Cybergirl: Kindergarten Class Photo

Photo of my daughter in a pink plaid skirt wearing a silver Cyberman robot helmet with her braids curling around the helmet.

Our school is an awesome school.

My daughter’s ordinary yearbook photo was taken last fall. When a packet came home last month offering a second photo shoot for parents who just want more photos of their kids, I noticed something. Props are allowed. You know, Johnny holding a football or Jane clutching a flute.

So I asked my daughter, “Would you like to wear your robot helmet for your class photo?” You bet she would!

It’s a Cyberman voice-changing helmet from the children’s science fiction TV show Doctor Who. Being in kindergarten, she hasn’t watched the show yet, so this thing remains a cool robot helmet to her. Being in kindergarten, she loves robots.

I asked our principal whether our idea was acceptable, and he consented so long as Mom or Dad brought the helmet to school at the time of the photo shoot, so as to not disrupt the class with the awesomeness of the helmet.

Her teacher was even more awesome, thinking it not a problem, but our daughter could carry it in a brown paper bag if we were worried.

I think the result was… AWESOME!  Can I say awesome again? Awesome.

Here’s a gratuitous video clip that covers why I love Doctor Who… a brainy female villain takes control of the Cybermen using the power of her own intellect, commands a giant steampunk Cyberman-shaped walking ship, and wreaks destruction on Victorian London until the Doctor stops her. As he always does, the Doctor gives his nemesis a last chance before resorting to a brainy sort of retribution, which is pretty much all someone armed with a sonic screwdriver could do. Okay, one caveat, he’s armed with a dimension vault in the clip.

Now is a great I mean awesome time to begin watching the show. The Doctor has just regenerated (a new actor is playing him) and all of the old storylines with reoccurring characters are completed. Some of the old villains will return, but everything else is new. Doctor Who airs April 17th on BBC America, or on April 3rd if you’re in the UK.


13 Responses to “Cybergirl: Kindergarten Class Photo”

  1. jill t says:

    what an awesome photo!!!

    March 26th, 2010 at 5:22 pm

  2. MIdge says:

    Ok, this is too cool! I’m a teacher and I absolutely HATE the spring photos done by this out-of-town company at the local schools. Such a money grab. I love that you turned their “bring a prop” scheme around on them.

    Thanks for giving me a laugh!

    March 26th, 2010 at 9:25 pm

  3. FB says:

    Your daughter’s school has an awesome principal.
    This is a great example of parents and educators working together to bring about something innovative and creative.

    March 26th, 2010 at 10:22 pm

  4. kell says:

    I never would have considered Dr. Who a children’s show — I guess I was a big fan in Middle School because it came on after we got dropped off by the bus in the afternoon.

    At our preschool a former preschool parent takes photos (he’s a professional photographer). My son was really into In-and-Out Burger and would wear a paper hat, white shirt, nametag (homemade by me) and red silk scarf (as an apron). The photographer took his photo once with the hat on and once with the hat off so I could have one or both. It’s a great marker for something that was really, really important to my son at the time.

    March 27th, 2010 at 12:18 pm

  5. AJ says:

    Kell, Doctor Who is for Harry Potter age kids to teens, although the rebooted series (since 2004) is quite a bit more dramatic and first-time adults enjoy it too. A basic tenet of the show is that kids love to be scared, so every episode includes some tense moments, if not scary moments. I like the show for its tendency for intellect to win over brute strength.

    March 27th, 2010 at 2:33 pm

  6. Jeanne says:

    I really take issue with Dr. Who being called a children’s show. Maybe it’s a “family” show now, but it’s one of the most intellectual shows on TV, and there have been a number of episodes that have been really violent, sexual, or have shown authority to be completely bogus, something I wouldn’t want my kids to see for awhile, or at least not in such a strong way. The original show was certainly for kids, with very simplistic explanations for each of the scientific events or gadgets.

    Leaving teens out of the picture, I’m pretty sure any Darlek scene would be too much for kid, especially when they take over London and Martha goes on her trek. It was almost too much for me.

    March 28th, 2010 at 4:20 am

  7. Jeanne says:

    Actually, that’s wrong. Whether you let kids watch it or not isn’t a big deal. My problem is that by calling it a kid show you’re belittling the program. It’s an amazing show. It’s certainly better than the drell sometimes on TV here. (Have you ever seen a preview for “Two and a Half Men”?) I’m sick of things that are science fiction or fantasy being called kid shows. Dr. Who has fantastic character development, plot, depth, and witty dialogue (sometimes it’s hokey, yes). There is nothing about it that makes it not for adults. You wouldn’t say that Star Trek was a kids show.

    March 28th, 2010 at 4:26 am

  8. AJ says:

    Jeanne, I would call the original Star Trek a children’s show. It was canceled after 3 seasons because of “its disproportionately high children and teen viewership which made it unattractive to network advertisers.” Science fiction works on multiple levels for multiple ages.

    Doctor Who has always been known as a children’s show in the UK. It’s frequently described as a family show now, airing Saturday evenings (the premiere airs at 6:20 p.m.). It’s certainly for older kids by American standards. The BBC website used to provide a “Fear Forecast” for every episode where kids graded the stories. Here’s the forecast for ‘Blink,’ the scariest episode that even made me jump — at the sight of garden statues. It’s graded by kids aged 6 to 14.

    If you watch the DVD extras, you’ll hear discussion about their thought process on how far to go to give kids a good thrill, but not go overboard. In the ‘Waters of Mars’ episode they, for example, decided their first mock-up of the alien-controlled humans was too scary, choosing to not make them bald, and to black out their teeth (it makes sense when you see the photos).

    I agree the show is thrilling and intellectual for adults, too. Our school principal was a childhood fan, but I can’t convince him to even watch the new version of the show, presumably because he remembers it only being kid’s stuff.

    The sexual content is little and far between, most of it (say, references to Captain Jack’s “dancing”) are veiled enough that a kid may miss it. We don’t even see the Doctor kiss the woman he has grown to love. Kids see far worse on American TV.

    I’m more concerned with depictions of violence. Doctor Who does a great job, with violence being the Doctor’s last resort. Even episodes with gun-toting Captain Jack you see the Doctor have disdain for him and curb gratutious gun use (the Utopia episode where the Doctor makes Jack shoot into the air instead of at the monsters chasing them). If the Doctor ever started using a gun, I’d stop watching. In Waters of Mars, not once do they even consider shooting the aliens. They simply run… from water. American TV is fixated on guns, blood and gore. Doctor Who is about thrills.

    Do they come close to stepping over a line sometimes? Sure. The problem is, your line is not my line and so on.

    I guess it comes down to how soon a kid is ready for a thrilling, intelligent TV show. At age 5, my daughter would love to see the Mars base, but she’s years away from handling scary content. We have to fast forward through the dog scene in Mary Poppins. What dog scene? It’s like 5 seconds, but she knows it’s coming.

    March 28th, 2010 at 7:41 am

  9. Dallas says:

    I’m the parent who reads all the books and views all the movies, (even cartoons), before my child, (and stepchild), see or read them.

    However, I started watching the old Dr. Who when I was around 7 or 8. I loved it, along with Star Trek and an old British program called The Tomorrow People. I believe it led to a life-long love of science fiction, and science, in general. It certainly influenced my reading habits, and in my home it was stressed that science and math were just as much for girls as they were subjects for boys.

    And, I agree with AJ, the new Dr. Who program does an excellent job, overall the morals are good “teachable moments”, too.

    (And I can’t say enough how much I love love love the photo, thanks for sharing!)

    March 28th, 2010 at 4:30 pm

  10. Jeanne says:

    Okay, I yield, AJ. It’s just really frustrating that so many things I like are labeled as “kiddy.” I’ve loved Dr. Who for awhile and didn’t have kids. I have refined tastes. I swear! But I suppose that if I can watch Pixar movies without embarrassment I can admit to loving Dr. Who, even if it’s a kid show.

    I agree in the sex vs. violence problem. I’ve been shocked at the violence in some of the “educational” programming a (very) young friend of mine watches. But, then again, I seem to be shocked by a lot of things for kids nowadays.

    I love the photo, and love your support of your daughter’s creativity.

    March 29th, 2010 at 4:21 am

  11. My Boaz's Ruth says:

    I don’t see how this is turning the photo company’s “bring a prop” idea gainst them — if AJ buys the photo, I’m sure they don’t care WHAT the photos look like.

    Me? I’m not thrilled at photos that you can’t see the face at all on. I have not watched enough Dr. Who to get the joke so this photo just looks strange to me.

    March 29th, 2010 at 9:55 am

  12. AJ says:

    MBR, I sort of agree. It’s not turning the tables on anyone, unless you’re sick of school photos. Parents lament how their child’s spirit wasn’t captured, that the smile wasn’t natural, that the hair was messed up, etc. Just this morning a mother showed me her daughter’s milk mustache. You’d think the photographer would notice and do something, but no, the photography process is rushed and impersonal.

    So, why not capture a truly impersonal photo — of a robot head? In that sense, our photo could be seen as a protest against school photos.

    Really though, its just meant to be funny and to capture an interest in my daughter’s life. I could take a better photo at home (at least shoot it at eye level), but the charm comes from it having been shot at school… that some dingbat parent paid to have photos taken where you can’t even see the kid’s face. There’s no inside joke about Doctor Who, just the idea that someone would put a full-face helmet on their kid for a class photo.

    March 29th, 2010 at 10:31 am

  13. AJ says:

    Perhaps the most telling difference between the UK and America… Doctor Who will air at 6:20 p.m. on a Saturday in the UK on the broadly available BBC, but the American debut is on a cable channel at 9 p.m. on a Saturday. So, major time difference, and also Doctor Who in the UK is something of a family event.

    April 2nd, 2010 at 8:53 am