Thursday, May 08, 2014

Kids Shows Got Dark, Man

(Draft written in 2014-05)

Owl Jr. is now 5, Owlet 7. I of course want to share with them all the nostalgia of my youth, the Transformers, the Star Wars, the whatever line of toys pushed by a transnational corporation thinly veiled as a Saturday morning cartoon.

And it's not just nostalgia. For better, I think , TV made a lot of me. Heroism, sacrifice, friendship, noble acts, greater good. All these nebulous concepts were taught to me through Optimus Prime, She-Ra, Luke Skywalker, GI Joe's "AND NOW YOU KNOW (and knowing's half the battle)" messages, Commander Adama (was there ever an episode where Commander Adama wasn't willing to sacrifice his son for the good of the fleet? Genesis 22:5 amirite fellas!?).

It's also a weird rebellion against the Disney channelization of youth. The  Ascendency of the Upper Middle Class Precocious Youth with All the Wisecracking Answers. Wizards of Waverly Place is all that is wrong with TV programming, basically. I want my kids to grow up thinking themselves heroes in their own drama, aware there are monsters, knowing they are there to beat them. Not being a know it all smug drama kid from orange county with dreams of a narcisstic life of pop stardom.

Simplistic, maybe. But something with a fundamentally better message than Oh My Aren't We Precocious and All Knowing that rings hollow.

But some of the shows reboots are pretty dark. The modern reboots. In Transformers they have made thse kind of slave bad bots. So the Autobots can attack them, rip out their heart, punch their head off, etc. It was a little too metal for their age. I had blindly trusted in the Transformers brand, without really watching several episodes.

Which brings to mind the various mistakes my parents made. Like taking me to Timebandits when i was 5 or so, leading to a few year long phobia of closets, and a horrible story in elementary school about a minotaur. Or to Conan The Barbarian at the same age, which I'm sure has nothin to do with my worship of Crom or fluency with Hypoborean history.