Children's Programming Not So Innocent Anymore

Editor’s Note: Please welcome Tommy Wood and encourage his return! — JN

Could it be that somewhere, someone is targeting our kids? Not with bullets made of lead but with surgical strikes of agenda. A scheme scripted and softly veiled (sometimes not) into the nonsensical programming they love so much. As if the ridiculous plot points and mind-numbing hyperactivity aren’t bad enough, there is something else in play that’s even more contrived than their recycled storylines. Some might think me hypersensitive, but consider this… if you see it in media, it is on purpose. It was written, rehearsed, shot, edited and delivered.

If it’s in there, it’s intentional. Never forget that.

How about a date?

So what, then, am I so tweaked about? I’m a father of three children; ages six, eleven and thirteen. For years, it has troubled me that a selection of children’s shows were laced with strains of propaganda and amoral thought. Some suggest they have scientific proof that modern children’s programming dumbs one down. But, it has the potential to be much more dangerous than that. No matter what side of the political fence you are on, there is one thing upon which I think we can all agree. We don’t want our children exposed to certain subject matter before they are ready, much less have someone else’s opinion subconsciously embedded in their minds.

I’m guessing by now you would like an example. I’m cool with that. As funny as the show can be, one of the repeat offenders is Nickelodeon’s iCarly. They follow the standard “aimed at tweens” obsession with first kisses, gross-out gags, rebellion and celebrity status. The show is full of small desensitizing moments that include a half-naked chubby boy, made up “cuss” words and disrespect for adults. Not too long ago, an episode called iWant MY Website Back aired. Spencer, Carly’s crazy adult brother, dressed in elderly drag in order to hoodwink the grating Nevel. The affable Jerry Trainor, who plays Spencer, sold the gag and yes, it was funny when an older man was mistakenly taken with her… I mean him. If it stopped there, fine. Of course, it did not. Later in the episode the doorbell rings, and it’s the old man. With a desperate tone, he tells Spencer to put the wig back on, and they can try again. At a minimum, this brings into question sexual orientation. So many issues are layered in that moment that we almost have to applaud the writer’s skill at subtext (just kidding). Still, should this content be couched in a primetime kids’ show on a kids’ network?

Don’t answer yet.

I have an even more unsettling example. Remember … if it’s in there, it is on purpose.

Disney just launched a new series called Kickin’ It. (Speaking of new Disney series… Disney, please cancel A.N.T. Farm. It just sucks. I digress.) The third episode of Kickin It contains a suggestion I would never have expected to see in a kids’ show. Ever. One of the characters, Jerry, claims to have the ability to talk to dogs. Because he was raised by wolves. In the episode, Dummy Dancing, Jerry distracts a police K-9 dog, so his friends can sneak into an office and steal a flash drive. Jerry talks to the dog. The dog just sits there, as you would expect. Then, with romantic undertones, Jerry tells the dog, “My perfect day would end with a moonlit walk on the beach.” Next, a policewoman walks up and the conversation goes like this…

POLICEWOMAN – What are you doing with my dog?

JERRY – I’m just getting to know her.

POLICEWOMAN – You know he’s a boy right?

JERRY – This is really awkward.


POLICEWOMAN – It is for all of us.

I agree. Awkward.

Am I going to point to sexual orientation here? No. At least not the way you might think. This moment in the story is nothing short of a subtle implication towards bestiality. Call me crazy, but it’s in there. It’s on purpose. The suggestion is that if this dog were a female… maybe Jerry has a shot with her. Liberal or conservative… this is wrong. Not right. With some people in this world trying to remove the stigma of pedophilia, I have no doubt there are those who have no limits.

Parents should not have to be on guard concerning children’s programming. They should be able to feel comfortable about leaving their kids in front of the TV for thirty minutes. I want to commend a couple of shows that, in my opinion, give them that. Even though many times they follow the recipe of talking louder than the last person who spoke, shows like Good Luck Charlie, So Random and Spongebob Squarepants give parents that level of security. At least for now.

We all have to be aware. Turn it off it you deem it wrong for your family. Don’t just accept it. Demand better. Support the good stuff. Let the producers know what matters to you. And, if this doesn’t matter to you… it should.

Full Episode of iCarlyiWant My Website Back

Full Episode of Kickin ItDummy Dancing


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