Wiggles, how do I hate thee? Let me count the ways…
For those of you who do not have children or are fortunate enough never to have come across the curse of the Wiggles, what follows will mean nothing. To you I apologize. But to all the rest of you, I reaffirm my detestation of everything Wiggles. They are the most banal, most imbecilic, most inept, most bereft of charm or talent children’s entertainment I know. Well, I guess that leaves out Teletubbies and they’re a close second…
When my 5 year old was somewhere about 1 or so some benighted person gave him a Wiggles video. We, without knowing the foolish mistake we were making, played it for him. It was instant addiction–literally like giving candy to a baby or crack to an addict. Thereafter, he would watch nothing but Wiggles. After watching the moronic video 10 or 20 times you can literally feel your brain cells dying of some sort of toxic syndrome.
What is it that’s so bad about them? Well, first they appear to be lip-syncing the idiotic lyrics which pour out of their mouths. They appear to be playing air guitar instead of really playing their instruments. The Wiggles’ gestures and movements appear robotic. Their smiles seem insanely over the top (witness the picture above). Everything about them screams: “Fake, fake, fake!” Their gig is a blatant insult to the intelligence of children, as it seems to posit an average audience age of 4 months or even 4 days.
There are clearly parents who adore the Wiggles. Otherwise, these four leaping lads wouldn’t be as wealthy as the U.S. Mint. When I last wrote a snarky post jokingly imagining that a Wiggle had died, the true believers were incensed on behalf of their beloved Wiggles. It was as if I’d cursed Our Lord and Savior (I’m Jewish btw). And they’ll probably come running here once Google gets wind of this post.
But with this semi-hilarious story in the NY Times Arts section today, I couldn’t help myself:
A Wiggle Retires
The yellow shirt has been passed. Yesterday Greg Page, right, one of the members of the phenomenally popular Australian children’s-music group the Wiggles, said he would stop performing because he has a chronic condition that causes dizziness, fatigue and nausea, The Associated Press reported. In a video-recorded statement Mr. Page, 34, said he had been debilitated by orthostatic intolerance. “It’s not a life-threatening condition by any means,” he said. “It means that I’ll no longer be able to sing and dance as I want to, and as a result I’ve decided to stop performing with the Wiggles.” Mr. Page, who helped found the group 15 years ago, handed his signature yellow shirt to his understudy, Sam Moran. Last year the Wiggles took in a reported $45 million from CDs, DVDs, books, toys and other products, and from the group’s busy international touring schedule.
I don’t have a clue what orthostatic intolerance means (well, after looking over this link I do but you get my drift), but I wonder if anyone’s ever given a thought to the fact that the nausea and fatigue may be a psychosomatic reaction to prancing around a stage like an idiot before hundreds of thousands of children for over a decade or more. Maybe his body was telling him it’d had enough and wanted him to return to being a genuine person instead of a dancing robot.
And yes, you read it right–possibly the most untalented musical performers in the history of the world earned $45-million last year! It just goes to show–something there is in people that loves a mediocrity. Remember the raging success of Springtime for Hitler in the fake Broadway show in The Producers? You get my drift.
So if you need to play a video for your children turn off those Wiggles and slide a classic Disney film into that VCR or DVD player. Your saved brain cells and your own child will thank you for sparing you from Wigglitis and not insulting their intelligence.
Dan Sniderman says
Richard, tell us what you REALLY think….
Seriously though – thanks for the warning – maybe we’ll be able to avoid this…. With Joella turning 10 months this week – we’ll be needing SOME sort of material – my brother gave us a “Baby Einstein” video – any suggestions for more “tolerable” (for lack of a better word) children’s videos?
Richard Silverstein says
Dan: Take a look at this post I wrote when my 5 yr old was a few yrs younger. It lists some of my favorite baby videos. I wrote this post about the amazing Wallace & Gromit kid vids (these are from the brilliant “before they went Hollywood” period). And this post lists some of my favorite baby music.
I can appreciate where you are coming from, but millions of children can’t be wrong. Maybe it would do you some good to find the kid inside you and stop being such a judgemental, ranting (and from your message- quite frankly a boring) adult. The Wiggles bring fun music for the entire family to enjoy together…certainly better than Barney and are free of the everpresent ‘evil’ characters that your beloved Disney movies possess. CHILL OUT!
Richard Silverstein says
Looks like the Wigglephiles are out in force…
No, yr comment indicates that you have absolutely no awareness of “where I am coming from.”
Millions of children adore Teletubbies and Thomas the Tank Engine. Tens of millions of children are watching cartoon characters explode on children’s commercial TV. What does that make them? Arbiters of children’s taste? No, it makes them–but even more importantly their parents exemplars of the idea that people gravitate to what is most easily accessible–but usually the most banal & insipid. As a parent you have to work hard at finding good entertainment for your kids. If you go for what is easiest to find or buy you’ll end up with Wiggles.
‘Judgment’ is one of our human critical faculties & it is just that that is missing from parental decisions about what their children should read or watch. A little more judgment would make our children more cultured, more aware of the world around them, and more kind creatures.
As for “finding the kid inside me,” you’re entirely ignorant of knowing the first thing about me. I have 3 young children & provide half their child care. I buy most of their videos, CDs, and books. This blog contains numerous reviews of children’s entertainment pointing to fabulous choices parents can make for their kids. This blog contains a translation of a fabulous out of print Sholem Aleichem children’s story written in Yiddish. This blog contains over 100 posts about children and family. Do you think I did all these things because I’m an old codger? Think again. And next time, why don’t you think (& do some research) before you betray yr ignorance for the world to see.
Maybe that has something to do with the fact that the Disney classic movies (not so much the modern ones though) have gone down in the history of cinema (not just children’s cinema) as some of the greatest entertainments ever created for children. As for the Wiggles–after the last Wiggle has wiggled his last, you’ll find them somewhere in the trashheap of cultural history.
I’m tickled that you don’t like Disney’s ‘evil’ characters. Besides the fact that it is precisely the vanquishing of those characters which enables goodness to triumph at the end, there are ‘evil’ characters in Disney because there is evil in the world. One of the reasons I hate the Wiggles so much is because they do not reflect anything of the real world. They are entirely divorced from life. They are flat, dull and monochromatic.
Jake Haller says
At the risk of coming across self-righteous, perhaps it’s opportune to announce that I don’t have a TV, VCR or DVD player in my house. Your expose on dumbing-down programming is definitely part of it.
Yes I know that the History Channel and PBS occasionally has intriguing stuff but IMO those infrequent occurances doesn’t justify bringing that medium into my home.
I think as a result, that my children find entertainment from more creativie activities can’t be a bad thing.
Leah K says
thank you! the lyrics are dull, repetetive, and boring. This brand over over-simplified infantile cheer is like shooting your kids up with thorizine. it’s shameless and lame.
They have no personality or talent (as performers) I will concede that there are probably a lot of kids who don’t live in nurturing, stable homes and so watching the Wiggles brand of la-la-land joy might help them get what they ain’t getting from parents and child minders.
But at least Barney was always trying to make the kids be positive and kind and dream big for their futures.
What does the Wiggles give us?
“Fruit salad, yummy yummy” (repeat 20 times.)
oh..wait there’s a verse:
“it’s fun to do it the healthy way/take all the fruit you’re going to eat/it’s going to be a fruit salad treat”
So…having fruit salad is a “fruit salad treat”?