Why I Bloody Love Octonauts.

Kids’ TV is generally eye-gougingly awful.  Before I had children, I was sure that they wouldn’t watch any TV at all prior to three years of age, and after that it would only be educational programmes, no more than half an hour per day.  Then I actually HAD children.  Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Some would call letting your children watch television, lazy parenting.  To that I say “Yes, it absolutely is!  I’m a lazy parent and I don’t care”.  Don’t get me wrong, the TV is never rarely on all day in our house – mainly because my Feral Children are ridiculously energetic and would never cope with being stuck indoors for hours on end.  But yes, of course they watch TV.  How else would I deal with them waking up at 5:56am at weekends?  How else would I manage to sort out dinner at the end of a loooooong day when we are all knackered and I am unable to simultaneously cope with cooking and two children hanging off my legs, shouting for cheese?

Kids TV is a godsend in many ways, but equally, I hate it.  I hate the adverts, designed to hype them up about crappy toys that fail to deliver on their promises.  I hate the way that the American programmes make them call dustbin lorries “garbage trucks”, and pronounce their tees as dees.  And I hate hate hate the way that so many programmes are all about the exciting male characters, with the token females usually pink and annoying (Paw Patrol, I’m looking at you).

CBeebies is my saviour, in many ways.  There are no ads, no/few American accents, and I think the dear old BBC does a great job in presenting a reasonably diverse and interesting range of programmes for children.  It is by no means faultless – I mean I could not loath Topsy and Tim more (and their mum is most definitely an Alpha Mummy), and the gender thing is prevalent as it is almost everywhere.

But Octonauts….I bloody love Octonauts.

Octonauts, for those of you not in the know, is an animated programme aimed at kids aged around 3 to 6, and is about a crew of eight adventurous anthropomorphic animals who live in a cool underwater base called the Octopod.  They go on all sorts of exciting missions, exploring the ocean and helping sea creatures in trouble, using their fleet of of vehicles called the GUPs.

Here they all are:

Image source: www.bbc.co.uk

From left to right we have:

Tweak – a female rabbit.  She is the crew’s engineer! (This pleases me no end).

Tunip (in front of Tweak) – a vegimal (half vegetable, half animal – specifically tuna/turnip) He is the cook.

Dashi – a female dog.  She is the resident photographer and IT expert.

Peso – a male penguin.  He’s the medic.

Captain Barnacles – a male polar bear.  He is, unsurprisingly, the Captain.

Kwazii – a male cat.  I’m not quite sure what his role is, but he’s a daredevil pirate cat…of course!

Shellington – a male sea otter.  He’s a marine biologist.

Professor Inkling – a male octopus.  He is an oceanographer and founder of the Octonauts.

 

Now, clearly Octonauts isn’t perfect.  Of the eight characters, only two are female, and the arguably “main” characters are all male.  And it does irk me somewhat that the two females both have to be wearing something pink just to highlight the fact that they’re girls.  However, they are not overly pink, and most importantly, they are not in the slightest portrayed as stereotypically “girly”.  Tweak is an engineer, she fixes the GUPs and invents new equipment to help the Octonauts with their missions!  She is my son’s favourite because “she’s an engineer, like Mummy” (*PROUD*).  Dashi is the one they turn to when the ships’ computers go haywire.  The cook is male!

And it’s a really educational programme.  Yes, yes, the overall concept is a little far-fetched – I mean,  everyone knows that cats hate water – but the sea creatures that the Octonauts help, and the habitats they explore, are all real.  My kids have learned all kinds of random shit from that show – they know what a tidal bore is, what causes coral reefs to die, and all sorts of other stuff that went nicely with FC#1’s Under the Sea topic in Reception class, result!

AND,most importantly, the theme tune is acceptable.  Thank you CBeebies.

I’m going to stop waxing lyrical now, because frankly, 800 words is about 798 more than I ever imagined myself writing about a children’s TV programme.  But I’d love to know – are you an Octonauts fan?  What kids’ shows do you like?  I’need some more programmes which portray female characters in a vaguely positive way instead of as pathetic, simpering, second-rate characters – thanks!

 

4 Comments

  • Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love) 11/09/2017 at 7:46 am

    Love this. We’re fans of Octonauts too along with Go Jetters which is great for teaching them about geography. Both have strong female characters even though sadly in both cases they’re outnumbered by the male ones. Still heaps better than Paw Patrol in that respect though! Topsy and Tim drives me mad with it’s oh-so-calm-and-practically-perfect-in-every-way parents.

    Reply
    • Beta Mummy 11/09/2017 at 7:47 am

      Yes I do like Go Jetters too, I’ve learned loads from that! 🙂

      Reply
  • Tamzyn 11/09/2017 at 12:56 pm

    Yes, I love Octonauts too and also Peter Rabbit. I like the fact that Lily Bobtail saves the day mos too the time because she is prepared for all eventualities 🙂

    I loathe Mike the Knight, he is a precocious little shit that always takes the wrong path and does something, lazy, stupid or nasty but the learns a lesson by the end. Sadly doesn’t learn enough no to do it next time!! 😡

    Reply
  • Ruth Herd 18/11/2017 at 9:33 am

    Sarah and Duck!! It’s bloody brilliant 🙂

    Reply

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