If you recognize the phrase which titles this post, then you are no doubt a fan of Jack’s Big Music Show. I assume you are a fan because you simply cannot watch this show and NOT be a fan.
My 18-month old son, E (as I call him in this blog), LOVES, LOVES, LOVES, LOVES Jack’s Big Music Show! It is the ONLY TV program which holds his attention for more than a few seconds. Before Jack, my son ignored programs. The TV was just a big shiny box which caused dad to sometimes curse about blind referees performing impossibly flexible feats.
For the uninitiated, Jack’s Big Music Show is a musical educational TV program for pre-schoolers which airs on the Noggin cable channel in the United States. ‘Jack’ centers around puppets Jack, his friend Mary and Jack’s purple and green striped drum playing dog, Mel. Most of the show takes place in their clubhouse and features loads of music and zany misadventures – and it is absolutely adorable and funny. I could write a thousand words more on all the cool things I love about the show.
Jack’s Big Music Show first caught my son’s attention a few months ago because of the music. He LOVES music and LOVES dancing. His “dancing” is also completely adorable and funny. The show is free on our cable company’s On Demand channel. We also recorded several episodes on our DVR so Jack and his pals were always ready to play.
I was originally opposed to my son watching TV at such an early age. However, he doesn’t stare mindlessly at this show. He interacts with it. The music gets him up and makes him shake his arms, feet, hands and booty.
Soon, E began requesting to watch the show by pointing at the TV remote while saying, “Ack, Ack.” Then he looks patiently at the TV and waits.
I would never have guessed how positive a child’s interaction with TV could be… or how funny.
This weekend, an episode of Jack came on in which Jack is accidentally turned into a bunny while standing in front of Mel’s magical horn when Mel blew it. Suddenly, Jack a bunnified Jack starts bouncing around the clubhouse while Mary and Mel try to catch him so they can reverse the effect. Soon the doorbell rings. It’s The Schwartzman Quartet! (a barbershop quartet of puppets) who show up, as they do every episode, to sing about what’s going on. The song they sing in this episode repeats the lyrics “Run around, Run around” as Mary and Mel chase Jack around the clubhouse in circles.
“Run, Run, Run After Bugle Bunny Baby”
My son has seen this episode 10 times (at least) but this time the show inspired him to new levels of goofiness.
When the Shwartzman Quartet started singing, “Run around, run around, run around, here we go…” my son took off running! He proceeded to circle the dining room and living room as fast as he could, his little legs pumping and arms swinging as he giggled. Each time he made his way past the couch where my wife and I sat, he turned towards us – with a big grin on his face – to make sure we were watching. He continued his route until the song ended, at which time he went back to reading.
Each night since, he has given a repeat performance, responding to the cue from the quartet. It’s almost like some subconscious Manchurian Candidate-like prompt which sends him on a running spree. We made the mistake of playing the episode during dinner (we were eating in the living room this night, though we usually eat in the dining room) and when the song came on, my son immediately began to push, pull, and flail -knocking his sippy cup to the ground in an attempt to break free from his high chair. I ran over and freed him. His legs were already pumping before he hit the ground, and off he went!
Here is video of one of his runs (though this was later, after he was a bit tired).
Even funnier – at the end of the episode, The Schwartzman Quarter (who always travel in a pack) lean backwards and sideways as they exit through the door of the clubhouse. They do this because the way they are stacked, they would be too tall to clear the door. I had never noticed this, but apparently my son had.
In recent weeks, E would mimic The Quartet’s sideways sort of walk out the door from time to time. We hadn’t put two and two together and dismissed it as him being weird. The other night, we saw that as the song wound down and the quartet left the clubhouse, my son had just finished running around the table, stopped in front of the TV to watch, then he copied their walk! My wife pointed it out and we both suddenly realized, “ah, that’s what he’s doing!”
Bye, bye Jack
Unfortunately, I am getting rid of cable tomorrow. (Yes, I know I was supposed to get rid of cable a month ago, but I was attempting to get a really cheap deal from somewhere else. That deal proved to be more expensive, so I decided to just get rid of everything other than the local channels). I spent nearly 12 hours during the past two days attempting to get my piece of crap Centrios DVD Recorder to record the shows on DVD so we could watch them. Unfortunately, the Centrios spit out 10 DVD’s, all of them blank!
I will no longer have access to Jack. My son will no longer be able to run around the house to the tunes of The Schwartzman Quartet.
My son will point to the remote and go “Ack, Ack” and his heart will break when I can’t turn it on. He will stare at the TV with a confused, sad expression.
But, Blogger Dad, surely you can buy the shows on DVD, right?
Well, you’d think so. However, there is NO Jack’s Big Music Show merchandise (other than a CD, which I bought and ONE DVD). No box sets, no tee shirts, no puppets, NOTHING! I have massive respect for Noggin to avoid the temptation to pump out tons of Jack merchandise. Given the appeal of this show which millions of children (and adults) love, Jack merchandise would be a license to print money! Yet, nothing!
So here is my plea to Noggin or the folks at Spiffy Pictures (the awesome creators of Jack’s Big Music Show) PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, PLEASE RELEASE MORE VIDEOS! You wouldn’t want to be responsible for my son’s sadness, would you?
That isn’t very spiffy.
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