Brought To You By The Letters P, B And S

Update: New Lofi comic for 10/8/12! 

PBS is great. Sesame Street is particularly great. As the parent of the young child, I can’t even explain the profound impact that show has had on my daughter and her development. She learned numbers, letters, social concepts like sharing, courtesy, apologizing, honesty, etc. all while being engaged and entertained. Of course my wife and I proactively taught her those subjects and concepts as well, but just think about how much more relatable they were and how much more easily a 2 year old could understand them when we were able to say “You have to share. Remember how Elmo felt when his friend didn’t share?” Sesame Street is not just a TV show. It’s an institution and  an invaluable national resource.

I know Sesame Street, and particularly Big Bird, are the topics being thrown around the media right now, but I can say with 100% certainly that PBS produces the highest quality children’s programming available and THE ONLY children’s programming that consistently entertains and educates my exceptionally bright child. I’ll give you two examples out of the dozens that come to mind. Curious George is focused on problem solving through experimentation and doing. After she watched an episode, she often disappears into her room or our craft area and emerges 30 minutes later with a contraption based on whichever episode she just watched. “Look! I built an automatic kitty feeder just like George!”

Her favorite show right now is Word Girl. It’s about a superhero that uses her vocabulary to defeat villains. In addition to having above average writing for a kids’ show, it is also voice acted by some of the top comedians in the country (Maria Bamford, Patton Oswalt, Brian Posehn, Chris Parnell, etc.) Last week, after watching an episode of Word Girl, she ran into the kitchen, grabbed a pencil and some paper and started writing a play. She wrote pages of lines for each character, assigned my wife and I parts and we sat down as a family and had a table read before bedtime. It was, in a word, adorbs. But more so, she was exercising her creativity because she was inspired by what she had seen on PBS.

Watching these shows makes her brain move in new directions instead of just keeping it subdued for 30 minutes while we cook dinner. Anyone that looks at the minuscule government subsidy that PBS gets and doesn’t see the value (or doesn’t even understand how much it is) probably didn’t watch enough PBS.

COMMENTERS: Any particular memories of Sesame Street as a child or a parent? 

NOTICE TO COMMENTERS: PLEASE do not use this as a forum to preach your politics. I don’t want to know who you’re going to vote for or why. I don’t want to know what you think about the President or the opposition. This site is where I make comics based on my personal opinions. If you want a place to yell opinions at the Internet, go elsewhere.  This spot is already taken. If you chose to ignore this request, your comments will be deleted and you will be banned from commenting. 

The Fringe Candidates

You’re The Last Of The Timelords, Charlie Brown
The Doctor Is In T-Shirt, Funny Doctor Who Parody Shirt, Charlie Brown, Sci-Fi

Your foreign policy record is questionable at best, and you have yet to form a coherent theory as to where Nina Sharp’s true allegiance lies. What makes you think you can lead this country? 

Sorry, non-Fringe fans. Not because you don’t get this comic, but because you aren’t enjoying the best show on TV. This will likely be Fringe’s final season (a year sooner than J.J. Abrams would like), due to it being too fantastic to be profitable. This seems to be the fate of all original, thought-provoking, well acted (extremely well acted in the case of John “Please let me curl up in your grandpa cheeks” Noble), well produced sci-fi on television. Any show that refuses to dumb down it’s intensely complicated, yet expertly executed premise in order to reach a wider audience just isn’t commercially viable on TV.

I think Fringe is the type of show you have to already be a sci-fi fan to enjoy. It asks a lot of the audience, but the average sci-fi fan is already used to accepting things like alternate dimensions, shapeshifters, techno-organic hybrid beings, and Leonard Nimoy. Each of those is probably a stumbling block for the average Joe “Is Real Housewives new tonight?” Television Viewer. J.J. Abrams has said that this season’s finale  can act as a series finale if the worst happens, but that certainly won’t be ideal for the fans or the creators. I want, just for once, to know what the actual planned ending of a high concept sci-fi show was supposed to be. LOST and BSG don’t count since not even the writers themselves knew how those shows were supposed to end.

I used to think the place for shows like Fringe, Firefly, Stargate SG:U, etc was on the Internet, free of the trappings of network expectations, ratings and advertising. I wanted them to be directly accessible to the people they were made for, instead of slotted between Kitchen Yelling and Crime Cops: Topeka on Friday night. But those kinds of shows require MILLIONS of dollars per episode to maintain their level of quality. And I don’t mean 1 or 2 million. It’s more like 6 to 10. These are absurd numbers and certainly not Internet-type numbers. The worst thing about trying to independently produce and distribute sci-fi is the “sci” part and the “fi” part. The medium REQUIRES that spaceships, robots, lizard people and all other manner of imaginary things that simply do not exist and cannot be filmed unless created out of foam latex, pixels and money. So how does the BBC do it? Is it because they are publicly funded? There’s no way Doctor Who costs as much as an episode of Fringe, but the quality is there. Is there a DiY work ethic to BBC shows that the US entertainment industry simply doesn’t abide? Or is there just a wider acceptance amont the average brit for science fiction, and thus sci-fi TV stands a greater chance of reaching a mass audience over there?

COMMENTERS: I’ve asked about 100 questions in the post above. Feel free to tackle any of them. Or just post more Fringe debate questions.

UPDATE 01/25/12: You can now purchase a super high quality 11×17″ print of any HE comic by clicking the “Buy A Print” button between the “Previous” and “Next” buttons in the navigation menu. If you don’t see it, try refreshing your browser cache.

Get HijiNKS ENSUE Comic Prints!

CHICAGO and CALGARY Fancy Bastards: I am coming for you! I will be at C2E2 April 13-15 and Calgary Expo April 27-29 with Blind Ferret.