Christmas is almost upon us once again, which means that the networks have started their yearly ritual of hurling “Season’s Greetings” adds at us at every hour of the day and night. The majority of these seem to feature a bunch of primary school children (arranged in a suitably ‘Christmasy’ environment of snowflakes, reindeer, angels, candles and occasionaly polar bears) cheerfully belting out some Christmas standard, with a voice over at the end saying that the network wishes us a ‘Happy and Safe Christmas and New Year’, or (in the case of the more politically sensitive stations) ‘Holiday Season’.
If this is as far as it went it wouldn’t be so bad, but – for some ungodly reason known only to those unsavoury individuals that call themselves ‘Station Execs’ – the scope of these adds isn’t limited to the primary school population. Inevitably a number of them will be made featuring ‘pre-primary’ (that is, kindergarten) children. And this is something that no reasonable individual wishing to retain their sanity could ever condone.
The thing is that three and four year old children have no sense of tune. Neither do they have a sense of metre, pitch, timbre, or any kind of vocal control. So what you end up with when you get a bunch of them together to ‘sing’ a Christmas carol is a cacophony the likes of which hasn’t been heard since the outlawing of bear-baiting.
They don’t sing. They shriek. They shriek the words – or something vaguely akin to them – at the top of their miniature lungs in a confused, high pitched warble that comes dangerously close to shattering glass. And rather than alter the pitch up or down as the tune requires they alter the volume up and down instead, and the chorus and first few words of every line are yelled for emphasis. The end result is the kind of noise that could be used to torture rats, and yet it’s put onto our TV screens every night as some kind of expression of ‘The Christmas Spirit’.
Apparently this is because the children are considered ‘cute’.
I’m sorry network programmers, but they’re not ‘cute’ – they’re very very annoying!