Parents are so happy Caillou finally got taken off the air by PBS

My kids are 15 and 13 years old. We watched a smattering of kids shows when they were growing up, many on PBS. Somehow, we shot right past Caillou, the French-Canadian show about a bald little boy and his baby sister that apparently hooked kids like sugar cereal. Alas, it looks like I missed my window because after 20 years, PBS is pulling the plug on Caillou. It started airing in 1997 on a French Canadian channel and premiered on PBS in 2000.

After 20 years on the air, long-running PBS Kids show Caillou has been canceled. PBS Kids made the announcement on Twitter, along with tips for parents on how to break the news to children, but it appears that many are cheering the decision and are happy to say goodbye to a series that they have complained has been teaching their kids bad habits.

Caillou, which first premiered on PBS on September 4, 2000, centers on a precocious boy and his family. The show ran for five seasons until 2010, when it went into syndication on PBS.

[From Deadline]

Obviously, that shouldn’t be of much concern since none of us bothered to check it out when my kids were young enough and they don’t care now. But I am bummed because apparently everyone – and it sounds like everyone – over the age of seven hated this little bastard. Their rejoicing over his cancellation is giving me life:

Honestly, I could go on and on with these. And, from what little I’ve seen, this hate is well deserved. Caillou did seem to have some serious issues he needed to work out:

But Caillou hate wasn’t underground until yesterday. Videos devoted to people decrying the hairless monster have been around for years. Articles argued for him to be run out of town on rails. CB sent me a compilation of adults who reviewed the show, all convinced Caillou taught their kids to whine. Just think, eliminating him will bring peace to our nation! We had a few shows we weren’t crazy about but the only show we forbade was Max & Ruby, it sounds like for many of the same reasons I would have hated Caillou.

And just to prove how insidious this kid was, the show stopped making new episodes over 10 years ago, it’s been in a syndication loop ever since. But fear no more, the querulous demon-spawn is being removed from our airwaves for good, silenced forever. However, stay diligent, parents, because gawd knows what nightmare they’ll create to replace him.

Photo credit: Twitter

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67 Responses to “Parents are so happy Caillou finally got taken off the air by PBS”

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  1. Cali says:

    My son loved Caillou from 2002-2006 until he was too old for it and switched to SpongeBob. I thought it was a cute show along with Clifford and Blues Clues, but this story is making me think of my best friend who told me she couldn’t stand Caillou’s “little bald headed a$$” lol and I didn’t get her hate for him, but everytime she’d come over and notice my son watching Caillou she’s have to voice her displeasure. She moved out of state, but I’m going to send her this and I know she’ll laugh hard, I thought she was unique in her dislike for the show, I see I was wrong😆.

    • Myra says:

      Mine loved Caillou between the ages of 2 and 3, then switched to superheroes genre pretty quickly. The downside is that he is showing a preference for shows a little more mature for his age (from my view).

  2. Va Va Kaboom says:

    I don’t understand. If parents think this show is toxic why do they let their children watch it? Like the guy with the cereal eating six year old. She’s only watching it because he lets her.

    • Aang says:

      That’s my thought. How about just changing the channel?

      • Patricia Jane Minehart says:

        It just gets away from you. With two small kids who know how to use the remote and no cable… It was insidious, by the time I realized how bad it was, they were addicts. I did throw down when the little bastard dissed vegetables. A bridge too far.

      • GRUEY says:

        So PBS has a kids tv app that I lock my kid into for his hour of tv per day. All of the shows are wonderful except…caillou is one of the choices. So far my guy hasn’t clicked on it. I don’t think it’s up his ally but still, it’s like Russian roulette!

    • Emm says:

      Yeah sometimes when you have PBS on you don’t even notice what’s on. Thank goodness my local PBS never had Caillou but i saw it randomly at my in-laws and yikes. Sometimes when I need to do something I will turn it on so the house doesn’t get wrecked. I will say though after watching PBS kids for the last 7 or so years there are several shows I absolutely hate and will turn the channel. A few that come to mind are Pinkalicious who I think is also a selfish whiner and I don’t understand why the whole town revolves around her, My kids love Arthur but I can’t stand D.W., the new one Xavier Riddle which I was excited for but the sister drives me crazy and I think it’s a little over my kids head. I can still handle Daniel Tiger, I love Molly of Denali she is my favorite, and the kids love Curious George and I don’t really care either way.

    • It’s tough. I won’t let my toddler watch Caillou, Llama Llama, or Masha and the Bear. I believe it’s possible these shows could teach children to be disrespectful, and tantrum. When I became concerned at behaviors my kiddo began mimicking, I got to researching… anyway, it’s interesting.

      Masha and the Bear was a hard one. It popped up in our Netflix watch list all the time, and my toddler would beg for it. I stayed strong, though, and put on Tumbleleaf, Octonauts, True and the Rainbow Kingdom, Peg + Cat, Pocoyo, or Corey Carson, and eventually, she forgot.

      I’m glad Caillou is gone. I don’t know why it took so long.

      • I love the segment of Tumbleleaf where the characters sing a song about how they should “get up and help” when they see a friend struggling to complete a task.

  3. Esmom says:

    LMAO at every word of this post. I will admit that my kids watched it fairly regularly and they even had a couple Caillou books. I think I tolerated it because I found it nowhere near as grating as Barney. Now I feel like I need to re-examine all my parenting choices.

    Also, I need to know more about the Max & Ruby hate.

    • Seraphina says:

      Esmom, I am with you. I am so confused. I had some dislike of the show because it was SLOW and lulled me to sleep. But I do not recall what these parents have complained about. Max and Ruby too????? What’s next, Little Bear????

      • Esmom says:

        Aw, Little Bear. Franklin, too. So many sweet memories. But I and my kids will always be Arthur fans for life.

      • Spicecake38 says:

        Mine watched Max and Ruby, I thought was cute,and little bear and Franklin,so sweet ❤️

        Speaking of Franklin though,my husband was expressing all of his hate for Moscow Mitch a few days ago and referred to him as Franklin the turtle 🐢
        Now I can’t unsee it,poor Franklin…

      • Nina says:

        Little Bear! such gentle stories. And we had an Arthur jigsaw puzzle, maybe 100 pieces, that we did on the floor in front of the TV EVERY NIGHT for like a year. It was Arthur and his friends trying to run a pet store. His dog was named Pal, so my daughter called it the Pal Puzzle.

    • jwoolman says:

      Max and Ruby seemed relatively benign to me in plot and dialog and characters. Except of course for the underlying horror that the older sister bunny was always in charge of her little brother. She fed him, supervised him, got him dressed in the morning and put him to bed at night, and took him along on errands. She was only about 8 years old herself (I think, hard to tell with bunny children) and there was never a hint of a bunny parent ever. The kids were obviously abandoned. Their grandma came over sometimes and seemed unperturbed by the situation. It was chilling, really. Parental neglect was clearly a pattern passed down from one generation to the other.

      Caillou, however, seriously creeped me out. Don’t know why. Usually I’ll watch anything animated. But I couldn’t get past the first minute of that one. Granted, I was decades past the target audience age … But I survived watching Teletubbies and Barney.

      • Prairiegirl says:

        LOL when do we talk about how Casey and Finnegan lived alone in a treehouse in Mr. Dressup’s back yard? Canadian children’s programming is remarkably parent-free; to me Caillou was a weird exception. All those family members hanging around! Crazy!

    • JanetDR says:

      I never saw Max and Ruby as I live too far from a station to pull in PBS (and there was no internet when my kids were young). But I will tell you that the first time I read a Max and Ruby book (Max’s Bath) , I laughed til I cried! 💗

    • My Two Cents says:

      Max and Ruby, Ruby and Max… so funny, i can’t believe so many of us know all about them! I’m also surprised hearing how much Caillou is hated. I never had any bad feelings toward either show.

    • Noodle says:

      @esmom, my kids liked it when they were little. I was ambivalent at first, but his whiny voice really grated at times. Even now, when they want to poke punish me, my 15 and 12 year old will start to sing the theme song. They tried to teach it to the 6 year old and were promptly told off. I’m just a kid who’s four — my a$$.

    • Sunnee says:

      My 20 year old made a Max and Ruby cake for her birthday a few days ago. It still sticks with her. It was good, it was quiet and taught them good stuff, independence etc. plus Ruby was the older smarter one, she was older than her little brother so she loved Ruby. All five love Caillou too. They watched it and especially loved the mom. My daughter used to think one of her school friends mom looked just like Caillou’s mom. I think it had a quiet vibe. Caillou wasn’t perfect, but neither are kids. It often showed how his parents gently corrected his behavior. I don’t get the hate.
      It’s like when people cancelled disco because they couldn’t dance. This is probably jealousy of Caillou’s world, lol

    • Ann says:

      I agree, it wasn’t as grating as Barney. My son was a toddler when Barney was popular and he did like it, for a year or so. Somehow we missed Caillou. My kids might have watched it a few times but it didn’t stick. Thank God because I couldn’t stand it either. He was whiney, not just sometimes but his voice was basically just a low-key whine. And the show was boring too. My kids liked the cartoons that had humor, like Jimmy Neutron and Courage the Cowardly Dog. I got lucky.

  4. Sonishka says:

    mmmmm not sure what episodes are these but all the ones we watched were about him being a child learning to try and accept new things and rectify his mistakes .. it actually was to teach kids about diversity and medical challenges people have. it took me a while to accept the colours snd style of the show but i grew to like it. on the other hand the show is dubbed and i learnt sometimes the dabbing corrects some things the original lacked. i used to watch this other cartoon about human body which was excellent in my language. at high school even the biology teacher recommended us to watch it. then i tried to watch it with my daughter in english recently and it was just horrible to hear the characters say words as stupid and so on … anyway, my experience with Cailou was positive.

    • greenmonster says:

      What was the show about the human body? I know a french series from the 80s (Once upon a time… Life?). That was amazing. Loved it as a kid.
      I don’t have kids but watch cartoons sometimes with friends and their kids. I don’t like Caillou but Mascha and the Bear is worse.

      • Sonishka says:

        Yes thats the one 🤪 so it was dubbed into english? Yikes. I used to love to watch it. I found few episodes in slovak on you tube. Yes Masha is just naughty, nothing sweet about that . while the cartoon is lovely in design it doesnt send any nice message.

  5. Seraphina says:

    Sad how easily Calliou can be removed but not Trump.
    My kids grew up with both Calliou and Max and Ruby. I never had issue with any of the shows and if they did not want them watching the shows, turn the channel. We cannot sanitize everything because that is not life.

  6. Merricat says:

    Caillou was despised at our house because he truly had the worst whining voice ever heard.

  7. Oh_Hey says:

    This show was supposed to teach kids about learning from their mistakes. It fails at that task miserably. They spend so much time on him being a whiny jerk and like 2minutes on the lesson. I was a kid when it came out but too old to actually watch it. I have a huge family and 10 first cousins so babysitting teen me hated this clown. I was a primary ed teacher years ago and it was still on. He was not allowed in my class when we had PBS kids time on rainy days. Good riddance.

    • Betsy says:

      I’ve heard that criticism leveled at kids’ shows in general – all problem, skimming over the resolution when getting to the resolution is what needs to be modeled. I frigging hate most kids TV.

  8. My3cents says:

    I really don’t get the hate for this show. My kids watched it, I probably overheard it, I honestly don’t think it was so bad. I mean there were worst shows- how about Teletubbies or Power Rangers?

  9. Malificent says:

    I didn’t mind Caillou, which was in fairly heavy rotation at our house for a couple of years. And I think I liked Max & Ruby even more than my kid did. Caillou didn’t teach kids how to whine — they come out of the womb knowing how to do that. Caillou just accurately reflected the whining.

    • Esmom says:

      I’ll admit I enjoyed Max & Ruby, too. My kids had lots of the books. My one son who is on the autism spectrum, found it especially soothing I think because of its predictable structure.

    • Noodle says:

      @maleficent, agree he didn’t teach kids to whine. My issue is that many times, when it was on, his whining, coupled with the whining of MY kids, was just too much for me. They liked the show and I let them watch it sometimes, but I had to turn it off at times when it just grated on the nerves. And I did it for other shows as well. Even Sesame Street was occasionally too grating for me.

  10. Marigold says:

    Awww. My little niece loved that show. I don’t get the hate.

  11. FHMom says:

    Callou Aka CRYou. I did hate him. My kids didn’t watch him much, but as they got older would make fun of him and say he had cancer because he was bald. I think they learned that at school. Ugh. I did love me some Max and Ruby. Yes, it was weird they didn’t have parents, but Max was so stinking cute. Ruby was bossy, but since there were no parents around she had to take care of Max. I just loved the look of the show. It was off the charts cute.

  12. Dana Dayen says:

    How about Titch? Now there’s a show you could set your watch to.

  13. Kimberly says:

    In our house, my children knew the channel would be changed if Calliou or Max & Ruby came on. Just no.

  14. LaUnicaAngelina says:

    My son is five and we somehow bypassed Caillou. It sounds like we didn’t miss out. The tweets from parents are hilarious!

  15. Ann says:

    My brother doesn’t like this show because he says the parents are both idiots and he thinks it sets a bad example of talking back to adults. I’ve never seen it but it’s one of those forbidden shows for my niece and nephew. The memes are hilarious. People really hate this show lol

  16. HeyThere! says:

    And this is why my kids watch Octonauts on NETFLIX. I highly recommend it for: teaching kind habits, using correct terminology for ocean animals, helping others and awesome, fun characters!

  17. elissa says:

    My kids LOVED Calliou and while I found him mostly harmless (if whiney) he 100 percent taught my son how to climb out of his crib. 🤣🤣🤣

  18. Size Does Matter says:

    I just read an article about a new Danish children’s show in which the main character uses his giant penis as a kind of multi-function household tool.

    • Noodle says:

      I saw that story yesterday. It just seems like a bizarre show. I wonder how much of the “bizarreness” is culturally specific. Like, are the Danish people okay with it?

  19. paranormalgirl says:

    Glad to see the demise of that whiny little bastard and his enabling ineffective parents.

    • detritus says:

      Yup.
      I don’t have children and saw a few clips and HATED the lil tete de merde. Face a claque in cartoon form

  20. Kelley Bentley says:

    Worst show ever!!!! But at the time the only appropriate kid’s channel was PBS Sprout.

  21. beff says:

    I can’t believe Caillou was still on the air. My son is almost 15 and we watched it a few times, but holy sh*t did that kid complain and do really stupid stuff. We didn’t make it through many episodes.

  22. mellie says:

    He was such a little a-hole…my girls are in their 20′s and my youngest watched it some. I usually found a way to change the channel off that little ba$tard.

  23. Reece says:

    I was too old ffor this when it started and I have no kids, so no dog in this show.
    But the white chocolate truffle head sent me! 🤣

  24. DS9 says:

    I despise Caillou. That kid was awful.

    And Ruby’s tone is utterly nasty and condescending as well. If I caught my children speaking to each other so meanly, we’d have words.

    Franklin was fine. Beaver was a pill but she wasn’t rewarded for it or allowed to be nasty unchecked. That show framed it as unkind behavior and contrasted it with more thoughtful behavior.

    I will hear no Little Bear slander, unless you want to blame it for ASMR.

    • mellie says:

      Little Bear was the sweetest show….I had a Little Bear fan in my house and my youngest loved Franklin as well. She couldn’t say it properly at the time, she pronounced it Frankwin and Wittle Bear….oh my heart. I miss those days!

    • Neners says:

      Confession: back in October and November when the stress of the election was wearing me down, I’d put Little Bear on to help me fall asleep. I loved that show so much when I was little and it was the only thing that eased the anxiety.

  25. Tashiro says:

    I had no idea that there was such hatred for this show 🤓 l don’t have kids but I’ve seen it a few times. I just found it boring and I love watching almost anything animated.

  26. Boo says:

    Caillou is a whiny little sh*t.

  27. BeanieBean says:

    Why does his mom look like a plumper, shorter, Olive Oyl? Couldn’t they have modernized her?

  28. one of the Marys says:

    my daughter never gravitated to this show but my friend commented “Caillou is French for whiny little bastard” and I’ve never forgotten that quote
    We liked Pingu who was very realistic and cried every episode but wasn’t a little bugger

  29. MaplePlains says:

    I banned Caillou, that whiney little a**hole, when my kids were little. Max and Ruby also led to rapid channel-changing. Not that Max talked. Mostly it was Ruby with her condescension and constant criticism that put me over the edge. Probably hit a little too close to home for me lol

  30. alibeebee says:

    Oh canadians are quite familiar with Caillou my nieces and nephews all watched him often as well. rumor had it Caillou was bald because he had with cancer and it was the day to day life of a shitty kid with cancer. So i suppose we hated him but felt sad for the little shit . he came off a bit better in french. Au revoir Caillou et Bonne Chance

  31. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Lmao! I love this post. Because my boys are separated in age about the equivalent of the Grand Canyon, I watched and heard kids’ programming from 1990 to 2015? The two adults and my 15yo still watch My Little Pony and several anime series, especially Dragon Ball Z, One Peace, etc. But I endured most all of their favorites (even those I despised), because the variety was impressive lol. Sure Barney drove me batty, eventually so did Blue’s Clues and Dora and that school bus, I couldn’t be in the same room if Power Rangers was on, Teletubbies was… Teletubbies, that damn train show, omg Ed, Edd and Eddy or those ridiculous rug rats and yes…I rolled my eyes at Caillou. But interspersed with say Pingu or Shaun of the Sheep, science guy, raising dragons, and the myriad of other well-written and well-produced series, I stomached the worst lol. It’s been a long haul, but I’m now kid series free. Just in time to welcome a grandson in April when I guess the proverbial ball gets rolling again. 😐 Maybe I’ll just hand him back to mom for all that background noise.😁

  32. NotSoSocialButterfly says:

    That lasted for a week (maybe) in my house. I hated the whiney example it touted regularly.
    Ugh.

    My oldest loved Teletubbies, Blue’s Clues, Arthur, and some PBS program about a little tug boat & harbor master; the two younger loved The Wiggles (ugh), SpongeBob ( who doesn’t??), Thomas the Tank Engine and videos of construction vehicles at work. 😊

    • RK says:

      Arthur is the best!!!
      And for children who like Thomas the tank, they would also like a show called How it’s made, it’s another show from Canada.
      I was surprised how well known Caillou was by Americans watching PBS.

  33. paranormalgirl says:

    I liked Pocoyo and Charlie and Lola.

  34. Chloe says:

    We really disliked him because he would always asks his parents to solve his problem and could never do anything by himself. But I also disliked the show because of all the fraud around it. The company making this show, Cinar, stole the caracter from an illustrator. The case had an amicable settlement (how can an illustrator fight against a big company like that, anyway), but Cinar had other accusations (and was found guilty) of other fraud against artists. I couldn’t stand Caillou! (sorry for my bad English!)

  35. Mina_Esq says:

    Caillou is very, very naughty. Good riddance. Praise Beyonce.

  36. GuestwithCat says:

    My daughter couldn’t get into the artwork of the Caillou, let alone the storylines and characters. She was into The Backyardigans and Peep and the Big Wide World. We also watched Franklin and Little Bear. We both found Max and Ruby weird and annoying but watched it anyway. I love kids’ shows and watched everything with her. My husband watched, too, when he could.

    I do miss having a toddler around the house.

  37. Skatrine says:

    Caillou has always been banned in my French Canadian household!