When I was a kid they didn't make cartoons for children, they made them for adults; they made them for teen aged boys. Looney Tunes (the original, uncut, racist ones), Spider Man, Rocket Robin Hood, Fritz the Cat (I just threw that one in there), these were written for adults, and, well, comic book nerds...
In fact, it wasn't until I got older, in to the early Eighties, that they started making animated shows for kids. And let's be honest, these shows were only created to sell toys; lots and lots of toys. Before that, if you wanted to find something educational for your kid to watch you had your choice of creepy old guy or even creepier old guy. You know them better as Captain Kangaroo, Mr. Rogers, Commander Tom, Mr. Dress Up (Canada), Uncle Bobby, and The Friendly Giant (to name a few). And let’s not forget The Polka Dot Door and Sesame Street- creepy people with puppets. But leave it to one burned out Pee Wee Herman for getting caught spanking his monkey is an X-rated theater and the "glory" days of children's television were over, leaving a vacuum of air time to be filled.
Fast forward to the hell hole of children's television we find ourselves in today. Not only have they recycled and bastardized all the great cartoons from your youth (Transformers, My Little Pony, The Smurfs) still trying to get that all important toy revenue, but now they've created dozens of "educational" shows that I'm sure make children smarter, but must, in some way, lower the I.Q.’s of adults.
|Hey, What Did I Do?|
I'm talking about costumed creepers (Barney), cartoon kids (Dora, Diego, Calliou), animated animals (Max and Ruby, The Backyardigans), and teenagers and grown men singing and dancing to songs that must haunt them in their sleep (The Fresh Beat Band, The Wiggles).
Am I saying these shows should die a horrible death? Yes. Would I like to lock the creators/producers of these children’s programs in a room and make them watch their own shows until they get that watching The Dora Christmas Special, again and again, might actually lead to brain damage- self-inflicted, as they bang their heads against the walls trying to escape- certainly? Do I think it will help? No, but it might make me feel better.
|Think Dora's Not Scary?|
|Looks More Like "Chuckie" to Me?|
Because, I don’t know about you, but if you think children’s programming that teaches your kids that a knap sack can hold a VW Van, or that completing only three tasks in a given day (following a relatively simple path) is teaching your kid anything useful, I’ve got news for you- it’s not. If you think having your kids listen to whiny kids/animals that lose their sh@# when they don’t get their way is a good way to pass an afternoon- wrong again. If you think listening to some Goofy, creepy, costumed character, hanging out in a park and handing out free advice to whomever will listen is going to increase your child’s brain functionality and not increase the frequency of their nightmares, I’ve got news for you again--- you need to get out more.
These shows are fine in moderation, but let’s be honest, once you start using them to entertain your kids for hours on end, only one thing is going to happen- you’re going to want to hang yourself, or worse- you’re going to start liking them. Catch yourself singing the theme song to the Bubble Guppies this morning? You’re an addict, and guess what, so is your kid.
There’s only one way to save yourself, and the future of our planet (our children) from the evil that is today’s children’s television programming…
|Image from "The Simpsons."|
But, maybe you could just turn the TV off every once in a while and read a good book, or teach a new song, or just spend some quality time with your kids, helping them to use their imagination instead of teaching them to suspend their disbelief when a Big Yellow Bird starts walking down the middle of Sesame Street holding hands with a Woolley Mammoth (psst… their extinct).
I know it’s not easy. But what about parenting is?
These shows aren’t going away anytime soon. And sure, I watch them with my kid too. But should I? Should you? Shouldn't we be fighting for a better world for our children?...
Disclaimer: This blog post is for entertainment purposes only. We do not encourage you to blow up your television screen, or to harm any children’s television creators and/or producers in any way. We merely wish to point out that too much TV may be bad for your child, and you may wish to educate yourself on this topic further. Furthermore, Fodder 4 Fathers will not be held liable for any advice provided by third party links, nor should any disparaging comments made by us be taken seriously.