I pose that question to you as a concerned, overgrown, child. My childhood, depending on who you ask, is over. I’m in the stage between post-childhood and pre-parenthood. I guess you can call it the, “University graduate lost in the real world” stage. Yeah, that sounds right. What I’m trying to say is, I have no idea what the children of today are watching on television. Well, last Saturday night, I got a glimpse. A peak. A tease. And there it was, Almost Naked Animals.
I am a “90s kid”. I grew up with Nintendo 64, Home Alone movies, and TVs with a fat back. I didn’t have a smartphone in one hand, and a bottle of milk in the other. I had a typewriter, not a computer, that I would hear go, “click, click, click, click, click, DING!”. Game Boy Colour was the coolest thing I ever wasted my time on. Toy Story made me believe that my toys also talked, and moved, when I wasn’t watching. That is the world I grew up in. That is the world where I had a new pair of boots every winter because my feet kept growing. That is when a snowsuit made me look like a snowball. That was my childhood. I loved it.
The television shows I watched were fantastic. So when I was flipping channels, last Saturday night, I was disappointed to come across an animated children’s show entitled, Almost Naked Animals. Many thoughts ran through my head when I saw it.
Here are some of those thoughts:
1. Why don’t they just put clothes on? Oh wait, animals don’t wear clothes. But it’s a cartoon, I guess they are allowed clothes. Then why didn’t Donald Duck wear any pants? He got half-dressed and smiled at us. Why does no one find that creepy? Daffy Duck all the way!
2. Is this how they introduce the concept of nudity to children now? This is like “Level 1: Introduction to Partial Nudity”. What is going on here? Why isn’t there a “Viewer Discretion is Advised” warning? No wonder this show is on late at night.
3. For animals that are almost naked, they did a pretty poor job of shaving themselves. Small hairs standing out, everywhere.
4. Will the sequel be called, Fully Naked Animals or Fully Clothed Animals? Which way will they go with this?
Now I’m thinking, what are these kids going to say to their friends in the future? In University, my friends and I went through the list of shows we watched, as kids, and pointed out our favourites. How will their conversation go? “I loved Almost Naked Animals! Me too! I was one for Halloween when I was seven!” I mean, really? Come on.
I’ll admit, I do not know the premise of the show. (Searching Google). After looking it up, it is about a group of animals who are almost naked. They have shaved all of their fur and live in their underwear. Wow, I couldn’t figure that one out from the title…
As a kid, TVO Kids was the main channel I watched. Other channels were: Family Channel, YTV, and Teletoon.
I decided to go to the TVO Kids website and see what other shows are available for the bright, young, minds of tomorrow. Upon accessing the site, I was prompted to make a decision. “Ages 11 and under” or “Ages 2-5”. Naturally, I clicked “Ages 2-5”.
By the way, what kid, between the age of two and five, uses the Internet? If that is an expectation from one of my kids in the future, they’ll be given an encyclopedia for their birthday. That’ll show them! Unless their mother suggests that a tricycle, not an encyclopedia, would be a better present for a child at that age. Then I need to listen to her and go with the tricy….WHAT AM I EVEN TALKING ABOUT RIGHT NOW. (This is likely a preview of a blog post from the very, distant future).
So I’m led to the toddler section of the website and I see a familiar face – Polkaroo. Hey buddy, long time no see. You look the same, but animated. What’s that red dot on your neck? A bullseye? Or have you been smoking? Polkaroo! I’m getting way too carried away with this.
This gave me hope that some of the shows that I watched as a kid, still exist for kids to enjoy. That hope was crushed. All I recognized was, Polka Dot Shorts, Arthur, and The Magic School Bus. The rest were new. I would’ve shed a tear, but my eyes were still burning from seeing almost naked animals.
Kids are different these days.
I worked at a summer camp a few years ago – when Toy Story 3 was popular. My campers were 4-5 years old. They were so excited. You couldn’t finish asking them what their favourite movie was and they’d already be telling you what Buzz Lightyear’s catchphrase was. Please, kid, spare me. I’ve known for longer than you’ve been alive what Buzz Lightyear’s catchphrase is.
Like the great counsellor that I was (seriously), I told them that Toy Story 3 was not for their generation. No, no, no. It was for MY generation. They didn’t believe me, so I asked them if they had watched Toy Story 1. They stared at me like I had three heads. Puzzled expressions gave me my answer. They did not know that Toy Story existed back when I was their age. So my follow-up question was, “Have you ever seen the movie, Mrs. Doubtfire?” “No.” “What do you mean, no?!?” Good, at least they weren’t stealing Mrs. Doubtfire from my generation, too. I had to make sure.
I liked being a camp counsellor – I really did. It gave me insight into the complicated minds of children and tested my patience every three seconds. Parents and other counsellors said I would make a great Dad, one day. As a teenager who had to deal with 15 children, in the scorching heat, for 35 hours a week, for two months, how do you respond to that? You don’t. You smile, nod your head, and picture the horror. Hey, maybe my encyclopedia gift idea, a few paragraphs back, wasn’t that bad of an idea after all!
I am mildly saddened that the television shows, I grew up with, have been replaced. I guess that’s just the way it is. It’s a shame, really.
Kids, these days, are missing out on a lot and they don’t even know it.
I’ve never been interested in science, but Bill Nye The Science Guy – Bill! Bill! Bill! Bill! Bill Nye The Science Guy – (sorry, had to sing his intro for old times sake) was actually a quality, educational, program meant for children. What’s the modern-day equivalent? And don’t say, MythBusters.
Elliot Moose was on the loose. And he still is, but in animation form now. Why must everything be animated?
What about the holy trinity of dogs? Air Bud, Wishbone, and Lassie. Those are three, iconic, dogs that everyone should know. If I went up to a kid tomorrow and asked them if they knew those three dogs, would they? Better question, would I be able to finish my question before their parent thinks I’m a child abductor? (I’m not, just so we’re clear!)
I think it’s a shame that there is a whole generation of kids who can’t watch the original bananas in pyjamas walk down the stairs. They, too, are animated. By the way, three minutes ago I realized that Bananas In Pyjamas was an Australian show. I never noticed the accent, until now.
Then there’s Pingu. He didn’t speak English. I’m still not sure what he spoke. But we all knew what was going on. How are kids supposed to watch shows in a different language, without the background knowledge of Pingu, to assist them in deciphering the storyline?
I’m terrible at art, but Art Attack always gave me the confidence to create anything. Will the current generation lack artists?
Power Rangers, Care Bears, Adventures of Dudley The Dragon, Big Comfy Couch, Mr. Dressup – the list can go on forever.
Then I outgrew those shows and graduated to the next tier of programs. One’s like: Boy Meets World, Smart Guy, Even Stevens, Mighty Machines, Scooby-Doo, The Weekenders, Recess, Uh-Oh!, Malcolm in the Middle, and The Simpsons.
What’s the next tier of programming for kids, now? Do I even want to know?
What about The Price Is Right? That show was like a religion for my generation. In the cafeteria at school, when 11AM rolled around, the only TV options I’d accept were The Price Is Right and SportsCentre. Do kids still watch this classic game show, while eating lunch? Probably not. They probably don’t even know who Bob Barker is.
I suppose it’s unrealistic of me to expect the shows that I watched as a kid, to still be around today, for the next generation.
Who knows, maybe I’m only seeing this from the perspective of an individual who has outgrown shows meant for children. Maybe kids are genuinely enthralled with their partially nude animals, their Dora the Explorer, and Bob the Builder. Can he fix it? Yes. He. Can. You know why? Because Bob probably took engineering in University. Obviously.
After writing this post, I feel much older than when I started writing two hours ago. My childhood is over and your childhood is probably over, too.
Man, that last sentence is just oozing in harsh reality.