Thursday, May 12, 2011

TV shows I used to watch when I was a kid

This is by no means a comprehensive list, and I tried to stay away from straight-out Saturday morning cartoons...or we'd be here all day.

The Simpsons. More than any other TV show (and a lot of things that are not TV shows), The Simpsons influenced my formative years. FOR THE BETTER. What's kind of sad is that I haven't watched a new episode since at least 2001.

The Wonder Years. Winnie Cooper, I wanted to BE you. This show was a specimen of that peculiar, difficult-to-strike balance between genuine sentiment and silly humor. Genius.

Clarissa Explains it All. I, uh, also wanted to be Clarissa, or I thought I was her, or something.

Are You Afraid of the Dark? Dramatized scary stories, on Nickelodeon. I'm sure I would find it beyond boring now.

Hey Dude. This was the most scandalous thing I watched as a kid, because it involved teens living alone (?) on a dude ranch. Don't worry mom, nothing ever happened.

Square One. So many things I know about math, and retain in my brain to this day, I learned on this show. Don't even get me started on MATHNET, either.

Rescue 911. Hosted by William Shatner!

Zorro. Now that I think about it, every single episode was a lame iteration of the same old plot. But my siblings and I loved it.

Batman. No, not any of the cool Batmans you're thinking of. THAT Batman. The one you see above.

Unsolved Mysteries. If I learned about math from Square One, I learned how to be afraid of the world at large from good old Robert Stack.

Ren & Stimpy. This had to be the stupidest thing on television, EVER. Why was it so watchable??

The Secret World of Alex Mack. This show marks the point where I grew out of, well, shows like this. I liked it. And yet.


Jen said...

I wasn't allowed to watch 'The Simpson's.' Was anyone else in that boat?

But 'Square One,' well...that ruled my childhood. And MATHNET! HELLO! Best. Thing. Ever. Do you ever find yourself reciting the Fibonaci Sequence in your best parrot voice? "One, One, Two, Three, Five...EUREKA!"

Wow. Our brains store a LOT of information.

Bridget said...

Jen, that has always been the strangest prohibition to me. My family generally watched The Simpsons together. I wasn't allowed to watch a whole lot of shows, but The Simpsons was deemed ok. Looking back, I don't think it was a mistake, not at all.

Liz Johnson said...

YES. I freaking loved "Hey Dude." And "The Wonder Years." And obviously "Clarissa Explains It All." And I continue to harbor an irrational fear that my house will burn to the ground, thanks to "Rescue 911." Did that show give anybody else nightmares?

Also, we own Ren & Stimpy on DVD. I think that show is brilliant in its stupidity. I freaking love it so much.

Natchel said...

I wasn't allowed to watch The Simpsons either! I loved Are You Afraid, The Wonder Years, Clarissa, Hey Dude, and Alex Mack. I also used to watch Doug and that game show Legend of the Hidden Temple. The show my mom wouldn't let me watch that was scandalous was the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse because of the teenage themes... considering where a lot of the stars are now, ie Brittany, Christina, I don't blame her now :)

Amanda said...

My family also watched the Simpsons together. L O V E D Square One. Saved By The Bell? Anyone? Just me? All right then.

Lindsay said...

Totally forgot about Hey Dude - watched it, loved it. Had a large crush on Fred Savage from Wonder Years. And I lived for Saved by the Bell - still have most of the episodes memorized. :)

Liz Johnson said...

The post is back... but the comments are gone? SAD.

Jennifer said...

Yeah there were some great comments before! I was going to agree with whoever said they watched Saved By the Bell and the person who wasn't allowed to watch the Simpsons, because I wasn't either.

Jen said...

Oh NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I didn't check back to read the comments until TODAY!

Jenn, I was the one who wasn't allowed to watch the Simpsons...And somehow, I translated "this-show-isn't-good-for-my-12-year-old-daughter" into "this-show-isn't-good-for-anyone-EVER," so (believe it or not) I've never seen a single episode. Isn't that funny?

Susanne said...

I never watched The Simpsons either. I think my parents thought it was bad, and I just am not that interested in adult cartoons. How did it influence you for good? I'm genuinely curious since I've never watched it. I have only seen previews and they seemed not so uplifting. But funny. :)

So sorry your comments were eaten by Blogger. I like coming by and reading them.

Suzanne Bubnash said...

The reason you were allowed to watch The Simpsons? 3 letters: D-A-D. Now that we have no young kids in the house I can admit it was an edgy hilarious social commentary.

911 Emergency & Unsolved Mysteries were Daniel's favorites.

I have no recollection of Hey Dude but all those other shows bring back memories.

Jennifer said...

I did have a professor at BYU who taught that The Simpsons was the most moral show on TV. I can't remember all her reasons, but one was that there were two parents in the house and they were married. :)

Bridget said...

Not only are the comments gone, but now apparently FlashbacksTV is its own category?? Sigh.

The thing that gets me about people not letting their kids watch The Simpsons is that sometimes, the same parents would let their kids watch stuff like 90210 or whatever (I'm talking about older kids, but still). Like Jennifer said, The Simpsons was all about a normal family that tried hard to be good parents to their kids, live within their sometimes tight means, and help each other navigate through ordinary obstacles in life. I also liked the kids' experiences at school and Lisa was like a heroine to me. The other side of the truth is that whatever inappropriate jokes there were often flew right over my head since I was so naive.

Plus, The Simpsons is so SMART. I learned so much about American culture in that show, it's not even funny. When I watch Jeopardy, and when I know the answers, sometimes it's not because I know it first-hand: it's because I know it from something that came up in the show.

If anyone wants to watch an episode, try one of my favorites: A Streetcar Named Marge, Season 4. I loved that episode as a kid because it was "funny," in high school when we read A Streetcar Named Desire and I actually got the satire, and as a mom because of the way Marge is trying to reach out of herself.

Susanne said...

Thanks for explaining that, Bridget. To be honest, my parents - actually my DAD as he was the strict one (which is weird because he is the one who grew up in the far less "Christian" family than my mom who lived her formative years as an MK in West Africa) - didn't let us watch much of anything growing up. He thought TV was a waste of time, and made us do such torturous things as read pages of the dictionary and memorize Bible verses *during summer vacation!*

I have heard someone say The Simpsons was the "most spiritual" show on TV so when you said it influenced you for the better, I really wanted to know why. I appreciate your taking the time to share your reasons!

Susanne said...

Also does anyone know whether the other 'adult' cartoons like "Family Guy" are good? I may have to start watching more animated TV. :)

Jill said...

I just had a shock when I saw the picture of "Hey Dude," because the last time I saw them they were older than me. I used to copy Brad and Melody's (spelling?) outfits.

Jessie said...

I don't remember this post (from the comments it looks like it was a victim of the Great Blogger Meltdown of 2011) but it came up on your sidebar. I'm really really late in the discussion but wanted to say that I grew up on the Simpsons, too. And my parents were THE most uptight people I knew when it came to content. I'm so glad they recognized the value in the Simpsons, because it was one of my all-time favorite family traditions. (That, and watching the X-files)


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