« Syria Lessons | Main | Yassin and Clarke »

March 22, 2004


Timothy Burke

Well, first off, it's a question of what you expect family films to do. I rather like those that deal with difficult things like death or difficult emotions like envy, anger, and so on, and believe me, l'il Aardvark will be more interested in those things that you might guess at an earlier moment than you might guess.

Second, I'd say you stopped watching before the best parts--not even the eventual reunion between father and son, but some of the life lessons that each of them learns in isolation from each other. If you think about it, this is rather a staple feature of much children's and family entertainment, a part of their drama, the sense of learning or choosing in isolation from each other. Not too many children's movies that have families which experience drama all together, which is an interesting thing.

My 3-year old likes the movie, but I confess we do skip over the initial mom-and-kid snuffing, and sometimes skip the shark feeding frenzy, which scares her at times and other times not. Outside of those, it's a pretty good film for the wee ones, or at least for my wee one.

the aardvark

Thanks Tim, food for thought. I'm aware that since having the cub, I'm hyper-sensitive to anything kid-related that's even remotely sad ... as Scott Miller (a tragically underappreciated one time pop star) once gently teased, "get out the handkerchief for the sensitive one here." Maybe it's the difference between having a one year old and a three year old, how I think she'll react and the way she actually will. I was just shocked at how blunt the setup was with mom and kids just massacred, no euphemisms at all - as bad as Bambi's mother, if not worse - and at how violent the sharks were. But I also probably shouldn't go all Joe Lieberman here... Maybe when she's older we'll give it another chance.

Timothy Burke

Well, I know what you mean about sad things: having a kid also hypersensitized me, but especially to parent or kid-dying narratives. I almost can't bear anything that has a child who dies or gets sick in it.


My four year old and 2.5 year old saw some of Nemo at the home of a precocious 4.5 y.o. friend. My kids were horrified. We had to ask the hosts to turn it off. The host kid was disgusted with us.

Maybe some kids can handle this stuff. Parents would be advised to pay attention.

IMHO little ones do better with very soothing TV. We love Mary Poppins, for instance, and are planning to get Thomasina after watching it several times at a friend's house. We also watch a lot of Sesame Street and Teletubbies taped from live broadcast. Also on our wish list is the Sesame Street version of Peter and the Wolf, with the Boston Pops.

The tots went through a phase of watching "Mommy Daddy Getting Married" video, but got frustrated when they realized that they weren't in it!!!

Anyway, cubs should not be watching the tube until age 2. Am. Pediatric Association (I think) recommends this. Really. Research shows it's really not so good for their brains. (We got lax with second child but followed this guideline for primo). TV watching cuts down on interaction with people, which develops brain synapses. Really. No amount of "educational" TV makes up for back and forth with a warm, loving caregiver. Best to limit TV as much as possible

Easier said than done.

Timothy Burke

Agh, the anti-TV jeremiad makes its appearance. Let's just say that the research so often cited under this panoply of complaints is not nearly so ironclad and authoritative as it is often made out to be.

More importantly, let's concede the obvious: families are all different, and have their own internal cultures. What horrifies the parents is likely to discomfit the child; what pleases the parents is likely to please the child, at least until they become sullen teenagers. Families make their domestic universes together. "Nemo" is welcome in some, unwelcome in others.

the aardvark

I'm ambivalent about TV for young children. We incorporated Baby Einstein videos into our cub's bedtime ritual early on, but we don't let her watch anything else other than the occasional nature special on Animal Planet or Discovery - which is basically just Baby Einstein without the music. At some point I'm sure we'll let her watch Sesame Street and the like. I think I'm with Leila in terms of inclining towards the soothing rather than the loud and hyperactive... but judging by how the kid reacts to the loud and hyperactive musical toys that her grandpa likes to buy her, I suspect that she might have a different view as to what's entertaining!


On the 4th of July, 2003, my parents, my spouns, and our 2 children went to the movies. My Mom and spouse went with the kids to "Nemo" and I went with my Dad to see California's future Governor in "T3." He refused to see the kid flick, largely because he sees a lot of them when my parents babysit my young niece.

Did my Dad and I make the more family-friendly choice? I still haven't seen "Nemo," but it sounds awful.


Nemo wasn't for children. Neurosis, shrinks, suburban wives, sharks...all adult themes. Even Beatrix Potter is borderline, really.

Tellytubbies is the rare kid's thing.


Actually, some kids don't like things the parents love. One of my kids is very sensitive - sensory defensive in fact. He doesn't like laugh tracks at all. We can't watch sitcoms when he's around!!! He doesn't like "big mouths" (dinosaurs, sharks, Nemo, etc.) He did like bleeping electronic toys but he hates jarring TV and doesn't like most of my husband's rock music selections (except for Yellow Submarine, and no covers either, only BEatles version). ETc. etc. He has his own unique nervous system and it doesn't always mesh with ours. We compromise.


I'm with the Aardvark on this one. Disney can be too much for some little kids.

My four year old boy is very sensitive. He has elaborate rituals for dealing with the monsters in the dark, and frequently shows up in our bed at 4:00am after nightmares. He saw Nemo in the theater with my husband, but he couldn't have handled it last year. Certain scenes really bothered him, and not just the violent ones. He didn't like that Nemo told his father that he hated him.


This is so old I'm sure no one will ever see my comment unless the Aardvark gets some sort of notification from the software, but what the hey:

Questions of whether kids are traumatized by the film or not aside (mine aren't, 2 year old twins and a 4 year old, but I can see how others could be), have any of you seen the Arabic dubbed version? It's wonderful! All the Disney films dubbed into Arabic are really, they use big stars and dub everything so well you'd think they were originally done in Arabic, songs and all. Finding Nemo has Abla Kamil doing Dori, and even Butros Butros Ghali makes an appearance (they're all done in Masri). If you can get the Arabic DVD, I highly recommend it, those are the only language versions I have my kids watch. I haven't found them in Egypt ironically enough, but relatives pick up copies for me in the Gulf. Then just buy yourself a $20 DVD player and go online to find the usually very simple hacks that will make the player multi-region.


Forgive me, but reading this on a blog with a Buffy the Vampire Slayer quote in the heading strikes me as a bit odd.

Wait until your daughter grows up and starts reading Terry Goodkind books!

This does bring back memories though. Sesame Street, Follow That Bird, Muppets (some of the songs and stories were a bit gruesome though funny).

Favorite chapter book (around age 6 or so): Salman Rushdie's Haroun and the Sea of Stories. Both my daughters loved it -- we read it aloud over and over.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Blog powered by Typepad