Sunday, February 6, 2011

Teletubbies and the Apocalypse.

Everyone wakes up at 3 in the morning. At least, from the Tweets and Facebook statuses I've seen, it's all "Awake again, sigh..." And no doubt Fox News put Red Eye on at exactly that time, as it's ratings are often more than shows on during prime time. Take the scene in Psychonauts where everyone's brain is stolen. They awake from their total lobotomy with the only urge being to watch TV. But I digress. And I usually have ESPN on, for Sportscenter is about as mind numbing as you can get, but at 3 they switch over to a replay of whatever game they had going the night before. So I turn it over to Fox News, for if I'm going to be brainwashed, I might as well use something I agree with. Or I'll have it on the Disney Channel, where I watch their brilliant sitcoms.

So it's on this particular night that I wake up at 4 hearing this loud squeaking noise coming from the tube. It's on Disney Channel, and they have switched to their little kids programming, where blobs of computer generated bubbliness bounce around with nothing to say but squeaks and squawks, utter foolishness. Even those shows that claim to be educational are enough to make a sane person want to go on a rampage. I usually wake up to Little Einsteins, and I only hope I can find the remote and switch it before any of my brain cells die.

Whatever happened to the shows like Sesame Street, or Electric Company, where the shows actually did educate as well as entertain. I know that Postman decried the usage of 30 second educational commercials that were spliced together to make Sesame Street. But looking at the cognitive processes of children growing up during the age of Television, it's obvious that most children now learn visually, from quick flashes of information through colorful lights and stimulating sounds. It's a wonder that everyone doesn't have ADHD in one form or another. But it's better to have some educational value than none at all. It's the advent of education in the MTV generation. Entertaining, disconnected, flashy, and relatively shallow.

I think the change harbors back to the hit show Teletubbies. Let Falwell and Robertson complain all they want about the purple one with the purse, the real problem about this, and other, shows, is what Harold Bloom called the Closing of the American Mind. Let's not even attempt at learning, but let's put together a show whose only purpose is to keep the children stimulated and, most importantly, quiet. At this point (and followed up by Barney), Television became a babysitter, something for parents to use to escape their own children. And that's necessary, perhaps, but not because the children have no discipline at all. And when we do use TV in this manner, shouldn't there be something on that at least marginally educates or molds a child's mind in other ways than bright lights and visual stimuli? Give me the early Nickelodeon shows Mr. Wizard's World or even Blue's Clues. Now there was a good, educational show on the level with Mr. Roger's Neighborhood.

I had a couple of complaints about the lineup on Disney. I never got up at all before 6am, although I guess at that time the TV stations that we had didn't come on before 6. Now, with hundreds of channels and 24 hour broadcasting, there is always something on for almost any demographic. But nothing that I want to watch, or at least, nothing I want on in the background while I sleep. And I certainly don't want something on at 4am with loud squeaky noises. I guess I could use music, and have in the past, but it just doesn't work as well. I did try some of the Internet radio stations, with New Age music, but they used some music with Native American chants on them, and they can get loud. But I digress. My point is that Disney should put something on that isn't toddler related in the middle of the night. I'm sure there are reasonable, even useful reasons for that, but for me, personally, it's annoying.

Also, Disney has a huge library of specials, series, movies, etc... that it can use to entertain people of all ages at all times of the night. I remember back in the 90's when Disney would show episodes of Zorro and other black and white shows for the older generation. And that is something they should consider doing again. They have a Disney for toddlers, Disney Jr., one for boys, XD, and the regular programming for Tweens. So let's have a Disney channel for adults.

Good, wholesome family shows based on the huge library of media that Disney already owns. It would be a good channel to fall asleep to, and would rival Nick at Nite in variety and in ratings. Let's not forget about the older generations, even as we gear toward the young folk with their credit cards and their flashy, short attention spans.

No comments:

Post a Comment