What influenced you as kid? It’s an important question to not only answer but to also mull over for a bit. Reason being that whatever influenced you is probably influencing your kids.
You’re panicking right now. I know because I did the same thing. I mean if your major influences were the Super Steelers from the 70’s, Spiderman and John Hughes movies, you’d second guess your parenting skills too…
Why do I bring this up? Well, since it’s still a few days until Super Bowl 7, or Super Bowl 43 for you non-Steeler fans, I haven’t watched much except the NFL Network. Actual game rebroadcasts for Super Bowls 13 and 14 tonight and Friday by the way. Anyway, last Sunday the girls weren’t much in the mood for Super Bowl highlights so we turned on Boomerang. Did you know Boomerang shows a string of Scooby and Scrappy Doo shows in the mid-afternoon on Sunday? Like everyone else in their 30’s and 40’s, I hate Scrappy. Girls think he’s great though. Especially Bailey. But Bailey and Scrappy share the same metabolism and judgment so that’s not surprising.
Anyway, it got me thinking. I grew up on Saturday morning cartoons and I turned out relatively normal. But I didn’t really watch Scrappy. Which led me to write a quick list of my favorite cartoons growing up that we could use as a replacement list for Scrappy. In no particular order, here they are:
Challenge of the Superfriends. This is a good choice for the girls. The Superfriends are on the side of truth, justice and colorful costumes. Good always wins. They display teamwork, determination and tolerance. How else can you explain them letting Zan and Jana hang at the Hall of Justice? Kinda like when Charlie Sheen befriended Corey Haim in Lucas. Except the only superpower Corey Haim has is to somehow be less cool than Cory Feldman.
Scooby Doo. Doesn’t matter which incarnation of the series you’re talking about, this is the single greatest cartoon of all time. Yeah, I know, there’s no way Scoob and Shag weren’t smoking the hippie lettuce. But if you watch the show, this was a pretty wholesome bunch. They’re displaying problem solving skills and they never leave their friends behind. Plus the gang displays some nice MacGyveresque skills building traps. Engineering can be fun.
Spider Man and His Amazing Friends. Peter Parker, Bobby Drake and Angelica Jones were just three college pals living with Peter’s Aunt May who..wait a minute…Angelica was a college girl living with two dudes. Note to self: Keep girls away from Spidey, Ice-Man and Firestar.
Thundarr the Barbarian. What’s a better word for awesome? Princess Ariel was kinda hot for a cartoon and Ookla the Mok, despite being a Chewbacca rip off, was pretty cool. And Thundarr’s fabulous Sun Sword! Yes, I know, another Star Wars rip off. But where else can the girls learn cool catch phrases like “Demon Dogs!” and “Lords of Light!” Not to mention they learn survival skills in a world of savagery, super-science and sorcery.
Clue Club. Scooby clone? Yes. Totally cool? Also yes. Woofer and Whimper were hilarious. They were like Statler and Waldorf in The Muppet Show. Plus, like Scooby, the girls in Clue Club are playing a key role in foiling the forces of evil. Dotty, the youngest member of Clue Club, is also the smartest. She has a remarkably powerful supercomputer in her room that can perform forensic testing. See, it teaches science. Although I do kinda worry about the WarGames like feel to Dotty’s computer. If I ever see them playing Theaterwide Biotoxic and Chemical Warfare or Global Thermonuclear War, I’m going to feel a little uneasy.
The Real Ghostbusters. You really can only learn two things from this show. 1) When using the proton accelerators against some type of ghostly apparition and things spin wildly askew, simply reverse the polarity and everything usually turns out okay. 2) This is too scary for little kids. The Boogey Man is actually in this cartoon. Yeah, the freaking Boogey Man. The girls already have an arsenal of reasons to wake me up at 3 a.m. I don’t need to give them anymore.
There are few others but I’m not really sure what they bring to the table. Godzilla Super 90 featured Johnny Quest and Jana of Jungle in addition to the giant atomic lizard. I suppose Jana swinging through the Amazon rain forest with her albino jaguar Ghost is kind of a role model. Or she’s just a crazy jungle dweller who isn’t smart enough to wear shoes or stay away from man eating cats. ThunderCats is another that I’m not sure I want the girls watching. Mainly because I don’t really need Bailey idolizing Cheetara who has the speed of the cheetah, a power which Bailey already has mastered, and whose main battle weapon is a staff that she uses to strike or as a pole vault. There’s no way Bailey doesn’t start leaping from couch to table spinning her Hannah Montana microphone stand.
Or I could just let them watch the NFL Network…