Wednesday, November 29, 2006


First in a series of reviews of What I Have to Endure Sometimes to Get a Little Quiet.

The time has come. I have now put up with about five years of entertainment aimed at kids, and I am ready to share my opinions. You may not care. In fact, I don't care. But I have formed these opinions and am compelled to broadcast them, at least once.

The Wiggles: They daze me. Four Australian guys in color-coded mock turtlenecks who play music and don't seem to make a big effort to look, like, good-looking. There's this disconnect between their Captain-Kirk uniforms and their jug-eared, cartoony human faces. One guy always looks unshaven, and at least two are decidedly bug-eyed.

The Wiggles have a pal named Captain Feathersword. He tickles people with his (feather) sword and likes to do silly dances. In one adventure, the Wiggles and the Captain impetuously commandeer a spaceship and bing around the galaxy like a pinball (a common trope). The Captain has impulse control issues - when he sees a big red button he sings a song called "What's This Button For?" (which I kind of like and which adapts itself to many circumstances and nouns. "What's this bottle for?" etc.) and then presses said button before discovering what, in fact, it is for. Later, when the group is in peril, one of the Wiggles suggests to the Captain that he do a funny dance. "Awww," protests the Captain shamefacedly, "It were one a' me funny dances that got us into this in the first place!"

After I don't know how many viewings (really listenings, I don't have to be in the same room as the videos, that's kind of the point), I developed a theory about the Wiggles and Captain Feathersword. They kind of aligned in my head with the Beatles and Doctor Robert. Wiggle world is pretty psychedelic, that's for sure, and you can totally read their lines as drug code.
"Captain Feathersword, we're crashing! Maybe one of your funny dances would help!"
("Captain Feathersword, we're crashing! Dose me!")
"Awww, it were one a' me funny dances that got us into this in the first place!"
("I don't know fellas, it were me unorthodox combination of OxyContin and crank that sent us all into shock in the first place!")

These guys are kid superstars though. I hear the live shows totally rock, despite the green-and-yellow dinosaur character and the octopus with the hat, god those things look so random, like they were the costumes that the Wiggly guys got for cheap when a costume shop went out of business back in Brisbane or wherever.

Their beginnings certainly were humble. You should see the early Wiggle TV shows - they look like they were filmed in a doctor's office waiting room. Even the kid guests look desperate and gaunt. How ever did they get so big? Ask a kid his criteria for liking anything, see if you get a comprehensible answer.

PS: Oddly, I think they moonlighted as crowd filler on the USS Abraham Lincoln one day a few years back: