Then and Now

When I was growing up I watched benign shows like Sesame Street, 321 Contact, Richie Rich, The Electric Company, Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, Looney Toons, Tom and Jerry and Scooby Doo. My TV time was populated with Muppets and overly enthusiastic adults, maniacally instinct driven cartoon characters of the rodent and feline persuasion and harmless frivolity.

Today however there are The Doodlebops who have rubber wigs and engage in very strange activities which start with one orange hair person compulsively having to pull a rope which douses him in water before he can start his day. There is Max and Ruby where two young bunnies apparently have no parents and free reign in the house at all times. There is Yo Gabba Gabba where fully costumed blobs get funky with different musical stars and actors; it’s like old school Sesame Street only with aliens in the place of Muppets and a strange guy in a big, orange, fuzzy pope’s hat in the place of Gordon and Maria. Then, of course, there are the updated versions of Scooby Doo and all of the superheroes (most of those I actually like better now than I did then).

Not to mention the changes that my beloved Sesame Street has undergone. Cookie Monster eating carrot sticks instead of anything even remotely resembling the shape or appearance of a cookie, Kermit being replaced by an annoying little red midget of a Muppet and the overall feeling of the show shifting from cultivating a kinder, gentler kiddo to political correctness dialed into cutting edge child psychology.

Not to say that they’re all strange in a bad way. The Girl loves The Backyardigans, which admittedly it took me a while to warm up to, but I now love. It’s clever, funny and well written even for preschoolers and who doesn’t like to watch four good natured cartoon characters rap to polka music? And we have always liked Ben 10 and The Clone Wars.

It all makes me wonder what my parents really thought of the shows I watched as a kid. I wonder if they shook their heads and rolled their eyes or whether they secretly tuned in as avidly as I did.

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