The Squishy Fear

Irrational fears vary from person to person. Some of us are deathly afraid of spiders. Others feel threatened by crowded elevators or the word “uvula.” I hold a long-standing phobia of elderly women in white gloves as well as the strange suspicion that Diane Keaton is a cannibal. I mean, just look at her teeth!


Given the subjective nature of fear, I understand that not everyone will find the Boobahs as horrifying as I do. Perhaps when you see Humbah, Zumbah, Zing Zing Zingbah, Jumbah and Jingbah, you find them whimsical and charming. Maybe you want to buy their dolls and give them to children, and have no concerns that the dolls may eat the children when you leave the room.

Boobahs are flatulent, gibbering, kool-aid colored, zero-G kewpie monsters who live on a spaceship and dance while kids bring them gifts and smile like cultists making a sacrifice. This Dadaist experiment in children’s programming is the product of the same tortured minds that brought us Teletubbies. I believe it is all the work of two laboratory mice in their quest to take over the world.

The Teletubbies were a gateway drug, and you might think the Boobahs are the real hard shit, the stuff that makes your kids end up twitching in alleyways. That distinction, however, belongs to the newest creation from Ragdoll Productions, “In the Night Garden…” (Name sounds familiar…Didn’t I see them open for Skinny Puppy at the Paladium in ’89?)

The show opens with a child drifting to sleep. An adult finger slowly traces circles and lines in the victim’s, I mean child’s, palm, singing and reciting the incantation: “The night is black, and the starts are bright, and the sea is dark and deep. Someone I know is safe and snug and they’re drifting off to sleep. Round and round, a little boat no bigger than your hand, out on the ocean, far away from land. Take the sail down, light the little light. This is the way to the Garden of Night.”

The ceremony opens a portal to a realm of terror. A squishy, bright, squeaky garden of fluffy dread. “Oh no, it’s the ninky-nonk,” the narrator (Sir Derek Jacoby, no doubt under threat of waterboarding) exclaims as a small brightly colored caravan arrives. “Catch the ninky-nonk!” Why? Don’t ask why. Catch the ninky-nonk. There’s a good slave child. Don’t miss the clerical pontipines as they greet the pinky-ponk airship! Who is in the pinky-ponk? Why, the bouncy-squish twittering Tombliboos, that’s who! And let’s not forget the pudgy brown Makka Pakka! Sing the Makka Pakka song! “Makka Pakka, akka wakka, mikka makka moo! Makka Pakka, appa yakka, ikka akka, ooo. Hum dum, agga pang, ing, ang, ooo. Makka Pakka, akka wakka, mikka makka moo!”

What’s that? Mother doesn’t want you to sing along with Makka Pakka? Don’t fret! We’ll send the Haahoos to smother her in her sleep. Won’t that be lovely? Nite-nite, Mummy.

While the Teletubbies made viewers mildly dyspeptic and dizzy, the Boobahs made many of us cry out, “What in the chicken-fried pogostick am I watching?” The show was too overtly alien and didn’t maintain the trance-state necessary for the aether-demons to feed upon toddler alpha waves. In the Night Garden, however, is meant to be watched just before beddie-bye time, when the kiddie-brains are at their most plump and juicy.


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