By Jeanne Adams
Some of you have children. Other's don't, but whether you do or don't or you have neices, nephews or grandchildren, most of you either have heard of Thomas the Tank Engine, or you wish you hadn't EVER heard of Thomas and all his myriad of pals.
Or, if you raised girls - or were one (yes, I mean YOU) - you probably can regretfully say that you know the name of all the Polly Pockets dolls or the Bratz or Malibu Barbie and Friends.
Then, if you've got little ones like I do, you are bombarded by Disney's overwhelmingly cute characters like Dora the Explorer, Diego, her cousin; The Wiggles; or Bob the Builder. If you've got older kids, you probably had to live with Barney, Beanie Babies, Clifford The Big Red Dog and Berenstein Bears.
Disney has a new group of four singing, dancing, educational guys called The Imagination Movers. Okay, I know this has been done, but for the kids, it just never gets old. They're pretty good singers too, by the way.
Then there's the ubiquitous Sesame Street. I feel old when I realize that I remember watching Sesame Street myself.
Of course my favorite was Captain Kangaroo. Anyone remember him? My least favorite was Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. Fred Rogers freaked me out. He's my mental pattern card for a serial killer, don't ask me why. He was by all accounts a fabulous person, really kind and dedicated to children's education. Still, he gives ME the willies!
One of my newer favorites is Zaboomafoo.
The Kratt Brothers have all these cool animals on the show...shades of Marlin Perkins and Wild Kingdom. My kids could care less, but I like to watch it! Ha! (Probably because poor got-a-Timex-Marlin and hold-the-croc-for-me-Jim are dead and gone and Discovery is a weeeee bit TOO graphic for tender hearted me!)
Anyway, I often wonder who sits around and writes the scripts.
Really. Have you LISTENED to this stuff??
I mean, how many ways can you rescue the butterflies, mend a friendship, settle a dispute, find something....you get the picture.
The other thing I REALLY wonder about is what the guys are smoking when they make up the songs for the kids shows. Seriously, would YOU ever sit down and write a song like "Whoop, whoop, chugga-chugga, Big Red Car!" which, like Louie-Louie, repeats the same thing over and over about ten or twelve times. And we adults KNOW that the guy who wrote Louie-Louie was smoking something, fer sher, dude.
Or there's the ever popular, "I'm a cow, yeah, yeah, I'm a cow. I have horns, yeah, yeah. I say moo, yeah, yeah..." and "Tie me kangaroo down, sport, tie me kangaroo down..."
Smoking. Something. You betcha.
Silly songs aside, I realized that we all do the same thing whether we write kids shows, romance novels, literary fiction, or even fantasy. We write tales of what people do. In the main, its pretty simple. Boy meets girl. Girl likes boy, boy likes girl, complications interfere, are overcome and voila/presto/ta-dah, Happily Ever After.
(Or, if you're more the literary type, boy meets boy, meets life, meets tragedy, parents disapprove, everyone dies and the Earth is desolate....oh, sorry, that's my cynical view of literary fiction these days. Ooops. :> There are some I like. Really... )
Rewind. Back to the bizarre point I was making. Ahem. In kids lit and kids TV, it's friends go on an adventure, solve a problem, and come back home for snacks. "This Mystery is History!" Tigger claims at the end of every episode of My Friends Tigger and Pooh. My youngest son can't get enough of it. He knows how it will end, but he doesn't care, his attention is riveted to Tigger, Darby (Christopher Robin's younger cousin), Rabbit, Owl and Pooh. He's the same with Thomas, and Diego.
As a grown up, realizing that I do the same thing, I had to laugh. Then, as he immersed himself in Tigger and Pooh, I picked up Donna MacMeans Trouble With Moonlight and was just as engrossed as my son. Perhaps more so, since I made lunch with the book in one hand and the spatula in the other.
My son actually stopped long enough to eat. I did not.
My favorite kid stuff, of which my own kids never tire, is Scooby Doo. Now Scooby is about 186 in dog years long about now. It doesn't matter to my two boys. They know every Scooby Doo movie pretty much by heart. The "golly-jeepers" humor cracks them up. Shaggy eating everything in sight cracks them up. The fact that the monsters are always guys in (bad) makeup, never phases them, and usually cracks them up. The improbabilities never phases them. You get the picture. Scooby just cracks them up.
I love it too, improbabilities, bad clothes and all. No guns. No tanks. No warplanes. No world domination a la Pokeman or Yuh-gi-oh. No slaying or intense weeping, wailing or gnashing of teeth.
And Shaggy and Scooby crack me up too. ZOINKS!!
So, does Scooby still make you laugh?
What was your favorite cartoon as a kid?
Did you get into role playing as if you were one of those characters?
Are there any of your kids' cartoons or characters that you abhor?
(I really dispise Barney, I must say and was eternally grateful my sons didn't like him)
What about the music? Does it amuse you or drive you nuts?
What Sunday morning comics do you read first?