Posted in Fatherhood

Dory, Sesame Street, and Why Characters Matter

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Baby Primary Ignition is slowly but surely learning to talk. Two of her favorite words are “Dah-wee” and “Mo.” Which are apparently baby talk for “Dory” and “Nemo.”

The older she gets, the more I’m starting to realize just how much mass media characters matter, especially when kids take to them so early in life. They become a big part of how they discover and relate to the world around them.

I couldn’t help but compare Baby’s love of Dory to my love of Sesame Street when I was about that age (she’s one and a half). In the mid ’80s, Bert and Ernie were it for me. Bert specifically, for some reason. I had these little stuffed Bert and Ernie dolls, and my mother tells me Bert went everywhere with me. Perhaps even at that young age I realized I’d one day, like Bert, be a nerd with a nasally voice.

Actually, those Bert and Ernie dolls have ended up in Baby’s toy chest. I actually get a pretty big nostalgic kick out of seeing her play with them.

The wife and I haven’t exposed Baby to Sesame Street yet, largely because we don’t subscribe to HBO Max these days (I guess the Justice League “Snyder Cut” didn’t draw us in.). Full episodes are available on YouTube, though. So I imagine it’s only a matter of time before Elmo’s voice echoes off the walls of the Siebert house for hours at a time.

I don’t want to dislike Elmo. He was around when I was a kid. But too much of anything, and I tend to turn against it…

Maybe we’ll reach a compromise with Daniel Tiger. He’s the stand-in for Mister Rogers these days, right?

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Fatherhood, Movies

Intro to Tarzan

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

At one and a half years old, Baby Primary Ignition doesn’t see a great deal of TV. But she has been exposed very selectively. We have a Disney+ subscription at the PI household. She loves the Frozen movies, Finding Nemo and Finding Dory, and as we very recently found out, Tarzan.

Released in 1999, Tarzan came down the pipe a little late for Mrs. Primary Ignition and I. But she recently turned it on for Baby, and was amazed at how responsive she was to the opening sequence. So much that she showed it to us this morning.

The sequence that’s pretty dramatic even by Disney standards. Baby Tarzan loses his parents to a leopard attack, and we see blood next to their shrouded corpses. This is after said leopard kills a baby gorilla. So of course, the gorilla’s mom adopts baby Tarzan, and we’ve got ourselves a movie.

As she gets old, Baby has started to point to things and say, “What’s that?” (In her own special toddler language, of course.) She was quite responsive during the movie’s opening, as Tarzan and his parents escape a fiery blaze. She also responded to the gorillas. Animals of all sorts are big with her. She’s started to point to different ones and say “Cow,” “Sheep,” etc. She also calls fish “elmo,” which we think is supposed to be Nemo.

But what really surprised us was her reaction to the bloodthirsty leopard. When the tiger leapt out and attacked, she actually called out “No!” She wasn’t afraid for herself, but the characters on screen.

It’s both scary and exciting to think that she’s becoming more aware and responsive to the world around her. That can only mean being a parent is about to become harder, and we’ve got to make more small decisions about what content is and isn’t appropriate for her. My days of watching John Oliver while she plays nearby may nearly be over.

Then again, we just showed her a movie where a ferocious leopard kills two humans and a baby gorilla. So maybe the child psyche is more durable than we give it credit for.

Incidentally, that Phil Collins soundtrack? Highly underrated.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Fatherhood, Movies

Finding Nemo: A Horror Film

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Finding Nemo is a great movie. But it should really come with a parental warning. Not for the kids, but for the adults.

Before you’re a parent, Finding Nemo is a fun, heart-felt family movie. But as a father with introvert tendencies, Finding Nemo becomes a kind of horror movie.

Think about it: The kid gets abducted before the dad’s eyes by masked Australians dressed in black, and the only way to save him is to travel across the planet with some loud, ditsy broad who won’t stop singing and talking about whales. And apparently somebody slipped you a hallucinogen because everybody looks like a fish.

Honestly, it’s a degree or two away from being a Taken movie.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.