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"It's A Huge Hot Dog!"
on November 25, 2017
I screened this before letting a two year old watch it. PBS presents this show from the same minds that brought us "Teletubbies" (which the promotional copy describes as "innovative") and the big difference between the two seems to be that in "Boohbah" there are five colorful blobs speaking nonsense and jumping around pointlessly, whereas in "Teletubbies" there are four. I don't mind it if they want to call this children's entertainment, but I am not impressed by the educational angle, which is what PBS is supposedly there for. Each episode centers on an object or collected series of objects (a giant hot dog, some musical instruments, or a woolly sweater), so it is extremely modestly educational at best. I sincerely doubt the value of reinforcing a lexicon of nonsense words in very young kids: I expect that they would be much better served hearing their native language spoken correctly. To the show's credit, and responsible for the second star in my rating is the occasional human presence in the episodes. Little happens, but at least there's some exposure to reality and people in those (too short) segments.
This allegedly teaches self-esteem (how?), not that two year olds are generally in need of a higher level of egocentrism. To make sure no nuance is missed, feel free to watch it with the subtitles on, so you can see words like "Pfft!" spelled out during the never-ending flatus dance. Parents will be enthralled with the not at all repetitive theme song. ("Boohbah, boohbah, boohbah, booh!"...Now repeat that about a million times). Despite the claims that "children's confidence and self-esteem are developed through active fun and laughter" which I'm not sure are clearly supported here, I just see a nonsense show that may keep very young children visually occupied for a brief period of time. If that's what you're looking for, have at it: "Boohbah Hot Dog" and it's cast of or colorful nonsense-spewing blobs Humbah, Zumbah, Zing Zing Zingbah, Jumbah, and Jingbah may absorb a one or two year old for a few minutes. Just don't expect much learning to ensue (though you may be quizzed about the reality of gigantic hot dogs).
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