Epileptic Seizures and Sat A.M. TV

Remember the story a couple years back about Pokemon giving Japanese children seizures? It led to one episode never airing in America, from what I understand.

The hosts

I watched OPERATION JUNKYARD on Saturday Morning NBC the other day. It’s the half-hour JUNKYARD WARDS for kids. Not a bad idea. Instead of a big junkyard, two buses filled with junk go to two houses, where two teams have 6 hours to build something. This weekend, they built mud-filled balloon launchers.

I almost had a seizure from watching this show. I had no problem watching ARMAGEDDON on the big screen, a movie often reviled for being “frame-f*&^%ed” in editing. No shot lasted more than a half second on the thing. But it didn’t bother me.

OP: JY, though, lost me. It’s hyperactive for no good reason.

The parent show was created as a way to educate adults on how various things work — like motors and trebuchets. (Gotta love those trebuchets.) It’s likely, then, that the kiddie version would be the same. The problem is, the science portion of it was overlooked in favor of an opening game and editing so jarring that I had to look away once or twice to get my bearings in the real world. The great thing about JUNKYWARD WARS is in following what the teams are thinking and how they adjust to the junk and, in the final competition, how they adjust to the realities of their machine.

The kiddie version ignores all of that. When the kids toss their 10 balloons, we hear nothing about any adjustments they might make or why. We just see the landings and watch the points tally up. The builds explain a couple of very general principles, but I lost them in the clutter of the visuals. I mean, you can’t even have a host talking to the camera without three cuts to get closer to the host each time.

It’s a shame and a wasted opportunity.

Saturday morning television isn’t what it was when I was growing up. For starters, it’s all live action. But oddly enough, it’s all cable television on the major networks. CBS has sold itself out to Nickelodeon, ABC to Disney, and NBC to The Discovery Channel conglomeration of networks. The WB shows Japanese imports, and doesn’t want to bother with creating its own great stuff, like it once did. (Ah, the glory days of ANIMANIACS and PINKY AND THE BRAIN and BATMAN and SUPERMAN…)


2 Responses to “Epileptic Seizures and Sat A.M. TV”

  1. name Mike
    3. November 2002 at 13:59

    comment I too felt lost trying to follow OPJY but my kids put it in perspective for me. Their generation moves much faster than mine with fast-paced video games etc. They tell me they would loose interest if it didn’t move fast and do get some scientific clues from the show. The animation is overdone and more on the last minut adjustments would help me – but then again, it is a show for kids.

  2. Augie De Blieck Jr.
    4. November 2002 at 08:59

    Hey Mike,

    Maybe I’m just feeling too old at too young an age. I’m only 26. I grew up as the first MTV generation. I’m used to quick cuts and fast editing, to a certain degree. Maybe it’s just gotten progressively faster.

    But I guess you’re right — if the kids like it, then more power to them, I suppose.

    -Augie, old fart