Monday, April 8, 2013
If you had told me three years ago that I’d be pining for Diego, I would have laughed in your face. My daughter, then 2, was addicted to “Gago” like a first-grader to frosting. Thanks to the wizardry of DVR, we watched every episode of every season of “Go, Diego, Go” at least a dozen times.
On nights when I couldn’t sleep, it was because the mighty jungle drum beat of the Diego theme song looped on and on in my head. For Allie’s second birthday, my decidedly technology-averse 60-year-old mother – who actually had to learn how to operate our DVR via the universal remote control so she could play episodes of the show — made Diego cupcakes.
But then yesterday, my daughter, now 5, told me, “I just wish I could scratch my butt without getting jealous.” Between a half-guffaw and a half-snort/choke of my Diet Coke, I managed to ask her, “Where did you hear that?”
She doesn’t even know what that means. Heck, I don’t even know what that means. I just know it’s not the kinda thing I want her blurting out at Sunday school (never mind the fact that she once told her friends that her mommy only drinks wine).
“Fairly Odd Parents,” was her answer. That’s her new show. It’s airs on Nick Jr.’s older cousin, Nickelodeon. It’s about a bucked-tooth fifth-grader who has two buffoons as human parents – and real parents who are actually fairies that grant his every wish.
It hit me then and there that Nick Jr., with its educational programming, innocent plots and multilingual characters who loudly and unnaturally OVer-EMphasize EVery SYllable, is waving at me in my rear-view mirror.
There was no transition period. Nothing to buffer the shock of crossing the bridge from good ol’ didactic Diego rescuing the rain forest animals to an obnoxious doofus whose repertoire of jokes is limited to bathroom humor and bodily functions.
Children’s TV programmers: You offer a zero-sum game. For all the early literacy skills you provide preschoolers with your itty-bitty-kid shows, you abruptly drain the instant a babysitter comes over and changes the channel to a slightly-older-kid show.
Diego, if you’re reading this, please know that I take back all the horrible things I said about you. I miss you, hombre. You, your Rescue Pack, and even the nasally Puerto Rican camera voiced by Rosie Perez, are welcome back to the Medina house any time.
Melanie Medina is a Senior Communications Specialist at Texas Health Resources and Mom of two.