Friday, June 5, 2009

People vs. The Wiggles

I can't believe it's come to this, but it's time for me to put on my attorney's hat and step up with my defense of The Wiggles...

You see, I've noticed lately that when I mention Monkey's extreme love of (or, dare I say, obsession with?) The Wiggles, I get reactions ranging from sympathy to almost disgust. "Oh, you poor thing..." "The Wiggles? They're awful!" "Thank goodness our kids don't like them" "We won't allow them in our house"


I can understand the sympathy. Any parent who's had a child obsessed with a particular TV show, movie, or character knows how mind-numbing it can get to watch the same things over and over and over again - the endless fascination gene must spontaneously combust somewhere between the ages of 5 and 10.

But what I don't get is the hate. When I've pushed a little farther, here's some of the comments I get, followed by my rebuttals:

1. "They're gay." Really? THAT's your argument? I hope you don't mind if I don't even dignify this one with a response, because it's clearly an argument crafted by a 12-year old, and it's not fair to pick fights with children.

2. "They're grown men - it's just creepy." Yes, they are grown men - does that automatically make them pedophiles or something?? In fact, a little quick research will reveal that The Wiggles were formed when several of its members met in school, where they were studying to be elementary teachers - The Wiggles act in its earliest stages was a school project, attempting to integrate learning with song and dance. How dare they!! And speaking of creepy, I am extremely thankful that Monkey has never seen, and thus never developed any kind of attachment to the Teletubbies or the Doodlebops - if you ask me, those are the kinds of characters that nightmares are made of!

3. "Their songs are so annoying - fruit salad, yummy, yummy." Setting aside my original point that anything can becmoe annoying in high doses, is their music really that bad? I don't think so. In fact, I'm amazed at the sheer volume of songs these guys have managed to put out, with the not unexpected outcome that some stuff is better than others. But the variety is sure nice - I'd rather listed to an entire Wiggles CD than have to fast-forward through our Sesame Street to find the three Elmo songs that Monkey is currently interested in, and then repeat those same three songs when Monkey insists on "more Elmo" and refuses to listen to more than three notes of a song by Big Bird, Grover, or Kermit the Frog. Sigh... And really, what alternatives are you advocating? Barney, with his annoying "I love you" song? I'll pass, thanks.

4. "There's nothing educational about them." Well, I'll give you that it's not Sesame Street, with it's emphasis on counting and the alphabet, but Monkey has learned a TON from watching The Wiggles, if you ask me. For starters, colors - Monkey could identify The Wiggles by their shirt color long before he knew their individual name (and frankly, yellow is still providing a small amount of confusion, given the Greg/Sam switch, which is unfortunate). But let's also not under-estimate the value of the dances - MOnkey has gone from merely watching the DVDs, to standing up and kind of bouncing and swaying along, to actively copying the dance moves. He jumps, waves his hands in the air, turns in circles, makes animal sounds, pretends to rock his bear to sleep, says "shhhh"... all relatively on cue with the songs and dances that he's watching - it's so much fun to watch, and he's learning to follow directions, develop his fine and gross motor skills, and I bet eventually he'll even sing! (Although the latter part does scare me a wee bit, if you've ever heard his father sing...) He may not be speaking another language, but he is very involved in the videos, identifying objects and characters and participating as if he were right there - pretty cool, IMO.

Ironically, Monkey's unwavering devotion to The Wiggles appears to be, well, wavering just a bit in the past couple of weeks, with Elmo providing some strong competition of late. Of course this would happen just weeks after I bought Monkey tickets to a live Wiggles show, right? Let's hope that he doesn't lose interest in them altogether any time too soon - the concert's not until the end of August, and Daddy and I certainly don't want to be the only ones in our family singing along! :-)

1 comment:

Kristen said...

I'll have to say we've only seen the Wiggles once, maybe twice. We do, however, get the same reaction when we discuss Beanie's undying devotion to SpongeBob. Yes, he is annoying (sometimes) but he's not so bad. And she loves it. Although she has been moving towards other (less annyoing in my mind...or maybe that's just because I haven't seen every episode yet) shows lately too.