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Kids' television options inspire bout of 'boob tube blues'

Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Updated: Friday, June 22, 2012 15:06

Boob Tube

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What is wrong with kids’ shows these days? In almost every show on Nickelodeon or Disney, young characters are either famous or striving to be famous and almost all of them are obnoxious, overly dramatic halfwits whose paths to stardom are lined with crappy Auto-Tuned songs, lame dance moves and a cheap clothing line.

Take, for example, Disney show I watch with the girls I babysit, “Austin and Ally.” High schooler Austin is a viral singing sensation and classmate Ally writes his music. They are both idiots. Here is an exchange they have about finding a home for a goose (naturally):

Austin: "Maybe [Pickles, the goose] can move into that store with all the ducks in the window!"

Ally: "That's a Chinese restaurant."

I’m not sure how these characters manage to tie their shoes, let alone handle careers as superstars. Mentally, they’re 5 years old. And what scares me is that these dunces are role models for children. Barf!

It’s not a knock against the actors. I’m sure they are lovely children that in no way resemble the annoying characters they portray (at least, I hope for the sanity of their parents). I guess I was just spoiled by the decade of greatness for children’s TV -- the ‘90s.

“Are You Afraid of the Dark?” was a nightmare-inducing experience, “The Adventures of Pete and Pete” made me wish my mom had a steel plate in her head and I crushed on Corey Matthews from “Boy Meets World.” “Flash Forward” prepared me for the transition into teenage years, “Full House” provided me with sassy quips and valuable lessons and “Sister, Sister” made me long for a long-lost twin.

These shows ruled. The main characters on were (for the most part) smart, witty and had cooler dreams than being the next blond pop star or a clothing line at Kmart. It seems as though television writers of the ‘90s thought more highly of children, their intelligence and emotional complexity than writers today.

Not every girl wants to be Hannah Montana and not every boy wants to be Justin Bieber (at least I hope not). Some kids just want to make it through the awkward stages of growing up. Or tell scary stories around a campfire.

I say out with the tiresome, shallow fame-seekers and in with the sensitive DJ Tanner types, upstanding Corey Matthews and creative Pete and Petes. Kids need better TV role models that encourage them to (paraphrasing the sage Mr. George Feeny) believe in themselves. Dream. Try. Do good.

And don’t be a moron.

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