Tag Archives: netflix

Why I Let My Kid Watch Lemony Snicket

A Series Of Unfortunate Events

A television show featuring the repeated attempted murder of children? Orphans who lose their parents and then their guardians? A grown man trying to take a child bride to steal her family fortune?

I’m tuning in with my 8-year-old son.

The Netflix Original series Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events is a wonderfully dark comedy that is surprisingly family-friendly for older kids. While at first glance parents would likely ban this show from their homes what with a diabolical murderer constantly threatening young children at knife point, if you give it a chance you’ll likely find what I found — a deliciously dark, incredibly endearing, seriously fun show that kids 8 and older will definitely like.

First of all, Neil Patrick Harris is awesome as Count Olaf. He’s over the top and ridiculous and goofy and despicable all rolled in to one, and sometimes all of those in the same scene. But as good as the man formerly known as Doogie is, I think the actors who play the Baudelaire orphans are even more impressive.

Violet (Malina Weissman), Klaus (Louis Hynes) and baby Sunny (Presley Smith) are absolutely phenomenal as the orphaned inventors and recipients of often calamitous news. Their dialogue is crisp and my son loves it because in this show, it’s the kids who are brilliant and the adults who are raving idiots. In a kid’s world, adults are so often unable to comprehend or understand, and that translates very well in Lemony Snicket. Throw in Patrick Warburton’s dry delivery as the narrator and you’ve got a truly wonderful and totally macabre bit of television that’s good for parents and kids.

In fact, my wife and I watched it when Will wasn’t even home. When parents watch a show for kids even when the kid isn’t around? Well, to me there’s no higher praise.

So how do I deal with Will and some of the more grown-up themes? We talk about it. He was admittedly horrified by some of it, but he loves the way they talk, how the Baudelaire children invent awesome things, and he cracks up at how “crazy and stupid” the adults are, and wishes they’d just listen to the kids.

The best part about Will getting older is that he’s watching much better TV and films. If you’ve got a kid who is 8+ and likes things a little on the dark side, you’re going to want to give Lemony Snicket a try.

This is a sponsored post. I am part of the Netflix Stream Team and received free products and Netflix for writing this. However, as always, my opinions are 100% my own.

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How The West Wing on Netflix Got Me Through the Election

west wing cast
Bring back President Bartlet!

It’s no secret the outcome of the presidential election was not to my liking. Which is an understated way of saying I was absolutely devastated in every way, shape, and form.

And when I’m upset, I binge-watch.

Netflix may not have started with therapeutic intentions, but I’m willing to bet it’s become that for millions of customers. And after it became clear I was going to have to raise my kids under President Donald Trump, I needed a distraction in a big way.

I needed The West Wing on Netflix.

It might seem strange to immediately watch a political show when politics is the cause of my stress in the first place. But after 15 months of watching Trump say horrifically ignorant things only to be rewarded with the highest office in the land, I needed the fictional White House of my dreams.

I wanted President Josiah Barlet’s steady hand and unmatched intellect. I craved Sam Seaborn’s unrelenting idealism and deep love for doing the right thing at all costs. I longed for Toby Ziegler’s stubbornness matched only by his ability to string together perfect words to form transcendent speeches in the loftiest of moments. And I marveled at Josh Lyman’s witty arrogance combined with his heartfelt dedication to the service of his country.

I’m of the opinion intelligence should be held in the highest esteem, and Aaron Sorkin writes brilliantly smart dialogue. The banter between cast members moves at light speed with expert precision, and the result is some truly memorable scenes that will forever stand out in your memory. Like this one.

I have re-watched the whole first season of West Wing since the election. Unfortunately, I fear it’s the only recourse I’ll have if I want to see an extraordinary intellectual painstakingly weigh crucial decisions of national importance instead of firing off an ill-advised tweet that seeks to strip Americans of their Constitutionally protected rights.

In a world turned temporarily insane, Netflix is my escape and my therapy. Let’s hope there’s four years worth of entertainment to keep us all occupied.


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I was compensated for writing this post, but all opinions are my own.

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All You Need is Love (and Beat Bugs on Netflix)

Watch Beat Bugs and trick your kids into liking The Beatles
Watch Beat Bugs and trick your kids into liking The Beatles

It’s not always easy to know if you’re raising kids the right way, but if they know about The Beatles from a young age, then congratulations — you’re doing at least one thing very right.

But introducing young kids to old music isn’t easy. If parents say “Hey guys, I’ve got this great music you’re just going to love,” then that’s the kiss of death. So how do you get kids to stop listening to all the annoying crap and like the things you like? You trick them into it.

I admit, I had my doubts about the Netflix original, Beat Bugs, because at first glance it seems like just another obnoxious kid cartoon. Plus the sun has a face that really freaks me out. But then I realized it’s a cartoon built entirely around Beatles songs, and it quickly got really awesome up in the Daddy Files household.

My kids took to the theme song and haven’t stopped singing “All You Need Is Love” since. And let me tell you, there are few things cuter than a 3-year-old belting out “ALL YOU NEED IS WUV!” over and over again. The story is about five bug friends who live in some guy’s lawn, but that’s not really important. What you and your kids will love are the more than 25 Beatles songs that will warm your heart when sung by the next generation.

And some big stars are voicing them, too. You’ve got:

  • P!nk: “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”
  • James Corden: “I’m A Loser”
  • Aloe Blacc: “Rain”
  • Robbie Williams: “Good Day Sunshine”
  • Eddie Vedder: “Magical Mystery Tour”
  • Frances: “In My Life”
  • The Shins: “The Word”
  • Wesley Schultz (of the Lumineers): “Honey Pie”
  • Sia: “Blackbird”

When Tommy hears the opening he loses his mind. When the older two hear the familiar strains they flock to the couch. Beat Bugs has the distinction of being the only thing that can bring my three boys together on the couch for an extended period of time without killing one another. That right there is worth it.

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So if you’re a fan of children singing adorably and a Beatles aficionado, you’re going to love Beat Bugs. And if you’re not a Beatles fan, then you’re clearly a cyborg and this isn’t for you.

As a Netflix StreamTeam member, I received free Netflix for a year and other products for this post. But as always, all opinions are my own.

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No Grown-ups Allowed: Why The Little Prince on Netflix Made Me Sad

TheLittlePrince_DaddyFiles

Will uttered the sentence, pictured above, three short years ago when he was five. When I showed him this The Little Prince graphic Netflix sent me and told him how much I loved it, my son immediately illustrated why the movie — a cautionary tale about becoming an adult — is so important.

“Manners? That was a stupid thing to say. Oh well, I was just a kid then.”

Just a kid. My 8-year-old seems to think he’s become a full-blown adult in the three years since melting my heart with that super adorable phrase, and he looks back at his “ancient” 5-year-old self with mocking disdain.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic gets a reimagined, animated twist courtesy of Netflix, and it’s really, really good. The existing story fits within a modern framework of an overbearing Type A mother who over-schedules and overworks her young daughter until she’s an automaton with absolutely no imagination or flexibility. But when she meets the strange man next door known as The Aviator and is taken by his hand-drawn story of a celestial “Little Prince,” her imagination is set free and she embarks on an emotional adventure that is literally out of this world.

This movie moved me. Part of it is because it’s just legitimately touching and well-done, but it wasn’t all pleasant. Mainly because I realized I’ve got a fair amount of the mom in me.

I’ve always pushed Will to grow up and stop acting like such a child. I never understood the fun of “using your imagination,” and I still don’t. I chose journalism because it’s the opposite of creative writing and I liked recounting facts and actual happenings in a clear and concise way. I don’t like nonsense, tomfoolery, or whimsy. I live in the real world, and I make Will do the same.

As far as I’m concerned, when your head is in the clouds it just means you can’t see anything clearly.

The Little Prince makes a powerful argument against all that. It’s a nod to the fact that maybe the real world could use a little imagination and a little less rigidity. That there is room for silliness, innocence, and color amongst all the monotony. That growing up shouldn’t mean growing callous or losing all joy and frivolity. And it certainly doesn’t mean I should pass that along to my kids at such a young age.

Speaking of age, if you’re interested in knowing where you stand in The Little Prince’s eyes, you can take Netflix’s Grown-up Test. Here’s how Will ranked. Let’s just say I came in slightly older.

will little prince

Sometimes I watch TV to zone out because I just need something mindless to pass the time as I unwind. But occasionally you watch something that stops you in your tracks and makes you pay attention. If you’re up for it, I highly recommend it. And after you watch it, take the test with your kids and see how you rank.

As for me, I realized I need a little less adulting in my life. You never want to go “full grown-up,” and I intend to let my three little princes lead me back to some serious silliness in the near future.

*I am part of the Netflix Stream Team and received free products and Netflix for this post.

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My Son Learned It On Netflix

Home- Adventures with Tip & Oh

I don’t think TV should be a child’s only teacher. But the fact remains, there are some damn good shows out there that have taught my 8-year-old a lot.

This isn’t a license for you to plop your kid down in the living room and let your TV do all of your parenting tasks for you. But it is an acknowledgement that a lot of the shows you can find on Netflix are really fantastic for teaching facts, history, science, and some really important lessons about life, love, friendship, and morality.

I sat down with my 8-year-old son, Will, and interviewed him about some of the shows on Netflix that have taught him valuable lessons. Here’s the scoop, right from the mouths of babes.

4. DinoTrux
This show isn’t just an entertaining romp through a made up world of prehistoric vehicles and creatures, it’s filled with valuable lessons about teamwork and getting along.

Will says: “The T-trux and the Reptools didn’t like each other at first, but that’s because they didn’t talk to each other. They learned to always work together when they had a problem, because you friends can have really good ideas you didn’t think of.”

3. Home
Adults know this movie (which was turned into a subsequent Netflix Original series) as the alien with Sheldon Cooper’s voice. But kids actually took some valuable lessons from the adventures of Oh and Tip.

Will says: “It taught me to never give up on my dreams, even when there’s a lot of trouble. Oh and Tip were looking for Tip’s mom and they never gave up even though it seemed impossible.”

2. Charlotte’s Web
A timeless classic I watched as a kid, that is apparently still just as relevant today. My son had a simple yet poignant reaction.

Will says: “Always be kind to your friends.”

1. Sofia the First
Despite initially battling the stigma of Sofia being a “show for girls,” Will really grew to like this one. And so did I, because I love how Sofia battles with coming into money and privilege while trying to stay true to who she really is and her roots.

Will says: “Just because you’re royalty doesn’t mean you can stop being nice. You should always be kind to other people even if you’re rich.”

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I was compensated by Netflix for writing this post. Although I did not receive monetary compensation, I received free Netflix for a year and a smart TV. However, as always, my opinions are 100% my own. 

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