Hey Arnold, Even Stevens, The Proud Family, As Told By Ginger, The Wild Thornberrys, That’s So Raven, Lizzie McGuire, CatDog, Kim Possible, Rugrats, Doug, and of course everybody’s favorite, Rocketpower: what happened to you guys?
If you were born in the late 80’s or early 90’s, such as myself (shout out to all my 1994 brothers), then you had the honor of being a child when television didn’t suck. We grew up with some of the greatest kid shows that television has ever had to offer. Remember the good ole’ days of Louis Stevens getting into mischief while Ren ran for hall monitor? Or when Helga would steal yet another piece of Arnold’s chewed gum for her closet shrine? And I know we all remember Suga Mama’s words of wisdom for Penny and Oscar.
Reminiscing about all of these old TV gems began innocently enough. It was Monday morning and I was getting dressed for my 9:35 Symbiotic Logic class. I flipped on the TV to see if I was lucky enough to catch a good rerun of Boy Meets World. But sadly I never made it there; I will never know what Cory Shawn and Topanga were up to that morning. While scrolling to channel 39 I came across a disturbing show on Disney channel— Jessie. Now before I begin to tell you all about this calamity, let me preface it by saying that I do not watch the Disney channel anymore. And I haven’t since 2006, the year that Disney decided it would be a good idea to broadcast Hannah Montana.
What I witnessed in the first four seconds of watching Jessie makes me never want to bring children into this world.
From the slutty way in which the pre-teen girl (who I took to be Jessie) was dressed to her extensive usage of “text-lingo” (brb, omg, lol, etc.) I was quickly convinced that this show was a disaster. Right before I went to continue making my way up to channel 39, the unimaginable happened. I witnessed Jessie and who I assumed to be her love-interest exchange a sexual joke. Now to be fair, I had not the slightest clue what was going on or what the plot of the episode, let alone the show, was about. But I think it is fair to say that my eighteen-year-old ears can pick up on a sexual reference when I hear one. Jessie asked the young boy, "Do you have an 'on' button?" (What she was actually referring to, who knows?) and the young boy, Luke, raised his eyebrows and with a smirk said, "Yes...wanna come find it?"
What has happened to kid TV shows nowadays? I remember growing up watching shows that taught me morals and family values. Right from wrong. Good from bad. Not how to flirt or stuff my bra (Jessie was sporting the chest of a girl in her twenties, and I know this thanks to the abnormal amount of cleavage this pre-teen was rocking). And to top it off the acting was beyond laughable. Does Disney not hold auditions anymore? My heart ached and my stomach knotted just thinking about all of the young children being influenced by such horrible and disgraceful shows.
Television for kids is getting progressively and exponentially worse by the decade. Remember Full House? Every single episode ended with a wholesome solution to very normal problems that we all face. Unlike on Jessie, where the dilemma was that the kids couldn’t find a way into the helicopter that landed on the roof of their school. Something radical needs to change here, or else kids ten years from now will be growing up watching shows that teach them how to act twenty before they are even ten. And what is even worse is the fact that these innocent kids will be influenced by immoral characters that are despicable role models. But in my opinion, the biggest calamity about TV shows for kids nowadays is that they are teaching children that cell phones and video games are the only forms of entertainment. We need to get back to the days of Rugrats where kids grew up wanting to play outside in clubhouses and climb trees to seek adventure just like Tommy Pickels and Chuckie did.
I am one more episode of Jessie away from changing my major to Television Production.