Children's TV: Reviewed

Spare a thought for your friends who are dads. While you binge watch episodes of Louie, they have to endure these televisual monstrosities ad infinitum...

Illustration by Sonic Sam
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Horrid Henry

Pinter? Lightweight. Plath? Pah. To wallow in a truly bleak worldview, look no further than Horrid Henry. The titular character is a whinging sociopath who exists in a near-constant state of jealous rage, but he is by no means the show’s sole hateful character: his parents, teachers, relations – spineless, spiteful and wretched, all of them. There is no light, no hope in the Henryverse. Humanity has fallen. Nihilism rules. Pray for death. Pray through your tears.

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Some kids’ shows crush your spirit by having their characters be noisily precocious; Canadian series Caillou however, opts to clamber aboard your tits by having its protagonist be the most pathetic, mewling, scaredy-cat four-year-old ever. Worse, his woefully patient parents indulge his every tantrum and weeping piss-fit, ensuring he’ll grow up to be – at best – a serial cat-killer who owns too may Eli Roth movies. Vile. Vile and grotesque.

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Aside from its off-key blending of religion and anthropomorphisation (spin-off suggestion: Catholicat), Rastamouse is guilty of a desperate need to be the kind of “cult” kids’ show that first-year engineering students snicker over. Because when the mice obsess over “cheese”, y’see, they’re actually talking about weed! #LOLedgy. Such cynical pandering might be forgivable were the show itself not more dull than tax-law minutiae.

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Inspired by dreary decades-old shows such as The Flumps and Ivor The Engine, Abney & Teal is a brown, brown exercise in frumpy melancholy and downbeat whimsy. Set in a run-down inner-city park (fun!), it sees our heroes embroiled in quarter-arsed storylines that play very fast-and-loose with the concept of “adventures”. These are the disjointed hallucinations of an elderly street-drinker, wheezing his sorrowful last on a bench near the swings.

Reviewed by young father Joe Madden

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