I like to think of myself as a connoisseur around a few highly important topics.
Certain books and authors, sure. The Beatles, definitely. Classic jazz, I’ve taken the classes. Nerd films like Star Wars? I have three lightsabers in my house, thank you very much.
But here is the thing- over the last few years I feel like I’ve added a new one to my list.
Yes, I am now an expert on PBS Kids and I feel I have the power (nah, not just the power, but the knowledge) to back it up, to say what is working and what is not on the lineup of shows PBS gives to our little ones.
There are the shows I love (Wild Kratts [which I wrote an entire post about here], The Odd Squad, Word Girl, and Daniel Tiger [a post here]); there are shows I like (Curious George, Peep and the Big Wide World); there are shows I think that need a lot of help (Sesame Street, I’ve written a few posts about them, but I would like the writers to stop and consider this: parodies don’t work when the audience doesn’t know the reference; all you are doing is negatively impacted their future enjoyment of the work being parodied- mind blown, eh?); and finally shows I think are awful (Clifford and Caillou). I’ve seen them all. I’ve been to the mountain, climbed it and returned with my tale.
Yet, there is one show I truly cannot put my finger on. My opinion changes every time I watch it. Sometimes I feel love for it (real love), and others I shake my head wondering what the writers were thinking.
It’s like leftover night for dinner, when sometimes things taste great and other times you just wish you ordered pizza.
I’m talking about Arthur, based on the books by Marc Brown, one of the great mainstays of PBS Kids, airing now for over 20 years. A show that has grown so vast since it started—with characters, subplots, etc.—that an encyclopedia around the world would not be unheard of. That is the show Arthur, and honestly, I have no idea how I feel about the residents of Elwood City.
Yes, It is my television broccoli. Continue reading