• The Upside Down Show -- Cancelled ...




    Shane and David get shown the door over at Nickelodeon, without so much as a 'thank you, it's been nice' ...



    I typically don't post anything that might show up through current trends in google searches, but I'm sure this one will probably generate a lot of traffic.

    As of today, December 14th, 2008 ... 'The Upside Down Show' is no longer airing on Noggin.

    Many hearts are breaking wide open all over the world tonight. Sorry for the Top Gun quote, but it's true.

    After a very successful season which grabbed the attention of a lot of people everywhere, the executives at Noggin / Nickelodeon have decided in their infinite wisdom to cancel the show -- but if you think that hurts -- they wouldn't even give a reason as to why the show was canceled and they've ignored numerous requests throughout the industry to keep the show on the air. All the pleading has fallen on deaf ears without any explanation.

    There hasn't been many shows that foster imagination in a positive way like 'The Upside Down Show' does, and while at first, the show might come off as a bit quirky and even strange to the jaded adult eye, kids everywhere have been not just mesmerized by it, but head over heels.

    Parents have been making internet posts over the last many months about just how much their toddlers love this show. My son, too, has laughed, giggled and enjoyed this show from the first second he saw it. He makes 'goggles' all the time, pretends he has a remote, raises his hands up in the air like he's upside down and even recognizes Shane and David when I search them on the internet -- and he's only 20 months.

    Shane and David also have a large following with their long-running career as 'The Umbilical Brothers', which can be experienced by watching youtube or google video. Their ability to mime just about anything is absolutely astonishing and the amount of talent between these two over-sized boys is unlike anything modern audiences have seen - bar none.

    The formula for 'The Upside Down Show' is one of those 'sweet spot' things that rarely occur in children's programming. Steve Burns, of 'Blues Clues' fame, hit the ball so far out of the park with his ability to deliver that particular show that it remains as one of the most beloved children's show of all times. Educators say that 'Blues Clues' is very effective at holding and building the attention span of children and actually enforcing positive instruction, unlike so many other shows that alternate at a faster rate and shift so frequently that children gradually turn away, becoming over-stimulated.

    Noggin bills itself as 'Preschool on TV', but from what I've seen it's far from 'Pre-School on TV'. By using chime sounds at the beginning of filler segments that force the attention towards the TV for a pointless exercise of 'spot the difference' and 'puzzle time' to shows that have little to virtually no educational value, despite the bumper plates that list things like 'Teaches Community Values', and so on.

    Personally, I like shows like 'Little Bill' and 'The Backyardigans', which are very cute and 'sometimes' have catchy songs, but a lot of folks have voiced their disdain for these shows for being racially myopic and downright pointless, even though the executives in charge of the network would purport to having goals to achieve racial diversity and fostering imagination.

    At one time, Gregory Hines was my neighbor, and I vividly remember having breakfast directly across from him and his family at the Firehouse Cafe when I lived in Venice Beach many times. I was very saddened to learn of his passing in 2003, which still seems like yesterday, and wondered what his death would mean to the show, being that he was 'Little Bill's' dad, 'Big Bill'. My wife yawns every time I repeat any of the stories about Gregory Hines, as she's heard them all about a million times and I have a tendency to repeat them whenever we watch 'Little Bill'.

    Noggin's current pet project is 'Yo! Gabba Gabba!', which isn't really a bad show, but in all honesty, most children that I've watched watching it, aren't very interested in it at all. Having guests like Jack Black, Leslie and the LY's (very niche) and Elijah Wood further the argument that the show is actually being targeted at the person controlling the remote, the parent - and not the child, even though at first glance it appears to be the opposite. Having Elijah Wood as a guest is the ultimate 'geek move' and probably the most egregious and blatant use of targeting thus far by the show. I've read several hundred posts about how many adults actually like 'Yo! Gabba Gabba!', but have a hard time getting the little one's to watch it, unlike 'The Upside Down Show'.

    Some have speculated that Nickelodeon wants to sink it's money into this venture, Yo! Gabba Gabba!, that has a larger revenue stream due to toys and other marketing rather than a show that gives away imaginary goggles and tennis rackets by the bushel. Also, the song 'Think Happy Thoughts', from 'Yo! Gabba Gabba!', is now being used as bumper music for Christmas Wal-Mart commercials. Go figure.

    'The Upside Down Show' is a fascinating and very enjoyable experience that gets both parents and child involved in the show and builds good play habits for other kids to share in. One really has to wonder why a network that bills itself as 'Preschool on TV' would cancel the ONLY show that they host that is actually like 'Preschool on TV'.

    Having known many close friends and relatives that have worked for Disney, Nickelodeon and Universal, I'm aware of the fact that they have a very strict and unwavering policy about prior drug convictions or felonies that may embarrass the network. After a minor amount of digging, a few phone calls and even a short overseas telephone and email exchange with other people in the industry, I can emphatically report that these types of concerns were not a factor in the canceling of the show. So what was it that got the show, that won so many awards in such a short period of time, a quick and quiet push out the door?

    The cat is still in the bag for now, but maybe I'll post more later. For now, I'll let the dust settle on this. My son was incredibly disappointed to miss out on his favourite show the last two nights. If it were out on DVD it wouldn't be so bad, but it's not and probably won't be for awhile.

    A movie deal rumour has surfaced, but the term 'in development' can barely be applied, as it is in its infancy and needs time to grow and take root.

    I guess we're supposed to just 'think happy thoughts' ...


    UPDATE:

    After three days off the air, 'The Upside Down Show' has strangely, but most-likely temporarily, returned to the air-waves. I can only wonder if someone's child, someone more important than the bulk of us, got upset and begged their mother or father to have the show brought back. I wouldn't want to be the person getting that phone call and being made to change course and recant my position.

    I'm sure some people started an online petition, but from my experience with working with the studios, these petitions often fall flat and into a soundless abyss, no matter how many people sign. Even ten tons of peanuts won't make them acquiesce.

    21 comments:

    1. Wow. Never got a chance to see it. I haven't even seen Teletubbies for years but I see they have a good Web site:

      http://pbskids.org/teletubbies/teletubbyland.html

      Just like old times.

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    2. YouTube has some good "Upside Down Show" videos. Fun. Saw one with the use of the remote. "The Ice Truck" is fun. Too bad, I find out about it when it may be too late? Maybe if you had written about them sooner!

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      1. Amazon prime has the episodes for pay.

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    3. I don't represent the Umbilical Brothers, but I have been a member of their forums for quite some time. Here's a link to the new forums' "Upside Down Show" thread. You'll find pretty much anything you need to know about the show, the movie, and even how to order the DVDs. http://www.umbilicalbrothers.com/site/forum/viewforum.php?f=11

      Also, here's a link to the Noggin schedule which still has UDS listed at 11p EST. I just watched "Ice Cream Truck" last night. ;) http://www.noggin.com/schedule/

      Join in on some discussions. We love fresh input from Umbie fans! You might even find out you like their other work.

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    4. Talula,

      I appreciate the comment and having been a participant over in those forums already, I've read a number of your posts and I've always had the feeling that your real identity is closer to the show than you would let on, but alas ...

      The large body of comedy produced by 'The Umbilical Brothers' is impressive and I should've mentioned that in the post. I'll make some adjustments to include it soon.

      Soon after I made this post, the show returned to the air waves, again without explanation. Someone more important, who has a child that is a fan, must have made a phone call to someone in charge.

      To me, I should've accounted for that, but it just seemed implausible beforehand, as studios typically never reconsider their decisions when they cancel a show.

      Hopefully they'll extend the contract of the show for another 4 years or so.

      Wouldn't that be nice?

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    5. Anonymous4:10 PM

      My son loves the Upside Down Show. He recently turned four and gets sad every time my husband or I mention the show. He doesn't understand why it is not on anymore. "The ice cream truck" is his favorite episode. He has not seen the show since January 2009, but still talks about the episodes. He has a very big imagination. I think the show definately had an impact on him. My daughter is much younger, but liked to watch it too. It is a shame that she will never get to experience the show the way my son did.

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    6. Anonymous7:25 AM

      I am very confused. Is it cancelled or not? It comes off and on on Noggin but not a set schedule. When I tell my kids it is on they run for the TV and laugh the whole time. Kids love to see adults act silly. My kids are 2 and 4 and love it equally. They don't like "Yo Gabba" at all and my husband calls it "disturbing". Please, let me know what is going on. I love to see my kids laugh. Noggin and Nick should know what is best for kids. If they don't, I must question all the shows they put on the air.

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      1. Anonymous5:29 PM

        Yo gabba gabba is not disturbing yo gabba gabba is my favorite show when i was little i always watch it

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    7. Yes, 'Yo Gabbba Gabba!' is very disturbing and also a negative trend in children's programming without doubt. I can't tell you how many people have emailed me or stated the same thing about the show. I wonder how many people have already written in to Noggin about the show.

      The problem is that the show is actually aimed at the adults who are letting their child watch it. The show is filled with numerous Gen X, Gen Y and drug culture references that are often times very overt and transparent, and often times structured as an inside joke. I think the real goal of this show is to target the adults into buying merchandise, which there is a plethora of and also target the adults with the programming.

      The fact that the show appears semi-cute is just a very thin layer. My son has no interest in this show as do most other children that I know that have seen it. It's just not interesting to them.

      Watching an emaciated Elijah Wood do 'The Puppet Master' was probably the final straw which closed the door for us with this show. The 'try it - you'll like it segment' where Muno puts a white square of paper on his tongue and then gets 'kaleidoscope eyes' was just over the top.

      I have a hard time believing that the people over at Nickelodeon / Noggin could possibly be that ignorant.


      ...

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    8. Anonymous8:28 PM

      Will miss Shane and David; my twin 4 year olds love them; while you have to be careful of some content, Upside Down Show was intelligently written, and I think that intelligence is automatically absorbed, and reflected in the viewer (children.) I hate that which is the micromanaged childrens tv stations; ie Nick Jr.
      Noggin was so much better.

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    9. They've brought the show back again, thankfully. But the absence of the 'Noggin' branding doesn't really effect much as all the content is more or less the same as are the time slots. I believe it was more of a legal issue rather than anything else.

      It's a fantastic show though without doubt and lots of kids love it. Anything that challenges the inner workings of the mind is good -- but, of course, must be crushed.

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    10. We just got into the upside down show recently - (Oct 2009) and after about 2 weeks, realized that it was the same 9-10 shows - I was sad to hear that it was cancelled and so long ago! My sons (3 & 14) and I LOVE the show. It's stimulating, even after the 3rd time of the same show, and it's quite upsetting that it was taken off the air. Unfortunately, I am not too sure how approrpiate the Umbies are - I caught a segment on you tube and the first scene in a car and one of them lit a cigarette ... prob not the best thing to show my toddler ... but still might be better than Yo Gabba Gabba. Grrr, frustrating.

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    11. Anonymous6:57 PM

      My two year old daughter LOVES the upside down show and we watch it none stop all the time thanks to dvr!!! Me and my husband even love it....

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    12. Anonymous5:26 PM

      My daughters love nickjr shows. I hear when the repeat what door or diego say, but I have never heard them laugh so hard or so loud when watching a show. I have watched the show and think it is crazy. But when I watch the girls watching I am so glad they have this show. I a very sad to see such a hit with the kids leave the air. My girls are 3 & 6 so I still checkout the shows they like to watch. Really wish you would reconsider stopping the show.

      Missing their favorite show
      Dusty, Eva & Mom

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    13. Anonymous10:03 AM

      My Granddaughter and I just started watching the Upside Down Show this year and she loves it. At first I thought it was strange but I have come to love it as much as she does. We use the "remote" alot and go into many "rooms". She will pick this show to watch over any other on tv. She is 4 years old. She looks every time we go shopping for their DVD.

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    14. I am a single mom and true shouldnt put my 19month old n front of tv as a babysitter but the only i repeat the only show that she will sit still and not move for the full 30mins, {So I can take a quick shower.}is the Up Side Down Show. I am very upset that they are doing this injustice to my toddler. She doesnt know any different. Just like I have always said. "Dont ever like anything or get use to anything, it will just get takin from you!"

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    15. Anonymous6:42 AM

      My grandson loved the upside down show and still asks to see it. Very very disappointed they took it off the air in place of some of the other totally bad ones they left on. I hope they bring it back with enough complaints frompeople.

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    16. Anonymous12:45 PM

      I'm 14 and I love the upside down show. I still remember the remote. I love to use my imagination and I laugh so hard with my younger cousins that we seem to go into our own realm of imagination. We were devistated when it stopped airing. nothing stimulates our imaginations like the upside down show.

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    17. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    18. they got to put that show back on

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    19. they got to put that show back on

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