In today’s story…

Remember when TV shows were about beating the bad guy and saving the Gumpling village and, if you were lucky, making a punny joke at the side-kick’s expense?  If you were born after 1990, no, you probably don’t.

As a parent and an educator, I shouldn’t criticize the push to have an “educational philosphy” behind all the kids shows today.  Nick Jr., Disney Jr., and PBS are in a mad rush to see who can teach the alphabet fastest, who can use shapes with the most equilateral sides, and who can have the most inclusive group of friends.   But the attention has shifted from what kids need to what parents think kids need, or rather, what marketers make parents think their kids need; seriously, why does my 3-year old know the word ‘heptagon’ and the periods of the Mesozoic Era?  How did my generation ever learn to count without Dora or learn big words without Word Girl?

Then again, networks were required to have educational programming back then, too. Mostly, it came in the form of game shows where wrong answers got you slimed, or LaVar Burton reading to us about goats.   The rest of the day was devoted to pure, shameless fluff.  Good fluff.  Fluff with clever characters and detailed plots and 2- or 3-day cliffhangers.  Fluff with fully orchestrated theme songs.  But this fluff doesn’t pass the standards of the neo-parents who want their kids reading second-grade sight words before they start kindergarten.  So, these same neo-parents are reduced to torrent-streaming the classics that they would hate for their own kids to miss out on.  Like I said, it’s good fluff!

Instead of writing the copyright holders of these brilliant shows of the 80’s and 90’s, begging them to rebroadcast for nostalgia’s sake, I want to take a second look at a few of these shows, and rescript them into something that would appeal to a CEO now.

Plot Synopsis: A non-traditional family unites, learning the negative consequences of commercialization, lying, and unfair acquisition of money.

Your Children will Learn:

  • Counting above 1 million
  • Proper seatbelt use
  • Setting and achieving goals
  • Not to trust magical personalities

That’s why you should broadcast Duck Tales in your 4:00 time slot.

 

Plot Synopsis: A scientifically proficient young girl and her dog of equal-but-different talent repeatedly save the world from a socially-challenged man who never leaves his computer terminal.  There is also an uncle, but he doesn’t help much.  (We could make him an Asian/African-American, if audiences prefer.)

Your Children will Learn

  • Alliteration
  • Mechanical techniques
  • Using tools of science to impress your boss
  • To dispose of all secret messages in sealed, sturdy containers within ten seconds of opening them

Please consider our show, Inspector Gadget, for the fall lineup.

 

Plotline: Awesome

Your Children will Learn:

  • Math

Bring back Square One.

 

Plotline: A daughter of queer parents, who may have lost her due to conservative political backlashing, nevertheless continues her parents’ tradition to teach tolerance and respect for people of all color.

Your Children will Learn:

  • All of the colors, because the other shows always leave out Indigo
  • Shapes.  (Actually, one shape.)
  • Interpersonal skills, including forgiveness of war crimes
  • Positive Thinking

In case you’re not convinced yet, think of the marketing possibility for Rainbow Brite.  Unicorn.

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If these don’t work, I have more.

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