The latest batch of kid vids and CDs landed in our inbox recently, so we called on our favorite guest blogger Trine Gallegos and her pint-sized children’s entertainment expert, Sofia, age 6, to weigh in on the big questions: what’s great and what’s merely meh on the kiddie entertainment scene? Here’s their Fab Six lowdown on sharks, moo juice and high octane lullabies :
1) Discovery Kids’ “Kenny the Shark“: This animated TV series on the Discovery Channel is about a sassy 8-foot tiger shark, who just happens to be 10-year-old Kat’s family pet. There are lessons to be learned, of course, all served in a nice little package. With titles like “Goodbye, Ol’ Chum,” you know the shows are filled with some humor. My daughter, Sofia, watched this several times in row, and gave it a thumbs-up. (Kenny’s antics are available on DVD, or check local listings for airtimes.)
The Disney Channel looks to have another major hit on its hands with “Camp Rock.” The hot new show, which debuted Friday night, distills all the same tween-pleasing aspects of “High School Musical” into a summer camp-themed movie, then adds the insanely popular Jonas Brothers. So how hot is hot? Some 8.9 million viewers tuned in for the premiere – making the show’s debut more popular even than the original HSM airing – and the show just got hotter as the night went on. Kids must have been madly texting because by the show’s last half hour, another million had tuned in too.
So now we’re really curious. Did you see it? What did you think? Punch a button on the poll or click “comments” and chime in with your critique.
So, NBC’s new reality-based series, “The Baby Borrowers,” launches tomorrow night. Based on a British series, BB gives teen couples a taste of parenthood by installing them in suburbia and handing them babies and toddlers. Over the course of the series, they’ll also be given preteens, teens and senior citizens – the latter so they can experience that “sandwich generation” feel too. It’s a controversial concept and nowhere did it get as interesting a critique as at Crossroads High School, an alternative school for teen mothers in Concord, where Times TV critic Chuck Barney screened the “Baby Borrowers” pilot with students earlier this week. The opening line?
“Cassie Hadley, an 18-year-old mother from Martinez, is getting a firsthand lesson in just how unreal reality TV can be… ‘No way!’ she blurts upon discovering that the show’s five teen couples have been moved into spacious homes on a quiet suburban cul-de-sac for this intriguing prime-time experiment. ‘They should be in trailers or in tiny, crowded apartments,’ says Handley, as she bounces her 1-year-old son, Money, on her knee.”
Check out Chuck’s story this morning, then check back here each week as blogger Ann Tatko – who dissected “Kid Nation” so fabulously last fall with colleague Ari Soglin — analyzes and critiques “Baby Borrowers” each Wednesday night.
We were catching up on our Tivo’d reality shows last night when we spotted the latest “Top Chef” episode. It wasn’t just devoted to healthy family cooking, it had pint-sized chefs helping the contestants too. Top Chef uber-judge Tom Colicchio called them “the greatest group of sous-chefs in the history of this show.” Certainly the most adorable. They were all from Common Threads, a Chicago non-profit that teaches kids from some of that city’s poorest neighborhoods about cooking, nutrition and cultural diversity. We loved that the kids actually sliced, diced, pared and cooked, and the repartee was pretty darn cute, particularly between Chef Tom and the kids. Maybe we could get them back. They were a good deal more lovable than some of the contestants.
The show repeats pretty much every night this week so there’s still time to catch the youngsters in action as they — and Dale, Antonia, faux-hawked Richard and the gang — whip up chicken paillards, pasta puttanesca and Antonia’s challenge-winning pasta stir fry. Inspired yet? Then here’s the recipe… Read the rest of this entry »
Man, these ladies do not cut each other much slack at all. I loved it when Ramona, who thought nothing of embarrassing her poor tween daughter on camera by wearing revealing & tacky outfits and having a smooch-wrest fest with her girlfriend at the pool, walked off the reunion set because it was revealed that someone leaked nude (yet artsy) photos of fellow Wife Alex. Puhleeeze.
The money and high-society goings on of the Hamptons tennis court-owning crowd made those Orange County gals look like little country mice for sure.
It’s beginning to sound like a broken record. A teen idol reveals a bit too much in photographs that end up before the public eye. Quickly, they shift into damage control with an “I’m oh-so sorry” apology. They made a mistake. It was poor judgment. They will learn from this and grow. Etc. Etc.
Miley Cyrus seemed different. She said the right things and was Disney’s poster child as pop-star/TV star Hannah Montana. Until last week, she had come under fire only once, for forgetting to wear her seat belt. Her parents seemed to do an excellent job of keeping her grounded and away from the bad element of Hollywood teen-dom. Then, borderline photos of Cyrus — showing off part of a green bra in one — hit the Internet last week. Now, she’s also apologizing for a phoot shoot in Vanity Fair’s June issue in which she bares her back while holding a silk sheet over her naked chest.
All of this leads us to one question: What happened to all the teen role models? Take a moment to come up with a list of 10. You can start with… Well, maybe… OK, so it’s not as easy as it sounds. Ashley Tisdale is about the only one coming to mind, and frankly, after Cyrus’ recent stumble, I’m holding my breath on her, too. Sad, isn’t it?
We’ve all heard how TVs and computers should be housed in the den, not children’s bedrooms, but we’ve usually heard it in the context of internet safety and television violence concerns. Now, the American Academy of Pediatrics gives us another reason: there’s a link between teens with TVs in their bedroom and unhealthy habits.
A University of Minnesota study found that teens with TVs in their rooms watched four to five hours more television per week than their young colleagues with TVs in the den. Kids with their own TVs joined in fewer family meals and ate fewer fresh fruits and vegetables. They ate more fast food and drank more sugary sodas, and they read fewer books and studied less. And the boys had lower GPAs. Yikes.
Oh, you can pimp your ride. You can think you can dance or design on a dime. But the reality show that intrigues us is PBS’ Peabody Award-winning “Design Squad.” The show, which launches its second season this week, plucks eight design- and engineering-minded high school and college students and challenges them to design dragsters, build hockey net targets for a Boston Bruins player, and this week, create cardboard furniture for Ikea. The big prize? A $10,000 college scholarship (which covers a couple months’ tuition at any private school these days, but OK, still nice). The challenges are fun, the personalities pop off the screen and we love that half the competitors are girls who love math and science. And you don’t even have to figure out when it airs on TV because you can download the episodes online … which is a good thing, because we can’t figure out when it airs on local TV. Read the rest of this entry »
TLC, the network that brought us series about little people and what not to wear, has turned its attention to stay-at-home moms. This week marks the debut of “The Secret Life of a Soccer Mom,” a reality TV series hosted by Tracey Gold. It takes women who quit high-powered careers to stay home and raise their young children, and plops them back into their high-end professions. The show’s tagline: “For anyone who has put their dreams on hold, your time has come.”
So these Mommies are sneaking out to design high fashion for a Maria Bianca Nero runway show, saute haute cuisine at a high end restaurant or vault over a high chain link fence in a considerably less glitzy police uniform.
As you might expect, the show has fanned the flames of the SAHM/Working Mom Wars, with outraged discussion board posters seeing the show as an assault on the sanctity of the home. Having done both the SAHM gig and the working mom thing, we were curious. Read the rest of this entry »
Any “Reading Rainbow” fans out there? The wonderful PBS kids show about great children’s books is hosting its annual “Young Authors and Illustrators Contest.” If you’ve got a budding writer or artist at home, check it out. For information on Bay Area entries in particular, click here. Some 900 Bay Area kids entered the contest last year – each got a certificate signed by host LeVar Burton (pictured, left), and winners partied at KQED-TV. Pretty cool.
Speaking of books, don’t forget to tune in this Sunday, when the Childhood Matters radio show tackles the topic of “Reading with Your Child” – how, why and what. 9 a.m. 98.1 KISS-FM and 105.1 KOCN-FM. Listen live or download the podcast afterward.