Rarely does an entire day pass without me watching at least some span of the Noggin channel. The host of Noggin, the animated Moose A. Moose, is my daughter’s favorite. She’s gone through phases of enjoying Pinky Dinky Doo, The Backyardigans, and Jack’s Big Music Show, but she has been captivated by Moose since she was just 4 months old. She also has shown a lot of interest in Dora the Explorer.
Lately, due mostly to Noggin’s schedule change, she’s been watching a lot of Blue’s Clues. At first, I hated this show. It’s about as dumbed down as a show can get, at first glance. But lately, I’ve been realizing something: I’ve picked up a lot of sign language in passing glances.
Blue’s Clues is not that interesting. As a show, it’s really basic, and not very interesting. Unlike, say, Sponegbob Squarepants, where after 40 seconds, if the kid walks away, I watch the rest, Blue’s Clues is completely boring. I’ll happily shut it off. And yet, when she is watching, I love that she’s getting the sign.
I have to admit that I like Steve much better than Joe. Steve was natural with sign language. And he seemed genuine, if possible. He was a normal dude, just chillin’ with his animated dog Blue, who apparently, would only communicate via elaborate clues to a master puzzle. The whole thing was very normal, in an “I have an animated blue dog who leaves me clues to answer simple questions which I figure out whilst signing and then track in a notepad for future reference” kind of way.
Steve was also a very routine oriented guy. Same shirt, every day: none of this new-fangled several colors nonsense. Also, he didn’t grin all the time like a complete tool.
But Joe sucks. Joe is always giving a stupid, goofy grin that deserves a slap. Unlike Steve, who seemed generally laid back did a great job of hosting a kid’s show, Joe was a trying-too-hard pretty-boy who spent his time hosting Blue’s Clues living in Steve’s big shadow. Aside from having a much more polished and “I wanna be an actor” finish, he was so effortful in his performance that it came off as both condescending and tiring. His silly oversmiling and unnatural “side running” is so odd looking it leaves me wanting to take Steve out for a beer, just for not sucking so much.
I think Joe is an actor thrilled to have a gig, trying so hard to be good at it, and yet, coming off as so desperate it makes me roll my eyes. Every emotion is so overplayed I’m sure my 14 month old must mutter “What a sodding twit” under her breath.
Either way, Blue’s Clues, despite being entirely blowsome as a TV show, is pretty decent as an education tool, largely due to the amount of ASL mushed into the show. If your kid has to watch something, you could do a lot worse than Blue’s Clues, which is likely why a show that ran from the mid nineties through 2005 or so is still aired several times a day.