Gender issues

OK. I need some help here. In my quest to find quality programming for my toddler, I stumbled upon “Back at the Barnyard.” (For the record, the search continues.) But something about this Nickelodeon cartoon gives me the creeps:


Do you feel it, too?

This is Otis. Hey, Otis, that’s quite a rack you have there. What, wait, Otis? Are you a male? As in a bull? Hey, bulls don’t have big pink udders, they have … well, you know, bull parts.

I know I’m a city girl but hey, I’ve been to the country a few times. I visit the zoo. I paid attention in science class. I know my X from my Y.

Otis the sexually ambiguous cow has a deep voice, bulky shoulders and a thick neck. All qualities of a bull, yes? Or maybe Otis smokes too many Camel unfiltereds and has pulled too many plows around the field? Maybe someone slipped a Mickey into his/her hormone cocktail? 

Maybe we have the first-ever cartoon hermaphrodite? Perhaps the time is ripe. We got over the gay children’s character barricade with Tinky Winky of “Teletubbies” fame, didn’t we?


I can’t help but think that the show’s creators decided, based on this experience, that to make an anatomically correct bull character would be far too frightening for small children. (Frightening? How about hilarious. Have they been around any children lately?) Better to just make all the cows have udders. Udders that look like four toilet plungers fused together. Or the closest thing to a bovine Pamela Anderson. Either way, the udder is a far more familiar and comforting site, right?

As it turns out, the whole thing is some kind of inside joke with the creators. Yeah, except, as I said, the show is supposed to be for kids, right? Are they going to get the irony? 

Makes me yearn for simpler times, when beloved cartoon characters didn’t have genitals at all.


Life without TV

So, the writer’s strike presses on. Not only are this season’s shows jeopordized, but now it sounds like next season could be canned as well. Award shows are all facts, minus the glitz and glamor of the red carpet. Late-night talk show hosts are forced to wing it. What’s left? Reality shows. Ugh.

Does anyone care? As a former writer and member of a writer’s guild, I sympathize with the basic concept of the striking workers. If you don’t make a united stand now against the networks, while you have the strength, you never will be able to in the future. The trade union to which I once belonged is a largely deflated balloon, having lost most of its money and its might during a crippling strike in the 1990s. I know a little about the giving of the workers and the mostly taking of the big companies. The result, an erosion in quality. Case in point here: reality TV.

Funny. In doing some research on this, I read that the last writer’s strike in 1988 lasted longer than the current one. I don’t even remember. That’s because I don’t really watch TV much. Not then. Not now.
Except “LOST”, which hasn’t aired a new show since May 2007 and if we fans are lucky, maybe a handful this year. I watch about 1-1/2 hours of reruns (“Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Sex and the City,” “Simpsons”) nightly as I exercise in my basement. It’s just what’s on and gets the best reception. Otherwise the TV is off and books are open or games are played or I’m just doing something that’s not TV. So, I don’t care much. Even about “LOST.”
Which even shocks me.