What's the deal with the Wiggles?

They show this show on Playhouse Disney all the time now with these 4 or 5 guys singing kid songs and romping around.
My kids don’t particularly like them and are more into Dora the Explorer.
But watching these guys is very odd. They look strange.
One guy has no eyebrows. And, not that there’s anything
wrong with that, but they all look gay-er than the Fab 5.
They are freakin me out, man!

My kids love them.

Clearly, they’re not meant for us adults to enjoy.

But at least they’re articulate. It’ll take years to undo the damage to my kids’ vocabulary that Teletubbies wrought.

I just took my nephew to see them at MSG. He’s 2.5 and he loves them. They are, admittedly, unbelievably gay. Having said that Dora the Explorer is an exercise is mindless repetition. The whole damn show is about 3 different things and they repeat those things 300 times during the show. “Map, Compass, Footpath.” “Map, Compass, Footpath.”…

OMG, I hate the freaking Wiggles so MUCH! My son, 4 3/4, likes them and I don’t really know why. He likes much more grown up, “tougher” things that that now like Power Rangers (also bizarre). There aren’t all that well thought out. One eats a lot and one sleeps a lot, but what about the other two? Don’t they have a “thing” too? And that Dorothy the Dinosaur with the eating of the roses is just a little too weirdly cute. They have a song about her called “Dorothy, Queen of the Roses”. I would say that they don’t use too much in the way of brain cells when they write their songs.

This is definitely true!

The Wiggles were one of my son’s favorite things in the world from about age 3 to 5, and even now, at 6 and a half, he’d still rather listen to them than most other things. They’ve been arguably the most successful musical group in Australia for quite a while now. They first hit the States in a big way as an opening act for one of the Barney live shows (Lyrick Studios, the media company that produced Barney at the time, had just acquired the American rights to their music and videos). While on that tour, they did a fair number of free noontime gigs in shopping malls – that’s where my wife and kids first saw them. Less than a year later, they toured the states again, appearing on the Today show and headlining most venues. They’ve since been back a couple of times, and in fact are touring the States now (including their second or third consecutive appearance in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade). We missed them in Atlanta last week, mainly because we were preoccupied with a day-old newborn on the first of the two dates. They have dates remaining in New Hampshire, Connecticut, Providence, RI, Lowell, MA, Baltimore, D.C., and Richmond.

First off, they’re not so much strange-looking or gay-looking as Australian. Two of them, Anthony Field and Jeff Fatt, (the blue and purple one) spent a decade or so in a moderately successful (one Australian top ten hit) rock/R&B band called the Cockroaches. Anthony headed off to college and trained in early-childhood education, where he met Greg Page (the yellow one) and Murray Cook (the red one). They decided to start a band to do kids’ music at parties and such, and enlisted Jeff Fatt’s help.

Greg, the main singer, is married with two kids (and a web page) of his own (http://www.gregpage.com). I’ll grant that from the song selection on his solo CDs and the descriptions of his live shows apart from the Wiggles, he sounds about as un-hip as you can get, but he seems to connect with kids. On the other hand, the It’s a Wiggly Wiggly World CD has guest performances by Tim Finn (of Split Enz and Crowded House) and several other Australian music notables. Murray Cook, in addition to handling most of the guitar and bass chores for the Wiggles, has also been a member of some of the later incarnations of Mental as Anything (probably my all-time favorite band from down under). I’m fairly sure that some of the kids in some of the earlier videos belong to Anthony and Murray, as well as Anthony’s brother Paul, who produces much of the music, co-writes many of the songs, and even appears in some of the videos.

Then of course, there’s the other characters – Wags the Dog, Henry the Octopus, Dorothy the Dinosaur, and Captain Feathersword the Friendly Pirate (aka Paul Paddick). The Captain is, perhaps, a bit OTT (“Feathersword”? What’s up with that?), but as far as 2-6 year olds are concerned he’s just a silly character.

You’ve probably gathered by now that my son was really, really into the Wiggles for a while; had to scan the Wiggles logo and iron it onto a yellow long-sleeve t-shirt for him so he could dress as Greg, etc.

What’s the appeal? Well, for adults not much, though Anthony, Murray, and Jeff appear to be more than competent musically. But for kids in their target range they’re appealing because they’re friendly, a bit larger than life and exaggerated, devoid of nuance that’s lost on a preschooler, and many of the songs are catchy. Their training in teaching preschool shows in way they keep things as simple as they can. It also shows in their willingness to do three or four or five songs about the same thing, with only minor variations; kids that age thrive on repetition. Some kids seem to be immune to their appeal, while others can’t get enough.

My daughter, age 2 1/2, loves The Wiggles. We watch them on Disney and also have a bunch of their stuff on DVD. Are they gay? No, they are just aimed at children. They’re living cartoons, if you will. I actually like their music. It reminds me of the stuff I used to hear as a kid when watching The Monkees or The Archies. At risk of getting napalmed by rabid JohnPaulGeorgeRingo fans, I’ll even go so far as to say that The Wiggles remind me of the early Beatles i.e. when they were still having fun and before they began to take themselves dreadfully seriously.
It’s a good show.

I am seriously freaked out by Captain Feathersword. He is a pirate character with a big feather he uses rather then a sword. He runs around tickling people. He also likes to dance.

I am also a little bit disturbed by the song where they have the young girls dress up like ponies and dance around.

Lay off the Wiggles, dude. They have a Wiggle-y polka that’ll out-do anyone. And I can do the dance, too!

BTW - thanks for all the info, rackensack!

My son is 2 1/2 and we love the Wiggles. OK, so now I’m about to go into a meeting singing “Move like an emu”.


Quack Quack Quack Quack Quack. Cock-a-Doodle-Do!
Quack Quack Quack Quack Quack. Cock-a-Doodle-Do!
Quack Quack Quack Doodlely Do!

I haven’t seen them in a while. IIRC

Jeff, the Purple Wiggle-Sleeps

Murray, the Red Wiggle-Eats

Greg, the Yellow Wiggle-does magic tricks(complete with tophat, wand, and cape)

Anthony, The Blue Wiggle-I don’t remember.

I know this because my 3 year old niece, loves the Wiggles. I don’t find them annoying. The concept of Captain Feathersword is strange, but the actor has great comedic talent and pulls it off well.

I often entertain kids with my tragic tale of how, once, I was the fifth Wiggle. My color was . . . plaid. I could sing and dance okay. And I was an expert Wiggler. But, they kicked me out because they didn’t like my special talent. Jeff sleeps. Murray eats. Greg does magic. Anthony (I just don’t remember.). My special talent was doing long division. Kids [sub]sob[/sub] just don’t [sub]sniffle[/sub] like long division.

But I remember my days in the Wiggle house.

Are you ready, to Wiggle?
We’ve been ready for so long!
Are you ready (Bursts into tears)

Official Wiggles website (Australian-based, just like they are)

Actually, it’s Anthony (the blue one) who’s always eating. I’m not sure Murray (the red one) has a special schtick, other than playing his guitar.

What do you mean “gay”?

My 2 year old adores them.

He was devastated when he broke his DVD of them – he knows how to get DVDs out of their boxes and into the machine and patiently waits for the menus to come up before pushing play – but this day he was a bit rough lifting the disc from the case and actually snapped the disc. We replaced it recently and he’s insisted on it once or more a day since then. (Usually requested by the “Wiggle dance” – extend both forefingers, pointed up, waggle hands up and down and dance).

And In Conceivable, I hate to say it but, getting freaked by any subtext in Captain Feathersword and the ponies probably says more about the viewer than the Wiggles. :slight_smile:

I would happily take the Wiggles any day over the lobotomised Teletubbies, or the swarmy moralising of the purple dinosaur who-shall-not-be-named. (Not on our house, at least). :slight_smile:

You rang?

Ok, but where’s that one dude’s eyebrows!!!

Being an Australian myself, it’s ironic in many respects that Australia’s single largest music export earner (in terms of units sold per annum) are The Wiggles.

I say ironic because there are some world class iconic Aussie rock bands who would easily poop on quite a number of American acts (in terms of record sales) if ONLY they were American. It’s weird, and it’s kinda sad, but basically if you care to peruse the American charts in the last 5 years compared to 15 years ago and then 25 years ago and then 35 years ago you’ll find that the trend has inexorably ramped up in the last 5 years to play American only artists. And there are a lot cynics around the world who would argue that it’s a direct result of the Clear Channel Communications of this world being in both the FM Radio business and the Concert Promotions business.

The message is simple - it’s easier by orders of magnitude to fill US airwaves with American only artists.

Is this a bad thing? In my opinion, definitely. And here’s why - there’s no way, absolutely no way in the world that you can argue with a straight face that there are fewer talented non-American songwriters in the world these days - and to do so would be pure cultural imperialism. Rather, it simply comes down to money - and if you’re the Major Labels and Clear Channel, how efficiently can you milk the record buying public if you appeal to patriotic impulses?

But kiddies don’t know about patriotism - they just know about what rocks their little worlds - and The Wiggles do that just nicely. As a result, The Wiggles sell bucketloads.

Mark my words however - there are some epic Aussie rock bands who would rock your adult worlds too if they were just given the chance - but first they’d need to be American to even get some airtime unfortunately.

All I’ll say is that it’s damn irritating to find myself walking around work humming various Wiggles songs.

<grumbles, walks off humming>

“he can’t fly but I’m telling you, he can run the pants off a kangaroo… doo…doo…do do doo…”

You are probably right.

I think I watch to much HBO.