Saturday, December 17, 2011

Japanese Children's Show Segment

Well over a year ago, I made a post about the strangest children’s TV shows I could find and in that list I included a link to a scene from a Japanese show where toddlers approximate dancing either by flopping about on the ground like turtles on their back or by standing perfectly still. Given that the results are obviously a complete catastrophe, I figured that this sketch was just a one time thing that was done mostly as a joke for the parents. Apparently I was wrong and this is actually a regularly occurring segment that they probably put into every single episode. This is the conversation that I imagine occurred between two producers after the first episode to explain why this is:

Producer 1: Well that was a total disaster and embarrassing for everyone involved. I guess we’ll need to replace it with something new. Any suggestions?

Producer 2: Tentacle rape.

Producer 1: Why does it always come back to tentacle rape with you? Why do you insist on playing into that ridiculous and offensive stereotype?

Producer 2: Are you telling me you don’t like watching giant squid molest nubile teens?

Producer 1: Goddammit man! This is a kid’s show!

Producer 2: All the more reason to go with it.

Producer 1: Screw it! We’ll stick with the dancing! Anything to make this conversation end!

This conversation also probably explains most Japanese television. Below are some more examples of the segment (including the original) as well as a more in-depth analysis on what is going on.

So the first thing I can’t help but notice is that in spite of the hosts’ enthusiasm, a solid half of the kids will be standing still at any given time. Sometimes they’ll make a feeble attempt at flailing their arms, but mostly they just look helplessly around for some sort of guidance. With both the dog and the older girl showing them how to do the dance, they can’t be possibly be looking for instructions on what to do, so I can only assume that they’re wondering how the hell they got to where they are. When the time comes for everybody to fall and roll around on the ground, again only about half will actually do it and of that half only half will stand back up again. In case you weren’t already convinced that this is a disorganized mess, one of the later moves is to run around literally wherever you want and they still manage to fail at it. At least one will always run off stage, a solid quarter will remain motionless, and half of the half that didn’t fall down earlier will do so now. On occasion, the cameraman will spot a child who actually appears to be doing the action they’re supposed to and will zoom in on them. Always and without fail, that child will stop doing anything right at that moment with a peculiar look on their face. You might call it confusion, and you’d be right, but there’s something more going on there: sheer terror. Trust me when I say I’ve become an expert at reading terror in children’s faces and these kids are pissing/shitting their oversized pants right now, which I’m pretty sure are shaped like that for a reason. Now I don’t know what has them so scared, but whatever it is, it causes all of the above insanity to happen and probably occurs off stage which leads me to believe that this is all a deliberate ploy by the director to make this as hilarious as possible. That one kid who runs off screen earlier isn’t overzealous in his participation; he’s trying to escape, and sees that momentary confusion as his best chance. Some seek protection from the dog mascot as there’s always two or three or group around and try to touch him. I tip my hat to the actor inside that suit who manages to keep dancing without knocking any of them over.

Sadly, I couldn’t find the proper clip anymore, but there’s one I stumbled upon earlier that featured a girl who actually seemed to know all the moves in the proper order. She’s like the Sasquatch of the show in that it’s almost impossible to believe she exists and you’ll just have to take a third party’s word for it. However, she started performing all of the moves a solid five seconds before she’s supposed to. You may say she’s just over-eager, but I like to think that she simply understands better than anybody what makes this segment so great and so special in the first place: nothing happens as it’s supposed to. So sure she could do everything perfectly, but that would just ruin it. By just doing the right move five seconds early, she makes the whole show just that much more amazing. I also now realize that the older girl and the dog aren’t there for the benefit of the children, but for us so we know what the dance is supposed to look like and can thus fully appreciate the hilarity of the failure that surrounds them.

In closing, I apologize for getting this song stuck in your head.

Bonus points to anyone who can find the girl that knows what she’s doing.

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