CoComelon: Why The Children's Show Is So Scary for Adults - VRGyani News and Media


Thursday, September 16, 2021

CoComelon: Why The Children's Show Is So Scary for Adults

You’re alone — at least, you think you are, minding your own business. All of a sudden you hear several adults flatly singing either what sounds like a public domain nursery rhyme set to tone-deaf, repetitive instrumentals. You do your best to rush to the source of this maddening siren song, but like musical Kryptonite, you already feel yourself weakening as the sing-along plays like a taunting, slow-motion carnival melody that makes the walls warp and close in. You burst into the next room, expecting to see a demon clown giggling as he grinds his music box that’s drenched in the blood of his victims; his companion skeleton monkey dancing in kind. Instead, you see a human child with a vacant expression staring at TV, as an animated, dead-eyed family of five plays basketball against equally dead-eyed animated animals, the chorus of the song repeating “pass, pass, pass.” You look to the parent of the human child for some sort of response — but having lost their mind long ago — they simply say, “It’s all she wants to watch now.” This is the horror of CoComelon, and it’s currently trending at number six on Netflix.

From 2017 until 2020, my brother, his partner, and myself lived together, and in December 2018 they welcomed their first child. Living for a year-and-half with a growing child means I was exposed to all sorts of child-centric musical numbers. These included Auliʻi Cravalho’s show-stopping vocals in Moana, the lullaby “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” or the addictive phenom that is “Baby Shark.” Despite hearing them on what seemed like an endless loop, they each have their worthwhile qualities that make engaging with them as an adult not feel like a hassle entirely. Whether they are entertaining, soothing, or at times a downright bop — they have their perks. But if you’re a parent, relative, or just an unlucky soul caught in the sound path, the only thing you’ll get from any of the videos is pain.

With packages of nursery rhymes and original songs that can range from 30 minutes to a over an hour, CoComelon is designed to be played for long stretches of time, and thus act as the perfect torture device. I was left awake well into the morning thanks to its diabolical execution of consistency, with songs being not catchy so much as psychologically invasive. To the uninitiated, I can only describe it as being stalked by “Songs From Ferris Wheels: Greatest Hits”. Each song is a witch’s brew of toy-brand-level xylophone or piano riffs, as if created solely to be creepily swayed to, left and right, by the young viewers.

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This is combined with singing from a recurring cast of adult and child singers that don’t sound like real people, but rather a robot creating voices based on what its programming told it humans may sound like. When not turning old nursery rhymes into new nightmare fuel, the original songs (which can still use nursery rhyme melodies, but inject new lyrics) often play like sing-songy narrations for whatever random event happens around the house. Take for example a song where the mother and father grill each other about eating junk food in the middle of the night, with lyrics consisting of one asking if they’re eating something, the other one being a liar, and ultimately ending with a spine-chilling “Ha-ha-ha.” It’s as if the creators — having run out of ideas — started looking around, finding random objects and asking, “What sweet misery may we make out of you, my darling?”

These songs playing on a loop is enough to curse anyone’s waking moments like mine were, but it’s the animation that will plague your dreams. Soulless eyes and smiles of equal shape beam off the screen as if to ask, “Can I be your friend forever and ever and ever and ever?” Caricatures seemingly built to mock the human form, the key family of five are stiff and off-putting and able to cause instant delirium to those who look upon them. I can’t help but feel a sense of the macabre underneath the colorful visuals. Something isn’t right with that family. Maybe it’s how baby JJ is still learning how to use the potty or eat vegetables but then literally saunters off to school and performs musical numbers about wondering what he wants to be when he grows up. Maybe it’s the fact that the grown-ass mom and dad think it’s fun to let their children play with anthropomorphic wolves. Or maybe it’s that there’s no personality to them other than whatever meandering nursery rhyme they’ll sing to one another like a demented opera.

Surely CoComelon is doing something worthwhile for children in terms of cognitive function by emphasizing repetition through familiar songs, or something else that makes parents feel like they’re doing a good job by plopping their kids in front of the TV for long periods of time. And yet, that doesn’t stop it from being a routinely terrifying piece of programming that I am certain is crafted by A.I. in hopes of winning over the younger generation and weakening the adults in prep for takeover. For those who have children and are maybe wondering what all the fuss over CoComelon is about — stop. I know you love your child and want music to teach them to wash their hand so you don’t have to, but none of that is worth violently waking up in the night because you had a nightmare of baby JJ’s head spinning 360 degrees while he sings “Old McDonald.”

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