arts, movies, music, pop culture

Things a good parent has watched with their children

Or I should say, a culturally, socially and morally responsible adult who realizes the profound impact the television and movie industries have had on their upbringing and personal relevance to modern society. Meaning… here are things that Robin loves… not necessarily in this order.

Star Wars Trilogy
Why? Obvious really. Note I said trilogy. And don’t make me go into the order if you do decide to embark on Episodes 1-3. There is NO WAY it works in sequence from 1-6. I refuse to argue with you on this.

Schoolhouse Rock episodes
Why? Because knowledge is power. I love the History collection – I’m just a bill, No more kings, The shot heard round the world, and ok, well all of them. I also like Three is a magic number which is actually the way I do 3x tables to this day. In my head. But sometimes out loud. And then there’s all the grammar songs that taught me about conjunctions and adjectives and adverbs and interjections! uh huh!

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Why? This is quite possibly Gene Wilder’s finest work. His comedic timing is impeccable, as are his facial expressions. The music is odd and fun and corny. The costuming, staging, and lighting are deliciously ’70s and will look incredibly dated to your kids. This is a lesson in appreciating vision and cultural context. If they complain, give them some construction paper and a camcorder and tell them to do better.

The Hobbit, a Rankin-Bass animated film
Why? It is ridiculous. Also very dated music with a really painful tenor. Well, that’s not fair really. He is fine except when he holds a note out too long. He actually has a nice voice. Keep in mind it’s actually a made for TV series so there are obvious cuts for commercial placements. You could have fun with it and make your kids create commercials while you pause the DVD. or you can teach them that “Let’s go out to the kitchen and have ourselves a snack” song …

The Muppet Show
Why? It’s time to get things started! So the Muppet Show was on Monday night primetime and I believe in reruns at some point because I distinctly remember our family watching it together. It was the kind of show that had enough for everyone of every age, the jokes you don’t get until you’re older, the goofy puppet antics for little ones and the fantastic live performers who were the best of the best, of the time, and some quite timeless. After purchasing the entire collection of season 1, it was reinforced to me how groundbreaking Jim Henson and Frank Oz really were and how they have forever changed the way kids, and therefore adults, watch and interact through storytelling. And jokes. They have some good jokes.

I’m sure I could go on, but those are the top five which might keep some people busy for awhile. The follow ups would include things like The Dark Crystal (also a Jim Henson joint and I guess I could just make it easy and say everything by Jim Henson), The Little Rascals/Our Gang (which obviously are before my time, but we watched them a lot as kids and still do as adults because they are awesome), ditto for I Love Lucy. I personally would include The Monkees and Battle of the Planets, aka G-Force, aka Gatchaman, aka Voltron (oh just kidding – but they are fairly similar in some ways and I still tend to get them confused).

I’ve always said that if I ever get around to having children of my own, that I will educate them in the manner in which I was – meaning we’ll start with the oldest shows/movies first and not let them see any of the modern stuff for awhile. I feel strongly that if you try to watch some of these after having seen big epic blockbuster animations that are out these days, your kids will only be frustrated and bemused. Unless they are cool enough to appreciate history. I mean, that is, if you do, they probably will too. But they may not admit it. Not until they are parents and say things to their kids that start with the phrase “Back in my day…”



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