Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Hey boys and girls, i'm sick and decided to extrapolate on the idea of Teletubbies at midnight inbetween smoke breaks. yay!

seriously...teletubbies...listen up...

we all know probably more than we'd like to admit about this series. there are the four principle characters, Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-laa, and Po. they jump around and entertain stoners and infants, and have televisions on their stomachs which show them british children counting firetrucks, or rolling down a hill. let's start with the characters and deconstruct them. first, and most controversial,

Tinky Winky.

Why the controversy? His purse...his inverted triangle...his being purple...his wearing a
tutu... to escape this gender-bending topic, a lot of people say "tinky winky isn't a man, it's an 'it' ". however, in all of the narration, books, etc... he is specifically referred to as a he. people ask "is tinky winky gay?" the answer is: he might be...but it doesn't matter. he is definitely the personification of a lot of flamboyant stereotypes. the point, as you'l realize later, is that he is meant to represent "gay", not what his preference is. confused? keep reading


Tinky Winky being gay isn't even the beginning of our trip down the rabbit hole. now we must turn to issues of race. the next most obvious example is Dipsy. Study the faces...honestly look at their faces and compare them all sometime. Dipsy's complexion is everso slightly darker than the rest of the group. what signifigance is this?...on its own it doesn't seem like much, but let's look at other evidence.
the hat: cowhide pimp hat that he puts on. when he puts on the hat, he dances. when he dances, funk music plays (i'll explain now that a lot of things i refer to that you might ask "how do you know?" are because i watch with closed captioning on, and it says things like "funk music plays". when i make an impossible statement, i'll put (cc) next to it, meaning i found about it through reading the captions). so you have a darker character that puts on a cowhide hat and dances to funk music. gee, you tell me what that's supposed to represent. i won't even get into the symbol on his head bearing a striking resemblance to a certain part of male anatomy.

Laa Laa

Now, Laa Laa is the least strong of the arguments i can make, so i'll make it here, in the middle. she's kind of air-headed, there's a curly-q on her head--it's my belief that she is meant to represent your typical, blonde girl. i don't suppose they could do much to outwardly make her appear as a white person (the brainstorming sessions must have been so easy for tinky winky and dipsy), so she's just kind of ditsy...maybe they should have called her ditsy.


Po is, by far, the easiest nut to crack. All you need to do is turn on closed captioning. there are episodes which are very Po-centric, where her speech appears to be babytalk, nothing more than gibberish. on the good ol CC, however, it reads:

[Counting in Cantonese]

This is actually what got me started in the whole arena of analyzing children's shows. I read that one day and, surely, that was no accident. so i sat down and actually payed attention to one episode, and it all started to make sense. she's shorter than the rest...she speaks in cantonese...maybe she's meant to represent asians somehow? right about the time i was forming all of this in my head, the right honorable arsehole Jerry Fallwell was attacking Tinky Winky for being one of those evil gays i've read about in the papers. you know, those "New York" papers...if you get my drift...

OK. first obstacle cleared. we understand the cast. they are meant to represent the ideas of:

  • gay
  • black
  • asian
  • ditzy blonde

Now before you start to form opinions in your head of me as an individual of questionable mental health, i'll repeat that i do not really think that dipsy is black, tinky winky is gay, etc.... the creators simply used easily relatable visual cues to convey a message to the infant viewing.
what is that message? that these four, rather different individuals can live together and play. now i'm not going to get all preachy on you about world peace--i'll leave that to damn dirty hippies--what i'm trying to do is untie the knot that the creators have tied.

Oh, sidenote, before i go further--the NooNoo

and you must say "the Noo Noo". In the show, that's how it is related to. here, we have an autonomous machine that looks after the four and cleans up their messes. we already have established that the cast is a metaphor for the varied times in which we live--now, let's look at the social aspects of it. they coexist very peacefully with a machine of superior technology. it has personality, a mind of its own sometimes, and is generally accepted as a "member of the family". however, it is always referred to as "the Noo Noo". this is a clever language device used to differentiate it as being an object, rather than a being. it must have taken careful planning to pull all of this off, and i applaud the creators.

now, back to the matter at hand...we have established a stereotypical depiction of different peoples of the world, put in such a way as to convey this idea to the developing mind. we have also seen how they can easily assimilate technology into their family unit and become on very good terms with it. let's take a look outside the tubby compound.

let's call it "tubbyland" yeah...i like that...tubbyland.

  • inhabitants: lots of f*cking rabbits
  • wild life: grass
  • principle energy source: baby-in-the-sun
  • cheif export...wait...go back one...what's that last one say?

That's right, there's a baby in the sun. the sun. there's a baby there. in the sun. and it's giggling. that's got to be a sign of the second coming, right?

well...i'll admit, it took the better part of a year for me to figure this one out, and the closest i've gotten is this:

infants, even farther along in age than that baby up there, can relate to the image of a baby's face and say "that was me" or rather "that looks like what i looked like". don't forget about the incredible learining power that such a mind can certainly grasp this simple idea. now the baby looks down at the group and laughs. it approves, on a certain level, with everything that is happening. the infant is supposed to watch this show, see that a baby is looking down on a world where all different kinds of people and machines can get along and have a blast, and approve of it--take it in as a passive observer (i'm not about to go quoting Lyotard, but read up on postmodernism sometime).

which brings me to my concluding statement:

i have way too much free time


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