I think there’s some kind of movie-related awards ceremony coming up so0n.
Anne Hathaway and James Franco are hosting, which is exactly why I won’t be watching. Not that watching James Franco isn’t a great time, because it is. I just cannot abide the unnaturally radioactive shade of red lipstick Anne Hathaway will be wearing, despite all of her other features. The lipstick ruins everything. If someone tells her to choose a more natural shade of red that doesn’t clash with her pallid complexion, I may tune in.
But I’m not talking about movies today. Today, I want to talk about the assault on our children that is coming into our homes in the form of children’s “educational” television. I just think the shows I watched were much better, and did not give me epilepsy. But maybe I’m remembering them with rose-colored glasses. Let’s think back to some of the beloved shows of our youth.
The Mean Street
Sesame Street is the original children’s television show. I watched it religiously. It was the most well crafted, and well researched show for kids that featured a furry green hobo living in a trash can. The only thing lacking was that I wanted to see fisticuffs break out between the two actors inside Snuffalupagus.
Compare Sesame Street to…
You know all the turmoil in the Middle East? Thousands of people are revolting against ruthless dictators. I don’t know when it happened, but Sesame Street fell under the dark, totalitarian rule of Elmo. Big Bird must have let his guard down, and Elmo came to power, and then banished all of his opponents. Seriously, when was the last time Gordon and Maria were heard from?
I don’t think a show like Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood would make it today. It’s too soothing, too optimistic, too peaceful for today’s jaded three-year-olds. Plus, Mister Rogers never made a fool of himself in public, or hit bottom in his personal life. That’s no way to keep ratings high. Preschoolers are only waiting for their idols to fail so they can cynically jeer at them and feel better about their own lack of achievements and eye-hand coordination. Why do you think Blue’s Clues stayed so popular? Because it had a built-in, behind-the-scenes reality show, full of sex, drugs, and public wardrobe malfunctions. Though we’re all glad Blue got cleaned up finally.
Compare Mister Rogers to…
Anything from Japan
I think Japan only has one children’s show. They just put a bunch of different names on it. Everything is about fighting, loud noises, strobe lights, and giant robots. By the end, children are just staring, wide-eyed, drooling. When the most popular Japanese show, Pokemon features a main “character,” some kind of mutated yellow wolverine animal, whose dialogue is limited to only screeching his own name, over and over again, you know the plot can’t be that thick; only the brains that thought it up.
Happy Little Trees
I never actually knew the name of this show. I just knew the show by the one and only person on camera, Bob Ross. Would you believe Bob Ross was a military man whose job it was to yell at people? And while Bob Ross’ The Joy of Painting wasn’t technically a kids’ show, he was still the friendliest white guy with an afro you could find on TV, and he was mesmerizing to me. In every show, Bob would paint a tranquil landscape. He was kind of like the Thomas Kincaide of TV, except he was talented. If you’ve never known the joy of painting happy little trees, then I just pity you.
What were your favorite shows when you were a kid? What shows do you forbid your own children to watch?