Monday, April 26, 2010

How To Make Money And Influence People

The WigglesThere is a phenomenon in our house called The Wiggles Effect. It occurs certainly in young boys between the ages of 3 and 5 and may also occur in young girls though I’ve no direct empirical proof of this not having any daughters. The effect lasts approximately 18 – 24 months and then dies away rather quickly.

The first time we experienced it was with our eldest boy. We were pretty terrified at the time because, with no historical template to compare it to, we had no idea how long it was going to last. Would he always be a Wiggles fan? Would he never grow out of it? Was he going to start wanting to dress like them, sing like them, dance like them?

As it was he turned 5, got into Star Wars and dropped The Wiggles like a handful of hot potatoes.

So now with Tom showing similar appreciative tendencies we are panicking a good deal less.

The Wiggles, for those of you who don’t know, are an Australian... er, group-band-ensemble-thing that cater for the toddler end of the kid’s entertainment market. They’re like a cross between Geoffrey from Rainbow and a Take That karaoke tribute band. They dress like spares from Star Trek (i.e. the ones that are there purely to get photon torpedoed, lasered and lost during erroneous beam ups) and are the rummest looking bunch of men I have ever seen. I might be wrong but I imagine they grew up in a hard drinking mining town in the Outback that had very few women and at a very early age these 4 boys decided that (a) they weren’t gay and (b) they didn’t like the nasty taste of alcohol either.

There’s something unquenchably wholesome and “nice uncle” about them even as they dance around like every kid’s ultimate nightmare: a party throwing disco-dad.

They are in short plain embarrassing. It’s just too easy to take the P out of them.

And I shouldn’t because both my boys think they’re great (the eldest still has an affection for them – but, shh, let’s keep that quiet, it wouldn’t be cool if his school mates found out). And to be honest I can keep Tom occupied for hours by throwing on a Wiggles DVD.

Even as I’m shaking my head at their lame dancing and gurning singing faces I am secretly thanking them in my mind. Even as I cringe at their awful lyrics (fruit salad / yummy yummy / fruit salad / yummy yummy) I am grateful that they have afforded me a 5 minute daddy break.

And as I said I shouldn’t knock them – I have no right to knock them – because according to a recent poll they are officially Australia’s highest earning performers. They have topped even Kylie Minogue in the recently published Ozzy rich bitch charts.

Sheesh.

If I’d known kid’s television was such a lucrative business I would have made a sock puppet years ago and happy-clapped a whole lot more.

For those of you that dare, here is a link to one of their finest offerings: Fruit Salad.


38 comments:

Gina said...

OMG they do look awful. Remarkably I have never come across them. Presumably they arrived on the scene when my children were too old for them? Mine were never much into singing and dancing type programmes actually so perhaps that is why.

But yeah - if they give you some peace and quiet then they have got to be a good thing. Well, as long as you earplugs or a sound-proof room I guess.

Owen said...

Steve, can only thank you for helping to complete my sorely lacking cultural education... never heard of the Wiggles ! Can you imagine ? Well, I'm off to go discover them...

Steve said...

Gina: apparently they've been going for over 20 years! I can only assume that they are cryogenically frozen / pickled in aspic between performances.

Owen: when you're done I can recommend a great psychiatrist.

absurdoldbird said...

:(
Marginally worse than Basil Brush...

French Fancy said...

I've never heard of them but at least having children keeps you in touch with all the best things of youth culture - like that video that I did watch and did snigger at.

I take exception with their advice to use a plastic knife though. How could you cut the apple safely? The knife would probably break in half and ping up in the air and then who knows where.

Fruit salad yummy yummy

Steve said...

FF; they also have a pirate character called Captain Feathersword... I mean, how ridiculous! How is he supposed to gut soldiers from the East India Company with a feathersword?! Doh!

Absurdoldbird: at least Basil Brush shuts up when the hand is taken out of his arse.

Heather said...

I've never heard of them before but I feel quite unwell just thinking about it. I am in no way brave enough to click that link. We have the imagination movers, an american atrocity on the disney chanel that the kids love, but they at least dont look like extras from star trek.

Steve said...

Heather: the worst thing to come out of America has been Barney the Purple Dinosaur. Once upon a time on YouTube there were videos made by clever geeks of pixelated Barney's being nuked in various video games. I love YouTube sometimes.

Zebedee said...

Shock Orror Ghasp! ... wail snot really, but drooly as bah!thetic as Tellytubes and that kind of drivial trivel. Just goes to show what happyends when a generation of Magic Roundabots take the reins of LSDTV. Not to mention the pitiful buy-products and sidefx of such utter noddysense; hordes of half-baked conspiracy nutters what ave attendancy to call it a part of the jenral trendense of dumpbink down of the ho-hum raises conkshuness. Yerh.

Gimme the Fonz or Morph & Mindy andypandyday - qualitv, that wozz.

Zerously though; what can one do? Everytime I look up from my pc (once or twice a day at least) the kids are attached to some sort of screen/electronic device. If it ain' the Nincompoop-DS or the Whee thingey, it's Tutankhamoon Network or iPods blaring etc, etc.
I mean, it's not like I dint try to give'm a cultaural bachground; before they was even born I was playing Iron Maiden and Motörhead at full blast and reciting the entire complete, calm and collected works of Shakin' Stevens. And I quote, "Is it not strange that desire should so many years outlive performance?"

Steve said...

Zebedee: for the wonderful reminder of Mork and Mindy alone (nanoo nanoo) I could kiss you. I have very fond memories of The Fonz and indeed much happiness towards Happy Days... but there's nothing like that these days. Everything is kind of whitewashed and diluted and processed. I'm surprised they don't start issuing TV programmes in tins at Tesco.

Alienne said...

Thank goodness I missed them; come back Chuckle Brothers, all is forgiven. The best childrens' telly to come out of Oz was Round the Twist - it's superb; clever, funny, surreal and dark, yet moral too. Your 2 are probably not quite old enough for it yet, but in a couple of years it will be worth hunting down.

Steve said...

Alienne: I used to love Round The Twist - the family lived in a lighthouse I seem to remember. I recall one episode where the young buy befriended a water sprite who helped him win a "pee as high as you can" competition. Now that was proper kid's telly!

English Rider said...

Bill and Ben, Bill and Ben. Flower pot men, Flower pot men. Accompanied by Little Weeeeed.(a sunflower).
We had The Woodentops too, with Spotty Dog the Dalmation.
It's a generational thing.
I have heard of The Wiggles but I must resist seeing them for myself. I might end up in the wrong time warp.

Being Me said...

I am gobsmacked at how many of your commenters don't know the Wiggles! Then again, I am from Australia and they saturate everything here. We can't stand them in this house, although don't tell anyone or I'm likely to be kicked out of the country for being "unOstraylian" for admitting it.

We have raised our daughter on a diet of Fraggle Rock, Sesame Street, Play School (which is a bit like your Ceebeebies show, Tikkabilla) and actually, she loved Tikkabilla for a while as well, patronising as it seems to be. Never been interested in the Wiggles, thankfully, and we weren't about to encourage it. Somehow, we've avoided the concerts, the merchandise, the songs, the parties, etc. They're everywhere here.

missbehaving said...

They had a bit of a heyday here but my kids were already too old for them, sadly my elder kids were raised by Barney, and still no one is allowed to wear purple in the house. The younger ones were raised by Blues Clues which was awesome because Steve ( I think he was called) had a very naughty schoolboy look in his eye.Mothers across the country were having the same ( naughty) thoughts about him.

The Sagittarian said...

Oh Steve - you haven't lived until you have been to a Wiggles concert! I kid you not, little girls liked them too...along with Banana's In Pyjamas (You have heard of them??)...there was an article in one of our local papers that when the Wiggles toured here a whole heap of mothers wanted their er attentions! They didn't spin my wheels, thats for sure!

Steve said...

English Rider: I missed Bill & Ben's heydey but have vague recollections of repeats of Andy Pandy and Rupert The Bear. Now they were class.

Being Me: and yet they've done a UK tour too. I guess they've not reached saturation point here. They're like a dangerous narcotic though - one tiny hit and the kids are instantly addicted.

MissBehaving: Barney is evil, I tell you. EVIL! Thank God Prince was out of his purple faze before we encountered Barney.

Amanda: ladies + Captain Feathersword [does not] = satisfaction. ;-)

The Dotterel said...

I intend to keep that discovery hidden from Charlie until he's at least eighteen... Bet that Rolf Harris has got something to do with it. (*ahoooahaaaahoooahaaa* 'can you see what it is it yit?)

Steve said...

The Dotterel: Rolf was fine. Rolf was OK because he was kind of a big kid himself; he was one of us. But The Wiggles have a weird, creepy, mentally deficient "uncle" thing going on which is just not right at all.

Suburbia said...

There's NO WAY I'm following that link!!!!

;)

Steve said...

Suburbia: go on, you know you want to!

femminismo said...

I have heard of them, but sorry - cannot follow the link because there's a glass of red wine waiting for me. Good to "talk" to you, Steve. Kiss your lovely boys for me. They are so lucky to have a good daddy like you. (I just know this. I haven't been able to stalk you in person.)

Steve said...

Femminismo: choosing red wine over The Wiggles? My God. Allegedly there are women elsewhere in this world who would think you are crazy.

I'm available for stalkings week days only; discounts for students.

Annie said...

It warmed the heart to watch Steve! The Elvis influence did not go unnoticed ....

Gappy said...

The wiggles are small fry in terms of cringe factor when compared to Justin (aka Mr Tumble) from Something Special. Now there's a man who can really give you nightmares...

There's a tag for you over at mine if you're interested...

Steve said...

Annie: and yet they don't go a whole hog on squirrel burgers...

Gappy: ah, the ubiquitous Justin Fletcher - the man who seems to have carved himself a whole edifice (as opposed to a niche) on children's telly... I know him well. Alas. Will check out the tag...

Old Cheeser said...

Judging by that, clip I think they're hilarious!! Okay so I might be in a minority, here...Strange cos they're kind of ....deadpan....and camp at the same time. And with a song entitled "Fruit Salad",well....draw your own conclusions.

Steve said...

OC: you need to perform a search on YouTube for "Captain Feathersword" - a Wiggles extra - you'll love him!

-eve- said...

*Bursts out laughing*
that was wonderful - a huge surprise.
have never seen anything like that before, I think. *still laughing*.
am glad they do so well over there! :-)
I think I can watch them to cheer myself up whenever I'm down, lol!

Steve said...

Eve: YouTube is a wonderful resource when you're feeling down... though I'm not sure I would personally recommend The Wiggles as therapy to combat clinical depression!

Dan said...

You should try your kids on the They might be giants kids CDs, they are really rather good.

Steve said...

Dan: thanks for the tip off. Any thing that lessens The Wiggles Effect can only be a good thing!

Kelloggsville said...

Yes girls do it too! I went to see them live. I only have vague memories of the trauma which I endured by chewing an arm off. I have also see High Five twice. Yes, they move onto high five after the wiggles - but at least they are eye candy. - and to absurdoldbird : I've seen Basil Brush live too : I lost a leg to that one :0(

Steve said...

Kelloggsville: parenthood is one long round of self-sacrifice, isn't it? Thank God you can get arteficial limbs on the NHS these days...

TheUndertaker said...

Ahh, don't knock the Wiggles! My youngest had a huge Wiggles crush (now he is nearly 15 so let's keep that one quiet), and when they came to NZ we couldn't even get tickets to their show! I reckon it was all us lonely frustrated mums had to watch, u know, Captain Feather-sword and all... : )

Steve said...

The Undertaker: no offense, but you mums must be really lonely and frustrated if you could entertain having a wiggle with The Wiggles for even a second. Captain Feathersword is the best of a bad bunch and, let's face it, his sword is rather droopy...! ;-)

TheUndertaker said...

Lol, what can I say, those were desperate times...

Steve said...

The Undertaker: at least The wiggles beat the likes of Barney The Purple Dinosaur and Pee-Wee Herman... I'll give 'em that.