Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hi-5: A critical analysis

So I wake up this morning at 6.19ish, for no apparent reason. So I decided to check out what the kids are watching these days. I flick on the TV and I see Hi-5, a delightful set of youngsters who sing and dance.

Yes there does appear to be 5 of them, how high they are is anyone's guess

As to why they are called Hi-5 I am unsure, they appear to raise their hand as in one side of a normal Hi-5 but don't connect with anyone else. I presume they are expecting the viewer to Hi-5 their hand onto the screen. I bet this pleases many parents who spend most of their days cleaning their plasma screen, of jam and lolly residue or what every young kids have on their hands in the mornings, so that they can watch movies and sports later in the evening.

This mornings episode was on exploration this was informed to us by way of a song about exploring using all 5 (not sure if this was intended) senses. I thought this is fantastic, you know get kids of the couch and away from the computers and televisions. However my hope was soon dashed when it was revealed they would be discussing SPACE EXPLORATION. Now I don't know what sort of childhood you had by my parents income was well sort of the several billion dollars needed to fund a semi-reasonable space mission, especially one as we will learn to Mars and even the Stars.

When Timmy returns from his play-date he will be 35 years old 

 The first mission we go on is to Mars, our explorer comments on the difficultly he is having remaining on the ground. This is relatively well-informed for a children's programme as most people assume that Mars has similar gravity to our own, were as we know it is in fact only 38% of the gravity experienced on Earth. This is a good start, but we soon take a dreadful turn when our explorer is scouring Mars for water, while it is generally accepted water exists on Mars, it is trapped in solid form. The explorer is however searching for this water using a ridiculously over sized Pasteur pipette (or eye dropper in lay terms) which would only work with water in its liquid state. This seems like a relatively archaic search method for a man that has managed to get to Mars in the first place.
Not having access to an eye dropper Fatimah set out to find water using a large pot

The next exponent of space exploration we encounter is satellite maintenance. This seems like a well-rounded show not just dealing with the glories but also some of the mundane but practical aspects of space travel. They immediately start off on the back foot though, by sending a space rocket to service the satellite. Firstly given most space rockets tend to be unmaneuverable past their initial launch, they tend to not be used in servicing. In fact this article ( mentions that when NASA retires its shuttle fleet it will no longer be able to service satellites.
Forgiving this faux pas, a shuttle would try to reach the same sped as the satellite to perform the maintenance, most likely docking with it. In this show we are lead to believe a satellite will speed up and a shuttle would slow down to perform this maneuver, this of course would be a logistical nightmare post the service, as we would have to try and return the satellite to its previous speed to perform its duties. As well as this the service the satellite provides would be down during the length of its maintenance given it goes out of its regular orbit, this could mean anything from your favorite shows being down, to millions of aircraft and boats crashing due to their loss of GPS service.  We have to be careful with teaching children, as having children half-educated in satellite maintenance is a far scarier prospect then having them with no knowledge at all. 

Young Andy has unwittingly taken out the Superbowl with poorly scheduled satellite maintenance mission

 Halfway through the episode we are offered tennis tips. I am not entirely sure of the relevance of this, is this what astronauts do on their downtime

Typical astronaut behavior between missions

 or are all tennis players astronauts?
Arguably the most famous pairing of astronauts since Armstrong and Aldrin

Neither of these seem plausible and since tennis doesn't fit into the exploration, or space themes, I think what has happened is the producers noticed they were 2 minutes short and decided to pad out using some footage cut from another episode, possibly one with a more sports oriented theme.

We return to space to view two anthropomorphic stars, discussing their boredom of being stuck in one spot, and they wish to become shooting stars. I can forgive the anthropomorphic element here it is a kids show after all, and massive, luminous ball of plasma held together by gravity, are really just dead air.

Whilst they looked pretty, Arkab and Artax didn't have a lot to say

But the transformation from star to shooting star is an impossible leap. Although sharing similar names, they are in fact complete different celestial bodies, a meteor (shooting star) is normally sized from grain of sand to softball debris (ice or rock) flying through space while a star minimum size is 50% of that of our sun, made up of plasma, as mentioned.
 Even if this is slightly plausible, the next step blows hi-5 space knowledge credibility out of the water, a little girl wishing upon these new shooting stars, herself turns into a shooting star. Now I am no scientician but it would seem to me a small child turning into a shooting star would not only kill her, but is entirely impossible. Now the three shooting stars (The two ex-stars, and the small child) are travelling through space, where they stop to talk to the moon.
That's right they stop! this is space, you can't just start and stop with no propulsion, I hope someone got fired for this.

The moon recognises the two ex-stars I am not sure how, seeing as this the first time they have passed this way, previously being trapped millions of miles away. The two ex-stars introduce the little girl to the moon, who by the way they make a woman, now I am not sexist, but I think its pretty clear to anyone the moon is a man, I have read the literature, Hey-diddle-diddle, and the associated pictures make it abundantly clear the moon is of the male persuasion.
Quite clearly a man

After spending the night travelling the little girl decides being a shooting star isn't for her and wishes upon herself to become a little girl again, I would think this breaks some sort of wish rules, like if you wish to be a genie you can't make wishes to yourself. If it doesn't why doesn't the little girl wish to be herself again with a billion dollars or something, or given children don't understand concepts of money yet, a lot of dollies or candy or whatever it is kids like these days?

This little boy figured out the wish system pretty well....

So overall I would have to say well covering many aspects of space exploration Hi-5 did a very poor job of accurately portraying what life is like out there, they clearly underthought this one.


  1. You're asking all the wrong questions here Azza. Who you really need is Captain Mack. What a Sky Captain doesn't know about space exploration surely isn't worth knowing. His terrestrial problem-solving leaves a little to be desired though.

    Anyway, I'd better go. My monkey needs me.

  2. I am asking all the wrong questions Rory? or am I asking all the right questions, just to the wrong people?

    I will investigate this Captain Mack and see if he can answer some of my questions, and perhaps punish the hi-5 gang for their fallacies?

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