Alice Column

Listen, PBS, if You're Going To Solicit During Kids' Shows, Do it Right

Dear The Public Broadcasting Service, Parents love your channel. We really do. When it's none o'clock in the morning, my kid really loves beatboxing with the newer, improved-er version of The Electric Company. So I see what you're doing. I see you hosting a pledge drive during the last weeks of summer, during the day, when all the kids are soaking in your God-sent cartoons. It's smart. I get it. Break into back-to-back kids' programming for just a few minutes to talk about how awesome your channel is so that parents think about what you're giving them on a daily basis. And what are you giving them? Glorious peace and also quiet, which they can spend completing a range of tasks including, but not limited to: making a cup of coffee; reading an entire article; taking a quiet, uninterrupted, wonderfully lonely shit. And are they grateful? Not grateful enough, apparently, because you're always bitching.

So, here's your problem, PBS: You're being way too nice. Sure, you're getting donations. But with the right tactics, you could be getting much, much more. Here's a no-fail plan for one week of threatening that should lead to instant, massive donations:

Monday: "Without proper funding, every Sesame Street episode will now be forced to be brought to you by the letters B and J. Save Big Bird. Donate now. Like, now now."

Tuesday: "If you don't call in now and give us your credit card info, we will cut off the lesson at the end of every episode of Arthur, so that your kid only sees the parts where everyone's being a dick and getting away with it."

Wednesday: "Oh, do we usually play Cyber Chase in the morning and not Reservoir Dogs? Our bad. Maybe donate some money to our fantastic channel and you'll get your precious Gilbert Gottfried parrot bird thing back. For now, let's return to Tarantino Land and the "Stuck In the Middle" Ear Lopping Off scene."

Thursday: "Today, at 8 a.m., the Wild Kratts will get eaten by Ghost Shark if we don't raise any dang money for your dang shows."

Friday: "OK. Today, we give you what you've always wanted from our channel. It's going to be like PBS Kids Christmas up in here. You want The Man In The Yellow Hat to get arrested for trying to keep an exotic animal as a pet and, to a lesser extent, for having shitty fashion sense? You want an asteroid to finally hit the conductor of the Dinosaur Train? You want to see Gerald from Sid The Science Kid punch Caillou in the dick until Caillou says a swear? Simply donate at the $5,000 level."

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Alice Laussade writes about food, kids, music, and anything else she finds to be completely ridiculous. She created and hosts the Dallas event, Meat Fight, which is a barbecue competition and fundraiser that benefits the National MS Society. Last year, the event raised $100,000 for people living with MS, and 750 people could be seen shoving sausage links into their faces. And one time, she won a James Beard Award for Humor in Writing. That was pretty cool.
Contact: Alice Laussade