A Sunday afternoon of Wiggles

Sep 23, 2013 at 8:10 am

On Sunday afternoon, the Lions were making us squirm but ultimately holding on to an impressive victory over Washington, while the Tigers were doing everything they could to make the end of the regular season as tense as humanly possible. Channels were being flipped as Detroiters tried to catch all of the action.

Me – I was right next to the action. I had a very average but cheap and convenient lunch with my family at Cheli’s Chili Bar, and I could hear the roar of the Comerica Park crowd. But I didn’t see any of it, because I was going to see the Wiggles at the Fox Theatre.

You may remember that I spoke with Emma Watkins, the first female Wiggle, last week. I asked her what an adult might get out of a Wiggles show and she said, “I think as a parent, they just actually really enjoy watching their own children. It’s kind of like a full circle. The children are watching us, and they’re jumping and singing and bouncing, and essentially wiggling around. Some of the parents do watch us, but most of the parents literally just watch their children for the entire show because they’re so excited that they’re enjoying themselves.”

She’s right, of course. The reason both myself and my wife took our 22-month-old son Dylan to the Wiggles show was because neither of us wanted to miss out on his reaction to such a huge production. We weren’t to be disappointed but first, the merch stand had to be negotiated.

I have been to many, many concerts in my lifetime, and I have seen many merch stands shift a lot of merch, but never have I seen as many dollars passed over at such speed. The Wiggles is an organization, and it knows what it’s doing. These guys are not stupid. Toys, DVDs, CDs, T-shirts, coloring pads, tambourines – they have it all, and the parents stand in line and buy it by the bag-full (a Wiggles $2 tote bag, at that). I’m not judging, I’m no different. I paid $15 for a tambourine and, what the hell, another $5 for a coloring pad. I don’t want to be that dad and deprive my boy, do I?

Fair play, though – the show is great. The Wiggles are a fit bunch – they barely stop dancing throughout – and my kid was able to join in, even at his tender age, with all of the very simplistic and catchy tunes. There are dinosaurs, dogs and pirates. Watkins failed to mention that there are even a few little hidden jokes for the parents. “We used to do a Miley Cyrus bit here,” said one Wiggle (dunno which). “But we cut that out a couple of weeks ago.”

It’s easy to see why the kids love the Wiggles. Would I rather have been watching the Lions or the Tigers? Obviously. But seeing my boy sing along to “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” made up for it, and then some. And he loves his tambourine.