A Kid Show I'm Constantly Forced to Watch (and One I Suggest Instead) Pt 1: Paw Patrol
I can never decide whether or not I want my kids to like things. If they don’t there’s complaining. If they do, there’s complaining…but the complaining is usually coming from me.
It might change as they get older, but at the moment my children, at ages four and almost-three, don’t know how to savor things. Instead, if they love something, they will blitz us with it nonstop for days — even months — before finally moving on to the next thing. We watched Moana so many times over a four month period that my husband and I memorized the entire script. We’ve listened to “Five Little Pumpkins” so many times that I have flashbacks and cry around Halloween.
Now, lately, it’s a show called Paw Patrol.
For the luckily uninitiated, Paw Patrol is a baffling show about dogs that wear costumes and work. They serve in a little town called Adventure Bay under Ryder, who is either a 9-year-old kid or a 30-year old adult with stunted growth brought on by smoking. I’m still not sure. Either way, they are Adventure Bay’s only line of defense against emergencies.
You read that correctly. Adventure Bay’s infrastructure is so janky that injuries, crime, water rescues, etc are handled by dogs. Not even grown dogs. It is mentioned multiple times that these are puppies. This was all funded and ordered for some reason by their mayor who keeps a chicken in her purse.
These dogs drive cars and helicopters and even have a huge, swanky tour bus with seatbelts and a giant screen upon which they receive their missions. I have surmised through many hours of watching that Ryder is either sleeping with the mayor (or the chicken — this creature seems to have a strange amount of pull with the local government), or he has some sort of blackmail photos. They own tech that none of us have ever seen before; someone is playing dirty, House of Cards-level politics and I’m sort of outraged.
Anyway. Throughout the show, these dogs rescue people and help the mayor settle petty disagreeances with another town’s mayor. Then at the end they laugh at things that aren’t funny (“Hey, who wants a snack?” “ “HAHAHAHAHAHAHA”) and the credits roll. It’s a show that serves to be colorful and loud and distracting, and not much else. Also, I take exception to the fact that the writers of the show can’t seem to decide whether this is a beach town or a snowy place that houses honest-to-God penguins.
I know some people out there are probably all “Arianna, chill. Soon your kids won’t want to watch TV with you at all. Enjoy the time you spend together.” And to those people I say: You can’t tell me what to do. Quit being such a Marshall.
Seriously. This show is not one made for kids with the parents in mind. It’s purely for children to watch while their parents zonk out or get some cleaning done. If I have to hear one more bizarre rescue mission involving merpups (dogs that are mermaids and live underwater. I wish I were kidding.) or monkeys in a jungle that is somehow reachable by bus from the beach, I’m going to write my own episode. And in it, Ryder will be investigated for animal cruelty and espionage and sentenced to life in prison. The dogs will find good homes, though. I’m not a monster.
I love my kids, but I don’t have to love their TV choices. If you’re in the same boat as me, I have a separate suggestion:
Instead watch: Octonauts (CBeebies, Netflix)
This is actually one of my daughter’s favorites besides Paw Patrol, and I’m almost always trying to steer her to this one instead. I’ve even pulled the “Paw Patrol is broken, honey, so maybe we should watch Octonauts instead” trick. Success rate is about 50/50 on that one.
The show follows a bunch of way-too-cute characters as they live under the sea, rescuing water-dwelling creatures and learning about them. It’s actually educational, the jokes are cute and often worth a chuckle, and it’s easy for little ones to watch even if they don’t get the whole gist. My son knows what water bears and salt water crocodiles are now because of this show. And it’s based off of a book series, so you can eventually tempt them away with books if you get tired of the episodes.
Sure, there are some weird elements, like Captain Barnacles up there, a polar bear, still has yet to eat either Peso (the penguin) or Kwazii (the cat), despite being stuck under water indefinitely with nothing to eat but kelp. And yes, their mechanic is a rabbit who, last I checked, does not and should not have opposable thumbs.
Also, there are these cute-but-bizarre creatures that seem to be some unholy hybrid of rabbit and turnip that work the kitchen. They’re called Vegimals, and no one seems concerned that someone out there is apparently running highly illegal genetic tests trying to turn food into living creatures.
All in all though, this show is easy to enjoy, and it’s clearly written by people who realize that the parents might be watching. So if you have to watch something, this is a much more enjoyable alternative.
And if it’s not and you hate it, don’t blame me. All I’ve got to base this on is my dislike for Paw Patrol.
Admittedly, that’s kind of a low barrier of entry.