The Culture of Television

TVAs much as we’ve tried to keep Maddie away from the evil forces of TV Land, our television has become our emergency baby sitter from time to time when we are too tired to be fully engaged with our daughter. I know many many households where this is the case. Part of me is sad about this. The idealist in me cringes every time we give life to that foul metal box, worried about what messages will be absorbed by Maddie’s tender brain. She can become so lost in its’ hypnotic allure that she will not hear us talking to her when she is watching. That’s scary, powerful stuff.

On the other hand, the practical side of me says it’s just fine, harmless entertainment, and a welcome relief to a weary parent. I convince myself that as long as we closely monitor what it is she is watching that it is ok, maybe even educational at times. No substitute for a real person, not by a long shot. But maybe a nice diversion…

So on that note, here is Maddie’s (now age 4) current Top 10 List of favorite TV shows:

1. Blue’s Clues

2. Dora The Explorer

3. Go, Diego, Go!

4. Sid The Science Kid

5. Ni Hao, Kai-Lan

6. Super Why!

7. Yo Gabba Gabba!

8. Wonder Pets

9. Dragon Tales

10. Disney’s Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

For the first three years of Maddie’s life, I watched alongside of her. The last year, not so much, as I tried to be more productive with my time (READ: because I now knew all the shows by heart). I became fascinated with the idea of someone talking to me from inside the television screen. Does Maddie really think they are talking to her and awaiting her response? During those many viewings I acquired a vast wealth of information on characters, actors, plot lines, writers, music, voices, etc. And let me tell you, it is thrilling beyond belief to discover that you share some interest in said cultural gold with other parents…

“Who makes a better host on Blue’s Clues, Joe or Steve?”

“And why did Steve leave, anyway?”

“I heard he killed himself.” (not true – thank god – my whole magical TV world would have come crashing down if it was)

“Say, have you seen the animation in Sid The Science Kid? It’s so well done!”

HE’S the voice of Elmo??”

Tinky Winky? Definitely gay.”

“Not gay.”

See what I mean? What would we ever talk about without television?

What are your child’s favorite shows?

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