Let me start by saying that of all the kids’ shows out there, I tolerate Curious George the most. I love that each episode teaches something new without being in-your-face educational, problem-solving is a big part of each story, and it’s a perfect example of how to communicate without language—something that toddlers struggle with every day. Plus it’s generally got great, smart female characters! But, over the years of watching Curious George, I started getting annoyed that this cast of capable women somehow made space for a whole band of male nitwits. There are a few exceptions, of course, but hear me out.
The Man with the Yellow Hat: The Overgrown Man Child
The Man with the Yellow Hat not only fulfills every child’s dream of owning an exotic pet, he seems to show little concern over letting him trot by himself wrecking havoc all over town. The Man apparently has a job—not that he ever seems to do any work. He just runs around on a wild goose chase, trying to fix the kind of sh*t storm that follows a man who clearly has never learned to say the word “no” with any conviction.
Dr. Alvin Einstein and Professor Anthony Pizza: The Stupid Geniuses
These two epically short-sighted “geniuses” work with Professor Wiseman, a female scientist aptly named considering there isn’t a single wise man on this show. I don’t know how they ever designed and launched the Einstein-Pizza space telescope, but their entire space program requires the help of a monkey way more often than it really should. Someone get these guys a QA team, pronto.
Chef Pisghetti: The Emotional Timebomb
Chef Pisghetti is a sippy cup short of a toddler. His every minor problem begets an overblown reaction worthy of his own spin-off telenovela. Pet cat Gnocchi can no longer hang out inside the restaurant because he’s been accused of scratching the booths? “I don’t make any new cannoli today, I’m a-too upset!” Gnocchi no longer wants to taste test the chef’s food? “I’m a-gonna close tha rrrest-o-rante!” Meanwhile, his wife Netti—the voice of reason and the evidence that opposites attract—somehow finds the patience to put up with his crap. I suspect any day now there will be an episode in which Netti finally realizes her husband needs to take a f***ing nap, followed by the chef crying hysterically “I don’t a-need a nap!”
Bill: The Annoyingly Overachieving Boyscout
Bill is the boy who lives next door to The Man with the Yellow Hat’s country house. He seems to always be running from one job to the next, which would have been a noble attempt at displaying the values of being a hard worker were Bill not obsessively focused on doing everything just so damn correctly. On the annoyance meter, his dedication to doing everything perfectly is only surpassed by his need to tell other people how to do everything perfectly, as condescending know-it-all a**holes do. Never mind the fact he can’t wrap his head around the difference between “city kid” and “monkey.”
Steve: The Irritating Jock
Steve and his sister Betsy live near George in the city. Steve is the hot-headed counterpart to Betsy’s level-headed approach to life. He talks a big game, turns everything into a contest, and justifies every loss to deflect blame away from himself and his giant ego. Someone needs to tell him being in fifth grade isn’t some kind of universal sheriff badge that puts him in charge of everything.
Mr. Glass: The Eccentric Billionaire
God forbid someone with financial wealth be portrayed as smart, practical, or hard-working. Instead, Mr. Glass goes around throwing money at anything that is “unique!” His every decision doesn’t seem to ride on any rational logic but on the single question of whether he likes it or not. Essentially, he is the epitome of how a 3-year-old expects monarchy to be.
Calhoun The Gopher Getter: A Cat, Basically
Calhoun is a “gopher getter”—it’s not an exterminator, the gopher will be rehomed somewhere nice, I’m sure—hired by Mr. Renkins to get rid of the gophers ruining his farm. Calhoun shows up with his specialty gopher-getting truck and his buck teeth, and you wonder where they are going with this: an insulting stereotype of a nerd or an insulting stereotype of someone with a blue collar job. If you’re thinking “why not both?” then ding-ding-ding, you win! Because Calhoun didn’t have enough going against him already, they gave him the narrow focus and intellect of a cat chasing a mouse, oblivious to the destruction left in his path. Just in case you were still worried about the gophers, don’t worry, George comes swooping in to save the god**mn gophers from a lifetime of happiness running free in the forest and ruin the Renkins’ livelihood. What a hero.