Sunday, August 07, 2005

It's a Wiggly Party

Over the past 4-ish months I have written about many of the changes that occur when a person becomes a parent. This weekend I realized that one of the biggest changes that comes with parenthood is the requirement that you learn all of the words to songs by beloved children's characters like Blue's Clues, Elmo, Big Bird and The Wiggles.

It is a risky space in which to reside, friends. You must immerse yourself in the music so you can adequately participate in the spectacle with your child; but you must also ensure that you do not become one of those inexplicable creatures who listens to it even when the child is not present or who starts wearing Elmo T-shirts "because they're cute."

In my particular case, The Bambina has suddenly and without warning decided that she LOVES The Wiggles. She squeals with delight when they come on the TV; she claps and smiles when the CD is played in the car. She simply cannot believe her great good fortune when she visits her cousin's house where there resides a Genuine Wiggles Guitar for her personal thrashing.

I had rationalized her enjoyment by telling myself that The Wiggles are wholesome, non-snide, fun and educational entertainment. If you are not familiar with the phenomenon, these four men (who just beat out Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman for richest Australians) who wear colored shirts and black pants (think Star Trek circa 1971), are a kiddie entertainment tour de force. They tour, they sing, they dance, they have kooky sidekicks like Wags The Dog and Captain Feathersword, and they are beloved by thousands and thousands of children worldwide. There ain't no stoppin' the juggernaut that is The Wiggles. Trust me. {Sample some of their work here: {The Wiggles

Well, after about 4 hours of listening to both It's A Wiggly Party and Yummy Yummy, two of the group's CD's, it became clear that The Wiggles are either the richest and worst songwriters in the history of the world, or subversive and evil malefactors who are laughing at our obliviousness to the smut they peddle to our sweet babies. Both conclusions were reached on a car trip with the Baby Daddy who was aghast that I was singing along to such drivel (but who needed only 10 minutes to be sucked in to the madness himself).

The former conclusion is supported by the fact that all of their songs follow a basic formula that you--and you--and even you--could use to write your own songs for your kids. The formula is as follows:

--Select a musical genre such as 50's doowop, mariachi, polka or nonspecific kids music (ie, the generous use of kazoos, bells, triangles, xylophones)
--Select an animal a kid would like.
--Put the words, "Do the.." or "Dance the..." or "run/roar/howl like the..." in front of that animal, i.e., "Let's do the tiger! Roar!"
--Select a verb signifying an act that a child might engage in, such as dancing, hopping, running or jumping.
--Use that verb to describe what "doing the tiger" means, i.e., "jump in the air; put your hands out there."
--Select a sentence that says, more or less, "we are all having fun! Won't you dance/sing/jump/hop with us too?!"
--Have one segment that details what Jeff, Murray, Greg and Anthony do/think/say about "doing the tiger."

Voila! You have created your very own Wiggles song! Now just get a colored shirt on, fake an Australian accent, and become friends with a pirate, and you are laughing all the way to the bank!

Unfortunately, the only way I have found to get through the 4.3 hours per day that I must be inundated by All Things Wiggle is to settle on Conclusion #2 and find something dirty in every d*mn thing they sing. I know it's juvenile, but I have rationalized it as a quite reasonable thing to do since they seem to sing an awful lot about rather "harmless" and "innocuous" topics like "doing the monkey," "making fruit salad: first you peel your banana, then you bring out your grapes," "shake your hips with Wags the Dog," and various other "clean" lyrics that would make Tipper Gore circa 1988 develop an ulcer.

I know it's so juvenile, but so far it is the only coping mechanism that has worked and it is the only thing holding me back from succumbing to the tempation and turning on Yummy Yummy even while alone in the car on my way to mail an inappropriate fan letter to Anthony (The Cute Wiggle).

Yes, friends. Parenthood: It is indeed A Wiggly, Wiggly Party.


Anonymous said...

I humbly thank you for this Public Service Announcement. I have a 16 month old daughter and live in constant fear of the day she deciodes she loves the Wiggles or, ye holy gods on Mount Olympus, BARNEY!

Anonymous said...

May I suggest a DVD of Schoolhouse Rock to take the edge off the Wigglemania?

My granddaughter at 2 was a Wiggle junkie. I think they're weird and creepy. As a last defense over the holidays, I broke out the Schoolhouse Rock DVD and it hit the Emma charts at #1 - no more Wiggles for days and blessed days.

Plus we already know all the words, right?

misterfed said...

We go through high school and college and young adulthood carefully avoiding drugs to conserve our brain cells. Then we get kids and commence the process of killing them off wholesale with kiddie songs.

Wait until you survive a Wiggles concert .....