Caillou

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Caillou
Caillou.jpg
"🎶I'm just a kid who's four, each day I scream some more, I ruin children, I'm Caillou!🎵🎶"
Genre: Slice-of-life
Comedy
Running Time: 22 minutes (3–4 5–7 minute segments)
Country: Canada
China (production services, 1997-2003)
South Africa (animation production, 2009-2010)
Release Date: September 15, 1997 - October 3, 2010
Network(s): Télétoon (Quebec)
Teletoon, Treehouse TV (Canada)
PBS Kids (2000-2020), Universal Kids (2005-2019)
Cartoon Network (Cartoonito) (2021-2022) (United States)
Tiny Pop (United Kingdom)
La Cinquième/France 5, Télétoon (France)
Created by: Hélène Desputeaux
Christine L'Heureux
Distributed by: WildBrain
Starring: Bryn McAuley (1997-2000)
Jaclyn Linetsky (2000-2003)
Annie Bovaird (2003-2010)
Jennifer Seguin
Pat Fry
Seasons: 5
Episodes: 144
Next show: Caillou's New Adventures

Caillou is a Canadian animated "educational" children's television series that was first shown on Télétoon and Teletoon, with its first episode airing on the former channel on September 15, 1997; the show later moved to Treehouse TV, with its final episode being shown on that channel on October 3, 2010. The series is based on the books by Hélène Desputeaux. It centers on a 4-year-old boy named Caillou who is fascinated by the world around him. In 2023, 13 years after the original television show's cancellation, it is set to return by Peacock and WildBrain Studios.

Plot

Aimed at the toddler and pre-school set, Caillou is an educational show that stars the 4-year-old title character (pronounced KY-YOU), who lives with his mother, father, and sister in a blue house on Pine Street. Caillou has invisible friends, learns how to play sports, and explores nature. Friendly and curious, Caillou discovers as much fun and wonder as any kid can imagine. In addition to the animated segments featuring Caillou's adventures, the show also features puppet skits and videos of children in real-life situations in each episode in seasons 1 through 3.

Why Each Day It Won't Grow Enough

  1. Almost all of the characters are poorly written:
    • Caillou (the title character) is very unlikeable and bratty. He constantly cries, whines and throws tantrums without getting punished for his actions especially in the first two seasons; in the fourth and fifth seasons, Caillou (despite being significantly better-behaved) is very bland and became a huge Gary Stu.
      • As a matter of fact, his whining was reported to have harmed children's behavior.
      • It gets worse from the fact that he doesn't even get punished for harming his sister Rosie on numerous occasions.
    • Speaking of Rosie (although she's not as bad as Caillou), she is also annoying and unlikable. She has cried even more than Caillou as well.
    • His parents (Boris and Doris) aren't much better. They rarely punish or scold Caillou for his actions even when he deserves it.
    • The rest of the characters are bland and have little to no depth whatsoever. For example, Leo and Clementine are generic friends and Ms. Martin is a generic teacher.
  2. The voice acting ranges from bland to just grating and annoying.
  3. The animation took a nose-dive in the later seasons as it switched to Flash animation from traditional animation, most likely to cut corners and save money. The Flash animation itself looks very horrendous, stilted and effortless in comparison to the hand-drawn animation in the first three seasons.
  4. The show introduced interesting characters like Andy and Alan only for them to disappear later on.
  5. There are some questionable-at-best morals:
    • In the banned episode "Caillou Goes Around the Block" for example, Caillou goes around the block unattended despite his very young age. This is a very bad decision for a parent to do that considering the dangers of their child (especially a four-year-old) walking alone in the street.
    • In the episode Big Brother Caillou, he pinches his sister and gets away with it.
    • In later seasons, the morals are often shoved right in the viewers' face.
  6. The plots get extremely clichéd and stale as the series went on in the later seasons.
  7. The show has painfully slow pacing. Just trying to watch it will probably get you bored, or to exaggerate, get you to sleep.
  8. Even though the theme song can be catchy, it is pretty overbearing and ridiculous.
  9. The show sometimes has some gross-out jokes such as one disgusting scene in "Big Brother Caillou" where Caillou and his dad smell Rosie's dirty diaper.
    • This was part of the diaper change scene in "Big Brother Caillou". While diaper changing is a natural part of life, it is not something that should be shown in shows targeted toward young children.
  10. The background music is bland at best. At least with some style in the background music it should be tolerable.
  11. The reboot called Caillou's New Adventures isn't any better. And what's even worse is that there's going to be another one, but in CGI animation.
  12. It almost ended Jaclyn Linetsky's career on a sour note as she would go for 7 more voice-acting roles before getting into a traffic collision in 2003.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. The concept about a four-year-old boy who is obsessed with the world around him is pretty good for a children's show despite being executed poorly here.
  2. Most of the voice acting is passable at the very least.
    • Some one-liners are unintentionally funny like "Your mommy's gone!".
  3. Some episodes are decent such as the first episode "Caillou Makes Cookies" and the series finale, "You're Not Miss Martin!" (which surprisingly ended the series on a high note).
  4. Despite some flaws, the animation (at least for the first three seasons) is quite decent (done by Morning Sun Animation Group).
  5. While not so much, Season 3-5 are a slight improvement over the first two due to Caillou's tantrums phasing out.
  6. The puppet skits for the American airings between 2000 and 2003 were also pretty good as well.
    • The puppet deferments were said to have been the best part of the show and make up for everything else that counts as a problem with the show.
  7. There are some likable characters:
    • Andy and Alan are interesting characters being a good representation of autistic kids and kids with Down Syndrome respectively. Sadly, they were wasted.
    • Gilbert is a great and adorable character. He is also shown to be smart and mature in the puppet segments.
    • Sarah is very likable and charismatic serving as a great big sister figure for Caillou and being wiser and more mature than him.
    • While Rosie can be annoying, she can also be treated with sympathy due to how mean Caillou can be to her. (Big Brother Caillou is a good example). Plus, her crying is justified because she's only 2.
  8. Caillou's design is pretty cute only with his personality is poorly executed. Starting in Season 4, Caillou (despite his Gary-Stu-like behavior) behaves better. His yellow shirt from Season 2 onward makes his design less bland compared to the beige/grey shirt version.
  9. The theme song, while irritating (as mentioned above), is surprisingly and admittedly catchy.
    • There's even a fan-made remix of it (both an instrumental and one with lyrics) that sounds better than the actual song.
  10. It does stay true to the original source material, though that is not saying much.

Reception and Controversy

Caillou initially received generally positive reviews from television critics and parents of young children as well as viewership and its target preschool demographic. However, as the years progressed, the series was heavily more panned by older viewers and critics alike, especially in the first season of the show. The titular character's misbehavior throughout the show has made him an infamous character among older viewers and parents since Caillou's troublemaking and whining were considered to be annoying and his parents accepting his actions rather than disciplining him didn't clearly show that his actions were wrong and as such he rarely learns anything from his mistakes. Many parents have even claimed that their children became brattier and naughtier when watching Caillou and copying the titular character's behavior. When PBS Kids stopped doing reruns in 2020, many parents celebrated online.

Over the years, the show has been popularly satirized and mocked on social media and in some forms of entertainment, with numerous parodies and memes based on the show. Four notable examples are Grounded videos on websites like Vyond and Plotagon, a series named "Caillou at 22" made by AOK, the premiere episode of Season 19 of Family Guy titled "Stewie's First Word" and a parody series made by TikToker/YouTuber TheVincentMottola. All of which made fun of and pointed out the problems Caillou has been criticized for. There were several "I hate Caillou" Facebook pages and petitions on Change.org for the show to stop airing.

The series currently holds a 3.9/10 on IMDb and 4.7/10 on TV.com. On Google, it has a 2.6 audience rating.

Trivia

  • The word "Caillou" actually means "pebble/little rock" in French.
  • Jaclyn Linetsky, Caillou's second voice actor, died on September 8, 2003 in a car crash at the age of 17.
  • Caillou was extremely popular in Turkey and Portugal and in the African-American community despite the title character himself being white.
  • After its cancellation in 2010, reruns still aired on PBS Kids until December 27, 2020 with it being on PBS for over 20 years. Despite this however, reruns continued to air on Cartoon Network's preschool block Cartoonito when it launched. The show was phased out on the said preschool block by May 2022.
  • WildBrain and Peacock are developing a new animated series and five original CGI-animated Caillou specials for 2022.

Videos

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