A TV Confession

*stepping up to the microphone shyly*

Hello. My name is Christina, and I’m addicted to kids’ TV. I enjoy watching my daughter’s cartoons and shows. I realized I had a problem yesterday morning, when I was up before anyone else. I switched on the TV, and instinctively turned it to Playhouse Disney. Even though my daughter was still asleep, I watched Bear in the Big Blue House. I knew she wasn’t in the room, but I sat there and watched the entire episode.

I’ve always been a TV addict, especially cartoons. Just read the first entry in my baby book for confirmation: “June 28, 1976 (1 week old) – Christina already likes watching the TV”. Seriously, folks, that’s what it says; 7 days old, and already hooked.

As a child, I was a big fan of cartoons. It started innocently enough with He-Man, She-Ra, and the Smurfs.

Then I got sucked into the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon, and G.I. Joe. Inspector Gadget and Voltron were then added to my lineup, along with My Little Pony, Belle and Sebastian, and Rainbow Brite. OK, so I was an uncommitted tomboy.

In the mid-80′s, the cartoons kept coming. Jem, Ghostbusters (the REAL Ghostbusters, of course), Transformers, Silverhawks, MASK, Danger Mouse, and Thundercats. Oh, how I loved Thundercats!

Each Halloween I would dress as a character from one of my favorite cartoon shows. Thanks to my grandmother’s excellent sewing skills and a lot of cornstarch for my hair, I was an awesome looking Wiley-Kit in 4th grade! No longer was a generic witch or a simple white- sheet ghost good enough for me.

Once I hit the late-80′s, I was beginning to grow too “old” for cartoons. I was in junior high, and I was supposed to be more concerned with make-up, hairstyles, fashion, and after-school specials on TV. But I couldn’t give up the habit. I watched Rescue Rangers, Darkwing Duck, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I also enjoyed live-action kids shows, like Hey Dude and Kids Incorporated (sing it with me folks: “K-I-D-S, Kids In-corporated!”).

High school was a big change for me. More responsibilities, more homework, and more acting like a grown-up and thinking about the future. But for my secret love of cartoons, nothing changed. Oh sure, I watched 90210 and Melrose Place like every other TV obsessed teen. However, I wonder just how many teens were hurrying home after school to catch Sailor Moon and Animaniacs?

Even in college, I continued my animation obsession. Animaniacs and Tiny Toons continued to be my favorites, although I was branching out into anime thanks to Sailor Moon.

And now. Now I have a child, and I’m watching Bear in the Big Blue House without her. Can I really call myself an adult at this point? I mean, half the time when I let Cordelia watch TV, I’m really the one sitting there watching Blue’s Clues, Higglytown Heroes, and Dora while she’s on the floor with her back to the TV looking at her books.

(Of course, not the Wiggles. We both love the Wiggles, and that kid would fight off a gang of irate midget clowns to get to see her Wiggles.)

So yes, I admit that I’m a kids’ TV addict. I’m not proud of it, but I’m not about to get rid of the TV, either. I admire the strength of those like Dutch and Wood, who can survive without the lure of the TV and raise their daughter in a mostly TV-free environment. I can’t do it. I need my TV.

I try to limit the amount of time Cordy watches TV. We have plenty of TV-free time when we play, sing, chase each other, and read books. There is a little bit of time when I use the TV to distract Cordy so I can accomplish something (like laundry). But most of our TV time is together-time, and I’m stupidly happy to sing along with the characters on the screen and clap my hands with Cordy as we watch together. I’m seriously considering putting together a workout video for moms using footage from Wiggles DVDs.

So there it is. I’ve come clean about my obsession. I’m not the cool, hip mommy people might think me to be (then again, no one probably thought I was a cool, hip mommy to begin with). I’m actually an overgrown child who still loves the innocence and “good triumphs evil” mentality of children’s programming. And I will still be first in line if they ever put Animaniacs out on DVD.

Whew. That felt good.

God, I’m such a geek.

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Comments

  1. My daughter whips her head around to look at the tv when the Law and Order “thunk thunk” slices through the air.

    That show (and its many derrivatives) got me through breastfeeding.

    You also saw what CSI does to Aveline.

    I enjoy watching Sesame Street with her. I especially like the older segments…the ones I remember growing up.

    My current favorite kiddie guilty pleasure is Jack’s Big Music Show on Noggin. I look forward to watching it each day!

  2. Dutch, dude…I watched Golden Girls too. And the Lawrence Welk show (OK, that one was against my will).

    Kristi, I love Jack’s Big Music Show also! Cordy is just starting to really like Muppets, thanks to our recent purchase of The Muppet Show season 1 on DVD. And she also loves Oobi, although Oobi creeps Aaron out.

  3. I too, was a TV junkie Christina (and I hated those stupid fake ghostbusters too!) and I think part of my desire to raise our daughter without much of it stems from my desire to give her a different experience from what I had, because I do look back on all that time watching TV (for me it wasn’t just cartoon, I would watch the freakin’ golden girls) and I wonder if there might not have been something better I could have been doing. so it’s basically self loathing, much like a father who wants to relive his baseball or football playing days through his son.

    that said, if I hadn’t watched all that television, would I have laughed at some of the obscure TV references you made in this post? I don’t think so. maybe there is something to be said for it after all.

  4. I love, love, love animaniacs

  5. You weren’t the only teen running home to watch Anamaniacs. I loved that show. I really loved cartoons, until my kids het the stage where they watch the same video 20 billion times. You might catch me occasionally watching Cartoon Network late at night, but the younger kids shows have finally driven me to insanity.

  6. There’s is nothing to be ashamed of liking cartoons even through adulthood ^^ Once I got through the same type of shows that you had listed in your post, started branching off into other anime and cartoon related shows (the pictures of Shiva and sailor moon are what kept me reading through your post lol). I will sit with my nephew and watch Dora the explorer and Mr. dress up with him (although Mr. Dress up is for my sake because I remember watching it as a child as well). Although it is true to limit the amount of TV time a child is exposed to, we ourselves shouldn’t be afraid to like the shows they like because let’s face it, it’s better to be a kid at heart than to be a grumpy old grandma. Those shows also remind us of what we enjoyed as children. Wonderful reminders!

  7. Oobi creeps me out too. My sister swears by it with her 2 year old, so I tivoed an episode. Yipes. I couldn’t make it 5 minutes. Way scary.

  8. the cool thing about the animaniacs was that it had that whole vintage “flip the frog”/betty boop cartoon thing going on. I have TONS of DVDs of old 1930s cartoons and I plan to let Juniper watch those.

  9. I did post recently where I confessed that I’m attracted to Sportacus from Lazytown. I’ll watch that show whether my daughter is in the room or not.

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