Children’s Programming: Walking on Thin Ice

You remember Sesame Street for several reasons. The first reason is that the show created several characters that serve the purpose of being annoying and cute at the same time. The second reason is for all of the havoc that everybody raised about the show for various reasons. Sometimes, the havoc is well intended. We would never let our kids watch Elmo interact with a skimpily dressed Katy Perry. (Bad Elmo!) However, Sesame Street did do a fantastic job with the African American girl muppet adoring her hair. (Okay, Sesame Street, we’ll forgive you for the Katy Perry fiasco… maybe. However, something else came up with Sesame Street and it’s not even Sesame Street’s fault this time. You probably heard that many people wanted Bert and Ernie to get married. I know that many people think that this would increase gay tolerance, and I’m not an anti-gay person, but the thinking behind this is beyond stupid. From a heterosexual point of view, it would be like Arthur and Francine getting married on Arthur. Bert and Ernie are just friends, just like Arthur and Francine are just friends. Also, kids are in the cootie stage. Plus, do you really want the Bert and Ernie living situation to become very awkward to explain to kids? Again, children’s programming isn’t always the place for political messages.

Even though I have talked a lot about Sesame Street in this article, other children shows have become the firing source of political pundits over the years. What about Smurfette on The Smurfs or Jessie’s appearance in Toy Story 2? The reason for the sudden appearance of these female characters is very simple. More money could be made if they had a character who could appeal to female audiences. (Sorry Little Bo Peep, you don’t count in Toy Story.) However, the political pundits questioned if it was a way to prove that the Smurfs and Woody and Buzz weren’t gay. (To infinity… and beyond!) People… it’s just children’s programming! Get a life! Another prime political example is Peanuts. Political pundits started to freak out when they realized that there wasn’t an African American character. I don’t blame them for that, but the Peanut Gallery rushed out a one-dimensional character, who still really wasn’t present a lot of the time, named Franklin. If they were given more time, the Peanut Gallery possibly could’ve created the next Charlie Brown, if the political pundits weren’t chasing them down. When the political pundits finally got Franklin, it was time to question the behavior of the women on the show. (I even heard once, “Every woman on the show is whiny and women get treated better on Sex and the City!”) No, they don’t. Charlie Brown isn’t rushing into bed with Lucy. Also, everybody, even women, have met a Lucy, whether male or female, at some point in their life. Oh, I almost forgot. What about the Spongebob ADHD scandal? I have one answer for that. Many boring teachers have a higher chance of giving kids ADHD than Spongebob (clock watching, anyone?). So, everybody, breathe in and think twice before you scream, “Political move,” about a children’s show.

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