Over the last few months, my wife and I did our best to hold back the impending tide that is Television, and its place in our 2 year old son’s life.
Let me tell you; Juggling a toddler is one thing. When you add a newborn to this delicate mix, it becomes something entirely new and complex. Quiet time becomes a much needed time for everyone’s sanity.
Don’t worry. We did our best to ensure that TV was not the first option for calm in our parenting arsenal. We tried everything: Books, music, songs, photo albums, anything and everything. But when there’s nothing else to do on a rainy day…and all options are exhausted…along with mom and dad…and the dirty diapers, dishes and laundry began to pile up… that’s when we started letting our son watch some television with us by his side; all the while fielding his questions and fueling this observations along the way.
Of all the shows he’s watched so far, which is really only a handful, he seems to be quite enthralled with The Muppet Show (the one from the 1970s/80s). Here’s why I think it was a hit.
1. Still relevant. It has aged very well. We watched the episode with Harry Belefonte and the messages and songs had a timelessness to them. They felt inclusive and positive. And catchy. Check out this version of the song “Turn the World Around” that was featured in the episode. It was such an amazing piece, that Harry sang it at Jim Henson’s memorial. So good. I’m not crying! You’re crying! (Song starts at about the 4:15 mark).
2. Humorous. The jokes and skits were very vaudevillian. Simple. Predictable and easy for kids to understand. He seemed to enjoy the “Pigs in Space” bit where the characters were subjected to a ray gun that swapped the characters’ voices. Simple, but again he ate it up.
3. Short and sweet. At twenty minutes an episode, it held his attention and gave him enough stuff to talk about for days! No long term commitment. No overages! No questions asked! Wait…there were lots of questions.
On the whole, the Muppet Show was a solid entry into the realm of television for my little dude. No tears (Thanks Little Mermaid and Pete’s Dragon ) no fears (thanks for that, crazy, psychedelic 1960s episode of Sesame Street!). It was fun, held his attention and made us all laugh! Now…if you’ll excuse me….I gotta go and track down the Mark Hamill episode! Cheers!