Kids watch the darndest things
Fourth-year reminisces about her childhood TV choices
The other day, I found myself having a conversation with my roommates about television shows from our childhood.
We fondly went down the list: “Hey Arnold,” “Recess,” “Rocket Power,” “All That,” “The Amanda Show” and “Clarissa Explains It All.” We remembered these shows as wholesome and enjoyable, and we may have even danced to their theme songs on YouTube for a bit. In these shows, regular kids deal with regular problems, like how to hide the vase they broke before mom and dad got home, or if they could sneak out of the house to go to the skate park after school without getting caught. I couldn’t actually relate to any of these things, seeing as I’ve been a stay-inside, do-your-homework kind of nerd since birth, but it was nice to live vicariously through animated kids acting our age.
Sometimes, I go back to the networks of my youth — Nick, Cartoon Network, Disney — and I try to find bits of what I used to love in their modern programs. Instead I see rainbows changing shapes and cartoon oranges with moving mouths on the screen — and I’m really, really confused.
Was television really this weird when we were kids? I watched a show where the aforementioned cartoon orange led an army of mice against a vegetable villain. Just what was going on there? Other programs were slightly more normal, with famous kids doing rich-people things I know nothing about and certainly couldn’t relate to. Obviously, much has changed since we were young. It seems like kids these days want to live in an upper-class fantasy world and play with anthropomorphic fruit — or at least that’s what the networks believe they want.
Then, I started to think back to my childhood. There was some weird stuff on TV then. Now that I am 21 and living a relatively normal life, it makes sense all I want to remember is “Rocket Power” and “Hey Arnold,” when kids did the “normal” things I can recall now.
But if I think about it, I remember a show on Nick, from when I was 10 or so, about monsters with insane body shapes and extra limbs. At the time, it wasn’t weird to me. Now, I think that show would probably make me do a double take. It’s not that children’s shows are weird — it’s now that I’m grown up, I’m a little less tolerant of weird.
Simone’s column runs biweekly Tuesdays. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.