The Curious George Universe - Live Like a Mensch
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The Curious George Universe


LO is quite the fan of Curious George. He watches the PBS Kids cartoon version of the classic stories about a "good" little monkey almost every morning before school.

I do remember not particularly liking George when I was a child. He always ruined everything. I was something of a goody-two-shoes as a kid (I'm sure you're all very surprised), so the idea of a chaos-making monkey who never got in trouble for messing things up offended my sense of order.

But LO does not seem to be bothered by all of that. He giggles at George's antics.

I, however, have noticed two troubling aspects of the Curious George universe:

1. The adults seem to be particularly incompetent. A train conductor, a construction supervisor, a radio DJ, and NASA would generally avoid leaving a monkey in charge of things. The time they sent George into space unsupervised because the Man with the Yellow Hat couldn't make the pod control work because it required someone with four hands was one breathtaking example of incompetence. (I'd like to believe that our aeronautical engineers put a little more effort into designing the controls for astronauts to use and that any random yellow-wearing nameless man would not be allowed to go into space and then bow out in favor of a monkey at the last minute.)

2. Who on Earth pays for all of George's damage? He has flooded the Man with the Yellow Hat's house (several times), loosed farm animals on unsuspecting homeowners, rerouted trains, caused traffic accidents by changing the colors of traffic lights, nearly ruined a space mission, and continually set back the Man with the Yellow Hat's clocks making him an hour later each day for a week, which would presumably get him fired, if there were any indication that he had a job.  There is a definite economic cost to all of this "helpfulness" on George's part, but we never see the Man with the Yellow Hat worrying over bills.

Either the creators of Curious George are teaching my son the twin lessons that adults are not too bright and that it costs nothing to incur incredible damage, or I need to stop overanalyzing children's entertainment.

Published Nov 09 2012, 04:58 PM by Emily Guy Birken
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