I watch a lot of cartoons. Not by choice, mind you – if I’m going to rot my brain, I’d rather do it with crap tv like Rock of Love and A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila (those shows make me feel better about myself as a person, sadly). Anyway, I’ve been subjected to cartoons over the past five years because Jacob really dislikes “grown up tv.” I’ve watched everything: Spongebob, Jimmy Neutron, Danny Phantom, the Backyardigans, Barney, superhero cartoons.

Most recently, Jacob has been enamored of the cartoons on Discovery Kids. I like these best because I can tell myself they’re educational: Time Warp Trio teaches kids about history; Grossology covers a lot of biology; Tutenstein handles Ancient Egypt. But my absolute favorite right now is Growing Up Creepie.

This is Creepie Creacher:

She was adopted by an insect family: her mother is a Praying Mantis, her father is a mosquito, and her brothers are a gnat and a pillbug. Seriously, how adorably punk / goth is she? She’s like a combination of Lydia from Beetle Juice, Cyndi Lauper (with her wild hair) and Christina Ricci (with her big round head). Each episode focuses on Creepie’s life as she tries to assimilate into a normal middle school after being raised by this insect family. She’s assisted by two friends: big, dopey, sweet Budge and eternally optimistic and slightly hypermanic Chris-Alice (oh, the irony: Chris-Alice’s father is the local exterminator). At one point she even falls in love with Tarantula Boy, who looks quite a bit like Robert Smith with eight arms / legs. Sadly, Tarantula Boy is more human than spider, and Creepie is way disenchanted.

Each half hour episode is split into two shorter mini episodes, and so far it seems each one revolves around a specific insect or related creature – so one episode, of course, was tarantulas, another was mosquitoes. At the end of each mini episode is a short informational clip about the featured bug. For instance, on last night’s episode, I learned in the clip that male mosquitoes don’t consume blood; they eat high-sugar substances, like nectar. Jacob pays attention too – he reminded me this morning that “only girl mosquitoes bite people.”

I think this show might actually be helping him get past that weird bug fear he had.