Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Overanalyzing something that doesn't need to be analyzed in the first place

Like most things, being a stay-at-home dad has it's advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, I get to play with the Little Guy. On the negative side, I have the opportunity to watch some of the kids' shows on PBS. The Little Guy's favorite is Sid the Science Kid, the charming tale of Sid who goes to school and learns about various (you'll never guess) science-related topics, including the wheel, muscles, vaccinations and other topics that are probably valuable information for a young child.

However, since I get to watch show fairly regularly, I've found myself analyzing it (mostly for the mental stimulation it provides. Honestly, I figured out rain clouds a while ago and am not in need of a refresher course designed for 4-year-olds.) So I'd like to present to you my in depth analysis of a show designed for someone 27 years younger than me.

The Setting:
 Sid the Science Kid takes place primarily in two places, Sid's home and his pre-school. We know from the holiday episode that he lives in a place where it's warm in December because he celebrates the holidays in his back yard. None of the characters speak with an Southern accent, so I think it's safe to say his family lives west of Texas. Forced to guess, I'd say the show is set in somewhere like Phoenix, Arizona or in Southern California. In the aforementioned Holiday episode, Sid doesn't want to go to Minnesota to visit his Aunt Irene (who we never see) because of how cold it is there.

Sid's Home - While we can assume Sid lives in a typical suburban home, we only ever see Sid's Room, a hallway (with doors) that leads to the kitchen and his backyard. With two parents and an infant in the house, it's safe to say there are other bedrooms in the home. He has a tree house in his back yard, though he rarely ever plays there.

Sid's School - Again, it appears to be a typical pre-school, though there are some questions that remain unanswered. The playground for the school is fenced in, but right next to the road. Also, when Sid's mom drops him off each day, the gate does not appear to be locked. Chris Hanson may want to set up a sing operation there just to protect the kids. There are swings, a sandbox, jungle gym and benches on the playground, but the children appear to be unsupervised. During the morning routine, Sid questions his classmates on various topics, but there are no adults to be found outside with them. This seems to be a major safety concern. Also, while we know there are other classes at the school, only Sid and his three friends are ever seen. That's right, this preschool limits class size to four. Assuming there are five age groups (infants, one, two, three and four-year olds), there are a total of 20 kids at this school. Tuition would need to be fairly high to cover the costs of all the things at the school.

Inside the classroom, the kids have 'rug time' where they talk about a topic, the 'super fab lab' where the perform experiments and a large play area. This, again, is for four children. It's an absurdly large room for four kids.

The Cast:

Sid - Our main character, the show revolves around him. In his room he has a plethora of stuffed animals, including Arnie the Dinosaur, Horatio, and a blow-up penguin he's named 'Dr. Beaks', who seems to take the brunt of Sid's 'violent' outbursts (mostly play kicking). He starts each episode with a question that he usually asks his parents. Despite getting the correct answer from them, he's not satisfied and pledges to ask the same question at school, where he gets the same answer, only in more detail.

Sid appears to be very self-centered and even selfish. Every day at school the class discusses what he wants to talk about despite the fact that the other three children may have questions of their own. He's always the last one to arrive each day and when he does, he breaks into song to introduce us to all his friends. While the others all claim to be friends, they're all playing separately until Sid arrives, which leads one to question if they're really friends. He's also the last to leave as we always see his teacher waiting with just hm to be picked up at the end of the day.

Alice - She is Sid's mom. She works at an office of some kind. She is apparently Christian as her family celebrates Christmas, but she is also apparently African-American as she celebrates Kwanzaa as well. She likes flowers and, according to Sid, is 'really good at computer stuff.' Whatever she does, she's unavailable to pick Sid up from school each day, though she does drop him off each morning.

Mort - Sid's dad, he's Jewish, celebrates Hanukkah and is in construction, possibly a carpenter. Despite being a Jewish carpenter, the show avoids making him into a Christ-like figure. His catch-phrase is 'Blam-O' which he uses for just about anything, including successfully telling a joke, making pancakes or feeding his infant son. He's kind of dorky and, frankly, I think Alice could do better. She settled for Mort.

Zeke - Sid's infant brother, he looks to be roughly seven-months old. He's has a mini Dr. Beaks toy and is remarkably well-behaved. So much so, in fact, he's often left in his high chair for minutes on end without making a sound. He seems to be close to talking as he mimics the sounds of his parents really well. He brings nothing to the show, honestly. Despite the fact that both Alice and Mort work, what happens to Zeke during the day is a mystery. He doesn't go to school with Sid and we can probably assume he doesn't go to the construction site with Mort. I guess there's a chance he goes with Alice each day.

Gabriella - Sid's best friend. She likes to dance, she has an older brother who plays soccer and she doesn't like being called 'ma'am' by Sid when he's doing his daily survey. Even though they're only four, I think she and Sid are likely in some sort of romantic relationship based on how disappointed she is that rain may ruin their 'playdate' in Sid's tree house. She seems to be the most mature one of Sid's friends.

Gerald - The Cosmo Kramer of the group, Gerald always makes an entrance after the class has sat down for 'rug time.' We really know very little about Gerald. He has a dad. We can assume he likes dinosaurs since he wears the same dinosaur shirt each day to class. He seems very confident, though there's a chance he uses that extreme confidence to mask his insecurities of being the only 'gray' character in an otherwise yellowish or brownish world.

Mae -  Sid's glasses-wearing friend who appears to fulfill the Asian aspect of the show, Mae is exceedingly polite to the point it seems her parents must be very strict to drill such politeness into her. She has a cat named Mooshu that she talks about fairly often. I fear if she doesn't broaden her horizons, she could end up as a 'cat lady.'

Susie - The teacher for the class, she's always prepared for any and all questions, no matter what they may be. Sid wants to talk about muscles, she's got a chart already out and ready to discuss. Sid wants to talk about leaves, she's got charts and activities all planned out. Extremely intelligent (she knew how many muscles were in the face), she's also a very talented singer. Each episode she sings a song pertaining to the topic at hand. How she can have so many topical songs ready for such a variety of topics is beyond me. It's never explained.

Sid's Grandma - Perhaps the most interesting person in the show, Sid's Grandmother generally only appears near the end to pick up Sid from school. How she has time to do this each day despite being a nurse (for 37 years, she tells us) is, again, never explained. She tells tales of times long ago when she was a little girl on the ride home, all of which fit into the narrative that has been discussed at school. We know she hang glides, scuba dives, she's bowled a perfect game, she built a house and she knows the history of toilet paper. Why the show isn't about her is a mystery as she's a much more entertaining. No mention is ever made of a husband, either by her or anyone in the family. My guess is that it's a dark secret that the family doesn't mention.

If you've made it this far, you're probably thinking I need something better to do with my time. You're probably right.

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