I discovered what could be seen as a creepy flaw in my credibility as a fifty-two year old man. I shocked myself into this realization as I thought about a story-line from Phineas and Ferb. It was true. I could recall a few story-lines from Phineas and Ferb, then a few from Wizards of Waverly Place, and then some other amazingly annoying Disney/Nicelodeon shows.Suddenly I was an old pervert driving around in my car thinking about kid shows. It’s not what you’re thinking. I’m really not sitting around by myself in the late hours watching the kiddie channels.
Just so you’ll know, Phineas and Ferb happens to be an exception because it is very smartly written. And just so you know I’m not rationalizing, I’ve received confirmation from several adult friends -men and women who are productive members of society and don’t live at home with their parents- that agree. This is no excuse for my tendency to discuss the story-lines from this show in public with adults that don’t necessarily know the show as if we’re talking about the latest episode of Modern Family. The clever humor is almost always situational so no matter how much I explain no one ever gets it. “Guess you had to watch it.”
I had to be a moron to miss the early signs. I flashed back to the day I was spending a little down time sitting on the couch with my ten year old daughter who was watching iCarly. I was comfortable and it was fun watching my daughter laugh. But once you start watching one of those things your brain is turned off to the outside world and you lose control of your will to do something else. Suddenly you’re watching the fifth episode and don’t even care. Midstream through one episode my daughter got bored and left the room leaving me on the couch, by myself, watching iCarly….a show about some teenage girls and boys.
I don’t know if I dozed off a little but I swore I heard the voice of god, “What are you doing??” A little too calmly I answered, “Watching TV”. Then god, who is sounding a little like my wife using her confused and almost irritated voice says, “iCarly? YOU are watching iCarly by yourself??” My head twisted to see my wife standing behind the couch. Reality struck and I quickly looked for my accomplice and of course she’s gone. I’m trying to convince my wife she was just there with me and even if she’s wasn’t “Spencer was pretending he was dead so his art would sell and…” You get the picture.
I should have seen it coming when my thirteen year old son left the kitchen in disgust because I was laughing so hard at the Phineas and Ferb rap song where Candice misses busting Phineas and Ferb, again, and starts sputtering, “Buh buh buh buh but, buh buh buh buh but” in a good solid rap beat and then…anyway, you get the picture. My son did NOT think I was funny and to this day will not watch the show with me in the room.
There are simple reasons for why I know all these kiddie show story lines. I love a story of any kind. I sit and watch shows that I don’t like with my kids and my wife all the time. I love spending time with them and it’s neat to see what they consider interesting. There’s always some element of the story that will hold my attention if I try hard enough. There’s always a character that has something about them that makes you want to watch them develop or die, or they might just be intriguing like a weird old aunt; I can make it work. The hardest thing to walk away from is resolution. We all want to know how things turn out. Once you’ve watched enough of the story to get a little of the plot under your skin you won’t feel complete unless you see how it turns out. Even if it looks like the brat kid on Supernanny might be reformed, I will watch it again and again hoping that one day she will ask the dad, “Where’s your belt?” Waiting for some kind of resolution is what keeps me on the couch.
My wife has told the story of me watching iCarly by myself several times to friends. I just pray my kids never catch me watching “Say Yes to the Dress” by myself.