by Tammy Trail
As a kid growing up with only four television channels, I don’t remember my parents having to pay attention to what we watched on the tube. The Peanuts gang was the first cartoon I remember watching that wasn’t part of a Saturday morning lineup.
Then about the time I entered junior high there was an animated program called, “Wait Till Your Father Gets Home.” It surrounded around the antics of an average family who allowed Dad to feel like he was in charge, most of the time. It was meant to be a comedy, the laugh tracks let us know when the funny parts took place. Later on when cable television came along the prime time cartoons took a sinister turn.
That’s just my opinion mind you, but I don’t appreciate “The Simpsons” like some people do. One description of “The Simpsons” is that its a satirical depiction of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. Mark Groening created a dysfunctional family based on members of his own family, he just changed the names to protect the innocent. It has also been argued that it represents a more realistic view of life than “The Cosby Show” where Dad fixed everything before the end of the episode. Time magazine also named it the best television series of the 20th century.
I tend not to agree. I don’t embrace the use of humor to make fun of anyone because the way they live their life is different than my own. I get that satire can be used to show misguided or weak tendencies in society. Adult humor and situations are just not the stuff for kids.
Unfortunately, there are children who watch this show for entertainment because it’s a “cartoon.” My first experience with foster care brought this straight into my home. These kiddos had no boundaries given to them as to what was appropriate television viewing for children. They were very upset when I explained that we don’t watch “South Park, Family Guy, or The Simpsons” in our home. Heck, we don’t even have cable television. I still remember their reactions, you would have thought I had taken away their birthdays!
There are even some cartoons out there today for kids that I don’t think are worth taking the time to watch. Even some of the animated movies have included some adult humor to appeal to parents that sit through a show with little ones. Why can’t we just let kids be kids? I had to explain that just because the program is a cartoon doesn’t mean it is meant to be seen by kids, or that it’s good. Some adults may need to learn the same lesson. I really do miss Tom and Jerry!
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