Because of Netflix I am able to revisit shows from my past and share them with my 5-year-old son. I never really watched the X-Men cartoon when it originally aired, but I did catch it from time to time. When we were flipping through the Netflix kids list last week (looking for VeggieTales I think) Nathan saw this X-Men and wanted to watch it. So I thought we would give it a shot.
I saw two things in that first episode 1) the themes really are too much for him to understand and 2) I would much rather him watch this than the horrible “Super Hero Squad” show that is aimed more at his age.
I tried to watch the Super Hero Squad show with him a few times, but I kept feeling more and more uncomfortable. It wasn’t because the violence was too over the top or because the themes were too big for him to deal with. I didn’t like it because it was one constant string of characters putting each other down. I mean everyone in that show tries to get a laugh by putting someone else down. The bad guys do it to the good guys. The good guys do it to the bad guys and the “teams” are even mean to each other. I finally just stopped letting him watching it because I don’t want him acting that way towards me or his friends.
That is a theme that I have found in many other TV shows aimed at children. They tend to get their humor from put downs and “sass” and generally talking back to their parents. If you watch shows aimed at tweens the wise cracking main characters are constantly getting laughs from lines that would hurt someone’s feelings in real life.
That is why I like the old X-Men. It isn’t perfect for a 5-year-old. Sometimes it can be a little scary and sometimes the heroes aren’t very heroic (which is why I like Avengers better, but I have talked about that before) but at least they aren’t constantly putting each other down.
While we are on the subject another show that I just love because of the way that the characters act is Phineas and Ferb. In that show the main characters are innovative and witty and ultimately not trying to be mischievous, they are simply using their brains (and their uncanny building skills) to occupy their bored summer days. They are respectful to their parents and generally nice to each other and other children. Even the bully character treats others with a casual niceness. Of course it helps that the stories are deliciously outrageous. It really is the one true kids show that I don’t mind sitting and watching with my boys.
I don’t really have a grand ending to this post. When you are unemployed and keeping kids as I am you spend a great deal of time thinking about kids TV so I thought I would write an interesting post about it.