When the kids were little, the Simpsons were big in our house. The occasional use of the term embiggen was tolerated with a bit of judicious commonsense, ” Well, dear, there are worse things they could pick up from the TV.” Recognizing that the television would not do a fast fade from the house, we restricted watching to things we didn’t disapprove of. There were many public television shows, tapes, and later DVDs of series we found less objectionable than others. But we controlled the channel selection and refused to get a cable subscription.
No cable subscription; think about it. We were on tight budgets in those days and had other things to spend the money on with four kids. We did not save the receipts on what we spent for the alternate media but felt that it was a better deal than 365 channels of trash.
Then there was me. I worked in video. After a day of watching the screen, analyzing cuts, transitions, and writing scripts and storyboards, I couldn’t turn off at home. I’d find myself critiquing every shot held too long, every poor choice of a transition or dropped storyline. Needless to say, the kids picked it up from me. My wife could “drain the brain” in front of the tube, but not my kids. They were terrible critics.
Maybe it’s unsurprising that we like animation so much; scripting, budgets, and storylines are better supervised. There are fewer inane superstar personalities to follow along with, and they are made for entertaining in briefer bursts. Unfortunately, so much of what’s on cable is made as mere content filler for channels but has little value.
Well, that’s my piece for today. Or as Pinky, from Pinky and the Brain would say, “Naaarf!”