It’s time once again for another installment in our Children’s Television Survival Guide! I feel like I need to back up a bit before I start talking about our show for this post and talk for a minute about why I write this series. It’s because there is so, so, sooooooo much crap in the world of children’s television. I mean, a LOT of crap. So, I am focusing on shows that parents can find some way to enjoy, even if it’s just appreciating them on an ironic level. That’s why I haven’t talked about Dora or Caillou. Because I hate those shows. Those shows are irredeemably bad. There is no attitude or perspective that can make them enjoyable. So let’s talk about some shows that you CAN find a way to like.
OK, onto our Survival Guide! This time we’re back to PBS Kids for a show that was probably designed by someone who hangs out at Comicons and also scored very high on the vocabulary section of the SAT. That’s right, it’s Word Girl!
Word Girl is a child super hero who fights battles against villains such as a bratty rich kid whose parents have spoiled her, and Lady Redundant Woman. Word Girl’s superpower is her amazing vocabulary.
The slightly-above-the-heads-of-kids jokes in this show are FANTASTIC. Seriously, the writing on this show is really outstandng. Here’s an exchange she has with a homeschooled kid named Tobey who she has play dates with, who is also a super villain who builds robots that destroy buildings.
Tobey: Oh, you think you’re so smart, don’t you, WordGirl? With your superpowers and your vocabulary skills..and your luminous smile! But you can be beaten, just like everyone else! I’m going to prove I’m smarter than you, and then you’ll be mine! All mine!
WordGirl: What do you mean, I’ll be ‘all yours’?
There are a lot of shows that The Boy simply will not watch, because it’s obvious to him that they are “girl shows.” Sophia the First immediately comes to mind (and that show isn’t so great anyway). But Word Girl is not one of those shows. It has enough super hero stuff in it that despite the lead character being a girl, he does not think of the show as being for girls. Which is awesome, because he gets to see a girl kicking ass and be reminded that girls aren’t just princesses.
Since I am a lawyer, my kids have a pretty big vocabulary for their age. I mean, when Mom is a lawyer, it’s no surprise that you are a very good talker. But even The Boy learns new words from watching Word Girl. It’s words like bobble and glum and stampede. Words that I don’t use in my everyday conversations, so the kids wouldn’t necessarily pick them up on their own. And what’s great about it is, the characters use the words in ways that are really conversational, as well as defining them.
To sum up, this show seriously kicks ass, just like Word Girl does. Kudos, PBS!