Although we were spared from the flooding and high winds associated with Hurricane Irene, we had our share of rain during the weekend, forcing the Stevens boys to stay inside much of the day Saturday. While my wife was attending the “Women of Faith” event in Washington D.C., Will and I attended the inaugural “Men of Cartoons” event in Zullinger, conveniently held at our house.
In my defense, I generally do not use TV as a babysitter, but anyone who has had a three-year old knows that there are only so many books you can read and games you can play before one of you (most likely the parent)gets bored. That is why God made outside…it is so much different than inside.
I was raised on Scooby-Doo and the Flintstones, shows which taught me absolutely nothing of value. Perhaps I am being too harsh, Scooby-Doo taught me that the caretaker of the apparently-haunted amusement park is usually guilty and the Flintstones taught me that you never order ribs at the drive-in. Now, my son is learning Spanish from Dora and Diego and Chinese from Kai Lan. This is not a complaint or being overly nostalgic, because Will is learning important lessons from his cartoons, like how to be an “eco-ranger” from someone named Moose A. Moose. My cartoons were not all mindless fun as I did accidentally learn how a bill becomes a law from “Schoolhouse Rock”.
His cartoons are not without their flaws. For example:
Franklin–Franklin is a turtle. Actually, his full name is Franklin Turtle. No problem so far, but here is where I raise my hand to object. Another character is a bear, named Bear. His classmates include a fox, an otter and a skunk with the names Fox, Otter and Skunk. Either the creative forces behind the cartoon spent way too much time on finding the perfect hat for Franklin and ran out of time to give the other characters full monikers or Franklin is the worst friend ever because he never bothered to learn his buddies’ real names. Plus, the parents of his pals follow the trend. For example, Beaver’s dad is Mr. Beaver, so apparently his son has the unfortunate name of Beaver Beaver.
Max and Ruby–Where are their parents? The show features their grandmother, but she lives near them, not with them. Studies have shown that rabbits who come from broken homes have less of a chance at leading successful lives than rabbits from two-parent households.
Toot and Puddle–Besides the ridiculous name and the lack of adult supervision, who is bankrolling these two swine’s travels around the globe? Where is piglet protective services? I get patted down for having too big of a bottle of shampoo in my carry-on and these pigs are bringing home the bacon from foreign lands?!
It was at this moment when I remembered that these were not documentaries and my favorite cartoon when I was his age featured a crime-fighting dog who was adept at martial arts.
If my son wants to watch pigs with frequent flier miles, who am I to judge? Hopefully, it will be nicer weather the rest of the week. “Relaxing” with cartoons is too stressful.
Keeping the faith and reaching for the remote.