Monday, October 6, 2014

The Death of Saturday Morning

I’ve seen a few reports this weekend from folks lamenting the death of Saturday morning cartoons.

I tried to whip up some nostalgia and/or angst about the tradition’s passing, but the best I could come up with was this:

(And to be honest, I’ve said this pretty much about TV since 1997 and about Saturday morning cartoons long before that.)

Yes, I spent a lot of time as a kid watching Saturday morning cartoons. But because we’ve never had broadcast or cable TV in our house since we got married (firstly due to economics, secondly due to the lack of compelling programming) the tradition of sitting in front of the tube for hours on Saturday morning never got to our kids.

That’s not to say we don’t watch TV. We do. Just not on TV’s schedule any more – which is part of the reason given for Saturday morning cartoons’ demise. And somewhere in that pile of DVDs and VHS tapes I’ve got some Saturday morning cartoons we recorded live from the air.

But we watch way less TV now than we did as kids, and that’s a good thing. Probably we waste more time on computers than we did back then, but I still think the time spent in front of a screen has lessened. More irritating is to listen to people call Saturday morning cartoons “sacred” or to hear people saying things like this:

It’s sad, though, that an entire generation of kids is missing out on lazy Saturdays filled with excellent cartoons. Replacing them with cheaper, educational content was bound to happen, but a little magic has been lost in the process.

What magic?

Well, okay, this magic. And this magic. This magic came on in the afternoons after school -- but is now derided as racist. As if we didn't recognize that back then. But I recall many, many lazy Saturday mornings doing other things, including playing outside.  Building entire villages out of bricks for our teddy bears. Building entire cities out of clay. And, yes, setting well-supervised fires.

Not that I want my kids setting fires. That seems dangerous, unless well-supervised. And I also don’t want them spending their Saturday mornings in front of the tube, either.

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