Feminist Dad

The actually educational TV shows your kids should be watching and their hilarious shortcomings (pt. 2 of 5

The crazy dad with way too much time on his hands and an almost unhealthy obsession with his daughter’s media consumption is back with another chapter to the tale of good value tot TV. Today my sights are locked on Disney Junior, or DSTV channel 309. Check out my Dora the Explorer ramblings in part 1.

Doc McStuffins
You wanna talk about a layered TV show? Try an African American family who live in a leafy suburb where the mother is a doctor and the father is a stay-at-home dad. Dottie, the daughter and eldest child is “Doc” whose mother gave her a set of doctor’s tools of which the stethoscope brings her toys to life. You know where it’s going from here… She fixes toys, documents their ailments in the Big Book of Boo Boos, gives check ups and pretty much does the usual kid thing where they emulate their parents — I, for instance, can’t open up a laptop in Spawn’s presence without going 12 rounds with a toddler who wants to “work”.

The beauty of Doc McStuffins however are the plot lines. Everything is a metaphor. My favourite episode is when Rita the Cheetah comes to visit and all the toys don’t want to play with her because they think she suffers from mystery pocks (one of the other toys had mystery pocks in an earlier episode; it ended up being paint and was cured with the advanced medical technique called hand washing). So Rita the Cheetah is from Africa, plus poorly understood disease equals metaphor for AIDS. The moral of this episode was all about understanding each others differences.

The show is packed with similar themes and plots, scores extra points for the feminist angle and has almost cured my daughter of any doctor fears. But there’s one thing that bugs me.

The shortcoming:
Every show needs comic relief and usually it’s up to the feisty black woman to be just that. Don’t believe me? Tyler Perry made an entire career out of flogging that old horse. Now remember this is a show about an upwardly mobile African American family who all speak without a hint of common accent. How do they inject some humour? They give the most obviously black female character a thick southern drawl and a no nonsense attitude.

Hallie is the nurse in Doc’s clinic. Hallie is a hippo. Hallie’s don’t speak so good. Unsurprisingly Loretta Devine voices Hallie.

So for a show with so much going for it in terms of removing stigma, why then are we painting by racial profiling numbers? Did the script writers get bored or was this the work of the producers? Hallie’s antics doesn’t add anything to the show from my daughter’s perspective because the only way the humour works is if you know it for what it is.

I’m not boycotting Doc McStuffins for it, but I am disappointed.

Even worse
Besides for the various mental issues presented by the rest of the regular cast (Chilly the neurotic snowman, Stuffy the anxious dragon and Lambie – the lamb, not the flyhalf – the overly-attached lamb), we never see what the father does. Yes he mows the lawn and does a spot of gardening, but what does he like do.

Maybe he’s a retired football player, or a freelance journalist, or even a drug dealer… Anything would do. This is a no judgment zone Mr McStuffins, just tell us how you remain sane and blissfully ignorant to your daughter’s magical powers.

I’ve decided that he’s a functional alcoholic, until the producers tell me otherwise.      



My Daughter Does Burpees


I don’t force her to and didn’t teach it to her as a party trick, but my soon-to-be 3-year-old does burpees for fun.

It started after I joined CrossFit for a work thing at the old gig. Now the thing about CrossFit is that it’s a moerse effective strength and conditioning programme, but will point out your weaknesses like pedophiles at a playground. One of my weaknesses was a painfully slow burpee, so I practiced at home.

I make a point of doing my fitness things away from my wife’s gaze because I’m a little self-conscious. I also try and keep it from our spawn because she automatically thinks it’s a game and then there goes my PB.

And one day spawn caught a glance of her dad being ridiculous and decided to join in.

Burpees became squats, and then escalated to mother and me carting our little princess to CrossFit on a Saturday morning.

I know what you’re thinking: “You overbearing idiot, let the kid be a kid. A CrossFit box is no place for preschoolers.”

You’re right to a point, but her tender years only puts her at a disadvantage when she’s asked to do things that require advanced coordination, all her attention, or pure height. In every other activity spawn has been outstanding.

She has the best squat in the class and even corrects her form if the coach led her astray, she has astounding stamina — something she proved in the first class when the “ladies first” rule meant that she was doing three times as much work as the rest of the class.

That said, I’m just happy that she enjoys being active as much as I do and was super emotional after seeing her do well at and genuinely have an appetite for CrossFit.

If you’re a CrossFit member, or are looking for an alternative to the traditional more chaotic kiddies fitness programmes you should definitely give CrossFit Kids a try. It’s fun, they’ll meet new friends, you’ll have something to share and they’ll be learning to more accurately move and control their bodies. Also, you’ll be able to shame your globogym-frequenting friends by telling them that your kid can make it through their toughest workouts.