I have memories of visiting friends when we were kids. After a day of playing outside, the two families would gather in the rec room, and watch Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom together. Picture a group of about 10 people contentedly viewing educational programming about the exotic behavior of lions in Africa.
35 years later...
My daughter and I were visiting some friends earlier this week, and we all decided to chill in front of the television after a day of adventure.
Of course, these days there are a lot more programming choices than Wild Kingdom.
America’s Got Talent seemed mutually satisfactory to everyone. We arrived on the channel just in time for a comedian to start his act. About his sex life.
Despite the protests of the ten year old girls, we decided to look for a show that was a bit more “family-oriented.”
That’s how we ended up on the Discovery Channel.
Naked and Afraid was the name of the show.
I’m not sure why, but the title made me picture newborn hairless kittens trying to survive in an old barn.
Yeah. That’s not what it’s about.
The grownups in the room stared with our mouths agape at the large screen t.v. as a naked man and woman foraged in the forest.
If you have not yet experienced this viewing pleasure, picture Survivor, Fear Factor, the story of Adam and Eve from the Bible, and Anthony Weiner’s sexts all rolled into one.
Are you kidding me? Did someone at the network actually pitch this? And someone else said yes? AND THOUSANDS OF OTHER SOMEONE ELSES SAID, “LET’S WATCH THIS!” ?!!!!!!!!
Granted, the vulnerable parts are pixelated. But the dirty bottoms and the thighs of cellulite are perfectly defined. Not the kind of Wild Kingdom I really want to see.
After we cleaned our chins off the floor, we moved on to the next show.
Okay, this should be safe. Family Feud.
“What’s the most sensitive part of your body to get a tattoo?”
“Your foot!” I yell. That was #2.
“Your private parts!” the contestant yelled.
She was right. The #1 most sensitive spot to get a tattoo is your privates according to the survey of 100 people who probably never got a tattoo but could actually visualize people attempting this amazing feat. And just to let you know, “Boobs” was #9, so that further distinguishes which specific privates are being tattooed.
Or, if you want to use Family Feud’s scientific terminology, you can just call it, “Giggle Stick and Hoo-Hoo.”
We decided we didn’t really need to watch t.v.
Picture a group of 5 people – 3 adults stunned into silence while 2 ten year olds roll around on the floor laughing at all of the information they have acquired in the last ten minutes of channel surfing.
I learned a lot, too. America has no talent, no sense of shame or decorum, and plenty of people who can imagine getting tattoos on giggle sticks and hoo-hoos.
We may not be a kingdom, but I think the lions of Africa are a lot more civilized than the people of the United States.
Last night, I dreamed that the men of Duck Dynasty and the cast of Big Bang Theory were playing Family Feud.
I woke up before either team won.
I can tell you this, though – it was a close game. Sheldon’s insistence on playing “Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock” every time they had a chance to steal a round from the Duck Dudes played a large part in allowing the gap to close.
To be honest, I’ve never actually watched Duck Dynasty, but according to many people I know, I am in the minority. I decided to do a little research into the show, and found that Sheldon and Si (the patriarch of said dynasty) are eerily similar.
Don’t believe me? Well, in the interest of science, I have compiled a little quiz of quotes for you. Your mission is simple; choose on which show each particularly brilliant statement was spoken. If you get them all right, then you —
well, it probably means that you watch a bit too much t.v.
But I won’t tell anyone.
A word to parents: While you might be worried about Twitter knowing your address and phone number, even more intimate details about what goes on in your household get shared about you every day at school. Here are a few conversations I heard amongst my Gifted and Talented students this week (of course, all of the names below are pseudonyms).
My third graders (8 years old) were using the iPad to make a puppet show video. They chose their characters from the “Talk Show Set.” Here is their group discussing their own creation.
Jay (pointing at the Talk Show Host they had chosen): Is that a boy or a girl?
Dave: It’s a girl.
Conan: No, it’s a boy.
Dave: No-o-o, it’s a girl who acts like a boy. It’s Ellen.
Jay: Ellen? Isn’t that the one on the J.C. Penney ad? My mom was talking about that.
Dave: Yeah, did you see the Facebook thing? There’s a whole thing about that. My mom –
Jay and Dave did not have the chance to go into more detail on the “J.C. Penney thing”, as the fourth group member quickly informed them that they were off-task, and they got back to work. I was slightly disappointed, though, as I was a little curious about how an 8 year old would explain the “J.C. Penney thing” about which he seemed so knowledgeable based on his Facebook source.
Strangely, Ellen made an appearance in another conversation in my classroom this week. This was an exchange amongst my four Kinder students. Keep in mind, these kids are 6 years old:
Belle: My mother is French and my father is from Puerto Rico. Of course, he speaks Spanish all of the time.
Ariel: I speak some British.
Belle: He talks in Spanish to his whole family from Puerto Rico. Of course, to his mother because she would spank him if he didn’t. (Belle chuckles at her own comment.)
Pocahantas: My mother can’t draw a thing. I tried to teach her.
Ariel: Oh, didn’t that help when you tried to teach her?
Pocahantas: No, she just wants to watch Ellen when I get home.
Belle: You should be in pageants (to Pocahantas, not to me, although that would have made much more sense).
Ariel: Do you watch –
Belle: Toddlers and Tiaras? Of course! I never miss a show. You know, they are completely different people when they are on the stage than they are when they aren’t.
Ariel nods knowingly.
Belle (to Pocahantas, again): You really should be in pageants. You’ve got a perfect face. I would love to be in pageants. The best part is they wear makeup. I really wanted Avis to win. She was the best.
Ariel again nods knowingly.
Pocahantas clearly does not know what Belle is talking about.
Jasmine (completely uninterested in this entire discussion): Sometimes I can color in the lines, but sometimes I can’t. I struggle with it a lot.
The timer goes off.
Jasmine gets the award for revealing the least about her family’s television and computer habits.
I’m wondering if their parents have any idea how much these kids are taking in at home. I think we need to start tattooing disclaimers on the feet of babies before they are released from the hospital. “Parental Warning – Nothing You Say, Do, or Watch will Ever Be Private Again.”http://www.flickr.com/photos/opensourceway/4638981545/”>opensourceway</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>
I have lost my faith in humanity. Maybe not all of it, but pretty much everyone connected to the entertainment portion.
I didn’t lose it overnight. It’s been slowly eroded over the years. It started when I was a teenager. My sister, Crash (before she had done any crashing), and I were attending a show by a world-famous magician. Before the show, as we chatted in our seats, we were approached by one of the people who apparently worked backstage. She handed a purse to my sister, and told her to raise her hand when the magician asked for a purse from a volunteer from the audience. Not knowing what to say, my sister nodded.
Now, if this had happened to me recently, I think you know what I would have done. When that magician asked for a volunteer, I would have sat on my sister’s face and raised my own hand, offering my lovely untricked-out purse to the magician.
Instead, my unassertive teenage self sat miserably in the audience through the entire show completely disenchanted as my sister enthusiastically gave up the purse that wasn’t hers to begin with for some stupid trick I don’t even remember that amazed everyone in the audience except for the two of us.
It wasn’t as though I didn’t know beforehand that there was actually no magic involved. I just didn’t want the whole nuts and bolts of the trick to be pushed into my face right before the show.
So, anyway, fast forward to today. The little faith hadn’t been worn down over the years by tales of celebrity shenanigans and political hooligans (yes, I consider politicians to be part of the entertainment group) tumbled in a giant landslide to the bottom of the canyon due to some information I received at lunch.
One of my friends, whose house is on the market, mentioned that his realtor had contacted him to see if he would be interested in allowing his house to be shown on a television show. A television show about hunting for houses. The one where they show three houses to a couple and you are supposed to guess which one they picked. During their hunt. For houses. I LOVE that show.
Here’s the kicker. Apparently, the couple for this particular episode has already chosen the house! That is so WRONG! It’s like a canned hunt! You can’t “shoot” a television show in which you are purporting that a life-changing decision is hanging in the balance when the life-changing decision was made before you even started shooting!
My friend stated that I looked like he had just told me there is no Santa Claus.
What?!!!!!! Are you friggin’ kidding me? I suppose the Elf on the Shelf is just a story, too…
O.K. I might have slightly overreacted. You would think I would have been jaded long before now by all of the junk that’s been on T.V. the past thirty years. I’m some kind of twisted Anne Frank, though, who keeps insisting that people are really good at heart. I keep forgetting that most decisions these days are made by A. Financial Corporations (who, despite recent court decisions really aren’t people) who B. have no hearts.
So, now that my friend has ruined the only “reality” show I ever watch, I should have plenty of time for blogging. There’s an up side to everything.
See, I just can’t stop channelling poor sweet Anne.
And now, if you will excuse me, I must go find
my stuffed Wonderbutt so I can pose him by the remote control I deliberately shattered he destroyed for the sake of art and comedy for my next post.