Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Open letter to the TV people

Dear TV people,

You suck. Sincerely, Pam. Do you need more elaboration than that? OK. If you produce a show on Sprout or Nick Jr., I would like to hereby demand that you produce and continue to produce toys and merchandise for every single show that still airs on TV. My kids asked Santa for one thing this year: characters from Word World. Duck, Pig, Frog, Bear, etc. You have never even made a Frog, which is dumb because he is clearly the most awesome of the animals. What the hell were you thinking? What did you make? Two Mega Bloks sets, each including two characters. So that exists. Yay. I can get a few of the characters as well as a cool barn made from the letters B-A-R-N and a fence made from F-E-N-C-E. On ebay. For more than $100 because you discontinued that shit.

Do you see why that sucks? By discontinuing toys from shows that are still on TV, you are creating a very weird black market. Some random plastic doo-dad in my kids’ playroom should not cost more than my smart phone. My phone can access the internet from anywhere in the country. It is also a GPS and a camera and a video camera. And a scrabble board. And a flashlight. And a clock and a calendar and a music player… oh, and also, it’s a phone. It should not cost less than a used plastic piece of crap made in China just because you discontinued that item five years ago. I shouldn’t have to explain to my kids that Santa doesn’t exist just because your merchandising people are all stoned.

The shows are still on TV. New kids are watching them. New kids are asking Santa to bring them crap from these shows. Sadly, elves don’t exist and cannot craft custom toys for my children. I have to actually find and purchase the things they ask for (or make them like I did last year when all my kids wanted was “Wiggle” from Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Friends, one of the characters you never bothered to make.) Could you make my job a little easier and make yours a little more lucrative and merchandise the shit out of these shows? That would be awesome. Thanks.

Oh, another thing. Kids lose shit. If it’s small enough to fit into a toilet paper tube, I beg of you, make 8 bazillion replacement parts and make them available. FOREVER. Your crap is made out of lead-laced plastic. But if you make replacement parts, we won’t have to throw incomplete sets in the trash, so you can market yourself as a “green” company. Moms eat that shtick up with a spoon. This is gold here, I’m telling you. You really should listen to me.

Parents will buy crap from their kids’ favorite TV shows. Make it, make it non-sucky, and we will buy it. Even if you make it sucky, stick it in stores and our kids will make us buy it. Make all kinds of crap. Tiny 2-3” plastic characters, 6-8” plushies, coloring books, T-shirts. Seriously, TV people, there is money to be made here. Put down the bong and get to work.

I'm not saying no more bong hits for you. The shows you make up while you are high are awesome for parents. Yo Gabba Gabba... Dirtgirlworld... These little gems could not exist without your altered states. Feel free to smoke up and make new shows that make parents glance knowingly at each other, raise their eyebrows, and mime smoking a joint. But then when you're done writing the shows and brainstorming on cool visual effects that "will totally blow the kids' minds," don't just hang out on the couch eating Cheetos for the rest of the day. Have a cup of coffee and get back to work making toys.

You are making cool educational TV with minimal commercial interruption. That is awesome. Keep doing that. Thank you for teaching my kids to read, exposing them to art and classical music, making bugs less icky/scary, and whatever the hell the Bubble Guppies are supposed to be teaching them. But please, please, make the damn toys.

You know who’s good at this stuff? Disney. They could give the movies away for free rather than locking them in the vault (you hear that, Disney? The vault is really dumb. Let us buy your movies so that we will buy your merch.) I’m sure that Disney makes far more money on the crap than they do on the movies. You can’t swing a baseball bat emblazoned with Lightning McQueen without hitting a guitar or roller blades or Band-Aids with the Disney Princesses on them. Sure, Word World has a smaller audience. I don’t need my toilet paper to be quilted with images of Duck and Frog, and I don’t need pictures of Pansy and Snowdrop, the spider twins from Sunny Patch, on my box wine.

But just make the damn toys. OK?


  1. Pam, we explained the whole idea of copyrights to Christopher a couple of years ago due to this type of problem. He wanted a Captain America action figure that was out of production. When we said it couldn't be bought anywhere because they stopped making it (and it was over $100 on ebay), he said Santa could just make it. We patiently explained that Marvel wouldn't give licensing rights to Santa for the elves to make superhero figures. Therefore, it would be illegal for Santa to have his elves make Captain America. He did not want Santa or his elves to break the law and he stopped bugging us. Then he began asking "Is Santa allowed to bring me this?" for every item!

  2. I just don't let my kids watch TV... they get a little... what we allow by way of purchase or rental. We don't have cable so they don't even know what they should be wanting. Not sure how many more years we can get away with it but for now, it's great!

  3. "I just don't let my kids watch TV." What? Naked Mommy, I thought we were friends. How could I not know this very weird fact about you?!

  4. You could totally start your own illegal plush toy business. You'll never need to get big enough to provoke an actual law suit. Worst case scenario is you get a cease-and-desist letter from some twisted corporate lawyer. Then you can cease and desist.

    Also, your aunt Joann knows her way around a sewing machine. Ask your aunt Joann to risk jail time for her grand niece and nephew. Lay it on thick. That's what family is for!

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