We have a few programs that are banned, and my boys know what’s appropriate and what shows are not. I usually allow them to select a program, have a snack and watch while I perform one of the tasks mentioned above.
The other day while my boys were watching one of their favorite cartoons, I paused to take a look at what they were viewing. I saw a blue creature (I think it was a fish), talking with an orange creature (also a fish?), making fun of a pink creature (a rabbit who is apparently the sister of the weird-looking fish), all the while disobeying some fat creature (who is the father of the fish and the rabbit), and laughing. (I have to add that the fat dad creature is portrayed as probably the stupidest animated freak in all of cartoon world and listening to him speak makes you want to stab yourself in the eye with an icepick). These fish go to a school run by some sort of gorilla-type creature with students made up of animations that include a talking balloon, banana, a cactus (who is in a “relationship” with said balloon), a robot, and a few other weird beings that for the life of me I could not identify no matter how hard I tried.
“What on earth is this?” I asked my son. He answered matter-of-factly and gave me the name of the ridiculous cartoon, which meant absolutely nothing to me. As I watched these strange organisms interact with one another, I thought to myself, “What ever happened to Scooby Doo, or the Flintstones, or even the Jetsons?” Those were real, normal cartoons that real, normal children used to watch. I mean, who doesn’t love a group of groovy teenagers who can’t stop eating, who love to solve mysteries, drive a totally rad passenger van, and have a talking Great Dane? Why weren’t my sons watching that cartoon or something similar?
So this is what the cartoon world has come to?
There is another stupid cartoon they watch about some kid who wears a white hat with little bear ears on it. Now, he IS friends with a talking dog, but this dog can stretch himself silly, he's rude, and his voice reminds me of a drunken old man's voice. These characters have a friend who is a vampire, and the sexual overtones used in describing her, although completely lost to my sons at their ages, are totally ridiculous and inappropriate. Who are the people writing this crap and why aren’t we all protesting? These are the stupidest, most ridiculous television programs I’ve ever seen, but it’s obvious my kids like them.
So that brings about the question… Is there something wrong with my children? Is something wrong with everyone’s children? Why aren’t there animated people in cartoons anymore? Now it’s inanimate objects and weird animal-type creatures who speak strangely, make fun of adults, and serve absolutely no purpose other than to spew ridiculousness all over television land.
Don’t even get me started on the shows that actually DO have real people in them; how about that program with the two young girls, one blond and the other with red hair? The blond is mean and rude and the red head has a voice that makes me want to pull out my eardrums and set them on fire. What is it about the show about the family with superpowers? The parents (and I see a running theme here- adults are stupid. Don’t listen to them. Don’t respect them; and by all means do not spend any time with them), can’t figure out how to take care of themselves or their children and they are constantly ridiculed in each and every episode.
I had had enough!
So I sat down with my boys and talked with them about how awful these shows are. I brought out some old copies of programs I used to watch and asked them to sit down and watch with me. There were some shows they liked and some they didn’t. We watched a few episodes of Little House on the Prairie (my kids think it’s funny that I still cry whenever Pa cries), The Cosby Show, and of course, my all-time favorite cartoon, Scooby Doo. Although they didn’t love every single program we watched, they did like a few of them. It was fun to snuggle on the couch and show them what I used to watch “back in the day”.
Watching those programs prompted me to bring out some old home videos. Those were a hit. They loved seeing me jump around as a child and were curious to see what my father (who had passed away before the boys were born), looked like and how he interacted with me. They liked seeing what their grandma looked like when she was much younger.
I think we’ve now come to an understanding and have learned to compromise. My boys get to watch a little of their wretched television, as long they tolerate sitting with me every so often and watching the programs I used to love. I think it’s a win-win situation, and I’m really hoping they find a little love in their hearts for The Brady Bunch. We’ll see…