My parents took Henry for the weekend, bless their grandparently hearts. Today I got to hear my dad expressing his utter disdain for Noggin. You might have to know my father to be amused by the idea of him watching a channel for preschoolers. My dad is a certified smart guy, an MIT grad who reads probably 37 books a day (I exaggerate, but only a little), a man blessed with the intellect of, say, a Lewis Lapham, but without the liver-spotted cranium. The charm of a Walter Cronkite, but with a sliver less good-Lord-is-he-still-alive-ness. The hair of a Phil Donahue, only less so. So anyway. Here he is in our living room, fresh from a Noggin-packed morning with Henry.
Dad: I can’t watch it for more than five seconds without screaming.
Me: What were you watching, exactly?
Dad: [grimacing] Some kind of “big, bigger, biggest” puzzle. Involving a cow.
Me: You realize these puzzles aren’t meant for you?
Dad: And then there was a Spanish-speaking girl.
Me: That would be Dora.
Dad: And her nitwit monkey. He wore boots.
Me: That would be Boots.
Dad: [frowning] And Boots loses his lunchbox by throwing it off a bridge. He’s such a mindless dope that this monkey swings his box around and WAAAIOO there goes his lunchbox!
Me: You really took this personally.
Dad: And then Dora fishes it out with a reel, like that would work. Even if the fishhook could grab the lunchbox, like it wouldn’t tip over and its contents would not simply fall out into the water…
Dad: [Shaking his head and downing the rest of his scotch] I tried explaining this to Henry but I don't think he was listening.