I really did plan to start the rants this month. My kids watch terrible stuff, and I was going to discuss some of it. On the other hand, Simon has been obsessed with this one for months now, and in the last few weeks, we’ve realized exactly how much he’s learned from it. He turns five next month, and I think the show is why he’s finally processed the adding and subtracting his dad’s been trying to teach him for the last couple of years. Also that he is getting older and his brain is developing; you know how it is.
Odd Squad is a PBS Kids show, which is a better place to start than some others. It appears, based on the origins of its actors (and the episode featuring 3/5 of the Kids in the Hall), to be Canadian originally. Its primary focus is Agents Olive (Dalila Bela) and Otto (Filip Geljo) of the eponymous squad; their supervisor is Ms. O (Milli Davis), and the tech person is Agent Oscar (Sean Michael Kyer). Most of their cases are somehow math-related, because it’s a children’s educational show. The solutions involve things like deciding on shapes, working out number lines, and basic arithmetic.
Of course, my kid is less likely to get into it if it’s just bare recitation of numbers. Hence the “mysteries.” If you are over the age of possibly seven or eight, you’re going to work out half of it well before the show reveals it, because you’ll have the math knowledge to see the solution coming. At least, most of the time; sometimes, they don’t reveal enough information for you to solve it—it turns out, for example, that the character did something that solves everything, only someone has to ask just the right question.
I’ll tell you, though, while I don’t have any interest in watching as much of the show as Simon does, I still do enjoy it. Any show that concludes a musical number with, “Release the bees!” is worth checking out at least a little. I may roll my eyes at a fair amount of the show, but there are other parts at which I laugh ridiculously hard.
I mean, trying to explain the Kids in the Hall to a not-quite-five-year-old is slow going. But he will explain Odd Squad to you at length, including things like odd and even. He has imaginary agents and scientists that go with him everywhere—well, at his age, I had four imaginary husbands. (My dad was a little taken aback by that.) And I think he’s just managed to make the connection of “this person is an actor who does more than one thing,” which is something he hadn’t entirely gotten before—though he was routinely talking about our world and the world of Odd Squad or other worlds, which he clearly distinguished as imaginary.
Irene? Not as into Odd Squad. It’s too advanced for her. That’s not unreasonable; she’s just turned sixteen months this week. She won’t even sit still for counting videos yet. On the other hand, there’s also nothing wrong with his having shows to himself.
Odd Squad is on Amazon Prime; help us keep our membership past the current year by supporting my Patreon!