Thursday, March 11, 2010

Children's Television

With little interest in television programming--none that does not have to do with sports, frankly--my daughter pretty much has the television lineup to herself. I do monitor what she watches, closely, though, because I cannot exaggerate how important it is to healthy mental development that I do so. Most of this crap will, no kidding, rot minds. It is that bad. And it does shape behavior.
I know this beyond doubt because long ago, at least five years ago, I noticed a very close correlation between how well and reasonably my daughter was behaving and certain shows she was exposed to. When she was allowed to watch That's So Raven, Cory in the House, and the all-time worst catalyst for crappy attitude, Fairly Oddparents, I had my hands full with a mouthy, lazy first grader whose contempt for all adults, but especially me, oozed forth unbidden like some rancid goo seeping out of the ground at an abandoned landfill. Those shows were banned outright. Others like Hannah Montana and The Suite Life of Zack and Cody joined them for extended periods on the verboten list. She lost interest in Hannah Montana as a result--thank God-- and she isn't a fan of the doofus twins anymore, either, but there are a few others that are closely monitored now-- Sonny With a Chance and Glenn Martin, DDS come to mind. For a show to get on the list, it has to feature prominently kids being wiseass geniuses lording it over clueless and feckless adults, and parents who pay little or no attention to their children. There are other shows out there that aren't great, but she either doesn't like them that much or aren't all show/every show with the bad parts, although Wizards of Waverly Place is very close to a spot on the banned list. And I do make exceptions for shows that do feature prominently the things I don't like, but somehow are funny in spite of it, funny to an adult-- Drake and Josh is the classic example, with Spongebob and iCarly also included in the mix.
I should also, in the interest of fairness, point out that there have been and are a few really good children's shows out there--Kim Possible, Lizzie McGuire and That's So Fabulous from the past, and Phineas and Ferb now. And in the interest of accuracy, the all-time worst, even worse than Oddparents, is currently on Nickelodeon. It's a comedy that isn't funny about a boy band that isn't any good putting up with every cliche adult ever to grace the mind of a bored scriptwriter. It is beyond awful; it makes me physically ill when I even hear commercials for it. I am speaking, of course, of Big Time Rush, and it is the most awful television product I have ever seen. I see stuff like this, and I wonder, out loud, "Someone got paid for writing this shit? And someone was convinced that it was a good idea to produce this? My God, I could do ten times better than this."
If I cared enough, that is. In the immortal words of a guy I went to high school with, "Television is shit." Give me the Internet anytime.

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