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Ranking the Kid Shows: Calliou

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ranking the Kid Shows: Calliou

Calliou?  Calliloser.

Calliou is about a bald kid fuckup who despite his best efforts can't do anything right, and the various adults in his life who tell him it is OK.

No, Calliou, it is not OK.  When you can't outrun the fat kid, you are a loser; and no amount of Most Improved Swimmer Awards is going to change that.

Seriously, this is the kind of show that pisses me off and makes me realize what I am up against as a father.

I only watched a few episodes before I couldn't take it anymore, but they all seemed to revolve around the same premise.  Calliou not being good enough at something. In one he's too slow, too short.  In another he's too weak.  He can't win a ribbon. But does he do anything about it?  Does he take any steps toward bettering himself? No.  He just mopes around waiting for others to fix his problems.  His grandmother even rigs a contest with the neighborhood kids just so Calliou can win a stupid ribbon, and he can't even do that right.  He only wins at the Don't Laugh game, a feat so utterly lacking in any degree of athleticism, and a gimme if ever there was one, since given his penchant for screwing up, the last thing this kid should be doing is smiling.

I am not taking exception with parents encouraging their kids.  I get that part. Parents need to pat backs, inspire to try harder.  But at some point you've just cut to cut the dead weight.  It's not like he's striking out against the stiffest competition. Calliou loses to a girl who calls butterflies "flutterbys."

It's the overarching morality of the show I find most offensive, as it engenders the pussification of our nation's youth.  It's not merely that Calliou can't do anything right, it's that he lacks all internal fortitude and fails to grasp even the most basic tenets of problem solving.  For instance, in the episode "Everyone's Best," Calliou, who has been whining all day about not being able to win a stupid ribbon, actually has the lead in the Obstacle Race.  Until he is felled by a cat.  Seriously.  He's in the lead, about a foot from the finish line, when his cat steps in front of him, and dipshit here can't figure out what to do.  So he just stands there until the other kids run past him.  If you can't figure out how to step over a goddamn cat, I don't care if you're six, you've got bigger problems than not winning a ribbon or being prematurely bald.

The only thing Calliou excels at is daydreaming.  He imagines he's a pirate.  A lion tamer.  An astronaut.  Real useful skill, kid.  It'll come in handy when you're forty-six and working at Radio Shack.

I give Calliou 0 out of 10 stars.


At February 4, 2011 at 10:15 AM , Blogger Sean Craven said...

I've noticed that a lot of the messages toward kids reinforce behavior that's convenient for parents rather than life skills that might make a kid a handful. Don't you want a kid that just sits around thinking about things they know they can't do? Dang, that sounds convenient.

We used to have a Calliou book but I got rid of it on grounds of creeping hippyosity.

At February 4, 2011 at 4:00 PM , Blogger Sean said...

They should just have a single episode of Calliou and air it over and over again. Calliou in gym class--where two of the more popular kids are allowed to pick teams. That is a much better prep for adult life than that ego-boosting mish mash.

At February 4, 2011 at 4:05 PM , Blogger Joe Clifford said...

Sean, I can see this particular topic has touched a nerve. I feel the same way. Don't blow smoke up my ass. And I don't think kids want smoke blown up their ass, either. Maybe at the time they don't mind it, but years later, when they are fielding divorce number two, the bank is foreclosing on the house, and their career is shit, it only reinforces the notion that they've been lied to from day one. I will not be a party to this. Fuck Calliou.

At February 4, 2011 at 4:15 PM , Blogger esther said...

Am I the only one who thinks Callilou is a child predator posing as a kid???

At February 5, 2011 at 6:21 PM , Blogger Justine said...

-and why the hell is he bald? I've never seen a bald 5 year old.

At February 24, 2011 at 6:47 PM , Blogger willow said...

this particular kidshow has driven me bonkers for YEARS. I hated it when my son was young enough for it (he's almost 13 now), and i hate it now that my daughter is staring, brain unhinged, blankly at the calliou screen. it nauseates me. calliou's voice nauseates me. what passes for a generalization of the average american family nauseates me. if i ever meet these people i will kill them.

At February 24, 2011 at 6:48 PM , Blogger willow said...

but, despite not wanting too. . . i really enjoy the backyardigans. don't tell anyone.

At February 24, 2011 at 9:13 PM , Blogger Joe Clifford said...

Willow, on your recommendation, backyardigans are next! (And I LOVED your commentary on Calliou.)


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