Television – What Happened To It?

First of all, I should let you know that my family does not have TV. No, wait, I’ll correct that. We have one, but the only thing it gets used for is playing DVDs a couple times a week.

We don’t have cable.
When I was about 7 or 8, my parents made the decision to watch less television. In order to wean ourselves off of it, we gave it up for the traditional church season of Lent. 
If you don’t know what Lent is:
[From Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday, Lent spans 40 days. It is a solemn season of repentance and reflection in remembrance of the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness being tempted by Satan. It is not required, but it is also appropriate to give up something for Lent – a personal “fasting”. This is only observed by some denominations, mainly Catholic and Anglican.]  

The black box (as we call it) sat blankly in the living room for those (seemingly) innumerable days. We learned to entertain ourselves more, and took up different hobbies. And after Lent, the box didn’t get switched on that much – we’d discovered creativity!
When Grace was little, the only things she’d watch were the kids shows that were on public television. You know, the good stuff? I’m not talking about SpongeBob, or Dora – I’m talking about…

{not my photos}

I feel kind of old, remembering these shows. (this is where she reminds herself that she really will be sixteen soon…Where has the time gone?) I started thinking about them when I saw that Gracie was watching a Barney movie today. It did my heart good to see that familiar big purple dinosaur. 

It also made me wonder – what junk are we shoving in front of our kids now? And what will happen when (if) I have kids – what kind of stuff will be available for them? 

Is it just me, or is the quality of television, especially kids television declining? Not that I don’t like Disney, Nickelodeon, etc, but do I really want my kids watching Hannah Montana reruns and Sponge-Bob episodes? Of course, the answer for me is no.
I want my kids to know who Barney, Mr. Rogers, and Elmo are. And when they get big enough…
   I Love Lucy: some episodes we screen for Grace, however, generally, they’re wholesome and funny.
The Andy Griffith Show: This is a family classic. Need I say more?
The Waltons: If you’ve never seen this show, you’ve missed out. 
Petticoat Junction: We haven’t been able to find that many episodes of this show, but it’s another one you don’t want to miss.
Christy: Again, screening is advised for younger kids (drunk mountain men – several more frightening episodes, and at least one inappropriate-ish one.), but they have wonderful lessons behind them, and is a great adaption of the book. Another family classic.
Green Acres: Have you heard of this one? If you haven’t, stop whatever you’re doing – go, and buy it! (Amazon link)
If  you aren’t totally sold yet, here’s another thing to entice you…
Lawyer Oliver Wendell Douglas (Albert), weary of life in New York (“It’s a rat race, and the rats are winning!” he declares), buys the Haney place to the horror of his socialite wife Lisa (Eva Gabor), whose ditziness has yet to be established. Look for appearances by Petticoat Junction denizens Uncle Joe (Edgar Buchannan), Sam Drucker (Frank Cady), Hooterville Cannonball engineer Floyd Smoot (Rufe Davis), and everyone’s favorite wonder pig, Arnold Ziffel.
Sound like anyone you know? 
I wholeheartedly recommend all of these, if you’re looking for some quality TV that actually is worth watching. Plus, you don’t even need cable to watch them…

15 thoughts on “Television – What Happened To It?

  1. I do think there are still some quality shows around for kids. My kids don't watch Sponge Bob or Hannah Montana, but Dora and Deigo are pretty cool. But, I get what you are saying and you are wise to think about such things for yourself.

  2. Not to mention that so many shows now a-days like on Disney and Nickelodeon are marketed to young children, but contain very mature material for that age group. Have you noticed that practically every Disney show features main characters in high-school, but its marketed to the 7-10 year old range?

    I think you should add Little House on the Prairie. That's one of my favorite shows. πŸ™‚

    One good thing about cable is TVLand – that's where all the old (good) TV shows come on. Hallmark Channel has Little House, and some old movies, but that's about it.

    Great post!! I totally agree with you! Just one of those things when we stop and think, what's happening to us?

  3. Ah, how could I forget Little House on the Prairie?
    And, I forgot some others as well… I'm thinking I'll have to make this into a series. πŸ˜€

  4. From the little Dora I've seen, it definitely does look more educational. I haven't really seen enough to form an opinion – our Gracie was too old for it when it came out.

  5. We don't have cable either! Very few times have I missed it too. We go for days without turning on our TV. You should check to see if Qubo is available in your area. It has 24 hour children's programing…and it's NOT Spongebob.(Barf!)

  6. I LOVE those shows!!!! I mean, i never liked Barney, but otherwise, I love the other one's!!! I LOVE I Love Lucy! I watch it everyday @ 11!!!! I also love, love, LOVE greene acres!!!!!!!!!!
    LOVE your blog, too! ♥ πŸ™‚
    Giving GOD the Glory!

  7. I love Green Acres so much! Definitely one of my favorites in there. And Petticoat Junction is really good, very much like Green Acres, and it has some of the same actors and places.

  8. Wow, I've seen and love most all of those… (except for Petticoat Junction, which I've never seen and my mom keeps reminding me to remind her to look for on DVD… lol). My favorite that you listed is Green Acres, but I grew up watching all of these, and I've seen enough of Disney Channel (and all other channels) to know exactly what you're talking about. Television definitely HAS changed.

  9. There is a DVD of the first(?) season of Petticoat Junction on Amazon – I heartily recommend that show, especially if you love Green Acres!

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