Sid the Science Kid

PBS Premiered Sep 01, 2008 Between Seasons


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Sid the Science Kid Fan Reviews (32)

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  • Awful in So Many Ways

    Let's start with the actors--adults pretending very badly to be children. The fake kid voices are excruciating. Gabriella's precious, put-on stammering, for example makes me want to rip that red-topped piece of cartoon foam rubber to bits. The sashaying teacher thing has the smug, I-don't-want-to-sound-too-American lilt of the PC-addled liberal. I'm sure the actress believes she's being loving, graceful, sophisticated and full of spirit. What she actually is is an ode to presumptuous pretense. Gerald, the white kid in this carefully racially calibrated political screed, sounds like a sort of screeching monster. Why would you make a child sound like that?

    Of course in the carefully disguised hate speech that is this show, Gerald is subtly denigrated at every turn, from his slightly uglier face (disguised in the general ugliness of the cartoon foam rubber shapes, but the aesthetic decision-making is discernible nevertheless), to his horrible rasping voice, to his ever inferior ideas, for example when the writers select Gerald to be kid whose parents have told him that women can't be scientists (seems someone forgot where feminism happened). Did we need this message? The writers of this show reveal their low minds in thinking so.

    More on the poor quality of thought in the writing: Apparently someone had a plan to have a show "celebrating science", and the writers thought they had to make the kids literally celebrate it. Like "food let's do a dance and celebrate!" This is some seriously flat-footed screen play, and thinking. What is the science they are able to come up with? Sid doing interviews and getting wrong answers from kids. We're very careful not to be judgmental about those wrong answers. Then later Smug Sashay Thing coos out the right answer and does another dance. Everyone's opinion matters! And we dance a lot. And science is just stuff people say, not the actual process of discovery by real scientists.

    And then there's the idea of computer modeled puppets - yes, deliberately making a cartoon look like a puppet. This was understandable, and quite successful, when the developers of the pre-PC (in every sense) Muppets presumably looked for a way to give more freedom to their characters. The Muppets had an established look, built from reality. The Sid assembly, however, was conceived from scratch. Animators who could have created absolutely anything they wanted, deliberately sat down and modeled these characters as bulky, clumsy, pieces of styrofoam whose mouths, in order to make speech sounds, have to contort themselves into horrible shapes. What's worse is that these concoctions also manage to convey a desire to look human - fail!, and we're proud of it. Understanding the kind of thinking that went into that decision - to present failure as a foundation - might make a fascinating study.

    Sid the Science Kid is a smug piece of foolishness involving horrifyingly ugly characters, stupid ideas and discrete racism. Protect your kids from it.