So what, then, am I so tweaked about? I’m a father of three children; ages six, eleven and thirteen. For years, it has troubled me that a selection of children’s shows were laced with strains of propaganda and amoral thought. Some suggest they have scientific proof that modern children’s programming dumbs one down. But, it has the potential to be much more dangerous than that. No matter what side of the political fence you are on, there is one thing upon which I think we can all agree. We don’t want our children exposed to certain subject matter before they are ready, much less have someone else’s opinion subconsciously embedded in their minds.
I’m guessing by now you would like an example. I’m cool with that. As funny as the show can be, one of the repeat offenders is Nickelodeon’s iCarly. They follow the standard “aimed at tweens” obsession with first kisses, gross-out gags, rebellion and celebrity status. The show is full of small desensitizing moments that include a half-naked chubby boy, made up “cuss” words and disrespect for adults. Not too long ago, an episode called iWant MY Website Back aired. Spencer, Carly’s crazy adult brother, dressed in elderly drag in order to hoodwink the grating Nevel. The affable Jerry Trainor, who plays Spencer, sold the gag and yes, it was funny when an older man was mistakenly taken with her… I mean him. If it stopped there, fine. Of course, it did not. Later in the episode the doorbell rings, and it’s the old man. With a desperate tone, he tells Spencer to put the wig back on, and they can try again. At a minimum, this brings into question sexual orientation. So many issues are layered in that moment that we almost have to applaud the writer’s skill at subtext (just kidding). Still, should this content be couched in a primetime kids’ show on a kids’ network?
Don’t answer yet.
I have an even more unsettling example.
Monday, September 19, 2011
Bug Bunny Was a Fag