And what a dark, dark land it is...
Here's a look at just a few of the horrors I've come across in my travels.
Trapped! is a new gameshow in which a team of six children must ascend a tower by completing a series of random tasks at each level.
You might think that that doesn't sound so bad. Sort of like Fun House, right?
Fun House! It's a whole lot of fun, mullets to be won.
'Fraid not! These kids don't get a fun go-kart race. They get to:
- Fight off decrepit looking creatures known as 'Botherers' in the pitch black while trying to protect a dismembered corpse:
- Rip out the bloodied teeth of the screaming baby from Eraserhead:
- Tackle a faceless scarecrow called 'The Crow Man':
- and execute fairies:
Somewhere, ten years from now, six grown team members will be found hiding under their beds furiously clapping and screaming "I do believe in fairies, I do! I do! GOD HELP ME, I DO!"
The children are always referred to as 'Unfortunates' and, in each task they complete, one is secretly elected as 'The Saboteur' and must surreptitiously make the team fail the task to get themselves through to the next round. At the end of the task, the team has to vote on who they think was the saboteur.
"Bitch please, if I was the saboteur it would be your dismembered body on that table right now."
If the team wins the task, or if they fail but correctly identify The Saboteur, said saboteur is then trapped at that level. Supposedly forever.
With this guy.
Also, each child is forced to wear an earpiece known as a 'Whispering Clip' through which they are given directions by a disembodied voice who constantly tells them to fuck up their teammates in order to save themselves. Sound familiar?
Where will he go? Where will he stop? Look for the sign
on the lollipop carved inside your own skull.
Yep, Trapped! is basically Saw 4 Kids.
If Jamie Oliver has taught us anything, it's that he is a Time Lord because his thirty minute meals take the average human at least an hour and a half to make. Oh, and also that kids should totally eat healthily.
The Back To The Future DeLorean time machine was powered by putting rubbish in a food processor. Think on that.
Joining Jamie's crusade comes Incredible Edibles: a high-octane show fronted by the impossibly enthusiastic and self-proclaimed 'Gastronaut' (yes, really) Stefan Gates. Stefan wants to raise awareness of the disgusting ingredients that go into processed food by, you know, making kids eat them all.
In case you missed that, what Stefan just loves to do is cook a mystery dish out of something disgusting, blindfold some kids and make them eat it while he shows the raw ingredient to the rest of their classmates. This is bullying franchised and packaged into a national television show. You tell me that boy isn't going to be known as CowGuts from now on.
The situation has in fact got so bad, that this young girl feels the need to inform Stefan that she wouldn't like to eat testicles please, thank you very much.
What the actual fuck? She's obviously seen this show before.
BEAR BEHAVING BADLY
On face value, this is the tale of an adorable bear called Nev who lives with a random assortment of colourful characters -- so far so normal children's TV show.
The really disturbing stuff comes when we skip ahead to 1:40 in this video and meet Keith.
We need to talk about Keith
Keith is a koala bear who lives in an indeterminable junk-filled purgatory beneath Nev's kitchen sink. He seems to have an unlimited number of tunnels which lead from his first level of Dante's Inferno into Nev's house. These can come out in a number of innocent locations like the plughole, the biscuit tin or sometimes... the... toilet.
This is bad enough without noting that, at the beginning of this scene, the woman is washing her hands suggesting that she has just used that very toilet.
The worst thing about Keith though, is his roommate: a stuffed rabbit named Doris whom he occasionally chatters at or, in the case of the above clip, comes on to.
Doris never replies.
We're not talking adorable mute Sooty running round with a magic wand and communicating through mime. Doris never speaks, moves or shows any sign of life beyond her cold, dead stare.
Remember, this isn't the same as having a cute teddy bear that you occasionally talk to either. Keith the koala is a stuffed toy too so the only reasonable explanation is that what he is essentially talking to is a corpse.
All of this horror and distress got me thinking. TV wasn't like this when we were younger, surely? Full of disturbing connotations and double entendre? All I remember is a blur of primary colours and blissful naïveté.
How do you think the smurfs reproduced?
Spot the sex slave
Remember how Angelica Pickles constantly made Chuckie Finster's life a living hell?
Rugrats went to a dark place in series nine with the deleted episode 'Chuckie's Revenge'
Or that Donnie from The Wild Thornberrys is feral because his real parents were murdered by poachers?
This isn't funny... this is how he had to survive
Or that Catdog was the original precursor to The Human Centipede??
"I'll explain this spectacular operation only once."
Good news then! Evidence shows that the future generation is likely to be no more permanently scarred by their television experiences than we've been by ours thus far.