February 4, 2005

by Reb Yudel
Scoop! Busted Buster Baxter visitee Emma Pike has at least one Jewish mother!

Someone sees the controversial Buster Baxter episode and files this report (emphases added): Daily Kos :: PBS's Buster airs on UNC-TV - society doesn't crumble

Well, this new Secretary of Education must have some kind of paranoid delusions because this show was as edgy and in-your-face gay agenda as, say, an episode of "Kate and Allie." Seriously! Buster arrived at the house, met one woman, she took him inside and said hi to another woman. Then, kid stuff - Buster cleverly noted that the two brothers, one African-American and one Caucasian, didn't look alike. They explained they were stepbrothers. Okay. The daughter did show a photo of the two moms and said it was special to her because it was a photo of people who meant a lot to her. Something like that.

I am waiting for the controversy. Their house is clean, the mom makes chocolate chip cookies, they are JEWISH.(was this the problem?) My son wondered why he couldn't light candles at dinner as they did. They prayed. Buster visited a farm, saw a guy milk cows, saw maple sugaring, ate a lot. The family and another family with two moms who were NOT mentioned in any way - it was all about kids - had a bonfire. They dragged out a Christmas tree to burn and yelled, "Goodbye Winter!" Oh, the dog ate Buster's gifts for his mom, and Buster fainted, but he recovered.

I was disappointed that it did not even PROVIDE an opportunity to talk about same sex marriage or couples and kids. I asked my son what he noticed about the families, and it was all about candles, how much sap it takes to make maple syrup, and the dog eating the presents. He did not notice the two moms at all, and he is a pretty observant kid.

Similarly, here's a report from
The Chicago Tribune:

got a copy of "Sugartime!" and watched it with my 2-year-old son, who has been a fan of "Buster" since it debuted last fall.

Though there is more than just a cavalcade of mothers in the episode -- Buster visits a dairy farm and a store selling maple sugar products -- mothers are the central theme of "Sugartime!" In addition to meeting the two mom-headed families, Buster spends a lot of time deciding what to get his own mom for Mother's Day (wisely, he decides against a dairy cow).

After meeting her family, he and Emma go to a nearby home, where Emma's friend Lily lives.

"She's one of my best friends," Emma says as they bike down a Vermont back road. "Tracy and Gina are her moms, and Tracy and Gina are friends of Gillian."

At Lily's house, Buster meets Tracy and Gina and their three children. With some of his new young friends in tow, he then heads to a family-run maple sugar store, where he meets a young boy named Cameron, who explains how maple syrup is made. At the store, Buster samples an odd Vermont treat: shaved ice with hot maple syrup, with a doughnut and a pickle piled on top.

"Interesting combination," Buster says diplomatically.

After buying some maple syrup treats, Buster and friends go to a local dairy farm, where the young rabbit meets some wobbly kneed baby cows and learns how cows are milked.

Buster's visit winds up with a feast at Lily's house, where all four moms and all six of their kids are ranged around a table. The feast doubles as a Sabbath meal for some members of the group, so candles are lit and traditional Hebrew prayers are briefly spoken.

Meanwhile, I'm waiting to hear back from the Public Affairs office of the Department of Education concerning the following question:
I understand that the show featured a Jewish sabbath candle-lighting ceremony. Does the Secretary think parents will be uncomfortable exposing children to that? Why or why not?

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