Monday, November 14, 2016

Review: The Stinky and Dirty Show

I don't usually review TV shows, but The Stinky and Dirty Show has captured Bowen, and I'm not horribly unhappy about that, so I figure I'll talk a bit about why it's special as well as tie it to why Amazon doesn't care about killing Netflix.

The premise of the show is simple: a garbage truck (Stinky) and a bulldozer (Dirty) are friends. Through the course of an episode (about 11 minutes each, with each "streaming episode" being 2 episodes joined together), the two friends encounter problems and solve them. Most of the problem-solving involves brain-storming many "what if" scenarios before settling on the correct approach. Some of them involve calling in friends who can help, and many of the solutions are found through serendipitous observations. I can't watch an episode with Bowen without saying, "Wow, what a smart show for kids!"

What's more, Bowen's been brought up on a steady diet of shows where the protagonists are female (e.g., Nausicaa, Totoro, Frozen), so it was nice to introduce some diversity and have a show that's mostly about boys (sure, the vehicles are gender neutral, but names like Stinky and Dirty typically apply to boys :-).

Incidentally, we went and checked out the books from the library (it's an indication that the show has not yet hit the mainstream yet that the books are still easily available at our local library) and the books are disappointing and much worse than the TV show. No brain-storming or problem solving to be found anywhere in the books, which aren't nearly as smart as the Amazon show. How rare!

So the show's good and recommended. But why is Amazon doing this? The big factor that drives parents to become Amazon Prime customers is diapers. I once did the math and the savings from diapers alone pay for the Amazon Prime membership. But of course, kids do eventually grow out of diapers, and so after that Amazon needs something to hook families on them. While shows like Peppa Pig are easily found on Youtube (and free if you're willing to put up with ads), unique shows like The Stinky and Dirty Show could very well drive me to keep the Amazon subscription even after the littlest one is out of diapers. Here's the thing --- parents don't have time for TV/movies (we've long cancelled our Netflix subscription). As much as I'd love to watch the new Daredevil show, I just don't have time for it. But kids not only have time to watch shows, they keep watching the same show over and over. It doesn't take too many such shows before they become a "must-have" for the parents. This makes Amazon Prime a much better value than if it's just for 2 day shipping.

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