I find the current state of kid’s TV to be positively abysmal. Especially when my tween-age daughter tunes into most of the shows found on The Disney Channel and Nickelodeon. I Hate (with a capitol H) the way adults are portrayed on these shows. Apparently Bill Cosby agrees with me.
In an interview with ABC News, which was picked up by Yahoo News, “The Cos” reflected on his hit television show “The Cosby Show” and its groundbreaking parenting philosophy. According to Cosby, he based much of the show on his own life experience, as well as the things he hated about pop culture:
”I based the series on two important things: Number one ”¦ I hated those series where the children were brighter than the parents, and those parents had to play dumb. ”Number two was that I wanted to ”˜take the house back.”
I can certainly relate. “The Cosby Show” portrayed parents who are very different from the typical bumbling adult trope found on many other programs. Before (and after) Cosby, the typical adult on TV was in the background and always second fiddle to the bright, precocious children or teens. Often the kids on the show are outright disrespectful to their adult counterparts. It drives me nuts!
Some examples from the 1980’s are “Growing Pains” (though I still love me some Alan Thicke) and “Who’s The Boss.” Current examples of this trend can be found on “Modern Family” and basically every show on The Disney Channel for the last eight years (I’m looking at you “That’s So Raven”). There is even a popular SNL skit that pokes fun at the phenomenon:
Cosby was dismayed at how parents in particular were shown on most TV shows. According to Cosby:
”If you want to entertain children at the expense of parenting, at the expense of keeping children out of harm’s way to get these laughs, to make these parents look stupid, to make kids look like they are ultra-bright but still lost, then we have a problem.”
He touches on the idea that parents want to be liked and often focus on that more than actual parenting, which I couldn’t agree with more. Not only on television, but also in real life, you see so many parents who are more concerned with their child’s level of entertainment and comfort than their actual needs.
In order to be good parents, we need to focus less on being fun and well-liked, and more on being the parent. There is a huge push on current TV shows for the kids to be on center stage, with the adults in secondary roles. The parents aren’t on these programs aren’t the role models or authority figures they should be (and usually are in real life). Instead they are the butt of a joke or an obstacle the always smarter kids have to bypass to get what they want. I think this sends a bad message. Kids need to respect their elders. Period.
I hope this current trend of children’s show is short lived. Until then I think I will stick to my Cosby Show re-runs.