Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Rating the kid's shows part I, Introduction

I try to be a good parent. Not only do I try to limit the amount of screen time (TV, computer & video games) my 6 and 9 year old boys have, but I also occasionally watch the insipid dreck that they love so much to make sure it's age appropriate or not too violent. So, in the next few months I will be writing reviews of the shows my sons watch.

Admittedly, when I go back and re-watch the programming that I loved as a child I realize that I must have been an idiot. Do it yourself and you'll see what I'm talking about. You'll have to forgo the initial nostalgic feelings and watch with a critical eye. The Dukes of Hazzard is a show about hillbilly red-necks that think teasing local law enforcement is righteous. The Banana Splits were 4 women in horrible Disney World-like costumes that fell down alot and played inferior cartoons. After the first 5 initial episodes of Scooby Doo, originality was thrown out the window and the formula to this day has been used ad nauseum. For that matter, Hanna/Barbera was an industry that thrived on copying itself over and over. There were at least 2 Scooby Doo rip offs, including Clue Club. Jabber Jaw even went into outer space and it resembled Josie and the Pussy Cats.

I will forgive my past self as I did watch some quality programming in there somewhere. The Muppets were always a blast and good fun. School House Rock shorts may have been cheaply animated but the songs were catchy and educational and to this day I still know the preamble to the constitution as a result of the song. Despite the violence, Looney Tunes reruns are still top quality animation and some of the funniest stuff ever put on film. Chuck Jones and Jim Henson are 2 big childhood heroes of mine.

So as I watch my son's programs and critique them I will try to keep an open mind and hopefully remember what it was like to get riled up when Bruce Banner was getting angry and hulked up. I know most of what my kids watch is truly terrible, but as long as it isn't too rude, obnoxious or violent then I'll let them make their own choices and hope that as they get older, their tastes will be a bit more refined.

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