Friday, January 22, 2010
It ... it CAN'T BE!!!
When I was just about two years old (in 1966!), an absolutely marvelous TV program made its debut on ABC in prime time. That program was none other than Batman, starring Adam West and Burt Ward. All through my early childhood, it was my favorite thing to watch on TV (Green Hornet was a close second). I didn’t acknowledge the campiness of the program, or the jokes -- they zoomed right over my head. To me, Batman was engaged in deadly serious business, and nothing was as thrilling as watching the good guys beat up the bad guys every week. I became a Batman fan for life. I also blushingly admit that I had a horrible crush on Burt Ward/Robin, which lasted until I was about nine years old.
My parents didn’t mind me watching Batman or Green Hornet -- Dad even encouraged it. At the time, there really wasn’t much in the way of children’s TV. Sesame Street didn’t exist until 1969; Hanna-Barbera hadn’t yet come to completely dominate Saturday morning TV like they did in the 1970s; Bozo the Clown hadn’t yet emigrated to the area from Chicago; Cowboy Bob and Janie weren't yet on the air in Indianapolis; and even then, I thought Soupy Sales and Captain Kangaroo were as boring as dirt. Jay Ward’s cartoons were around, but they were obviously geared more for adults -- I didn’t understand Bullwinkle AT ALL. Nope, Batman was THE ONE for me.
Now I’m the mother of a 2-year-old (well, nearly two), and that 2-year-old recently developed her very first obsession with a TV show. I know the American Society of Pediatrics recommends against letting babies and toddlers watch TV, but … Well, Mighty Mite really doesn’t watch TV per se, at least in the broadcast sense. You see, Mr. Sea and I really don’t watch a lot of broadcast television. We have cable so we can watch Turner Classic Movies (TCM), and that’s about it. Mostly, we watch DVDs and videos that we download onto our PS3, and we have quite a collection of kid-friendly animated films -- because, hey, we adults like them, too! We can’t help watching them around Mighty Mite, and as a result, Mighty Mite has developed a crush on Shaun the Sheep. She calls him “Sheepy.”
Shaun the Sheep, for those who don’t know, is a “claymation” character from Aardman Animations in the UK, from their popular Wallace & Gromit films. Shaun has his own TV show in the UK, and thank goodness videos of the show are available in the USA. The Shaun the Sheep cartoons are wonderful -- classic Aardman all the way, and enjoyable for kids AND adults. Well, at least they WERE enjoyable, until Mighty Mite insisted on watching each video we have at least a hundred times. For a month now -- every morning when she wakes up, she insists on watching “SHEEPY! SHEEPY!” Every day when she comes home from pre-school, it's “SHEEPY! SHEEPY” Getting ready for bed: “SHEEPY! SHEEPY!” Arrrrrgggh …! Still, I’ll take “Sheepy” over Elmo or Barney the purple dinosaur any day.
However, yesterday, my daughter completely shocked me! When I brought her home from preschool, she ran to the DVD cabinet, pulled out a DVD of Justice League, and she very clearly said, “BATMAN!”
“WHAT did you say, sweetie?” I asked.
“BATMAN!” she insisted. Well, okay ...!
I turned on the PS3, pulled up an episode of Batman: Brave & Bold (easier than putting in a Justice League DVD), and let her watch it. She LOVED it. She kept dancing to the theme music, and pointing specifically at Batman on the screen and yelling “Batman! Batman!”
It … it’s impossible! Mighty Mite actually loves Batman! How did this happen? Granted, she’s seen me and Mr. Sea read comic books -- and she’s even had a chance to flip through a few herself. And we do download Brave & Bold episodes pretty regularly. And she has seen our Justice League DVDs. Still, to single out Batman, especially from all the other heroes …!
Wow. Mighty Mite loves Batman -- and at such a young age, too. I guess she really is my daughter, huh? What could possibly be better than that? What?
Uh ... Don’t press your luck, kid.