Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Super Why is Awful


It's the worst children's show on television. Yes, and I know Barney is still being aired regularly. Super Why is worse. It's horrible. It's an affront to thinking parents and a shameful way to introduce children to classic literature.

Super Why is one of those shows that sprang up in the wake of Dora the Explorer and Blue's Clues. (Apparently, it's produced by the team that created Blue's Clues.) It's purportedly educational and supposedly encourages literacy - the characters talk directly to their audience and tell them to point out letters and read words and stuff like that. That's fine. A lot of shows do that, and that's not a problem. Here's the issue, though. They're murdering the classics of children's literature - the Brothers Grimm, Mother Goose, Hans Christian Andersen, the stories we all remember when we were children.

They tell the stories, which is nice, I suppose. But they ruin them by retooling the morals!! They twist the fucking things around so that the moral of the story - the whole POINT of the story - is either wrong or watered down to some namby-pamby inoffensive platitude.

Example 1: they took on Hansel and Gretel in one episode. Once you sort through all the "point to the A!" crap, basically, they told the story of Hansel and Gretel. They went into the forest, they saw a witch's house made of candy, they started eating it. The witch came out and got angry. And then they revealed the "message" of the story - they should have asked permission first. Yes, sure, when you encounter a witch in the forest who wants to eat your cherubic German flesh, you should ask permission before eating her evil candy house.

That's not the goddamn story! The story is that the children are starving, the witch is evil and wants to eat them, she traps them with her candy house as bait, and they throw her in the oven and then take her gold back to their father and they never go hungry again. The moral is that witches are evil!!!!! (Of course, I mean fairy-tale witches, not any actual practical Wiccans or witches who may be reading this. Characters in fairy tales bear no relation to the real thing in real life, and I mean that referring to witches, wizards, bears, children, queens. Nothing is real in fairy tales.) It's not about asking permission. It's about many things - beware of strangers, stick together in difficult circumstances, never trust a candy house. It's not about "please, may I?"

Example 2: This was the one that finally set me off. They did "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" recently. It might be an old episode - I just saw it recently, along with Oliver. Same thing - blah blah blah read these letters, blah blah blah what's the magic word, blah blah blah let's solve the mystery! Kid keeps crying wolf, parents don't believe him, finally kid gets in trouble and parents don't believe him. Right? And the moral is - don't lie to your parents and they'll believe you when you need them. That's the moral that you and I remember from our childhood. That's the point of the story. "Crying wolf" = "lying."

Except these pinheads decided the moral of the story was "parents should believe their children." "Oh, we should have believed you," his parents lament at the end of the episode. No, they shouldn't have! The message is that telling lies will get you in trouble! This is one of those classic fables that has a scary consequence at the end - the wolf eats all the kid's sheep. There are even some versions where the kid gets eaten, too. Fables are scary for a reason.

Look, no one wants to see their kid get eaten or baked by a witch, but the heart of these fables is in the telling. By screwing around with the message of these fables, they're completely undermining their ability to educate kids. I read classic stories and fables to my kid all the time, and I'll even tell them to him as a bedtime story. I want him to remember the message behind them. Fables are for teaching morals and rules of behavior. If you want to teach someone their letters, fine. Use pointless and imaginary stories like Dora does. Don't fuck with classic stories for no good reason.

I hate Super Why. I stopped recording it on our Tivo, and I change the channel every time it comes on. I don't ever want Oliver to tell me that I got some story wrong because he heard it differently on Super Why. Stupid anti-literature show. Stupid brain-crippling piece of crap. Don't let your kid watch this show. It's horrible.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Omigod, they treat kids like they don't have a brain! I read this post and I've been watching that show for the past half-hour.

Anonymous said...

I just found this program I did not know it existed and I hated it wanted to see if anyone else had the same complaint and yours has been the only one I found. I dont understand why not more people are upset with the dangerous president this program sets of If you dont like is edited, censor it rewrite it but then feel fine with all this because there's some forced morality play and it may teach children to read. It is not worth the cost if the sacrifice of classic tales and the works of writers and artists alike

Anonymous said...

The whole point is to introduce reading and literacy. Children will not be watching Super Why into their elementary years, which is when they learn the actual stories. Well, then again, they might not. For example, Disney is just as guilty of telling stories (such as Cinderella) so differently than the original version. But, get a grip, the original versions of many of the classic tales are so brutal and dark - do you really want children to have to deal with such evil so young?

Dee said...

The target age of this show is so young I don't mind that the stories are all wonky. My kids have an Aesop fables and when they say the boy who cried wolf episode they knew it didn't match up with what they had heard previously and we discussed it. We talk about the different versions of things all the time. The stories are so far off base they really almost don't count. The also watched the emperors new clothes episode and they know the real story and they know the super why one is different.

My kids love to talk about rewriting their story if they want to. There is so much crap TV out there there I really think the good far outweighs the bad on this one.

Anonymous said...

I know this is way old but I've been watching the stupid thing with my kid recently and wanted to know if anyone else out there thinks that this is the dumbest kids show out there and found this.. thank you! I can't stand the show and my kid gets bored with it too.

Today they did the Hare and the Tortoise. They changed the moral to that the Hare HELPED the Tortoise after Tortoise got hurt and they won together. Or something. What happened to "you succeed through hard work and persistence"? Ugh.

Sky Bluesky said...

That's exactly what I'm talking about! Glad to see I found a kindred spirit. There are great kid's shows out there. Look for them. Don't settle for brain-melting crap like SuperWhy.

Anonymous said...

I agree the twisting of the morals-especially the "Cry Wolf" ep-it teaches the vices of entitlement & superiority of children over adults to our children, not the virtues of respect and honesty. Very dangerous! I was only mildly annoyed with this show before until that ep. Now i am pissed.
The other glaring fault is the whole "Thats a super big problem!" when its not. I think that could foster poor perception and problem resolution-cornerstones of a well adjusted child. I think if that girlfriend on Seinfelds (on the show) who cried like a baby when her hotdog fell in the sand on the ballpark and was all "whatever" when her grandma died! Our children are at the sponge age and understand alot and naturally we need to take care the right messages get through. On the topic, i used to think the Doodlebops were wierd-now i think they are one of the BEST shows out there!

Anonymous said...

I'm no parent, But my little brother (about 3 years of age) watches this god forsaken, brain melting donkey shit everyday. Oh and that's not all. He uses my Netflix to watch that crap from 9am to 7pm. He'd be all like "I wanna watch super why" then i'd be like, "you watched every single one", guess what? He took his toy hammer then hit me in the fcking face while shouting, "Super Why!!" like, holy sht, dude, that show is retarded!

I made him tell me one of my favorite stories, Little Red Riding Hood. It fcking hurt me when he told me the story. "Whybitchwhatever turned the wolf back to her grandma!" like, what the fck have you been watching?! It pissed me off. I wanted to correct this so badly, i wrote to PBS about that shit, addressing to the exact son of a bitch who started this fucking crap. Still haven't got a reply.

Other than that, songs are as fcking repetative As you breathing. ITS FCKING IRRITATING. note, it's Netflix. Episodes play consecutively. So i hear the same fucking songs about 20 times or so. Fcking suffered As shit.

After sending the letter, though, i told my brother that Super Shit is cancelled, and they Stopped airing that crap. I told him all of the TRUE events that happened in the story. Not the crap shown there.

I agree, a lot of shows tend to change the originals nowadays. I guess that's fine, but not to the fucking extent where they lose the damn values, and the lessons to be learned.

To sum this all up:
Super Why is fucking stupid and retarded as shit.
It looks like a low-budget show that just recycled everything from the models to the voice actors.
Songs get stuck to your head quite easily after a couple episodes or so.
Characters are like fucking wooden planks. They seem to show absolutely NO attitude differences.
The god damn dance! Holy shit the fucking dance. It fucking pisses me off. My brother does that stupid dance-o-retards, and i just fcking stop him.

This show just HAS to be cancelled.

Someone should start a petition... :)

Anonymous said...

I totally fucking agree. When Hans Christian Andersen, The Brothers Grimm, and Aesop were writing their ancient, depressing, and violent witch burning "fairy tales" and fables for a target audience of 2 to 5 year olds, they would never have dreamed that their stories would be bastardized into this fucking uplifting and educational bullshit. I must say that I would be honored to have any of the fine, level headed adults commenting here as role models because my fucking childhood was way too happy and fun and fuck that. Fuck. Angry is so good... for you and for humanity...

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU. The wolf one was the only episode I saw, and I was speechless at the end. How on earth could they change the ending of one of the most basic stories of all time, retold and referenced everywhere. It's the OPPOSITE of cultural literacy! It's one of two kids shows in this house that are absolutely BANNED. (The other is Sesame Street, because I hate Elmo).

Anonymous said...

I think super why is awful because it's to babyish i hate super why

Anonymous said...

I have only watched 2 episodes the first one was because it was my first time the second one was because my mom made me watch it with my baby brother. The should stop making episodes!

Anonymous said...

Screw you and other douchebags for being okay with classic literal culture/storytelling being butchered like what's being done on this shitty excuse for a tv show and in general! No matter how many times fables/myths have been remade, they stuck to the original and didn't/don't obliterate it!

How many children grew up without Disneyfied fables and stories written by Hans Christian Anderson, Charles Perrault and The Brothers Grimm? Let me go much more further back in time to ancient Greek/Roman, African and Asian fables/myths that was told to children for thousands of years? PLENTY.

Their parents have told those stories for CENTURIES but also kept them grounded into reality by continuing life lessons with love, support, patience and passion with toughness. Those same kids grew up to be amazing, respectful, educated and successful adults.

I'm sick of people like you that encourage the pussification a.k.a. for parents to make their kids into mindless scaredy cat offspring by shielding them with imaginary plastic wrapping from EVERYTHING! Get outta here with that bullcrap! Ugh!

You gonna complain about Luney Tunes and Merrie Melodies too? Sheesh!