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the latest waddle:

good morning, wordpress - 10:36 a.m. , 2009-07-03

elaborate murder attempt - 2:56 p.m. , 2009-07-01

building a tractor in the basement - 10:42 a.m. , 2009-06-19

ask no questions tell just a few lies - 3:17 p.m. , 2009-06-09

my long lasting flavor really lasts long - 1:10 p.m. , 2009-06-04

2004-11-15 ... 11:28 a.m.


1. You need to understand about Nora and Maisy. To say that "Nora likes Maisy" or that "Maisy is Nora's favorite television program" is like me saying "beer tastes good to me, at any time of the day or night," or Rumsfeld saying that the Abu Ghraib abuses were "unhelpful." Nora loves Maisy with a pure and burning devotion. Nora consistently rejects Sesame Street in favor of Maisy these days, which makes 1970s kids like me and LT a little sad but I guess we will just have to get our Muppet fix on our own time and not push our Ernie/Bert agenda on our daughter. Nora watches Maisy in the evenings, before bathtime, and we also keep several TiVo'd episodes on hand for emergencies. She is obviously thinking about Maisy at weird times during the day---questions of "What do you want for breakfast" have been known to be answered with "Maisy," and Maisy recently surfaced in Nora's list of family members. The show is very, very simple and very, very slow. One keep expecting dramatic conflict and there simply isn't any. Whole episodes go like this: Maisy...has lunch! Maisy...goes to the park! Maisy and her in the snow! It seems to be precisely preschool speed, however, and I think Nora really digs how she has a word for every single thing that happens.

2. Maisy is a mouse. She lives alone, and has three close friends: Cyril (a squirrel), Charlie (an alligator), and Tallulah (a chicken, I think). There is also an elephant named Eddie, but he doesn't seem to be as tight with the group---he's not in the opening credits, and he only shows up in certain episodes. Personally I'd rather have an elephant than a squirrel for a friend because at least you can ride an elephant, but then again I'm not a cartoon mouse so what do I know.

3. QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD NOT BOTHER ASKING YOURSELF: Why doesn't Charlie eat everyone else? Why is Maisy approximately the same size as all of her friends? Who is the narrator?* Why does that aggravating faux-ska music play throughout every episode, so that I walk around these days with a permanent bouncy off-beat reggae groove in my head, which is slowly driving me insane?

*Note: This is hard to explain, but I'm going to explain it anyway, assuming you have not bailed on this entry by now. Which you totally should.

Maisy and her friends don't talk, exactly, but rather make speech-like sounds. There is a male narrative voice who describes the action on the screen (he does not appear to be omniscient; in fact, he often gets a surprised tone to his voice when Maisy et al do something he was not expecting). This confused the fuck out of me the first time I watched the show. Even weirder, the characters seem to be able to hear the narrator, since they respond to his greetings, and sometimes nod when he asks them toddler-style dumb questions (eg, when someone's holding a ball, he will say, "Are you going to play with the ball?") Come to think of it, the narrative voice is an odd blend of the parental and the peer-group, since he often says things like "Be careful!" while also generally approving of everything Maisy does ("Good job, Maisy! What a good idea!") Having such an enthusiastic and benign overlord is probably a toddler's wet dream.**

**Insert diaper joke here.


MAISY: fairly butch (the overalls), very competent (drives a bus and a tractor, apparently has a pilot's license), and unquestionably the leader of the group.

TALLULAH: femmier than femme. Always wears dresses. Tends toward hysteria and impulsivity: jumps up and down a lot, squawks like the chicken she is. Probably has a weakness for romance novels and fashion magazines. There is some textual evidence that Tallulah is a lesbian, with designs on Maisy; in one episode, Maisy invites her to sleep over and Tallulah is out of her clothes and into her nightgown so fast that even the narrator is surprised ("Tallulah! You want to go to sleep already?"), and she ends up in Maisy's bed on the pretext of being afraid of the dark or something. Tallulah was also pretty quick to strip naked in the episode where Maisy and friends visit the municipal pool. Oh, and unless it was a continuity mistake, she showed up to Maisy's birthday topless---Tallulah normally wears a dress up to her neck, but for the birthday she was yellow down to her waist.

CYRIL: a little fussy and easily frustrated, with maybe a touch of social anxiety disorder, but nothing a nice therapeutic dose of Paxil couldn't fix. His home is rather tastefully decorated. Cyril's really not all that interesting, but one of my favorite episodes is the one where Maisy and Cyril are playing in the sandbox, and Cyril keeps clutching himself like he needs to pee, and the narrator keeps asking him if he needs to pee and Cyril keeps saying no, and then of course he (Cyril, not the narrator) ends up pissing himself. The incident is handled in a completely chilled-out, matter-of-fact fashion, which is awesome---Maisy just takes Cyril into her house, puts his pants in her washing machine, and lends him some extra pants. Incidentally (and intriguingly), no mention of underwear is made during this whole pants-washing, pants-lending scene. CYRIL FREEBALLS IT! CYRIL'S UNCLAD SQUIRREL SCROTUM NOW HAUNTS MY DREAMS!

CHARLE: okay, here is where the claws come out. Charlie is a doofus and I do not like him. You can practically see the cloud of bong smoke swirling around Charlie's crocodilian head. He is the sort of guy who would show up totally wasted to your party and break something. Remember the episode where he invited Maisy to lunch but oh wow, look at that, he just happened to be out of food? And then they went to the grocery store? Who do you think paid for that little shopping trip? I bet you anything that Charlie managed to "forget" his wallet, just as he probably "forgets" it every time Maisy and the gang order a pizza or go to the movies. Remember when he ate the bread that was intended for feeding the ducks? Remember when he ate a whole bunch of Maisy's cupcakes, got a stomachache, and then spent the rest of the episode lying on Maisy's couch like the big bloated reptile that he is?

I am the first to admit that my Charlie-hatred is somewhat overblown, and probably clouded by the fact that he really, really, reminds me of someone I went to college with and similarly disliked, but man, Charlie drives me bonkers. I don't know why Maisy continues to hang with him. I even find the way he takes off his shirt (swimming pool episode) to be supremely annoying, and when I tried to explain this to LT, even rewinding the TiVo a bit to show him---"Look! Look at how Charlie takes off his shirt! Arrgghhh!"---my dear husband knew that I had finally lost it.


Is the fact that ostriches are apparently some kind of merchant class, Brave New World-style. Every time Maisy and friends buy something (balloons, ice cream, groceries, admission to the pool), it is an ostrich who sells it to them. This happens way too often to be coincidental, and I refuse to believe it's the same ostrich because, even in today’s economy, how could one ostrich string together that many part-time McJobs? This social regulation, this underclass of ostriches, is more than slightly disturbing to me.


That sound of dozens of virtual doors slamming at once is my not-so-vast readership FLEEING THE FUCKING PREMISES as they realize that Mimi Smartypants has just typed over one thousand words about a children's television program. I really do apologize, but I need to get this stuff out of my system one way or another, and this is a much better option than buttonholing strangers on the street and making them listen to my Maisy Theories. Thank you for your support.

---mimi smartypants is resting quietly.


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