Family hour

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Author: Eric Butterman

TV critic Paige Wiser may enjoy Dexter, but she also has a lingering fondness for child-friendly shows old and new.

“Children’s television is fascinating to me because of its sheer weirdness. Consider Sid and Marty Krofft [TV producers], who had us watching the Banana Splits and Sleestaks. Then I had kids, and I wanted to see what was out there for them. The first time I saw the recent kids’ show Oobi, I was totally disturbed — it’s just people’s hands with big googly eyes on them, talking like toddlers. But the show grew on me,” Wiser says.

Some of her favorites:

Gigglesnort Hotel — “You know how you can give kids expensive flashy toys, and all they want to do is bang on pots? Kids’ TV is a lot like that. On Gigglesnort Hotel, the most vivid character in my memory was a blob of clay named Blob that whimpered and grunted while Bill Jackson sculpted him. It really speaks to the power of imagination — and the ingenuity of shows with small budgets.”

The Brady Bunch — “Was just so impossible to escape! There’s a fair amount of brainwashing involved. Growing up, no one has the perfect family, so I think we all accepted the Bradys as the ideal family. They showed us how we were supposed to act, and how profoundly wise parents are supposed to be.”

Freaks and Geeks — “We live in a world where something like that would be canceled immediately. Seth Rogen was on it, Ben Stiller showed up, what an incredible show! The characters just seemed so true to life.”

Raising Hope — “My favorite show right now . . . with a family that is essentially just trying not to kill the baby. That takes off a lot of pressure, doesn’t it? It makes me feel better about serving so many Pop-Tarts.”


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