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Then vs. now


Samantha Weltzin

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I know I don't usually venture out of the "character discussion" forum, but I thought I would mention this.

Compare to

This explains a lot about my generation vs. the younger generation.

I know this sounds like a "times were better then" whining session, but the evidence speaks for itself. Television programming for children is being dumbed down far too much. I have a few ideas of why this would be, but that gets into some pretty deep social commentary, and some of it gets into the realm of conspiracy theory, and I'm sure most of you won't want to discuss that. :P

So instead, what do you think? Is children's programming being dumbed down these days, or is that just a 25-year-old's complaining about the "good old days"?

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Sesame street wins so much. Say what you will about it, but it was some quality children's programming.

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It really was. I went through various other related links. That one's probably the best example of the high-implication and human-nature-focused aspects of the show, but the others were likewise clever and showed somewhat realistic reactions from the characters to various circumstances and interactions.

Everyone in Dora, on the other hand, seems to be a pre-programmed robot with specified reactions to certain phrases. "Swiper, no swiping" for instance, elicits the unbelievable reaction of "Aw maaaaan!" Who reacts like this? Is he really trumped just because people told him not to "swipe?" Wouldn't he try "swiping" anyway when no one's looking?

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I didn't watch the links, as I watched entirely different series back when I was younger. We actually had our own version of Sesame Street. Had the same Muppet shorts in it, but the rest was totally different, and in Norwegian of course. I loved it anyway.

And it has struck me several times that childs television has gotten A LOT dumber over the years. This is not just the nostalgia factor that kicks in, but I genuinely believe it's the case. I have tried to sit down and watch modern BarneTV (Child's TV. Airs 18.00.), but it seems like the focus is on learning how to make the most amount of noise over nothing. Really quite sad, when one thinks back to what it used to air. The animals of Farthing Wood (Best children series ever. British, I doubt it came to the US.), Sesame Station(Our version of Sesame Street) and countless more, they were all great.

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Oh, I loved Sesame Street... My mum recorded it for me and would let me watch it again when I was off school with illness. Good times...

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Very few children's shows today actually stimulate the brain. Most of it here in America is just trying to teach children Spanish, which is done for a BS reason. Too many illegal immigrants here that refuse to learn English, forcing Americans to learn Spanish.

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Very few children's shows today actually stimulate the brain. Most of it here in America is just trying to teach children Spanish, which is done for a BS reason. Too many illegal immigrants here that refuse to learn English, forcing Americans to learn Spanish.

Yeah, we get Dora the Explorer over here. Also Boobah's, In the Night Garden (which is bloody terrifying, let me tell you), and other stupid things that don't really teach anything. it's just a story, with maybe a hint of moral to it. Whereas with Sesame Street, you learned shapes, numbers, colours.

Tellytubbies was alright, although it wasn't out when I was a kid, I used to sit and watch it with my little brother, who's now 10, and he loved it. It really caught his imagination. Zero Flare was still pretty young at the time too, maybe about 6 or 7, so we'd all watch it together, haha. :3

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I know what you all mean, I've just tried to sit down and watch children's programming today, and there is nothing valuable about it, it's just dumb!

Although, it might be because we've outgrown this kind of programming, and it doesn't appeal to us anymore. While the older stuff we all watched when we were little reminds us WHEN we were little so it brings back warm feelings. So the nostalgia factor DOES play into this a bit.

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I know what you all mean, I've just tried to sit down and watch children's programming today, and there is nothing valuable about it, it's just dumb!

Although, it might be because we've outgrown this kind of programming, and it doesn't appeal to us anymore. While the older stuff we all watched when we were little reminds us WHEN we were little so it brings back warm feelings. So the nostalgia factor DOES play into this a bit.

A bit? Alot.

Yeah, we get Dora the Explorer over here. Also Boobah's, In the Night Garden (which is bloody terrifying, let me tell you), and other stupid things that don't really teach anything. it's just a story, with maybe a hint of moral to it. Whereas with Sesame Street, you learned shapes, numbers, colours.

Tellytubbies was alright, although it wasn't out when I was a kid, I used to sit and watch it with my little brother, who's now 10, and he loved it. It really caught his imagination. Zero Flare was still pretty young at the time too, maybe about 6 or 7, so we'd all watch it together, haha. :3

To be fair, in the night garden issopposed to be for kids who won't go to sleep.

People slam kids cartoons today, and with good reason. But for us the Turtles was Ben 10. We had loads of crap too forgoten in the mists of time. Like Ring Raiders.

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I remember reading/hearing claims that more shows were being tailored for the exceptionally young, and hence they seem rather dumbed down (I believe Dora might be one of those). But even the shows that aren't intended for that audience seem rather stupid these days. I view it as misplaced concern for the fragile, still developing minds of our young people. How can ANYONE expect their minds to develop properly if the programming doesn't depict realistic people and situations? Instead all it sounds like these days is somebody trying to create programmed responses through repetition. "Can you say, 'hola'?" And then the idiot box pats the child on the back (figuratively speaking) and says "Very GOOD!" to reward them for simply repeating what it said. That's how you train a DOG, not a human child.

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I remember reading/hearing claims that more shows were being tailored for the exceptionally young, and hence they seem rather dumbed down (I believe Dora might be one of those). But even the shows that aren't intended for that audience seem rather stupid these days. I view it as misplaced concern for the fragile, still developing minds of our young people. How can ANYONE expect their minds to develop properly if the programming doesn't depict realistic people and situations? Instead all it sounds like these days is somebody trying to create programmed responses through repetition. "Can you say, 'hola'?" And then the idiot box pats the child on the back (figuratively speaking) and says "Very GOOD!" to reward them for simply repeating what it said. That's how you train a DOG, not a human child.

I was wondering if someone else was going to discuss this. I absolutely agree with you here: We have placed far too much of a "sacred" status on our children, and we shelter them from reality, only exposing them to ideals. The "self-esteem" movement is still around, and I think it's robbing people of the ability to take hard knocks. If I remember correctly, there was actually an episode of Sesame Street (not when I was growing up; it was later) that dealt with the issue of cancer. I wish there were some sort of children's show that could do that today, but I have yet to find anything that would ever consider such a dark topic, and it all comes back to this "protect the children" bullcrap. Kids are not as innocent as everyone seems to think; just look at how vicious and cruel they can be on the playground for testament to that. Because of this, why not address real-world issues in a controlled environment they're comfortable with, so they don't break down when they come across the same issues in adverse situations?
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Most cartoons seem to be getting dumbed down, yes.

Most and not all, of course.  There are still certainly some good cartoons out there.  (Phineas and Ferb, Avatar:  The Last Airbender)

Nickelodeon tends to have the dumbest shows, IMO.  They used to have good shows, too, but now they seem to just show Spongebob all the time.

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Some kids shows today aren't so bad. I watched Dragon Tales just because it had dragons, and it actually amused me now and then. Though it is causing problems with non-hispanic children since all the human characters in the show are hispanic. I've read too many parental reviews on the show where their children are asking, "Why do only Mexicans get to play with the dragons?"

How is a parent supposed to really respond to something like that to a small child? Not that I have any problem with hispanic people, mind you (I'd be quite insane or dead if I did, what with living in SoCal), but it's getting sad that English is becoming a second language in America. Or atleast it is in SoCal.

And as for the Sesame Street with cancer, I have heard in Africa that there is an alternate version of Sesame Street where one of the characters has AIDS.

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Oh, to clarify: I don't mean kids' shows in general. I mean educational stuff for early childhood. The stuff that is supposed to be teaching primarily rather than entertaining. Adventure Time and Airbender -are- awesome, but they're mostly for entertainment, not education.

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I think it's just a change in mentality. There is more and more choice now, and people, even kids, are choosing entertainment over learning.

However, in all seriousness, the shows aren't helping. Sesame street used to be a rare balance of fun and learning, which parents could even watch with their kids and still be entertained. I tuned in to the kid's channel after seeing this thread, and I have to say, some of that stuff was downright disturbing. They've even watered down Sesame Street quite a bit, but I still find it has a certain quality that other shows lack.

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Yeah. It makes sense. Ray Bradbury was afraid of exactly this sort of thing when he wrote Fahrenheit 451. Not to say we're there yet, but there -is- a heavy leaning toward an entertainment culture here. Just look at an actor's salary compared to a professor's and it becomes clear as day.

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I think it's just a change in mentality. There is more and more choice now, and people, even kids, are choosing entertainment over learning.

I don't think people are truly "choosing" anything - the parents have no choice because increasing commitments to their jobs keep them from having enough braincells or time after work to really care what they or their children see, and the children themselves don't have the capacity to understand that what they're watching is stupid as hell and NOT good for them.

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I know I don't usually venture out of the "character discussion" forum, but I thought I would mention this.

Compare to

This explains a lot about my generation vs. the younger generation.

I know this sounds like a "times were better then" whining session, but the evidence speaks for itself. Television programming for children is being dumbed down far too much. I have a few ideas of why this would be, but that gets into some pretty deep social commentary, and some of it gets into the realm of conspiracy theory, and I'm sure most of you won't want to discuss that. :P

So instead, what do you think? Is children's programming being dumbed down these days, or is that just a 25-year-old's complaining about the "good old days"?

i must agree with you, the children shows (im 23 btw so :P) nowadays are all educational......when i was younger we had (or at least I had) Power Rangers, Swat Kats, Animaniacs, and many other shows that had nothing to deal with education (unless you want to consider not getting your butt kicked as a lesson) but a friend of mine and I have had this disscusion.....back when we were younger.....you didnt need enduindos to find soemthing funny. Like the cookie monster vid....it was simple...and everyone could get a laugh out of it no matter what.....but nowadays it is ....Kids have their shows and adults have theirs.....it is somewhat annoying....cause say for example....you like the movie Cats and Dogs (mainly that since numba 2 is coming) if you like it you are considered a big kid....WHY???????

so no you are not ranting about the "good old days" there is a difference

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i must agree with you, the children shows (im 23 btw so :P) nowadays are all educational......when i was younger we had (or at least I had) Power Rangers, Swat Kats, Animaniacs, and many other shows that had nothing to deal with education (unless you want to consider not getting your butt kicked as a lesson) but a friend of mine and I have had this disscusion.....back when we were younger.....you didnt need enduindos to find soemthing funny. Like the cookie monster vid....it was simple...and everyone could get a laugh out of it no matter what.....but nowadays it is ....Kids have their shows and adults have theirs.....it is somewhat annoying....cause say for example....you like the movie Cats and Dogs (mainly that since numba 2 is coming) if you like it you are considered a big kid....WHY???????

so no you are not ranting about the "good old days" there is a difference

Thing is, I actually learned stuff from Animaniacs, it would try and teach kids things. In a Minerva Mink episode, I learned that the full moon comes around roughly every 28 days. Then there's the continents song, the Magellan song, and a other things I don't remember. Granted it had the innuendos in Animaniacs, but I didn't get them as a kid. I found the other things I did get funny. Then as I grew up, I started to get the innuendos and found THOSE funny.

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Thing is, I actually learned stuff from Animaniacs, it would try and teach kids things. In a Minerva Mink episode, I learned that the full moon comes around roughly every 28 days. Then there's the continents song, the Magellan song, and a other things I don't remember. Granted it had the innuendos in Animaniacs, but I didn't get them as a kid. I found the other things I did get funny. Then as I grew up, I started to get the innuendos and found THOSE funny.

Wow. The only interesting bit of animaniacs is pinky and brain. The rest was crap.

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Wow. The only interesting bit of animaniacs is pinky and brain. The rest was crap.

When I was a younger, my favourite was the Animaniacs themselves, and The Goodfeathers. When I got older, it was Minerva Mink, and Mindy and Buttons.

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Guest Julius Quasar

Very few children's shows today actually stimulate the brain. Most of it here in America is just trying to teach children Spanish, which is done for a BS reason. Too many illegal immigrants here that refuse to learn English, forcing Americans to learn Spanish.

Agreed on both parts! :yes:

Those "School House Rocks" cartoons are crap, even the generation they were targeting hated them. 

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Thing is, I actually learned stuff from Animaniacs, it would try and teach kids things. In a Minerva Mink episode, I learned that the full moon comes around roughly every 28 days. Then there's the continents song, the Magellan song, and a other things I don't remember. Granted it had the innuendos in Animaniacs, but I didn't get them as a kid. I found the other things I did get funny. Then as I grew up, I started to get the innuendos and found THOSE funny.

Don't forget Freakazoid and the like.

But, see, the funny thing is that "education" doesn't have to be taken entirely literally. Even a show without a "lesson" in it can teach you about life. It's just a matter of portraying realistic characters in semi-realistic situations. It's the reason that so much literature has come to be revered: There are lessons to be learned about how to act in society, and much to be taught about the varying degrees of human nature.

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