Kids on the Screen

There’s a TV show premiering this Sunday night that I’m not looking forward to. In fact, I will do everything in my power to avoid it. It’s The Voice Kids.

Yes, I get that some of these pipsqueaks are probably somewhat talented, but I’m still not interested. Who among us is? I can’t imagine. Hopefully my tween children won’t want to watch it, either, though surely they must be the target demographic. That would be worse than when I not long ago heard those dreaded words from my twelve year old son: “Mum, can I watch Top Gear?” No, you may not. Jeremy Clarkson is a jerk.

The Voice Kids is produced by Shine Australia, the same geniuses (genii?) behind Junior Masterchef, which I also loathed. At least someone had the common sense to axe this program after two excruciating seasons. Let’s hope they can go one season less with their kiddie voice show.

What’s next on Shine’s agenda? ‘House Boy Rules’, perhaps?

I think the media overestimate how much we like seeing children on TV. Take the Ellen DeGeneres Show, for example. I love her show. It’s got a lot going for it (not least of all the annual Cat Week festivities) but it is with maddening regularity that she invites on as guests the terrible tweens Sophie Grace and Rosie. Have you seen them? They seem to appear at least once a week, so no doubt you have. They first shot to fame on the show by sending in a tape of themselves singing Nicki Minaj’s ‘Super Bass’ (and not the clean version, either) and now they even have their own movie.








Sophia Grace and Rosie

Since Ellen doesn’t have children herself, maybe she wrongly assumes that those of us with kids want to see other people’s kids ‘acting cute’. Not so, Ellen. For me, it’s a case of thinking my own kids are pretty cute but not so much other people’s.

There are some pretty annoying kids on other TV shows at the moment, too. Taking the cake would be Lily Tucker-Pritchett from Modern Family. As one particularly astute online observer noted: “There’s something so…stagey about new Lily. She’s trying too hard. She’s the Anne Hathaway of six-year-old actresses.’

LilyLily from Modern Family

Still on Modern Family, what about Manny? I guess it’s kinda funny that he’s wise beyond his years, but talk about a know-it-all! My favourite diminutive star on this show would have to be the adorable French Bulldog Stella. I like her because she is seen and not heard, unlike Lily and Manny. She has a cuter face, too.

My least favourite ads are those featuring kids, too. Taking out the number 1 spot are the local ads for Blumers Lawyers, which have been airing for the last ten years: “Call Blumers”. Second spot goes to that girl showing us how to laminate stuff and then recommending that her pet dog has a go: “It’s that easy. Now you try”.

Another of my pet peeves is children saying (or singing, in this case) words that are inappropriate for their age. I’m not talking here of Sophie Grace and Rosie dropping Minaj’s F bomb, but rather that assortment of high pitched hollerers singing the 1998 QANTAS ad, which I’m sure you all remember, ‘I still call Australia Home’.  Don’t you think it was much better when Peter Allen sang it?

Most of my friends love this rendition, but to me it just doesn’t ring true. They have surely not ‘been to cities that never close down,’ and most likely not whilst ‘away from their families and friends’. Who are these jet setting minors? Sure, it’s a great song and it gives most of us goose pimples, but it is not made better by the use of children.

The exception to my exception are ads where kids are, like Stella the dog, seen and not heard. My favourite of these would have to be the Evian ‘Live Young’ campaign.

Isn’t it fabulous?


About Sonia Bowditch

Writer on society and culture in Australia. And short stories.

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