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Tag: Kids' Corner (81-90 of 122)

LeVar Burton clears up that pesky 'Onion' article


Speaking of that fine line between fact and fiction… Longtime host of the recently cancelled PBS show Reading Rainbow turned to Twitter to clear up a misunderstanding that was started by a new article — in the Onion! — supposedly written under his byline entitled “My Living Nightmare of Encouraging Kids to Read is Over.” Said article — in the Onion! — had “Burton,” among other things, comparing Rainbow to a “dank, forgotten POW camp.” Yesterday, Burton was compelled to tweet: “Attention all un-believers THE ONION is satirical parody of news events and meant to be enjoyed as such! No I did not write it! Relax, OK?” Which means of course enough people read the piece — in the Onion! — and were offended by it enough to share their feelings. Okay, time to ‘fess up. Who thought it was real? And who’s ever mistaken a piece in the Onion for the real deal?

Photo credit: Tina Gill/PR Photos

A pole-dancing doll for kids? Well done, toy manufacturers of the world!

For the last few days, the interwebs has come alive with the sound of parental indignation — all because of this grainy camera-phone snapshot:

Oh, look, Mommy! A stripper starter-kit for the pre-K set! The pic’s originator, Gizmodo.com, can’t definitively verify that the doll is in fact real, or available in the U.S.

But either way, are we really so surprised? The scene in 2004’s Mean Girls when high-school queen bee Regina’s little sister pumped her tiny grade-school booty to Kelis’s salacious hit “Milkshake” was meant to be satirical; these days, it feels increasingly real.

From Miley Cyrus’s infamous pole-assisted gyrations at the recent Teen Choice Awards to club-ready clothing lines for grade-schoolers like Beyonce’s Dereon Girls, it seems that pop culture is constantly fighting to shorten or even obliterate an ever-briefer age of innocence.

But you tell me, PopWatchers, do I sound like a consumer-advocate Andy Rooney here? Or is this doll really so inconceivable?

'Reading Rainbow': We won't be seeing you later

Reading Rainbow, the PBS television series and first thing children of the ’80s think of when they hear “LeVar Burton,”  airs for the last time today after 26 years.  The reason? Contract expiration. My most vivid memories of the ‘bow are the old-school opening credits, which I usually watched with my sister before wandering away to go read a book. As I haven’t watched them since, I’m in a mild state of shock and awe right now because now I know why, whenever we learned about explorers in social studies or history class, I pictured a giant sand castle next to, like, Vasco da Gama. (Totally the best explorer by the way.)

I’d like to issue both a tip of my hat and a wag of my finger to singer Tina Fabrique for ensuring that the theme song will soothe/haunt me all weekend. You can watch the first-ever episode, in which Burton reads the ever-applicable Picture Puffins book Tight Times, here. WARNING: The updated opening credits may freak you out.

Pee-Wee Herman, live on stage: Pass the tequila

Paul Reubens has announced his triumphant return to public scrutiny: His feature films never panned out, but Pee-Wee Herman will appear live onstage in Hollywood with a limited engagement beginning November 8 at L.A.’s The Music Box @ Fonda. (Tickets are on sale as of this morning.) According to a statement, The Pee-Wee Herman Show will feature Miss Yvonne, Cowboy Curtis, Jambi, Chairry and all your favorites.” Ha! Please let Laurence Fishburne (Cowboy Curtis) have not much going on in November, okay, universe? If this goes well, Pee-Wee’s next meaty role could be on (or off-) Broadway in Death of a Salesman: A Non-Mysterious Murder, the set-up for which is embedded below.

P-dubs, if Reubens’ theater run is a success, would you be into another ‘Pee-Wee’s Playhouse’ movie? Or would you anyway?

Nickelodeon's new logo: What the splat?

Out with the old, in with the…other…thing? Nickelodeon has decided to scrap its long-standing “splat” logo in favor of a type-only network identity. The round letterforms are reminiscent of the new Syfy branding, and it wouldn’t look out of place near, say, a Web 2.0 logo, either. It’s also not the only entertainment rebranding to head in the round-and-cozy-lower-case direction: the Latin American version of Discovery Kids, the Science channel, and WGN have all done the same.

I liked the perkiness of the old typeface, and while this design is sleeker, I want to see it in motion. One of the things I remember about the splat was it landing on stuff, swooping in and spilling itself on the bottom corner of an interstitial, so I’m assuming the new logo will do the same in some capacity — I’m guessing the “I” is going to be turned into a person at some point, but who knows.

I just have a case of the Andy Rooneys, right, PopWatchers, where I’m unfairly assuming everything new is sucky and everything old rules? Or are you attached to ye olde splat logo, too?

Which shows should 'Sesame Street' parody besides 'Mad Men'?

sesame-street_lSesame Street is planning a parody of Mad Men to include in its 40th season. (Maybe it will go something like this?) My two all-time favorite programs! I die. It occurs to me that I’d love to watch a Sesame Street supplement series that spoofs ALL the other shows. We already know from 30 Rock that Muppetizing a show totally works. I’ve chosen my Top 5, but tell us which series you’d like to see play out on da Street.

5. So You Think You Can Dance Sesame Street is pretty much a Muppet dance party ANYWAY; plus, most of the characters (Cookie Monster, Big Bird) share Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy’s penchant for asking rhetorical questions to which they supply the answers themselves. READ FULL STORY

Wes Anderson, Tim Burton, and Spike Jonze: What happens when Hollywood's dark and edgy auteurs mine childhood for its tragi-comic absurdity?

The-Mad-HatterLast week at Comic-con, audiences got their first glimpse of footage from director Spike Jonze’s big screen adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak’s bedtime staple about a naughty boy who travels to a land of hairy-toed beasts when he’s sent to his room with no dinner. The images were fierce and fanciful at the same time, and they drew gasps of joy and horror both in person and virtually once the stuff hit the web. Then, two days ago, the trailer for Wes Anderson’s stop-motion version of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox debuted, full of characters probing the nature of whether it’s okay to be the wild animals they are. The response was a similar chorus of rage and rhapsody. The same thing happened when Tim Burton revealed the first gothic and gruesome images (like this one, above, of Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter) from his take on Alice in Wonderland. Step aside Disney, the outlaws are taking over childhood.

It’ll be interesting to see whether the juice-box set responds to such de-Disneyfied approaches to kids’ entertainment. I suspect — and hope — that kids will be excited and relieved to see movies that acknowledge the dark complexities of childhood. I mean, don’t kids deserve a little more meat to chew on than talking guinea pigs and chihuahuas? On the other hand, there are plenty of adults I know who have been waiting breathlessly for Tim Burton, Spike Jonze, and Wes Anderson to make another freaking movie and are kind of bummed that they’ll have to get their fix with a bunch of kids watching a wacko tea-party, a bratty kid swinging from trees, and beautifully-dressed rodents. What do you think? Are you interested in seeing these visionary directors’ childhood fantasies come to life on screen? Do you think it’s a good thing if kids’ movies become a little less happy-go-lucky?

Photo credit: Mary Ellen Mark

Maurice Sendak already loves 'Where the Wild Things Are.' You too?

Just to make us even more painfully aware that Where the Wild Things Are doesn't come out until October, author Maurice Sendak weighs in on how everyone involved in the movie is "kinda goofy, crazy, whacked out" and how director Spike Jonze takes nothing directly from his book but instead "enhances and enriches" his original vision. It's one of those interviews that plays out exactly like you thought or hoped it might; you're thinking "say this next!" and then the person miraculously does. General takeaway: Everything going on behind the scenes of this movie is wonderful and thrilling and warm and furry and has "touched me so much"! Oh, we see some new snippets from the film as well. Press play below.

More 'Where the Wild Things Are':
'Where the Wild Things Are' Disney video from 1983 foreshadows Pixar coolness
'Where the Wild Things Are': We finally get a trailer
Creepy/awesome 'Where the Wild Things Are' poster: revealed!

'Wizards on Deck with Hannah Montana': I can't believe this, but I just watched that

I just caught the Disney Channel's Wizards on Deck with Hannah Montana, having never seen a full episode of The Wizards of Waverly Place, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, or Hannah Montana. Friday's premiere was a 90-minute "crossover event" with all of the characters interacting! It was like the shows were braided together. Or fishtailed! But no, because fishtails only require two pieces of hair and there were three elements of this important television event. Below, an appropriately Tiger Beat-sponsored sample. Justin "blue-ing himself" in the hot tub: a latent Arrested Development reference? Ha, as if.

Honestly, it was kind of fun and endlessly enlightening, on a professional level, to zone out to this tripe for 90 minutes as I lazily trolled the Internet for weird pictures of food. I finally got to hear "Pwned" used in a sentence. I began to understand the appeal of Selena Gomez. I took in about 17 long-ass promos for what will surely be the greatest 3-D movie about gerbils, G-Force, during which Tracy Morgan impersonated the most sedated mad scientist in history. The viewing experience reminded me of when I used to eagerly sit through the full lineup of ABC's "TGIF" in the early '90s — I didn't (couldn't!) realize at the time how mediocre the canned-laughter comedy was, because it truly did seem fun. Like our moms and aunts with their soap operas, these were "our stories"; I loved the routine of it all. Who would host the cool-girl sleepover at her house that Friday so that we could belt out the Six Flags-set opening credits to Step By Step in not-exactly unison? (Usually me: I knew how to make smoothies!) So I don't begrudge die-hard fans of Wizards on Deck with Hannah Montana. I get it. I mean, the adult in me wants to say what Hannah apparently says every 10 seconds…"Come on!" [Exaggerated eye roll! Seriously, does she need to make an "I'm so zany" face after every utterance?] But at the same time, I can see a younger version of myself TOTALLY LOVING THIS.

So listen up, kids and parents. I see you on Twitter, flipping out about how you missed the show. You didn't! Wizards on Deck airs again tonight at 7 ET and Sunday at 5, and a lot more times after that. You don't have to miss out on a Paris Hilton knockoff named London Tipton, or the visual feast of Billy Ray Cyurs splayed out on a cruise ship bed looking like three miles of bad road. (I know he was supposed to be seasick, but the guy looked and sounded wasted the entire time and I just wanted him to grab a lukewarm cheeseburger, wave it around, and complete the transition to David Hasselhoff already.)

Are you on board, or are you on bored? If you can tolerate that sentence, I believe it is the former. Ahoy.

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Disney's 'The Princess and the Frog' trailer

The official trailer for Disney’s The Princess and the Frog is out.

It’s impossible to judge a Disney Princess movie without hearing the songs, especially the "I am [Princess], behold my trying circumstances, and my dream to overcome them" ditty. Think Snow White’s "Some Day My Prince Will Come," Aurura/Briar Rose’s "I Wonder," Cinderella’s "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes," Ariel’s "Part of Your World," Belle’s "Belle," Pocahontas’ "Just Around the River Bend," Mulan’s "Reflection," QED. (Technically Jasmine is a Disney Princess TM, but Aladdin‘s not really about her. The "here is my deal, I have needs" song from that film is his, and it’s "One Jump Ahead.") Anyway, minus Tiana’s anthem, I’m unable to render meaningful judement on the film. On the plus side, I like classic 2-D style animation, and the film sure looks pretty. On the concerns side, Disney’s track record with racism and racist caricature makes me a little nervous when I see stuff like that toothless firefly.

What do you think, PopWatchers? Are you puckering up for The Princess and the Frog?

There’s more footage after the jump…


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