Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Adventures in Children's TV Programming: Episode 1: Mary Poppins

So, thanks to having a toddler who runs roughshod over everything including our TV and media consumption, I've been watching a lot of children's programming. How much is a lot? I can sing the Chica Show theme song on demand. The Thomas the Train theme song haunts my dreams. I didn't want to, but I think I've had inappropriate thoughts about Sean from Noodle and Doodle (I know! I mean, can I find a more awkward person to be slightly infatuated with? I doubt it).

Said watching and rewatching of my daughter's TV shows and movies have led my husband and myself to ask a lot of questions, questions we shouldn't be asking, but due to boredom have no choice but to ask the audience. Is every episode of Noodle and Doodle actually filmed in the bus? (Answer: No, it's filmed in a studio in Michigan. Who knew? Well we know now, thanks to the Internet on our phones and boredom.) How does Sodor's economy not implode on itself with so many inept engines running amok over the entire  island and causing havoc wherever they go (I still don't have answer for that)? Why are their mice that know how to do hip-hop? I'm never going to get the answer to that one either and it's all your fault Angelina Ballerina. Shut up forever!

So I'm starting this weekly blog series in hopes of answering some of these burning questions.

First on the docket, Mary Poppins. My daughter just recently found movies. In fact it happened over Thanksgiving, in which she became completely enamored with the old school version of Wizard of Oz. She watched it all the damn time and because of that, I have certain quandaries about that movie which I hope to bring up in a future episode of this. But she's moved on to Poppins, thankfully, because even I, a lifelong lover of all things Oz, was starting to get burned out.

Poppins itself brings up a ton of questions in a viewers mind upon multiple rewatches. Why exactly did that one neighbor make a replica of boat on the top of his house and how did the neighbors allow that crap to go down, for starters? I mean, I know there wasn't such a thing as an HOA back in the day, but Cherry Lane seems like a lovely respectable place where the act of creating the replica of ship on the top of your house and your deciding to shoot cannons on the hour to mark the time would not go down without ruffing a couple of feathers. At the very least you've got some uppity pissed off neighbors. And The Banks should be the most pissed off. They have to man their posts, just to make sure their crap isn't destroyed when this guys decides to fire off his cannon to mark the time? I would be so pissed. My  neighbor's kids have gotten a serious talking to for accidentally kicking a soccer ball into the garage door for crying out loud. I'm just saying, and uptight London neighborhood would not let that shit go down.

And, okay, here's a question I'm actually gonna answer, but what the hell is a hottentot? Why does it come up in the movie's vernacular? And now that I've looked that up, why was this movie kinda  racist? Holy crap that's some horrible slang.  And also, when I look up hottentot and Mary Poppins on google why is what shows up at the very top of the google search what shows up? I'm not giving that racist site any free pub here, but that is horrible and why am I so ragey all of the sudden?  I'd take a picture, but even that would make me ragey. Just do a hottentot Mary Poppins search for yourself and see some incredibly racist stuff for yourself if you don't believe me. So much rage at assholes is building in me all the sudden! Gah! That's aggravating. 

Time to skip all that non-sense and back on topic.

Another one is if the chimney sweep business is that overcrowded with people doing the same thing that 30 of you can gather on the roof tops at any given moment, wouldn't they be seen as competition and less like old chums? I mean, how many chimney sweeps would really be working on the same night anyway? Dance routine or no, it's disconcerting.

And why is everything in the cartoon English country side world besotted with Mary Poppins? The only logical explanation is that as their creator, they have to be in full-on worship mode and be enamored with her at all times, because she can destroy it in an instant, or the rain can. And can I just say that it is kind of sad that  this entire world building they did over the course of three songs and a jaunty merry-go-round horse adventure they were on is destroyed because of a rain shower. I mean, please tell me the penguins were able to take refuge somewhere.

But the thing that's got me most flummoxed is this relationship between Burt and Mary Poppins. It's never fully explained ever. Maybe it is in the books, I don't know, but it's all just rather odd. Are they together? Were they together? What with her taking refuge in the clouds and all, was it just too hard to make the long distance thing work? Or was it that she just didn't like that he could never hold down a job? I mean, how exactly would she be able to maintain her cloud-living, tea drinking on the ceiling lifestyle when he was only bringing home coppers from his cap. What was going on their exactly?

I don't really intend on answering these questions, I'm just asking them  and planting them in your mind so you're as confounded by the stuff I have to watch over and over again as I am. You're welcome.

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