I’m not even going to call this a confession. It’s just a fact: We watch a lot of TV around here.
I know the two-hour rule, but I don’t really care. It’s not like we veg out on the couch with a trough of soda and cake. Sometimes we pay attention, sometimes it’s just background noise — but it’s usually on. Let’s just say I owe a huge debt of carbon-footprint karma.
I know this is supposedly causing some combination of obesity, ADD, diabetes, and brain rot. But I grew up watching Sesame Street, Mister Rogers, and Wheel of Fortune…and Cheers, Married with Children, Newhart, Tracey Ullman, 90210, and ABC’s entire TGIF lineup. I watched a lot of TV. Scientifically speaking, I should have grown into a big blob of stupidity, but I actually was smart. The kind of smart that makes you uncool.
So, as someone who feels super-unapologetic about my own TV viewing, I always feel like Nick is pinching my cheeks and saying “there, there” when I hear their show intros. You know the ones: “Blah-blah encourages social development, multilingualism, good hygiene practices, and a thorough grasp of chaos theory.” Really? Because I thought it was a show about singing animals.
A few examples:
THE SPIN: Yo Gabba Gabba encourages preschoolers to move their bodies for healthy physical development; to make music to express themselves; and to share and care by supporting social and emotional development.
THE REALITY: Yo Gabba Gabba has Biz Markie and robots. Cherish this half-hour.
THE SPIN: Max and Ruby encourages preschoolers to explore family dynamics and the diversity of the world around them; and to share and care by nurturing social and emotional development.
THE REALITY: Max and Ruby explores what would happen if your parents disappeared and you were inexplicably left in the care of your naggy seven-year-old sister.
THE SPIN: The Fresh Beat Band encourages preschoolers to make music in many different ways; to move their bodies and dance; and to share and care by nurturing social and emotional development.
THE REALITY: Why do they giggle so much? They giggle at everything. It’s like they just got back from the dentist.
THE SPIN: Ni-Hao Kai-Lan encourages preschoolers to explore Chinese culture and language; and to share and care by supporting social and emotional development.
THE REALITY: Kai-Lan’s friends are a diverse mix of crybabies, whiny crybabies, and short-tempered crybabies. And you’ll learn words like “mooncake,” which is useless in any language.
Honestly, I don’t expect TV to teach my kids social skills, their alphabet, or new languages. Those things are supposed to be my job. I don’t want to leave them on the couch and pretend it’s preschool. I just want to sit down with my boys now and then, and watch some singing animals.