What Is Curious George Teaching My Child?

Maybe I'm just an over-analytical parent who thinks too much into these things, but when I sit down to watch cartoons with any child, whether it's Rooney or with my nieces or nephews, I'm always thinking: What's the message? What are they trying to teach? curious george

I'm curious that way I guess. Partly because in spending quality time with children watching cartoons I find myself a little bored with the show, so I figure I might as well try to reverse-engineer this thing to figure out the point. Often the message is simple, which is great for the children to understand, learn and grow their noggins.

But we've been watching Curious George for a few months now as it's become an integral part of Rooney's bedtime routine. I really like the show because it's broken up into two segments. One 1/2 hour TV show is actually two episodes. I like this for two reasons:

  1. Her attention span is not long enough for an entire 30 minutes of television.
  2. She doesn't need to be watching that much television in the first place.

We're not super against TV for our children or anything like that, but rather, she's just so busy pulling all of my books out of our side table or emptying her dresser and "folding laundry" like mommy. So when choosing TV or play, we choose play for the most part and save a little bit of TV as a wind-down tool for bedtime. It's been working for us.

So, as we sit down every night to watch 'Monkey George,' as I like to call it, Rooney settles in with a little snack and snuggles between us on the couch, if she's not climbing on her own chair. And as fire up Netflix and find the next episode, I always wonder... "What's George going to screw up today?"


Let me break down the anatomy of a typical episode for you, in case you haven't seen it or haven't given it much thought.

  1. Setting: The Man with the Yellow Hat has two places of residence, so they are either at their country home or the apartment in the city.
  2. Something fun and tempting: Something strikes George's curiosity and you can see the wheels in his head spinning.
  3. Warning: The temptation is followed by explicit instructions from The Man with the Yellow Hat: "Be a good little monkey!" And then he leaves George unsupervised for the ensuing mischief.
  4. Blatant disobedience: I could write every episode, seriously. It's so predictable. Whatever George is told not to do, he does. He wreaks havoc on everything he comes in contact with.
  5. Realization: Somewhere at the climax of the episode, George realizes he hasn't been a good little monkey and attemps to right his wrongs.
  6. Forgiveness without consequences: The Man with the Yellow Hat returns to the scene of the crime, discovers what George has done, and no matter how bad it is, they laugh. No consequences.

I mean, is this really educational? Sure there are sprinkles of lessons throughout: colors, numbers, shapes, etc. But the overall theme and plot of every single episode kind of makes me cringe. I suppose it could be worse; Rooney could be in love with Dora the Explorer and then she would learn how to yell at everything and everyone. And don't even get me started on Yo Gabba Gabba.

I am super thankful that Rooney doesn't crave or beg for television. And even when we have it on or are watching George, she is usually distracted. Lately we've been tickling each other and giggling for 15 minutes before bed. What a great way to end the day!

What do you think of the quality of children's programming on television these days?