Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Berkner Rocks Noggin

Laurie Berkner has been called the "queen of children's music" by no less an authority than People Magazine, and if you have pre-schoolers at home (and cable), you've probably seen her band on Noggin's Jack's Big Music Show, where she is regularly featured in a minimalist music videos for such kid-friendly ditties as "Bumblebee (Buzz Buzz)" and "The Google-Heads" (which is apparently about people addicted to the online search engine). Speaking of ditties, Berkner has gained a legion of admirers among not just little kids, but also lecherous daddies who are big fans of her breasts, which do a lot of bouncing up and down (not to mention to and fro) in her videos.

With Let's Hear It for the Laurie Berkner Band, she has moved beyond the three-minute clip to her own full-length special, which premiered on Noggin on Sunday evening. Though the show consists of mostly recycled material, there are three new videos, which are notable not so much for the music as they are for Berkner wearing something other than her usual uniform of two blue shirts and a pair of snot-green pants. Again, the lascivious fathers in the audience (like the guy who waxed rhapsodic about Berkner's "chest pillows") will no doubt applaud the costume changes, which are much more flattering and even show a hint of cleavage.

I myself find her attractive, but she also reminds me a lot of an ex-girlfriend who I was a total prick to, so I feel vaguely guilty when I watch her sing "The Cat Came Back" or "I'm Gonna Catch You."

Turns out she's married to the schlub who plays bass in her videos. He's clearly unworthy, and my sources tell me he's now out of the band, which is a good thing.

But I digress.

I enjoyed the special, despite the guilt pangs regarding my ex-girlfriend, and so did my kids. Noggin followed it up with the Ting Tings' great version of Altered Images' "Happy Birthday" from Yo Gabba Gabba, plus a nice episode of Wonder Pets (my apologies for insulting the show's creators in an earlier column) in which Linny, Tuck, and Ming-Ming save "the Beetles," a group of singing insects from Liverpool.

Renowned KidVid critic JM Dobies is known for his take-no-prisoners approach to reviewing children's programming, whether taking the Wiggles to task for their lazy songwriting and naked greed ("Bring Me the Head of Anthony Wiggle") or savaging lame kiddie fare such as
Handy Manny and Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife and two small children, and thinks Wow Wow Wubbzy has jumped the shark.

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