I’m going to sound like an old woman (which, lately, I’ve been feeling like anyways) for a moment: “Back when I was a youngin’…” TV was so much better than today.
Go ahead and think way, way, way back — to the ’90’s. Back when Nickelodeon had cool game shows, slime, and talking babies instead of talking sponges. ABC still ran TGIF, and Saturday morning cartoons were Buster and Babs and Yacko, Wacko and Dot, not Ash and Pikachu. And — my favorite! — I would get up early for school so I could watch “Rocky & Bullwinkle.”
It was all so cheesy, but it was all SO GOOD. Shows like “Boy Meets World” and “Full House” were after-school specials in the truest sense of the word — oh no, DJ might be developing anorexia, and Shawn’s parents took off again! — but I’m still watching re-runs (thanks, TBS, for that awesome morning lineup of “Saved by the Bell” and “Fresh Prince”). We were invested in characters’ lives and relationships. I can’t imagine people caring that much about Hannah Montana’s boyfriend or life enough to religiously watch for eight, nine, ten seasons.
Or maybe it’s just that, as an adult, I can’t see myself watching those shows at all. That’s so sad because when I was little, the best part about watching “Doug” and “Rugrats” was that I could enjoy the cute adventure Tommy, Chuckie, Phil and Lil went on, while my parents got all the jokes that went over my head and laughed at the pop culture references in Doug’s fantasy montages. Can I imagine myself, as a parent, sitting through an episode of “The Fairly Odd-Parents” and finding it funny? Not really.
It seems there’s been a general shift in the idea of “television” — what makes a good show, what makes a sitcom/drama/action show, what is worth putting on TV. Sitcoms like “The Office” and “30 Rock” and “Scrubs” are a different breed than classics like “Friends” and “Cheers” and “Seinfeld.” Reality TV has all but taken over. Even The WB is gone, replaced by what I can only describe as the more “mature” CW (“Gossip Girl” would never have made it on The WB).
I do enjoy a few current shows. I’ve rather embarassingly become addicted to “Gossip Girl” and “90210” (you know you have guilty pleasures, too). And “Scrubs” was one of the few sitcoms remaining that I really had to watch every week, although I think it may have just jumped the shark with this new season. But I don’t think anything will ever make me call my friend screaming and crying the way that final episode of “Friends” did (yeah, fun fact for you there; I know I wasn’t the only one sobbing when Rachel showed up at Ross’s apartment at the end of that voicemail). It might be that I just miss being a kid and being able to find enjoyment in something simple like watching people go down the Pie Slide on “What Would You Do?”
And the little kid in me is really, really not OK with the idea of “my shows” popping up on places like Nick at Nite. No thank you, sir, that’s the place for shows from my parents’ childhoods.
Way to make me feel old again.