Family hour

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.”