Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Children's "Television"

Okay, I know there is a LOT of debate out there about how much screen time and if children should have any screen time, should they only have tv vs. computers vs. tablets etc. but allow me to deviate and not discuss ANY of that today.  Today I want to focus on something that had somehow escaped me until this morning.

We're visiting family right now and we're having a lovely time.  When we're at home, our television is usually on our favorite news in the AM and the kids often watch with us.  If we aren't watching that it's usually off.  I don't have "children's television" on 99% of the time when the tv is on.  This morning I was busy and my oldest turned on the tv to occupy himself and his little brother.  They were enjoying it as I ran in and out of the room attending to laundry, breakfast, and a host of other things until the inevitable BAD thing happened.

I noticed Sesame Street was on.  I honestly didn't think a thing of it.  The Count was receiving the Noble Peace Prize for Counting.  Okay.  Then via the segment they explained what an imposter was.  Alright.  Later on as I sat at the dining room table I giggled as a segment began with the music of Les Miserables in which Cookie Monster plays Jean Valjean and the other players covet his cookies.

And now they have my attention.  I was a music major in college and this is one of my FAVORITE shows.  I'm ready to giggle as we watch a Sesame Street adaptation of a modern classic.

Except it wasn't.  Jean Valjean encounters Fantine and basically tells her to take a long walk off a short bridge.  He refuses Cosette's pleas for help as well with a "well, I know how you feel but get your own cookies and then you'll feel better".  WHAT?!?!?!?!?

Then as the French Resistance forms they are planning to attack....get this...Valjean because he won't share his cookies with anyone.

Wait....WHAT!?!?!?!?  Valjean is not the villian of the play.  Not even close!!!!!

So out of fear Valjean capitulates and decides he should share his cookies and then they're all happy.


Fortunately shortly after that tirade the "new" version of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood".  100% animated and hosted by Daniel Tiger, an animated tiger child who during this particular episode was throwing tantrums and having difficulty using his words.


Mr. Rogers is NOT able to be replace by a child Tiger who can't get his act together.  NO.  That's where I hit my limit.  What I LOVED about Mr Rogers as a child was not just that he was "on tv".  He was real.  It was a REAL world that also went into "make believe" with a pointed difference when it was done.  He did REAL things.  He showed the world kindness, love, compassion, and heart.  He gave real life examples of manners, not as the "point" of one show but consistently through EVERY show.

I blew up.  I hopped on Amazon Prime and pulled out the vintage Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood episodes from when I was a child.  They watched him come in and take off his suit coat, zip on his cardigan, and put on his sneakers to hang out with them for 30 minutes.  Today Mr. Rogers went to buy shoes back in 1982.  They didn't have the original kind he wanted but had another pair that fit far better.  Then he went home and hung out with all the other characters for awhile. I'm currently curled up with my boys watching Mr. Rogers sing the ending song.

"It's such a good feeling, a very good feeling the feeling you know that I'll be back when the day is new and I'll have more ideas for you and you'll have things you'll want to talk about.  I will too."

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