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Saturday, July 29, 2006

Dumb People Make Children Cry

Apparently, the PBS Sprout Network just fired one of its on-air talents, name of Melanie Martinez, the host of a nightly, three-hour show called "The Good Night Show," which, according to the AP story, "airs soothing stories and cartoons designed to get an audience of 2-to-5-year-olds ready for bed. Each night, Martinez guides a puppet character into dreamland."

Right. So "The Good Night Show" ain't exactly "The West Wing." It's not exactly "Deadwood" on HBO. It's a cute piece of harmless fluff on PBS that airs in about 20 million homes. Martinez, it is reported, has a toddler of her own, which we can take to mean she knows something about what kids like. I'm guessing she smiles a lot. Is maternal. Sits on giant, brightly colored furniture and chats with birds. Or whatever.

Now, not owning a toddler of my own and therefore usually watching "The Daily Show" or browsing blogs or surfing for porn during kiddie bedtime hour, I have no idea what the hell this show is. But it sounds just insanely sweet and safe, in the way only a show that's designed to be televised Ambien for the pre-complete-sentence set could possibly be.

But then, a shocker. Turns our lovely Melanie Martinez is not what she appeared to be. Turns out Melanie Martinez had, prior to her gig smiling a lot and keeping your kids company for three solid hours while you join me in surfing for porn on the Internet, turns out she had a tiny sliver of an adult life before she took the gig at PBS. And what's worse, it's on video. On the Internet.

Oh. My. God.

Yes indeed, before joining PBS (a full seven years before, mind you), Martinez apparently appeared in two harmless, 30-second satire videos called "Technical Virgin" in which she spoofs PSAs by joking about -- say it with me now -- sex and virginity. Gasp. And PBS found out about it. Because Martinez told them.

And of course, PBS, spineless as a jellyfish licked by Pat Robertson, immediately fired her. They claimed the dialogue in Martinez's humor videos somehow meant she wasn't a good role model for their fluffy kiddie show. A show, remember, that's designed for 3-year-olds. For creatures who can barely go to the bathroom by themselves, much less understand the meaning of an adult satiric video they will never ever see.

Dumb People Make Children Cry
Mark Morford, SF Gate, July 28, 2006

I wonder if this qualifies as discrimination. Apparently, Melanie Martinez was not fired for being unprofessional or failing in her duties now - she was merely penalized for past behaviour - behaviour, mind you, that was not illegal by any stretch.

And in a society where, as somebody aptly put it, "sex is everywhere but in sex itself", that is odd to say the least.

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