I loved Big Comfy Couch. No exaggeration. I had the DVDs, the CDs, the games, I watched all the episodes well after it was socially acceptable to do so. I watched them at 3AM, forgoing sleep so that I didn’t miss an episode. I learned a lot about Alyson Court, the woman who played Loonette, and even had a Molly doll. I did the clock stretch, looked for dust bunnies, all of it. It was a special interest before I had the terminology to describe why my love for this clown and her doll was so deep.
Today, while browsing the good ol’ Youtube, I found a video from DefunctTV explaining the history behind Big Comfy Couch. In this video, the host spoke extensively about how BCC was not like most “preschool/kids” (yikes – again with making me face how “past the target age” I was when I stopped watching this show…) programming, because it didn’t focus much on language (the ABCs, speaking verbally, etc.) Instead, it focused on – in the show’s words- being a human being. They focused on emotions, kindness, and non-verbal methods of communicating to get across their messages.
Now that I look at my life from a new lens, which I’ve had to do extensively since being diagnosed with autism at 20, I wonder if – even though I was a hyperverbal autistic girl, I appreciated the love and respect shown to non-verbal communication in the show. Verbal communication and oral speech is so often viewed as the most important part of child development. Learning English grammar, letters and sentences, and learning how to properly pronounce words – to the point where there is almost a supremacy of vocal and oral speech in our society, that leaves non-vocal speakers (including but not limited to autistic folks and Deaf folks), at a unfair disadvantage. By having Loonette and Molly on television showing non-verbal communication (gestures, signs, thought bubbles, head nods/shakes, other forms of communication were seen being appreciated, valued, and listened to.