My oldest daughter asked us yesterday (again) to explain to her why we don’t allow them to watch certain shows. Namely, she’s asking about Hannah Montana, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Wizards of Waverly Place, and I Carly (I’m sure there are others, but these are the ones they want to watch). Let’s deal w/Zack and Cody first.
These boys aggravate me. They make stupid decisions and are always in trouble for these stupid decisions. The other characters, specifically London, is the absolute most ignorant, dumb teenager (or pre-teen; I don’t know how old she is on the show). I do not, however, believe any of these kids act this way off-camera, so understand that when I call the girl dumb, I’m talking about the character. She’s made comments similar to ‘why do I have to add, it makes my head hurt’ or ‘I’ll just get my daddy to hire someone to add for me.’ She makes it no secret that she is a privileged daddy’s girl (which alone isn’t really enough to have us make them turn it off) but she also plays up the ‘gee, I don’t know’ about everything. To me, it’s sending messages that 1) it’s ok to expect that math is too hard for girls, 2) that someone can be hired to do something for you (that you should really be doing for yourself), 3) that what one is wearing is more important than character, and 4) it’s ok to appear oblivious (even when the other characters catch on that she’s said something incorrectly, no one corrects her. They just roll their eyes like it can’t be helped). They play up her dumbness and that irks the hell out of me.
Next, there’s Hannah Montana. My oldest daughter is 8. Many of the themes dealt with on the show are above what I want her watching right now: liking boys, dating, kissing — these things can come in time, but there’s no reason for me to push her into it. I also just have this thing for steering clear of things that are so overly hyped. Hannah Montana underwear, lip gloss, juice, tissue, blankets, wigs, tattoos, $15 movie tickets for something that comes on regular tv two weeks later…it’s just too much. I see no educational value. I don’t even see entertainment value. I’ve tried watching it a few times. Nope. The Wizards show is pretty much the same. Both shows also have the kids put into situations that could be avoided if they simply told the truth rather than try to hide things or get over.
Now, believe me, I’ve considered that these are just shows and they’re meant to be entertaining (and most are listed as TV-7). I had to evaluate it against shows they do watch like Raven and Cory in the House. My immediate observation is that Cory and Raven are black (how you like that Sherlock?) But to be totally honest, I dislike them almost as much, if not more than, the others I’ve mentioned. Cory does this irritating, unfunny throw himself around bit, just like Raven did. Who gave these writers and directors the idea that this is funny? Both Cory and Raven would put themselves in situations that they knew were either wrong or idiotic. But they thought apologizing after said idiotic act was enough. Why not just exercise better judgment beforehand?
Both Cory and Raven (toward the end of her show once the producers realized she couldn’t pull of the ‘I’m still in high school’ bit) venture into the older themes I’ve mentioned: dating, kissing, etc. It would be so much easier if my kids would just be content watching The Cosby Show (which we do quite regularly). That is not to say, though, that the Huxtable children made wonderful decisions all the time (refer to Theo catapulting Rudy into the wall or Rudy and the blender mess). I think I will always like that show because it’s more family oriented. The Proud Family was family oriented as well, but they were so ghetto I simply couldn’t tolerate it.
There are other, cartoon shows they’re allowed to watch like Phineas and Ferb (which I love) and Spongebob (whose shows I can quote). I think that for now, we’ll continue to monitor and relish in the fact that we’re still in control of the remote and we get to say what’s funny and ultimately, what’s worthy.