Tvstuff: The Wonder Pets

One of my many responsibilities as a parent is ensuring that the television programs my young apprentice watches are educational, wholesome, enriching and appropriate for his age (currently 20 months). As a public service, I present the first in a series of informative reviews of television programs geared toward preschoolers.

The Wonder Pets
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The Wonder Pets is one of Kyle’s favorite programs, and it’s not hard to see why: there’s plenty of music, oodles of cute animals and more music. Parents (and corporate managers) will undoubtedly appreciate the core message the show consistently delivers: that cooperation and teamwork are essential in any problem-solving effort. On the surface, it seems like the perfect show for young children. A closer examination, however, reveals that The Wonder Pets is one unfortunate example after another of parental negligence.

Each episode begins with Linny (a guinea pig), Tuck (a turtle) and Ming-Ming (a duckling) relaxing in their schoolhouse home after all the children have left for the day. Their leisure time is interrupted by the phone (“the phone is ringing!”), a can-and-string contraption that alerts the trio to a baby animal in peril. Donning capes and hats and assembling the flyboat (a vehicle constructed from a Frisbee, some markers and various other bits), The Wonder Pets race to rescue the youngling from some horrible situation using (“what’s gonna work?”) teamwork and music.

Once the chick, kit, fawn, foal, cub, joey or calf has been rescued, the irresponsible parents arrive on the scene, probably returning from the local watering hole, brothel or cock-fighting ring. Oh, sure, there’s the requisite gushing over how brave and amazing The Wonder Pets are, but rarely is there an explanation from the reprehenible parents as to why the children were left unattended in the first place. The best thing Linny, Tuck and Ming-Ming (too) could do to help the baby animals in trouble is contact the local Department of Children’s Services.

Coming soon: an intrepid explorer, a singing moose and a whiny turtle.

6 thoughts on “Tvstuff: The Wonder Pets”

  1. They did give an explanation one time as to how the baby calf got stuck in the tree….

    That episode was actually on while I was writing this post, but I only saw enough of it to wonder “now how the hell did that calf get in that tree?”

  2. EXACTLY what I though when I first saw it……there was a flood or hurricane or some other natural disaster that you would think to call the WonderPets in to do rescues after….

  3. wow….why have a tv? under this scrutiny i don’t think there is a piece of film or video ever created in the history of the medium that could be deemed watchable.

    don’t let your kids read fairy tales either. even the Bible under this “protective” eye couldn’t be read.

    How irresponsible of Joseph and Mary to loose Jesus in the temple…he was only 5….And then to let HIM talk back to them like that after they found HIM. My goodness…tsk…tsk…

  4. @randall — Thanks for the comment. I’m always amazed when I see new reactions to older posts.

    You’re right, of course: under this type of scrutiny no show could possibly be deemed acceptable and I might as well just get rid of the television. But I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that perhaps you haven’t read many posts on this blog, as you don’t seem to be familiar with my particular brand of humor. See, I enjoy The Wonder Pets! It’s a fun, funny show that has a good message for kids. If I found the content of the show objectionable in any way I wouldn’t allow my young apprentice to watch it.

    On the other hand, there’s plenty of stuff in the Bible that I wouldn’t dream of letting my son read (even if he could read at the tender age of two). Certainly the example you cite is fairly innocuous, but there’s enough homocide (fratricide, public execution and much, much more!) spread throughout The Good Book to keep the CSI teams from Las Vegas, New York and Miami busy for quite a while. Then there’s the domestic abuse, adultery, and a whole host of other content that’s simply not appropriate for a two-year-old.

    When he’s old enough, Kyle is welcome to read the Bible (beyond the sanitized, watered-down picture book versions). Until then, I’ll do what any responsible parent should: forbid him from reading a book that is clearly intended for adult audiences. We’ll stick with The Wonder Pets! for now.

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