The New Childhood May Not Be DoomedPosted: September 17, 2011
Since it was Saturday, I decided to check out the TV show line-up this morning for nostalgia’s sake. What I found first disappointed me, then pleasantly surprised me.
I’ll go for the good stuff first. Disney Channel has a relatively new show called “A.N.T. Farm”. Being a Disney show, it comes on repetitively at other times besides Saturday mornings, but I’m glad I caught it anyway. It’s a children’s sitcom about a gang of preteen geniuses going to high school. What I love about it is that it doesn’t play the same old tropes (well, almost, it is a kid’s show).
The main character? A girl musical genius. A black girl musical genius named Chyna. I would love it for that alone, but then they have another girl play the character who’s traditionally “book smart”. The jokes can get campy, it’s Disney after all, but they had me chuckling if only because of Anne McClain’s perfect delivery of them. And I did a little internet search about it, and apparently one of the boys has a crush on Chyna. This is a white boy character. I love portrayals of interracial crushes/relationships, especially when black girls are on the receiving end. It’s like we have TB or something otherwise; the sassy best friend played for comic relief but not seen as dateable trope gets kind of old. Not that this show is focused on any of that. From what I can tell, Chyna is a female character who does not worry about boys primarily. In the episode I saw, she’s mostly focused on her musical career. That makes her a better role model than most females on television period.
Now, for the disappointment. After a good “Ocean Mysteries with Jeff Corwin” about rescuing and rehabilitating sea turtles, I was greeted with what looked like a kid’s news show. It had a black girl anchor in it, so I decided to watch (can’t you tell by now I support positive portrayals of black women in the media?). I regretted that decision when I was it was aimed towards girls.
I could tell it was aimed towards girls because, in a half hour show, they managed to spend the great majority of it talking about fashion. The style of Kate formerly-Middleton was the main topic, down to her hats. This show had the nerve to carry that “E/I” symbol up top because they ended the show by revealing that colors are added to the pictures taken by the Hubble Telescope. I think that is interesting for children to know, but the “facts” at the end were clearly an afterthought, a nuisance that was tacked on to what the girls really care about. The name of the show is…Clique something. It wasn’t very memorable, and I couldn’t find anything about it online.
So hopefully no girl actually watches it because they are too busy watching A.N.T. Farm.
Both of these shows are live-action. I didn’t see any actual Saturday morning cartoons unless I turned to channels would’ve shown them anyway, like Cartoon Network. If they are on, I couldn’t find them. That makes me a sad panda.