Picture me, your humble Toy Box Mommy, hanging my head in shame. Last week when I wrote a post about children’s show fan MySpace pages, I somehow completely overlooked the awesome Hi-5 fan page maintained by one Trish from Memphis. Trish was kind enough to point out my error (actually, I think she said “My myspace is better than the Backyardigans!!!” which, well, good to know you’re not competitive about it or anything, Trish), and was generally a good sport about it.
In fact, she was such a good sport, I decided to take advantage of her.
“Hey Trish,” I said (because now we are old friends, and I can call her just Trish and she can call me just… Toy… umm… anyway…), “How would you like to do an interview for the Ty’s blog?” And Trish agreed, because she is one cool lady. And possibly because she felt sorry for me, because so many rabid Hi-5 fans came to yell at me for leaving her out of the original post, she probably feared for my safety if we didn’t make up publicly.
So buckle up, because this is your chance to learn all about both the dirt on Hi-5 and how to be The World’s Biggest Fan.
Trish is mom to Nick (who is turning 8 tomorrow… happy birthday, Nick!) and Zoe (age 5 1/2), and reports that the entire family loves Hi-5. I asked her to start from the beginning.
Toy Box Mommy: How did you first discover Hi-5? Was it love at first sight (or listen)?
Trish from Memphis: My daughter, Zoe, was sick and I took the day off of work to stay home with her. I started surfing through the channels for something for a 2-year-old to watch when I found Hi-5 on TLC. It was the “Senses” week and Zoe and I immediately fell in love with the Five Senses song. At the time, we were a big Wiggles family; but wouldn’t admit it to our friends. Hi-5′s songs, on the other hand, were cool and catchy and the show was educational and fun; plus the cast was cute and perky… like cool preschool teachers.
I love telling everyone I know about Hi-5. It’s such a fresh concept in the US and has such a different style of songs and learning. It’s not cheesy and it’s not full of ridiculous songs that will embarrass you if you are caught singing them in the grocery store or are caught listening to the CD after you drop your kids off at school.
TBM: Does everyone in your family have a favorite cast member?
Trish: Nick’s favorite cast members are Shaun and Curtis and Zoe’s favorite is Jenn. Personally, I do kind of have a crush on Curtis; my hubby has learned to accept it. My favorite Hi-5 segment has always been when Curtis plays Captain Puffy Pants. That skit is hilarious!! Curtis’ big, puffy pants keep knocking people over, and Kimee as “Captain Hi-Note” is singing at the top of her lungs… it just tickles me. You’ve got to love a preschool show that can keep a parent entertained too! Honestly the whole family loves the entire Hi-5 cast.
TBM: Have you seen Hi-5 live in concert? What’s that like?
Trish: We’ve met the cast of Hi-5 three times: St. Louis in 2004, Bentonville, AR in August 2004 and Merrillville, IN in January 2005. In 8 months, We drove 55 hours and about 2500 miles just to see Hi-5!
Chrissy [a fellow Hi-5 fan met online] and I (and our kids) made the trek to all three of my Hi-5 shows together. We wore our homemade Hi-5 T-Shirts and she made Hi-5 hands on a stick and little ponytail holders for the kids. Our kids would wear their Hi-5 clothes that we paid a fortune for on eBay (shipped from Australia; this was before Ty’s Toy Box carried Hi-5 gear). It really got the kids noticed with the cast and even the suits in the background.
During the performances, the cast of Hi-5 always hammed it up for our cameras and would hang out for a long time after the autograph sessions and just shoot the breeze. Shaun would talk cars with the hubbies and the women would be gossiping about promotions and new DVDs and CDs and stuff (the real work) and my daughter (then 3) would get passed from lap to lap of the different cast members. You would hear “There’s my Zoe! I missed you — you have to come here and give me a big hug!” After a while they seemed like family, like old friends that you haven’t seen in ages. It kind of makes me tear up a little because now our kids are bigger and the Hi-5 cast members are growing up too! It’s great to see Jenn getting married and Curtis is engaged and ready to start a family. Even Shaun and Karla who are doing their own things now. Everyone is growing up into very down-to-earth but strong and beautiful people; they love their craft and it shows with their performances.
The cast of Hi-5 are just a great bunch of genuine people who can hang with kids as well as adults.
TBM: What would you say to the Hi-5 uninitiated about why you love the group so much and they’re worth checking out?
Trish: I’d say in my strong southern accent, “Why do those kids’ shows have to have such annoying songs? I tell you, my kids love this show on TLC… you know, The Learning Channel? Yeah, it’s a great show… it’s kind of like pop music for preschoolers, and they teach the kids about shapes and numbers and music and using their imaginations (cuz y’know, kids nowadays don’t even know what an imagination is anymore). It’s called Hi-5, have you seen it? It’s great, you should definitely check it out.”
TBM: Heck, I’m sold. But maybe it’s just that I want to see that puffy pants skit. Hard to know.
Come back tomorrow for Part 2—all about how Trish started her Hi-5 MySpace and the power of an organized fan base. After all, without folks like Trish and her cohorts clamoring for more Hi-5, you’d still be buying Australian merchandise on eBay instead of finding it here at Ty’s Toy Box.