Impossibly High Standards -or- Why I don’t Let My Kids Watch Caillou

I’m generally a fan of children’s programing.  I think most of it is pretty good and let me tell you it’s saved my sanity and the lives of my children on more than one occasion.  But I hate Caillou.

For those who have had the misfortune to watch this particular show, you know that the kid’s annoying and whiny.  But that’s not even (all of) why I hate the show.

I had a vague dislike of Caillou for a long time, mostly due to the aforementioned whininess, but I didn’t really hate the show until I realized that the people who write, direct and produce this show don’t have children.  They don’t have nieces or nephews.  These people have never even met children.

Let me tell you about the episode that really did it for me.

Caillou, a “four year old” (you know I’d be doing air-quotes here if I could) wakes up in the morning and goes down stairs to find his mother and his father making breakfast in the kitchen. Because adults don’t have to work, no, we just get to hang out with our kids and cook for them all day. His father is cooking because we’re nothing if not politically correct on the pre-school programing he’s made pancakes.  But Caillou doesn’t want pancakes, he wants cereal.  And that’s fine because what parent minds wasting the breakfast he’s already made so his kid can eat pre-packaged crap? And because he’s having cereal his little sister wants cereal ok, so apparently one of these writers has been in the same room with a kid before and mom and dad are fine with that.  Caillou, being the “big boy” that he is, wants to pour the milk for his little sister’s cereal.    She doesn’t scream and throw a fit when he tries to do so insisting that mom do it so they’ve been in the room with a child, but not for very long.  Of course, because Caillou’s only four he spills the milk my four -year-olds have been getting themselves their own breakfasts for two years, they have pouring milk down cold again, the sister doesn’t cry.  But she does still want cereal.  And now they’re out of milk.  “No problem” mom says smiling, we’ll just go to the store and get some more” because well, we’ve already established that adults don’t have to work so they have all day to go to the store to get milk even when there are still perfectly good pancakes sitting on the kitchen table!! But little sister’s still hungry.  Don’t worry, dad can hold her off with a banana.  She really wants cereal but she’ll be fine with that. Seriously?! So mom and Caillou walk to the store who doesn’t like a little morning stroll?  And who doesn’t have a store close enough to walk to?  Probably it’s a little mom and pop market with organic produce and other all natural local products. And on the way home from the store Caillou gets distracted by the crack in the sidewalk, and the little bird and the who knows what all and the mother who’s carrying the milk just keeps smiling and encouraging his inquisitiveness and isn’t life lovely, there’s no “hey sweetie hurry up,” there’s no “hey kid this milk is getting heavy”, there’s no “dude hurry up, at this rate it’s going to be lunch time before we get home and your dad needs to get to work sometime TODAY SO GET A FREAKING MOVE ON ALREADY!!!!!”

How am I supposed to compete with that?

I can’t.

So my children are never allowed to see it.


18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Hel
    Apr 15, 2009 @ 04:07:35

    We must be on the same wave length today. I have no freaking idea who Caillou is (because I am Australian and sometimes we are backward), but I hate, hate, hate Dora. Just wrote about my hate for her in fact. The difference between you and me…. I still let my child watch it because it’s just easier for me – I get to sit in peace and trawl blogs for other people who hate tv shows.

  2. julie
    Apr 15, 2009 @ 06:04:40

    I hear you…that was one of the turn off of the show too. I hated the whinning and there wasn’t any puishment and the boy seemed to be in charge. The whinyness did me in too.

  3. cheryl
    Apr 15, 2009 @ 07:09:17

    I won’t let my kids watch sassy Disney shows. Even though I watched sassy shows as a kid…but, we’re talking about me.

    There are actually very few shows out there that my kids like now (their standards have been raised as they have gotten older), and just as few that I will allow them to watch. I think this is good –the less we like, then the less we watch, see? It’s a beautiful combo!

    P.S. My kids haven’t watched Caillou for years –I think it has more to do with our schedule than the show. But now that you are explaining it, I’m totally floored I didn’t realize how stupid it was earlier! And holy cow, was that a whiny kid for four years old. None of my four year olds (I’ve had three so far) are like that –at 2? 3? Yes. But by four, they better have grown out of it, by golly!
    Long comment. Sorry…

  4. cheryl
    Apr 15, 2009 @ 07:09:46

    First paragraph should be “we’re NOT talking about me”.


  5. Kristina
    Apr 15, 2009 @ 07:43:35

    I have to tell you, when I read about children’s TV programming, all throughtout blogland, it makes me happy I don’t have children. I had no idea what the Wiggles even were, for like a year.

  6. Jami
    Apr 15, 2009 @ 08:50:33

    Bingo! Exactly why I despise that show. It makes me twitch.

  7. bythelbs
    Apr 15, 2009 @ 09:00:08

    What’s always bothered me about Caillou is that the drawings aren’t finished—there’s just these blurry edges. Can’t they draw a whole scene, for crying out loud? And the kid’s 4. Where’s the hair? No hair? At all? Not even a token 3 strands, Charlie Brown style?

    And also all those other points you just made.

  8. Flip flop mama
    Apr 15, 2009 @ 09:26:05

    The whole mom and dad spending the day with the kids really bugged me too. So the dad-or he mom- doesn’t have a job??? I don’t get how that’s good for kids. And yes the mom is way over-achiever mom. For some reason Caillou never bothered me but the rest of the show did. I don’t think our PBS station airs that show anymore but we haven’t watched it for a really long time. And while I’m at it what kind of a name is Caillou anyway???

  9. Jaime
    Apr 15, 2009 @ 10:33:47

    Oh, I have hated that show since the first time I saw it. His incessant whining, don’t get me started, but I have always really wondered by no hair and why no one’s talking about.

    I haven’t thought about him in so long now that my kids are older, but I am right back in my fury now. Thanks! 🙂

  10. LisAway
    Apr 15, 2009 @ 12:46:45

    I’m sort of glad we don’t get most of the shows on PBS over here (or at least not in our package). I have been seriously shocked with some of the stuff they show. Like that one show with those one guys in that one tree. The whole thing (at least the episode that I saw) is about how it’s perfectly fine to be different and we should accept everyone and their lifestyle no matter what. Not that I’m against accepting, of course not, but there was a very “anything goes” feel to it. It was weird.

    There are some crap Disney shows I won’t let the kids watch because they’re just so idiotic. I wish I could say Hannah Montana was one of them, but I find myself liking it when I get past the idiocy of that style of acting (what’s with all the new kid’s sitcoms and the lame stupid acting?)

  11. Terresa Wellborn
    Apr 15, 2009 @ 14:23:01

    I’m with you on Calliou. I was just talking w/a bunch of mama friends yesterday at my kid’s school and we all agree he whines way too much.

    PS: found you on MM blogs. Your blog is pretty darned sweet! 😉

  12. madhousewife
    Apr 15, 2009 @ 14:53:53

    Your analysis of this show is awesome. It makes me never want to watch it ever.

  13. Jen
    Apr 15, 2009 @ 22:03:15

    Let’s face it – Calliou is unatural. The name, the baldness, the ugly parents, the primary colors.


  14. Melissa
    Apr 17, 2009 @ 16:29:44

    Calliou……cringe. (And shudder.)

  15. JIllybean
    Apr 20, 2009 @ 12:29:54

    I don’t like to hear my own children whining, why on earth would I turn that show on and listen to another kid whine?

    And what kind of a parent names their kid Caillou anyway?

    Why are the parents so spineless and give in to him every time he whines?

    I have a 4 year old, and he doesn’t use as much baby talk as Caillou does on that show.

    What do you think Caillou will be like in 30 years? I seriously doubt that any employer will put up with the constant whining.

  16. Trackback: On the Other Hand « Alison Wonderland
  17. Trackback: Caillou: Love Him or Hate Him? | Strollerderby
  18. christina
    Dec 09, 2009 @ 19:33:43

    your guys are retarded its just a show, and it was my favorite when i was little so you guys really need to get a serious life!!

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