Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Horrible Lessons of Curious George

Curious George is one the most enduring, popular characters in children's literature and I say he must be stopped. That little simian is a bad influence and promotes destructive patterns of behavior. You know how a lot of mothers feel about Bratz dolls? I feel that way about George.

Don’t believe me? This is the plot of just about every single Curious George book:

Curious George is taken somewhere or shown something new. Almost immediately, George disobeys a rule, laid down by the Man in the Yellow Hat, and as a result, causes some major problem that screws things up for everyone involved. At the very last minute, George does something to fix the problem. He is then rewarded for solving the crisis that would never have happened if he had just listened in the first place. And everyone who was inconvenienced by George suddenly forgives him for no reason.

Think about it. Almost all of them are all like this—especially the original stories.

What are these lessons teaching our children? Don’t listen to mom or dad. It’s okay to wander off. Feel free to put strange things in your mouth. Don’t worry about it because doing these things will ultimately lead to accolades and presents. Curious George shows our kids a world without consequences.

Aside from the negative messages for kids, The Man in the Yellow Hat is a horrible role model for parents. It’s obvious the luster of living with an ill-behaved monkey has worn off long ago, because he just doesn’t seem to give a shit anymore. It’s either that or he’s stupid. Why else would he constantly leave George alone when every single time that he does, the monkey gets into copious amounts of trouble?

Of course, the Bean loves Curious George. L-o-v-e-s him. He asks to read those books over and over and over again. Those damned books. Those epic, 50 plus page books. By the time I figured all of this out, he was hooked. There is no way that I could now extract George from his world without suffering consequences.

That said, the extended world of Curious George isn’t all bad. Surprisingly in the video versions George’s blatant disrespect for authority is toned down. The movie is kind of charming and the PBS series is something I can actually sit down and watch with the Bean without wanting to stab my eyes out with a rusty grapefruit spoon. (Plus, who doesn’t love a good William H. Macy narration?)

So all of you parents out there, watch out for these books. It’s too late for me. My son is hooked on them, which means that there will be virtually no way to shield my daughter when she gets older.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you. And don’t be too curious.

6 comments:

SciFi Dad said...

on a related note: http://talesfromthedadside.blogspot.com/2007/03/ths-curious-george-speaks-out.html

Andromeda said...

i have often thought the same thing DGB. my fave: george messes with the buttons in a restricted area, eats a tremendous amount of candy, and goes home with a box of chocolates.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

I'm pretty incensed over the one where he fails to deliver everybody's newspaper, but nobody seems to care because he's doing a wheelie in the circus that night.

Alan said...

Plus the whole story starts out with the illegal importation of animals. "Hey look, a monkey! I want him."

Unknown said...

Ugh... the cartoons have turned my 4 yr old son into a ridiculously misbehave child. He acts like George and thinks it's ok because he sees the monkey get away with it without punishment. Just the other day he was at the furniture store with us and decided to climb onto the sectional and run across 3 sets with his muddy shoes after we have told him 4 tines not to run in the store. It's not a playground and the store is not a place to play. Did he listen? No. He blatantly ran across furniture while about 10 onlookers stared us down with the evil eye while my husband carried our screaming child out of the store (screaming because he was reprimanded for his behavior). When he doesn't get his way, he screams at the top of his lungs and yells at us. When we tell him not to stand on chairs, he does so anyway to get ice cream that we told him he could not have before dinner. The bad behavior gets worse the more he watches curious George and chuck the Tonka truck (just to name a few). These poor misleading books, shows, and movies need to be removed. The creators have no idea how much they are ruining our parenting efforts and therefore creating little monsters that grow into adult monsters... I swear if there was a boot camp for 4 yr olds I would send my kid there in a heart beat! Nothing I do works. It's in one ear and out the other or as soon as the sting of a spanking subsided he's right back to the bad behavior. It was never THIS bad when he watched Daniel tiger, caillou, or leap frog (with the colorful animals that teach numbers, letters etc)... check even Scooby doo doesn't set bad influences on him!

Unknown said...

Ugh... the cartoons have turned my 4 yr old son into a ridiculously misbehave child. He acts like George and thinks it's ok because he sees the monkey get away with it without punishment. Just the other day he was at the furniture store with us and decided to climb onto the sectional and run across 3 sets with his muddy shoes after we have told him 4 tines not to run in the store. It's not a playground and the store is not a place to play. Did he listen? No. He blatantly ran across furniture while about 10 onlookers stared us down with the evil eye while my husband carried our screaming child out of the store (screaming because he was reprimanded for his behavior). When he doesn't get his way, he screams at the top of his lungs and yells at us. When we tell him not to stand on chairs, he does so anyway to get ice cream that we told him he could not have before dinner. The bad behavior gets worse the more he watches curious George and chuck the Tonka truck (just to name a few). These poor misleading books, shows, and movies need to be removed. The creators have no idea how much they are ruining our parenting efforts and therefore creating little monsters that grow into adult monsters... I swear if there was a boot camp for 4 yr olds I would send my kid there in a heart beat! Nothing I do works. It's in one ear and out the other or as soon as the sting of a spanking subsided he's right back to the bad behavior. It was never THIS bad when he watched Daniel tiger, caillou, or leap frog (with the colorful animals that teach numbers, letters etc)... check even Scooby doo doesn't set bad influences on him!