Memos from the Middle

Smack-Dab in the Middle of Living

Weirdest Characters on Children’s Programming

As a parent, I’ve watched countless episodes of children’s programming, and although, oftentimes, I fall asleep mid-viewing, there are some characters I find quite strange. So, if you have a Netflix subscription and a pressing need or desire to actually tune in (mentally, that is) to what your kids are watching, here’s my personal list of the best of the strangest characters on children’s programming.

Oh, please, just tell me that isn’t crab in those patties! (from

Mr. Krabs on SpongeBob SquarePants: I’m a sucker for a good miser. I even loved Scrooge McDuck on Duck Tales, but is it me or is it a little strange that Mr. Krabs’ signature dish is the Krabby Patty? Now, although the recipe for the patty has yet to be revealed (at least I haven’t seen it revealed on the shows I’ve watched), the likelihood of the Krabby Patty consisting of ground beef or ground turkey is low because, well, the show takes place underwater. And, if I am to assume that the patty is not merely named for the proprietor of the Krusty Krab, cannibalism springs to mind. Let’s just say that I hope the krabby patty is flounder or something.

If the world had thieves like this, it would be a much better place! (from

Swiper on Dora the Explorer: At the end of each episode, Dora asks the children watching at home, “What was your favorite part?” The pirate always says, “The part when Swiper…” I’ll admit that I’m a bit concerned that my little one’s favorite part always involves a fox stealing (or trying to steal) something for Dora and her friends, but at least he’s a punk of a thief. In most episodes, all it takes to thwart the pilfering fox is an outstretched palm (picture telling someone to stop with your hand) and a thrice stated “Swiper, no swiping” to get him to declare, “Oh, man!” and refrain from any more thievery for the day. I love the message that it’s not nice to steal, but I’m concerned that my babies might one day be in for a rude awakening when they discover that thieves just don’t stop because you ask them to do so.

How would you like him hanging around outside your kid’s window? (from

Mr. Noodle (and his brother, Mr. Noodle) on Sesame Street: There’s something weird about the middle-aged Mr. Noodle who hangs outside of Elmo’s window on Sesame Street, even if it is only in Elmo’s imagination. Elmo routinely asks Mr. Noodle a question (i.e., “How do you catch a ball?” or “What do you use to clean your teeth?”), but Elmo already knows the answer. The little red puppet guides Mr. Noodle through his bumbling and fumbling, and eventually, Elmo and his invisible but audible friends reward Mr. Noodle with congratulatory praises for finally getting the answer correct.

The first time I heard my girls laugh out loud while watching television was thanks to Mr. Noodle’s brother, Mr. Noodle, showing Elmo how he exercises. They were not watching the episode at the same time (the viewings were separated by just over a year), yet they both, at about a 13 months old, found the wiggling, grooving Mr. Noodle’s antics hilarious. I will admit that particular segment of “Elmo’s World” was funny, but on the whole, I can do without that creepy dude lingering outside a little one’s window.

I do NOT want this thing dancing for my kids! (from

Giant Red Thing on Yo Gabba Gabba: To me, this thing, by far, is the weirdest thing on television. I’m sure the ladies out there will be able to figure out what this thing looks like a lot faster than the guys, but if you’re still unsure, just think “naughty toys.” What the heck? Who thought this was a good “creature” to feature on children’s programming. Why are there nodules? The fact that it sings and dances for children’s entertainment makes it even worse. What in the world was this costume designer thinking?

What characters on children’s programming do you find weird?

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