Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Floogals: Finally, a kids’ show you won’t mind watching regularly

When you’re waist-high in the #ToddlerLife, watching terrible TV is as much a part of daily life as early wake-up calls, saving the dog from savage gymnastics routines and those magical moments of joy that make it all worthwhile.
Just take a quick swing through children’s channels and look at the sea of slop, starting with the overly simplistic and stereotypical world of SuperWings, the physics-defying and earworm-inducing Bubble Guppies (how does a lake exist in an underwater world?), the logic-defying Paw Patrol (what town would trust teenager and six dogs to run everything?), and, of course, everyone’s favorite punching bag, Caillou
But if you look hard enough, you’ll also find a few true gems, like the Floogals. The Sprout original show hits the sweet spot of mixing in enough touches to draw kids of a wide age range while throwing in sneaky critical thinking lessons and a few lines to give adults a smile. 

The 10-minute episodes center around a crew of three tiny aliens sent to Earth to learn how everyday things work and report their findings back to their home planet. Along the way, the three Floogals find time for the usual amount of goofy cartoon fun, including colorful graphics, crazy sound effects, calling humans “hoomans,” and adding just enough realism to help older kids connect the dots to real-life situations.

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Captain Fleeker, the oft-bumbling head of the operation, holds the highest rank among the three, but First Officer Flo clearly provides the brains of the operation, regularly coming up with the right theories of why something works, such as why people use clocks, how washing machines and dryers work, and why kids might want to have sleepovers or birthday celebrations. It’s refreshing and smart to have a female-voiced character play such a pivotal role. 
In one episode, the Floogals happen upon an old record player and manage to play some old 1980s pop music and toss in a couple of lines that fly over kids’ heads but give parents a little smirk. The Floogals don’t provide quite the wildly entertaining double entendres of old-school Sesame Street shows, but it’s also not the oh-please-stop-chanting type of repetition you get with Bubble Guppies. 
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The show offers a unique take on helping kids learn along with the alien characters and exposes children to basics of critical thinking, a subject plenty of adults could stand to learn more. 
Honestly, the only real downside of the Floogals is its availability – Sprout isn’t as widely available as Nickelodeon or PBS, for instance – and the length of its theme song. The Floogals’ song has a very catchy tune, but after watching at least 20 episodes, I still can’t remember all the lyrics other than, “Tiny happy aliens … they’re Floooogals, 3-2-1, let’s go!” Which, naturally, is also my toddler son’s favorite part. 
When “Shimmer and Shine” and “Paw Patrol” have driven you to the edge, give the Floogals a try: It’s a quality show with smart writing and helps kids learn science and the world around them while providing a lot of fun.
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