If you are the parent to a kid over the age of 18 months who watches any sort of screen, there’s a chance you’ve heard of Caillou. If not, consider yourself lucky. Canadian writer Tristin Hopper says Canada is to blame for Caillou, and they’re ABSOLUTELY right. Caillou is a show with a lead character who is preschool aged that is produced in Canada and based around a book series from Quebec. While it is a show purely for the entertainment of children, it brings out the worst in the adults who are forced to watch the show by their well meaning children.
Caillou is a bald, insipid, whiny brat who acts like a total turd and his parents don’t reprimand or punish him.
In the article, Hopper illustrates several good examples of Caillou’s behavior, including the episode where Caillou is tasked with caring for his best friend Leo’s pet hamster. After being told that he’s not allowed to take the hamster out of its cage because their cat will probably find it and you, eat it, Caillou is like “eff that noise” and what does he do? The little stinker lets the hamster out of the cage! So now his parents (who have the personalities of wet mops) are forced to turn the house upside down to find the poor hamster before their cat tries to eat it. Eventually they find it and Caillou gets it to come out of hiding with a carrot to a “Good job” from his parents. “GOOD JOB?!”
“If show producers were to recast Caillou as an unstable hostage-taker who points a weapon at everyone he talks to, almost none of the show’s dialogue would look out of place.” Hopper says. Pretty much.
Hoopper also talks about how much parents hate Caillou. Seriously, the hate is strong. I know, because I am one of those parents. Just the sound of the theme song sends shivers down my spine. Actually, just thinking about the theme song makes me queasy. “I’m just a kid who’s four, each day I grow some more,” definitely describes a typical preschooler for sure, Caillou is NOT a typical preschooler. He is all of the bad parts of that age group; the whining, the tantrums and the mood swings, with none of the redeeming parts. The adults in his life give in to all of his bad behaviors which shows kids that these things will be rewarded so, might as well keep doing them. There are never repercussions for Caillou’s reactions and when he finally stops being a little shithead, he gets a “thank you” or a “good job” instead of a time out! But there is something so simplistic about him that kids are drawn to him like they’re the rats and he’s the Pied freaking Piper! Hopper sums it up perfectly “So Caillou is a drug, essentially: A child-silencing narcotic. And like all harmful drugs, it plunges the user into a netherworld of selfish, tweaked-out behaviour that is destructive to themselves and those around them.”
But with Caillou being broadcast into countries like Australia, Germany, Israel, and Brazil, there are presumably millions of children and parents who are being subjected to the insanity.