Watching TV with your kids can be fun, mostly because it can present a time to bond with them that also doesn’t involve a ton of worrying about them running around. And, as long as you’re being cognizant of how much screen time is happening, binging some Netflix shows can be great, right? Well, not always, because there are a ton of Netflix shows for kids that are irritating to the point of driving you insane. This isn’t irritating in the “oh I can’t find my socks” irritating, but instead, the kind of thing that is grating, like fingernails on a chalkboard, if the fingernails were owned by a rainbow fairy creature and the chalkboard was made out of computer-generated cotton candy tiles.
The cutesy level of a lot of kids programming is seemingly designed to piss off rational parents. So much so, you might wonder how you’ll avoid going mad completely. Here’s the thing, chances are, you probably already are insane. So, here’s a brief list of super-annoying shows on Netflix you might have to endure with a child, complete with totally untested coping mechanisms. We’re here for you.
Barbie: Life in the DreamHouse
Look, you know it’s going to be beyond rough when the theme song to this show contains the lyrics “Forever friends/Forever Sun/Forever Ken/Forever Fun.” Everything about Barbie: Life in the DreamHouse is just as insipid and materialistic as Barbie herself. Watching any given episode of this show is punishing and much scarier than any episode of Black Mirror. But, in fairness, I had my own Barbie as a little boy, and I think I’m a better person for it. If you have to watch this show, tell your child that your favorite character is that horse that plays the piano in the opening credits. Seriously, rep for that horse hard. Pretend that horse is the most awesome thing ever. You’ll feel better. Also, encourage your kid that playing with Barbies is way better than watching Barbie. (Because that’s true.)
Alternate strategy: keep a diary of every single plot of each episode. Later, pass these ideas off to your friends as things that will happen in the next season of Black Mirror.
Jim Henson’s Word Party
You’d think something that has Jim Henson’s name on it couldn’t be all bad, but this one is a little hard to get through, mostly because the singing just never stops. In the first episode, the sleeping baby animals all horrifically wake up and say “I’m awake,” which is fine but will totally be triggering for parents who wish their toddler was napping just a little longer. Making things even more disturbing, the animal babies seem to be unattended, making the disembodied narrator voice the only caretaker for them. Is she a computer? Is this a sequel to The Island of Doctor Moreau? There’s no time to think about it because the singing never stops.
In fairness, because this show is all about learning words, focusing on those words isn’t the worst thing for your kids. So, maybe focus on that. And if you can, get your kid to watch some “Ask the Editor” videos from Merriam Webster, which you can try to pass off as the “cool” version of Word Party.
Do we need to explain why this is awful? The concept of Richie Rich was bad when we were kids. Try to talk your kids out of watching this by subtly suggesting that the show should be called “Richie Spoiled,” or “Richie Awful.” Ask your kid to watch Word Party again to see if the baby animals sing about “nepotism.”
Little Baby Bum: Nursey Rhyme Friends
Look, nursery rhymes are a fact of life when you’re a parent. And, despite the irritating earworm nature of most nursery rhymes, the reality is, they can be really fun when they happen in an organic setting. Nursery Rhymes are a way to bond with your kid over songs you both know! Which is why Little Baby Bum is the worst. It just takes those songs and makes it seem like they’re sung by cartoon computer animals and that those versions of the songs are the right ones! They’re not! The only way to deal with this show is to let the kid watch a little of it, and then say stuff like “Hey, don’t you like our version of ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat’ better? Let’s go sing it in the park and turn off the TV.”
Eh, actually, DinoTrux is annoying, but it’s also fine. The biggest problem with DinoTrux is it feels like the pumpkin-spice latte of shows for certain kinds of kids. Everyone knows that kids like dinosaurs and trucks. All this show did was to cash in on that fact. And, if you want to make the annoying-ness of the show a little less awful, it’s good to remember that the show is just derivative of a series of picture books, which are actually kind of good. Books, as we all know, are good, even if they are as frustrating as DinoTrux.
One thing to remember when getting through annoying shows with your child: if your kid loves the show, then you should be happy they love something. If you have a lot of great inside jokes about those shows, you can internally repeat them, but don’t actively make fun of what your kid loves. It’s just not cool.