, but I saw Goo as just being an over the top, short attention span, overly imaginative type kid. She happens to be African American but I never really saw that as being terribly relevant.
Sorry, I didn't mean to suggest that I actually think of Goo as a welfare queen, only to suggest that someone with the right frame of mind wouldn't have much trouble making that extremely wrong-thinking connection.

There's something said in that episode to the effect of how Goo wantonly creates new friends (wrong-thinking mind = "has all these children"), dumps them on Foster's to care for them (wrong-thinking mind = "welfare"), and goes on her merry way. Something about that and the fact that on-screen African-Americans are relatively rare on Foster's made me wonder, as I said above, "How much mail did they get over this?"

Freudian Slit
07-28-2008, 07:55 PM
There's something said in that episode to the effect of how Goo wantonly creates new friends (wrong-thinking mind = "has all these children"), dumps them on Foster's to care for them (wrong-thinking mind = "welfare"), and goes on her merry way. Something about that and the fact that on-screen African-Americans are relatively rare on Foster's made me wonder, as I said above, "How much mail did they get over this?"
Ah, okay. Yeah, I can see how someone might think that. Considering that in an anthology on rape, I once read a feminist analysis of how George from "Seinfeld" having sex with his cleaning lady and giving her the cashmere sweater with a dot on it was some kind of colonial power exchange...yeah, I can see how someone out there would see Goo as a welfare queen.

maggenpye
07-29-2008, 07:21 AM
I have no idea what that is, but that's not Frankin. Franklin is 100% turtle. My 8 year old doesn't know of a turbit show either, and she knows all the cartoons. What channel were you watching? That sounds really odd.
It was a book based on a TV show. Aimed at the same demographic as Franklin. The turbit was a one-off character, only brought in to illustrate that Bigotry Is Bad (but will get you a really neat tree hut). We never saw the beastie on the TV and he never showed up in other books. This is all years (5-7) ago, the kid who loved it so much is 9 and a half now and thinks Spongebob is 'too immature'.
It was exactly the same set-up as Franklin, even to having the lead animal's name as the title of the show and on the books. Oversimplified anthropomorhic morality represented by cute preteen animals. Eat your veggies to grow strong and because mother loves you. Do not lie or Daddy will be unhappy. - etc etc. I've seen so many of them they've all blurred and I can't remember what the main animal was. "Critters" springs to mind, 'The other critters wouldn't play with him', kind of thing.

Left Hand of Dorkness
07-29-2008, 08:44 AM
Some children’s shows get it right. (http://youtube.com/watch?v=YZTvDZHRFrU)
Damn your eyes. While I was watching it I banged my knee on my desk. That must be why I was tearing up. Must be.

Daniel

myskepticsight
07-29-2008, 09:30 AM
Damn your eyes. While I was watching it I banged my knee on my desk. That must be why I was tearing up. Must be.

Daniel

Yeah I turned it off when I started tearing up. Don't need to cry at work.

nd_n8
07-29-2008, 09:49 AM
Is this like "Only Nixon could go to China"?
I noticed that too, wondered if anybody else did.

Gus Gusterson
07-29-2008, 12:28 PM
Wait, you think 5 year olds don't know about swear words?

They don't learn about swear words from the TV. They learn from listening to their parents. I remember being a bit embarrassed when my 2 year old dropped a crayon and loudly exclaimed, "Fuck! I say Fuck!"Only a bit embarrassed? What is the world coming to?

My kids (4 and 5) don't know swear words. They'll learn them soon enough, I'm sure, but I don't see the need to teach them such things.

Madd Maxx
07-29-2008, 12:43 PM
Geez, you think that was bad? I guess you didn't see the one where Bear was breaking into the other animal's homes to steal stuff to support his meth habit. Or the one where Mrs. Beaver was turning tricks down at the pond to support their family after Mr. Beaver got let go from the logging company. Or the one where Mr. Owl gets arrested for innappropriate text messages sent to a student at the school.

maggenpye
07-29-2008, 05:44 PM
Call the Sexual Harassment Panda!

FloatyGimpy
07-29-2008, 06:38 PM
Some children’s shows get it right. (http://youtube.com/watch?v=YZTvDZHRFrU)

My grandpa died yesterday. He was only about 60. He had cancer. Some times having things said to you, in a way you'd say to a little child, is just what you need to hear.

Thank you for the link.

Freudian Slit
07-29-2008, 06:50 PM
Does it make me a bad person that I'm more freaked out by a turbit than by a little turtle losing her father and mother in a heinous fire?

Kythereia
07-29-2008, 07:17 PM
I couldn't even watch past the moment where Big Bird says "Oh, he's in the store..." and starts to go off. Had to close the browser window.

GinaB
02-06-2012, 10:05 AM
I just googled "Franklin episode fire grandmother" and this is the first thing that popped up. I see that you posted YEARS ago, but my kids saw this episode last night and were all very upset so I wanted to see what they were talking about.
My husband and I were at a Superbowl Party where the adults were in the basement watching the game and the younger kids were upstairs playing/watching tv (Noggin - and I admit, guiltily...we were using the tv in this situation as "a babysitter!" - I'm not the only one who has ever done this, right?). My kids are 8, 6, and 3. My daughter came downstairs and said, "the show is too scary" - so my husband went up and checked to make sure that the station hadn't been accidentally changed - saw it was on Franklin (Noggin...don't they call it preschool on tv...??!!) and said she could play instead of watching tv if it was too scary. When I brought the kids home at 1/2 time, it was all they could talk about was this scary show they watched...fire, burying a "box", grandmother dying...I was like...what? Franklin? We have Franklin books and they love them...! I was confused at what they might have seen. Last night, all 3 of them ended up in our bed...scary dreams. My 3 year old is chattering away this morning about fires and burying a treasure and grandmothers dying. So, I googled it to see if there was something about this episode. And here, I found it. So, I can't say I saw this episode...and I feel bad about putting the tv on for my kids and not seeing what they saw (especially after my daughter came down and said it was scary). I'm feeling guilty. And it sounds like other adults who have seen it agree that it may not be appropriate for kids!

Tom Tildrum
02-06-2012, 10:35 AM
I've never seen this show, but this episode totally sounds like a Robot Chicken parody of a kid's show. Maybe the writer was venting some old personal trauma, and never expected that script to get picked up.

twickster
02-06-2012, 11:14 AM
Welcome to the SDMB, GinaB. There's no problem with your reviving an old thread, though some of the people who posted in it three years ago are no longer around.

I am, however, going to move it to our forum for arts and entertainment, Cafe Society.

Again, welcome!

twickster, MPSIMS moderator

Jophiel
02-06-2012, 11:17 AM
Sesame Street was great for dealing with BIG issues. When I was little, it was about the only show that did (IIRC).
When I worked for a PBS TV station, we had a promo with a black screen that would show the words "Death... War... Divorce... Poverty... Loss..." with a voiceover coming in saying "One man tackles all these issues as he has for years: Mr. Rogers Neighborhood."

It's true though. The man had a knack for taking big life issues and distilling them down in a way that a child could, if not 100% understand, at least not be scared shitless by.

Chicagojeff
02-07-2012, 11:33 AM
When I worked for a PBS TV station, we had a promo with a black screen that would show the words "Death... War... Divorce... Poverty... Loss..." with a voiceover coming in saying "One man tackles all these issues as he has for years: Mr. Rogers Neighborhood."

It's true though. The man had a knack for taking big life issues and distilling them down in a way that a child could, if not 100% understand, at least not be scared shitless by.

Yeah.. saw an old Nightline clip where they show Mr Rogers in around 1968 explain assassination to kids.. damn.. Fred Rogers was amazing..

Loach
02-07-2012, 01:11 PM
That's not as disturbing as when Little Bear was naked in a way too small tub with his naked father. To be fair they were always naked. But now that I think of it Little Bear was always naked but his parents got to wear clothes. They couldn't buy him some pants?

PSXer
02-07-2012, 01:17 PM
can't let children know that bad things happen

Leaffan
02-07-2012, 01:19 PM
Donald Duck didn't need pants.

Sally Mander
02-07-2012, 01:23 PM
That's not as disturbing as when Little Bear was naked in a way too small tub with his naked father. To be fair they were always naked. But now that I think of it Little Bear was always naked but his parents got to wear clothes. They couldn't buy him some pants?

IIRC, he always wore a coat and a hat when it was cold out. Wait, why does a bear need a coat? Doesn't the whole "being a bear" thing sort of cancel out the need for a coat?

jayjay
02-07-2012, 02:30 PM
IIRC, he always wore a coat and a hat when it was cold out. Wait, why does a bear need a coat? Doesn't the whole "being a bear" thing sort of cancel out the need for a coat?

Unless you're Paddington, then you NEED your duffle coat!

Zebra
02-07-2012, 07:09 PM
There's an episode of Arthur called "Bleep". I forget the particulars, but it's about swearing. D.W. learns a swear and starts swearing in all sorts of inappropriate situations (since she's five years old or so, that would be every situation). They didn't just suggest that she was swearing - they bleeped out the swears.



I'm sorry but D.W. is just a bitch. When I watch that show I want her to get hit by a car.

Freudian Slit
02-07-2012, 07:23 PM
I'm sorry but D.W. is just a bitch. When I watch that show I want her to get hit by a car.

I know I wasn't the only one cheering when Arthur finally grew a pair and punched her.

Francine was another who needed to get hers.

Larry Mudd
02-07-2012, 07:43 PM
If there are kids who already know swears watching, is a TV show going to make them stop? They probably learned the swears from TV in the first place.I've seen that episode of Arthur - my toddler watched it.

Her TV-viewing is very tightly controlled - much more tightly-controlled than her parents' tongues are every waking moment. She recently got her little toy shopping cart jammed up on some furniture and declared "Shit de câlice!" Far from being something she heard on TV, this was her own invention, a blilingual hybrid of context-if-not-age-appropriate oaths she has had the opportunity to overhear in the house when mama and papa forget themselves for a moment.

We delicately try to dissuade her from using taboo words, without giving her the impression that they are super-powerful words that she can bust out to get a guaranteed reaction. I was glad to see that episode of Arthur - any little reinforcement of our attempts to explain why we'd prefer it if she didn't use certain words (especially in polite company) is welcome. :)

Freudian Slit
02-07-2012, 11:12 PM
IIRC, he always wore a coat and a hat when it was cold out. Wait, why does a bear need a coat? Doesn't the whole "being a bear" thing sort of cancel out the need for a coat?

There was a story and maybe an episode where Little Bear kept coming in and saying he was cold and needed something to put on (hat, scarf, etc.). At the end he says he really needs a fur coat and so takes off all his clothing and goes out with...the fur coat he already has on.

Sally Mander
02-08-2012, 12:27 AM
There was a story and maybe an episode where Little Bear kept coming in and saying he was cold and needed something to put on (hat, scarf, etc.). At the end he says he really needs a fur coat and so takes off all his clothing and goes out with...the fur coat he already has on.

:smack: I remember that now. My "baby" is 14, and I haven't read the books in years.

grude
02-08-2012, 01:29 AM
Children's programming has really grown up in recent years.

Adventure Time: More sexual innuendo than you can shake a dildo at, at times I have almost burst out laughing at what they slip in. The show is almost a deconstruction of kids shows, which sometimes gets downright brutal and depressing.

Star Wars Clone Wars: Blade Runner level moral ambiguity for your five year old, "those weren't clones that died out there, those were men!". The slavery episodes were probably some of the darkest shit to be seen on Cartoon Network.

Invader Zim: A villain protagonist, and a cynical misanthropic outlook tempered with a sense of humor make this gorgeous series far lighter in tone than it should be. "I love you cold, unfeeling robot arm!".

Avatar The Last Airbender: Fantasy adventure series that has a brutal genocidal worldwide war as a focal point of the plot, often it feels that they are struggling to tell their story under the restrictions of being a "kids show".

FriarTed
02-08-2012, 08:38 AM
No worse then when Dora and Boots finally did it.

"ˇBestialidad!"

And like every other show- once that sexual tension is broken, it just goes downhill.

RickJay
02-08-2012, 09:10 AM
No worse then when Dora and Boots finally did it.

"ˇBestialidad!"
I'll be sending you an invoice for a monitor, a keyboard, and a coffee.

"Through the woods, over the hill, and past Jerry Sandusky's house!"

RickJay
02-08-2012, 09:18 AM
Yeah.. saw an old Nightline clip where they show Mr Rogers in around 1968 explain assassination to kids.. damn.. Fred Rogers was amazing..
If you want a few tears in your eyes, Youtube up the Sesame Street where they deal with the fact that will Lee, the actor who played Mr. Hooper, died. The adults tell Big Bird that Mr. Hooper died. He's not just written out of the show; they don't tell him Mr. Hooper went away, or that he was sold to a nice farm family or something; they tell him he died. "He's dead," says Maria. No euphemisms like "passed" are used; they say he died. When Big Bird asks when he's coming back they explain he's never coming back. They're upset, and Big Bird gets upset, in much the same manner a child would.

It's touching (in part because the cast starts crying for real over their friend - some can barely deliver their lines) but it's phenomenal television. They have to deal with someone dying, in no small aprt due to the fact that Mr. Hooper was the most beloved of the live cast members and the issue couldn't be ignored, and so they deal with it, but in a way that reassures Big Bird - and therefore the children watching - of the things they need to be reassured about; that they will be taken care of, that it wasn't their fault, and so on. It's really one of the most remarkably devised, written, and performed scenes in the history of television.

In a subtle but brilliant move, at the end of the episode, Big Bird is introduced to a neighbor and their new baby. Though it's not actually said, the circle of life continues; "One day they're not here and the next day they are!" Big Bird says of babies, stating the reverse of death. Life goes on, the story says; sometimes it sucks, but sometimes it's pretty awesome, so draw courage from the good parts and you'll get through the bad.

You can deal with this stuff with kids. Perhaps more to the point, you need to. My kid's 6 and has asked me things about death and whatnot, and it's a LOT easier to deal with it in a sensitive, intelligent manner than avoiding it. Do it right and you give the child the understanding they need to build the their character.

WhyNot
02-08-2012, 09:33 AM
Am I the only parent who actually seeks out the "dark" stuff so that we can have these conversations with our kids? I'd far rather we discuss house fires and grandmothers dying for the first time when it's not actually our house on fire, or my child's grandmother dying.

Poysyn
02-08-2012, 10:00 AM
If you want a few tears in your eyes, Youtube up the Sesame Street where they deal with the fact that will Lee, the actor who played Mr. Hooper, died. The adults tell Big Bird that Mr. Hooper died. He's not just written out of the show; they don't tell him Mr. Hooper went away, or that he was sold to a nice farm family or something; they tell him he died. "He's dead," says Maria. No euphemisms like "passed" are used; they say he died. When Big Bird asks when he's coming back they explain he's never coming back. They're upset, and Big Bird gets upset, in much the same manner a child would.

It's touching (in part because the cast starts crying for real over their friend - some can barely deliver their lines) but it's phenomenal television. They have to deal with someone dying, in no small aprt due to the fact that Mr. Hooper was the most beloved of the live cast members and the issue couldn't be ignored, and so they deal with it, but in a way that reassures Big Bird - and therefore the children watching - of the things they need to be reassured about; that they will be taken care of, that it wasn't their fault, and so on. It's really one of the most remarkably devised, written, and performed scenes in the history of television.

In a subtle but brilliant move, at the end of the episode, Big Bird is introduced to a neighbor and their new baby. Though it's not actually said, the circle of life continues; "One day they're not here and the next day they are!" Big Bird says of babies, stating the reverse of death. Life goes on, the story says; sometimes it sucks, but sometimes it's pretty awesome, so draw courage from the good parts and you'll get through the bad.

You can deal with this stuff with kids. Perhaps more to the point, you need to. My kid's 6 and has asked me things about death and whatnot, and it's a LOT easier to deal with it in a sensitive, intelligent manner than avoiding it. Do it right and you give the child the understanding they need to build the their character.


I also loved the episodes they shot after Hurricane Katrina - Big Bird's nest is destroyed and everyone has to deal with it. "My nest, my home..."

Loach
02-08-2012, 10:41 AM
Am I the only parent who actually seeks out the "dark" stuff so that we can have these conversations with our kids? I'd far rather we discuss house fires and grandmothers dying for the first time when it's not actually our house on fire, or my child's grandmother dying.

Yes you are the only one. They learn that stuff soon enough. No need to harden them at three. I didn't need to have my kids be the salty veterans in kindergarten. "Kid, if you had seen what I've seen......"

Jophiel
02-08-2012, 11:05 AM
Unless you're Paddington, then you NEED your duffle coat!
He was from darkest Peru. Wasn't used to our winters.
Am I the only parent who actually seeks out the "dark" stuff so that we can have these conversations with our kids? I'd far rather we discuss house fires and grandmothers dying for the first time when it's not actually our house on fire, or my child's grandmother dying.
Every time a distant relative dies, my mother tells me that I need to visit the wake and bring my son so he can see a dead body before it's hers.

Freudian Slit
02-08-2012, 11:09 AM
Yes you are the only one. They learn that stuff soon enough. No need to harden them at three. I didn't need to have my kids be the salty veterans in kindergarten. "Kid, if you had seen what I've seen......"

I don't think it's hardening them to introduce them to the idea that bad things happen. There are some kids who experience things like that firsthand. Telling them about it is hardly going to alter them greatly.

Loach
02-08-2012, 11:24 AM
I don't think it's hardening them to introduce them to the idea that bad things happen. There are some kids who experience things like that firsthand. Telling them about it is hardly going to alter them greatly.

Life does a good enough job at doing that. I don't need a cartoon on Noggin teaching them about death at 4. That's what Disney is for when they are 6.

Freudian Slit
02-08-2012, 11:36 AM
But why do you think it will harden them? Don't most kids already know what death is at age four? It hardly seems realistic to shield them from it. I think in general it's not the kids who are going to be upset by it -- it's parents who are uncomfortable at the idea of their children not being "innocent."

Saltire
02-08-2012, 12:30 PM
In reference to the Arthur episode, one should realize that the show isn't written for kids D.W.'s age, it's for kids Arthur's age: 7-10 years old. D.W. is the little sister, and the show is often about how to deal with the bad behavior of one's younger sibling, and how to be a proper older sibling.

jayjay
02-08-2012, 12:45 PM
If you want a few tears in your eyes, Youtube up the Sesame Street where they deal with the fact that will Lee, the actor who played Mr. Hooper, died. The adults tell Big Bird that Mr. Hooper died. He's not just written out of the show; they don't tell him Mr. Hooper went away, or that he was sold to a nice farm family or something; they tell him he died. "He's dead," says Maria. No euphemisms like "passed" are used; they say he died. When Big Bird asks when he's coming back they explain he's never coming back. They're upset, and Big Bird gets upset, in much the same manner a child would.

It's touching (in part because the cast starts crying for real over their friend - some can barely deliver their lines) but it's phenomenal television. They have to deal with someone dying, in no small aprt due to the fact that Mr. Hooper was the most beloved of the live cast members and the issue couldn't be ignored, and so they deal with it, but in a way that reassures Big Bird - and therefore the children watching - of the things they need to be reassured about; that they will be taken care of, that it wasn't their fault, and so on. It's really one of the most remarkably devised, written, and performed scenes in the history of television.

In a subtle but brilliant move, at the end of the episode, Big Bird is introduced to a neighbor and their new baby. Though it's not actually said, the circle of life continues; "One day they're not here and the next day they are!" Big Bird says of babies, stating the reverse of death. Life goes on, the story says; sometimes it sucks, but sometimes it's pretty awesome, so draw courage from the good parts and you'll get through the bad.

You can deal with this stuff with kids. Perhaps more to the point, you need to. My kid's 6 and has asked me things about death and whatnot, and it's a LOT easier to deal with it in a sensitive, intelligent manner than avoiding it. Do it right and you give the child the understanding they need to build the their character.

Tears in my eyes from being reminded of this. I was a teenager when Will Lee died, but I remember catching that scene while channel-surfing.

kushiel
02-08-2012, 01:36 PM
Children's programming has really grown up in recent years.

Adventure Time: More sexual innuendo than you can shake a dildo at, at times I have almost burst out laughing at what they slip in. The show is almost a deconstruction of kids shows, which sometimes gets downright brutal and depressing.

Star Wars Clone Wars: Blade Runner level moral ambiguity for your five year old, "those weren't clones that died out there, those were men!". The slavery episodes were probably some of the darkest shit to be seen on Cartoon Network.

Invader Zim: A villain protagonist, and a cynical misanthropic outlook tempered with a sense of humor make this gorgeous series far lighter in tone than it should be. "I love you cold, unfeeling robot arm!".

Avatar The Last Airbender: Fantasy adventure series that has a brutal genocidal worldwide war as a focal point of the plot, often it feels that they are struggling to tell their story under the restrictions of being a "kids show".

But those are meant for 10+, not really little kids. Actually, all 4 of those shows (except maybe Clone Wars) have big teen and adult circles of fans.

maggenpye
02-08-2012, 03:34 PM
When I worked for a PBS TV station, we had a promo with a black screen that would show the words "Death... War... Divorce... Poverty... Loss..." with a voiceover coming in saying "One man tackles all these issues as he has for years: Mr. Rogers Neighborhood."

It's true though. The man had a knack for taking big life issues and distilling them down in a way that a child could, if not 100% understand, at least not be scared shitless by.
We didn't get Mr Rogers in New Zealand.

We only learned of him through parody and satire - ETA to clarify this is possibly the best way to learn about Mr Rogers.

And WhyNot no, not by a long shot.

WhyNot
02-08-2012, 05:44 PM
And WhyNot no, not by a long shot.

That's a relief. Sometimes I feel like the last person in history using storytelling the old fashioned way - as a way to communicate to my children valuable information about life, the universe and everything...or at least what my cultural and personal values have to say about it. Of course good storytelling makes you face uncomfortable truths. That's what storytelling is for. It's for teaching. Franklin is the Morality Play (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morality_play) of today. Make the most of it.

Freudian Slit
02-08-2012, 11:14 PM
Actually, I didn't say that particular sentence -- maggenpye did. But I do agree with your sentiments, WhyNot!

WhyNot
02-09-2012, 08:56 AM
Actually, I didn't say that particular sentence -- maggenpye did. But I do agree with your sentiments, WhyNot!

Oops, I'm so sorry. Not sure what happened to my quote tags there, Freudian Slit! Of course, I didn't mean to misattribute, but I'm sorry about the error. :)

Lamia
02-09-2012, 11:01 AM
Life does a good enough job at doing that. I don't need a cartoon on Noggin teaching them about death at 4. That's what Disney is for when they are 6.My father died when I was four years old. I think I would have been happier if my only exposure to death at that age had involved a fictional animal, but I didn't have any say in the matter. I have never seen Franklin the Turtle and have no idea whether the episode in question is age-appropriate, but I think children who have been faced with a death in the family should be able to watch or read works written at their level that deal with this situation.

Perhaps these works should be hidden away from other, more fortunate children, lest they suffer the unspeakable tragedy of feeling sad for a little while about a cartoon show. But I do wonder what parents who feel this way think should be done about children who actually have experienced the death of a loved one. Should they be hidden away too?

90one
06-25-2013, 12:45 AM
I remember watching that when I was 5 about 8 years ago. I adored that episode because I thought it was sweet he cared that much for her. I almost cry of the nostalgia I feel when I think of it. It isn't inappropriate for children, I believe. :D

Kamino Neko
06-25-2013, 01:56 AM
I'm going to assume the no longer working YouTube clip from 2008 is Big Bird finding out that Mr Hooper had passed on?

BigT
06-25-2013, 03:34 PM
My father died when I was four years old. I think I would have been happier if my only exposure to death at that age had involved a fictional animal, but I didn't have any say in the matter. I have never seen Franklin the Turtle and have no idea whether the episode in question is age-appropriate, but I think children who have been faced with a death in the family should be able to watch or read works written at their level that deal with this situation.

Perhaps these works should be hidden away from other, more fortunate children, lest they suffer the unspeakable tragedy of feeling sad for a little while about a cartoon show. But I do wonder what parents who feel this way think should be done about children who actually have experienced the death of a loved one. Should they be hidden away too?

The entire point of fiction is to be an escape from the real world. This isn't just true for kids--it's true for adults, too. Even tragic works only work because you know that it didn't really happen, that your life isn't really affected.

So what this sort of stuff does is trivialize death. It's a problem that will go away in 30 minutes. That's fine for older people who know that it's just the conventions of the medium. But for little kids? It's teaching them the wrong lesson, entirely.

It's not my entertainment's job to teach my kids about the important life lessons. That's my job as their parent. I decide when they are ready for this sort of thing. It's not just a random episode of a children's show.

And that's really important here. Even to this day, people hate fiction that misleads them. A twist bad ending to something that should have a good ending pisses people off. If I want to see sad stuff, that's my choice. It shouldn't be foisted upon me or my children.

Because, again, fiction is an escape. It's an escape from the random chaos that is the real world.

jackdavinci
06-25-2013, 06:37 PM
The entire point of fiction is to be an escape from the real world.

Fiction is more malleable than the real world but that doesn't mean it's an escape from the real world any more than using a wrench to fix an engine easier is an "escape" from fixing the engine. Like any other tool, it's for whatever you choose to use it for. You can choose to use it to escape reality, but you can also choose to use it to get deeper in touch with it.

InternetLegend
06-25-2013, 07:50 PM
<snip>So what this sort of stuff does is trivialize death. It's a problem that will go away in 30 minutes. That's fine for older people who know that it's just the conventions of the medium. But for little kids? It's teaching them the wrong lesson, entirely.

It's not my entertainment's job to teach my kids about the important life lessons. That's my job as their parent. I decide when they are ready for this sort of thing. It's not just a random episode of a children's show.</snip>There's a tailor-made solution for you and other parents who feel the same way. If you don't want your child's entertainment to teach him or her any lessons, you can choose different entertainment!

kayT
06-25-2013, 08:07 PM
BigT, I'm sorry you think the whole point of fiction is to escape reality. You are missing a lot. One of the many points of fiction is to teach lessons about reality and dealing with it, actually.

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