Suddenly, there were Bubble Guppies everywhere.
We watch a fair amount of Nick Jr. in our house (yes, I’m one of THOSE parents) but one of the things that always made me have less momma guilt was how relatively non-commercial it was. The shows are not a full 30 minutes, so the 10 minutes or so between episodes provided space for little songs, preschool-friendly lessons (wash your hands, don’t pet strange dogs) and shapes, rhyming or memory games. The interim hosts, if you don’t have a child of the Nick Jr. age, were Moose A. Moose and his little mute buddy Zee.
Apparently Moose and his nasal voice and distaste for candy corn irritated some people, but most seem to enjoy blue owl Zee, who flitted innocuously while Moose presented our lessons. I liked them both. It was a nice breather from Dora (talk about nasal!) and the other marquee characters, whose brands are found everywhere. I didn’t feel like Nick Jr. was trying to get me to buy another Dora product or sell me on more screen time for her show. I just felt like we were having some time for a little learning in a format my son responded to. With a moose and occasional Business Mouse or Panda Scout.
Now Nick Jr. has changed things up by ditching Moose and Zee in favor of their already overexposed characters to fill the transition time between episodes. Here’s what the station says it’s doing:
“The characters your child already knows and loves–like Dora, the Bubble Guppies and Milli, Geo and Bot from Team Umizoomi–will guide the audience throughout the day and offer fun and educational content. Moose and his pal Zee are stepping away from the bright lights and cameras to focus on new plans of their own.”
First, ugh. Moose and Zee are stepping away? Please. Anyone who has been laid off knows what that is code for. Second, and more importantly, MORE Dora, Bubble Guppies and Umizoomi? Noooo!
I realized something was up a couple nights ago when my son and I were watching TV (I promise you we play together, too) and it seemed like an endless episode of Bubble Guppies, which I already find rather creepy. I definitely didn’t need to see more those things. When my husband got home I told him I suspected the network had gotten rid of Moose and Zee. I think he made an attempt to be interested and then I guarantee you didn’t give it another thought.
But not me. I googled and sure enough, not only were they gone but a lot of parents were upset about it. They have flooded Nick Jr.’s Facebook page and started a petition to bring back the cartoon hosts. And some parents think the whole controversy is ridiculous and we should all get lives. Which, OK. This is not the biggest thing in my life, and some of the comments I have read online are blowing it up into something much bigger than it really is. But the change disappoints me. I feel like the marketing has gotten heavy-handed, and Nick Jr. is now more about selling us their product than teaching kids.
Does my son know? He hasn’t asked about them. They were background characters to him. But to me, this is the perfect excuse to rein in our TV-watching time or, at the very least, fill it with more PBS.
- Parents Rip Nick Jr. For ‘Firing’ Moose and Zee (chicago.cbslocal.com)