Guilty Pleasure: Kids’ TV

My kids watch a lot more TV than I did at their age.

For much of my childhood, my TV viewing was limited to half an hour a day on weekdays. That meant running home at lunchtime to catch The Flintstones. The TV was rarely on in the evening and NEVER EVER in the morning before school. Saturday morning, on the other hand, was a TV free-for-all for me and my brother as long as we kept the volume down and got our own breakfast. And Sundays were a little more lax, with my parents allowing us to watch the odd episode of Star Trek, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom or The Wonderful World of Disney.

I know part of why my kids watch more TV than I did is simple availability. While we had no more than 13 channels for years (only one or two of which ever played kids’ shows and there again, only at certain times), my kids have access to dozens of kids’ channels with 24-hour programming just for them. Not to mention all of the on-demand channels they now have at their disposal so that they can call up their favourites, well, on demand.

Another reason is convenience. It’s just so much easier to get dinner on the table if the kids are zoned out in front of the TV.

And, OK, maybe there’s just a touch of rebellion in there too. Of the “I’m the adult here and no one can tell me how much TV is too much because if I want to let my kids watch more TV in one day than I did in a week that’s my perogative as a parent and I’m sure they’ll turn out just as smart and well-adjusted as I did since I really don’t believe it’s because I was never allowed to watch Gilligan’s Island after school” variety. (Although I draw the line at SpongeBob SquarePants. That show will rot your brain.)

And if I’m being perfectly honest here, there’s one more reason my kids watch more TV than I ever did: There are some pretty funny kids’ shows out there and I don’t mind watching right alongside them. That’s right, I actually ENJOY kids’ TV.

I love the over-achieving kids on A.N.T. Farm and the family dynamics and diversity on Jessie. I get a kick out of Phineas and Ferb. I can sing every song ever sung on Austin and Ally. I even had tears in my eyes during the recent series finale of Good Luck Charlie. And don’t get me started on Dog With a Blog. The parents are hilarious, the kids are sweet, and who knew a talking dog would have some of the funniest lines on TV?

Maybe it’s because I’m too tired to watch anything on TV after 8:30 p.m. Maybe it’s because I fall asleep during any show that lasts longer than 23 minutes. Maybe it’s because even if I find an adult show that is intriguing enough to keep me awake past 8:30 and for longer than 23 minutes, the chances of me ever finding it and watching it again are slim to none (oh, for the days of only 13 channels to surf!)

Or maybe I’m filling a void that The Flintstones of my childhood just didn’t fill.

Whatever the case, my kids will continue to watch more TV than is probably good for them. But at least I’ll be curled up on the couch watching right along with them.

Except for SpongeBob SquarePants. And NEVER EVER in the morning before school–even I have my limits!

Check out Luc’s thoughts on kids’ TV.

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Whatcha Watchin’?

OK, we’ve already established that Luc and I have very different tastes in books and movies. So I’m sure you’re dying to ask, “What about TV?”

Yes, we have one. Two in fact. And if one is on, chances are so is the other because we’re in different rooms watching very different things. Here’s a taste of what I’ll be watching once the kids are in bed.

My Go-To Network

  • HGTV Canada: If I could program my TV to automatically go to this channel when I turn it on I would. Actually, since it’s pretty much always the last channel I watched, that happens anyway, but you get what I mean. I will watch just about anything this network has to offer. Repeatedly. Pretty houses, pretty decor, pretty gardens…how to buy property, how to sell property, how to improve your property…renos, refurbishings, before-and-afters… HGTV lets me escape from my Lego-strewn, hand-me-down-furnished, overly cluttered and always-in-need-of-a-good-cleaning living room to a world of freshly painted, perfectly organized, throw-pillow-matching bliss.

Wouldn’t Miss It

  • The Amazing Race: This has been my reality show of choice for at least 17 of its 22 seasons. I could do without the bickering and the roadblocks where they have to consume some icky local delicacy, but I’m fascinated by the tasks they have to complete and the fears they have to overcome. (Water and heights being the most common and the most entertaining, especially when combined in, say, bungee jumping over a shark-filled tank. Kidding. But wouldn’t that be cool?) I am so dedicated to this show that Luc knows on Sunday nights he will be putting the kids to bed no matter whose turn it technically is, because Mommy would rather neglect her children than miss one minute of it. Plus, it’s good for my health, because the way it makes my heart pound during the sprint for the pit stop is about the only cardio I get in a week.

Like to Catch It

  • Modern Family: Because it’s funny.
  • Til Debt Do Us Part: Because it’s money.
  • Oprah’s Lifeclass, Oprah’s Next Chapter, Oprah Behind the Scenes, Oprah: Where Are They Now?: Because it’s Oprah.

Can’t Be Bothered

  • Anything other than The Amazing Race that plays on the same day at the same time every week. I won’t remember what day. I won’t remember what time. I definitely won’t remember which channel. I’ll watch it once and never find it again.
  • Anything that requires me to follow an ongoing storyline. I’ll miss an episode and be lost forever (happened with Lost, come to think of it). Also, these types of shows usually play on the same day at the same time every week. See bullet above.

Guilty Pleasure

  • Say Yes to the Dress: OK, I’ll admit it, this is not exactly quality viewing. But ever since I sat in a hotel room by myself following a grueling day of going through my recently deceased grandmother’s belongings and watched a Say Yes to the Dress marathon on TLC I’ve been hooked. (I think it was 6 episodes. It might have been 10. Let’s just say however long it took me to finish the bottle of wine was how long I watched.)

The Alien Connection

  • Luc and I are rarely in front of the same TV at the same time watching the same thing. Yes, he might pause to watch a segment of The Amazing Race if he’s passing through the room and it catches his eye, but my show selections, generally speaking, are not going to entice him to plunk himself down beside me and watch. Unless, that is, the show is about aliens. Ancient Aliens. Alien Mysteries. Documentaries about Roswell. Certain episodes of William Shatner’s Weird or What?. It’s an odd thing we share, this enjoyment of all things alien. Maybe it harkens back to when we were dating and used to watch The X-Files together. Wherever it comes from, it gets us a little snuggle time on the sofa and proves, yet again, that no matter how different we are, we do have a few (quirky) things in common.

Find out about Luc’s taste in TV.