My kids watch TV. They watch a completely healthy amount of (mostly) age-appropriate television. I am okay with this. I’m not raising television addicts; nowhere near it.
I know this because it takes one to know one.
Hi, I’m Ali. And I was raised by my television.
Well, we can pretend that I was raised by my dad and stepmom and mom and stepdad and grandparents and nannies, depending on the day, but in all reality, it was the television that turned me into the ever-quoting, boob-tube addict you see before you.
I started simply, as most children do, on 123 Sesame Street. You know, back when Mr. Hooper was still alive and Snuffleupagus was simply Big Bird’s imaginary friend. But, soon, I tired of waiting to see if Maria and Luis would fall in love and whether Mr. Rogers would ever not wear a cardigan. (lightbulb: I wonder if my cardigan obsession comes from Mr. Rogers!)
There were the cartoons. The Smurfs. The Snorks. Gummi Bears. The Jetsons. The Flinstones. Care Bears. JEM. She-Ra Princess of Power. Strawberry Shortcake. Shirt Tales. And the other kid shows. Fraggle Rock. Muppet Show. 3-2-1 Contact. READING RAINBOW.
There were the game shoes. Double Dare. Fun House. Press Your Luck. Let’s Make a Deal. Tic Tac Dough. Wheel of Fortune (Look at this studio filled with glamorous merchandise, fabulous and exciting bonus prizes just waiting to be won…) Hollywood Squares. The Dating Game.
There were the family shows. The Cosby Show. Family Ties. The Wonder Years. Mr. Belvedere. Growing Pains. Small Wonder. Punky Brewster. Silver Spoons. Charles in Charge. Bosom Buddies. Webster. My Two Dads. Perfect Strangers. The Torkelsons. Diff’rent Strokes. Good Times. The Facts of Life. ALF. Golden Girls. Doogie Howser, M.D. Cheers. Head of the Class. Gimme a Break. The Hogan Family (remember when it was called Valerie’s Family?). Just the Ten of Us. Kate and Allie. Saved By the Bell. Full House. Who’s the Boss? Out of This World.
And the soaps and the dramas and the after-school specials and the made-for-tv movies.
My kids do other things with their time. They trampoline (Yes, it’s a verb now…). They play outside. They play Settlers of Catan. They play Bakugon. They make friendship bracelets and play with melty beads and sing songs and make up dances and run play lines and skype relatives and go to the park and practice guitar and play cards.
But when they are not doing those things, I am slowly introducing them to MY CHILDHOOD.
Last year they started watching Full House.
Last month they started watching The Cosby Show.
Tonight they started watching Family Ties.
And there I was, a pre-teen again, watching as Uncle Ned shows up at a job interview drunk after spending the night drinking vanilla extract while Alex P. Keaton worries. And no one wanted to listen to poor Jennifer play the clarinet.
I can’t wait for them to fall in love with more pieces of my youth.
Except for Mr. Belvedere. Because not even Bob Uecker could make that crap watchable.