Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Lattanzi Ten - 3/12/15

Tonight's Ten has a little bit of a twist - they are ten shows I loved prior to turning ten years old. This is the kind of list that will appeal much more to the late Generation X and early Generation Y crew, i.e. those born between 1975-85. At the end, I will add some shows that I never watched also. Enjoy! -- J.L.

1. Sesame Street

I even own the Old School volumes of Sesame Street on DVD. I even used to do a feature on this blog called "Classic Sesame Street" (example found here). That's mostly because I find the stuff on the current incarnation of Sesame Street to be contemptible. Did you know that the DVDs actually have a disclaiming saying that they are unsuitable for kids under a certain age? Really? Because Oscar is too negative and Cookie Monster is too compulsive, it might set a bad example for the children. And we can't have that. Viva Classic Sesame Street!

2. Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood

This is my mother's most loathed show of all time. She still gives me a glare now in my thirties when I start humming or singing any of the Mr. Rogers songs in her presence (trolling is fun!). Granted, as an adult, I do cringe on occasion when I hear the principles put into practice at an accelerated rate. Is self-esteem good? Sure. Is self-esteem on steroids good? Not a chance. Before Barney told us how special we were because we were the only one of us, Mr. Rogers was doing the same in a much more wholesome, uncreepy fashion. 

3. Alvin and the Chipmunks

It was just a fun cartoon to watch. The adventures made no sense, and how a human being raised anthropomorphic chipmunks is still puzzling nearly thirty years later. But as Tennyson said, ours is not to question why...

4. The Smurfs

Blue things living in mushrooms! Actually, my favorite character was Azrael, Gargamel's cat, mostly because he looked similar to one of my cats growing up, J.T. The Smurfs had one of the long-lasting effects on me: I still use glasses with their likenesses on it and I spent high school carrying Papa Smurf on my key chain. Don't hate, the Smurfs are COOL! Although I do kinda wonder about 99 males and one female. Wait, don't dwell on that, it might cause brain injury.

5. Small Wonder 

This is the sleeper on the list, and if you weren't paying attention during the late 80's, you would have missed this show. It was a cute syndicated sitcom about a robot engineer passing off one of his creations as his daughter. It had all the hallmarks of a bad sitcom: cheesy puns, nosy neighbors, contrived situations, and absolutely NO continuity. And who could forget VICI (the Robot) and "her" monotone and heavy-handed literalism. The 80's truly were the high point of good-bad television.

6. The Real Ghostbusters

Most kids of my generation had that one show or item for which they had to have everything. For me, that was the Ghostbusters. I had the uniform, the proton pack, a trap, action figures, the firehouse, the Ecto-1, a ghost projector, and God knows I drank enough Hi-C Ecto Cooler. Some of the story lines were pretty serious stuff. It's a good thing it was on at 4 in the afternoon and not at, say, 7:30.

7. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

What Ghostbusters was for me, the Turtles (and later the Power Rangers) were for my brother. Nevertheless, the original cartoon series is still a favorite - I have several DVDs of the early seasons of the show, and this was definitely something we simulated in the school yard during recess on the asphalt of Holy Redeemer. My favorite Turtle was always Raphael. Even at a young age, being snarky was a positive. Of course, if you know my family, this has long been the case!

8. Full House

I covered what I like about it in a previous Ten (#7), but I wanted to add that Full House has a sentimental value to me: it was the first show my parents allowed me to stay up past my bedtime as a kid to watch. I had an 8 PM bedtime up through about age 10, and Friday nights were definitely for watching Full House on ABC's TGIF! 

9. Shining Time Station

PBS had some quality programming back in the day, before Barney ruined everything! The show had live action segments with kids interacting in a train station with a tiny man named Mr. Conductor (played first by Ringo Starr, then George about interesting choices for a kids' show). The lessons were tied together with stories from Thomas the Tank Engine. The stories about Thomas and his friends were actually very good in those days; the current crop of Thomas and Friends that I see on Sprout have been infantilized to the point that they are unrecognizable.

10. The Super Mario Brothers Super Show

It's ok, you can admit you watched it too. Personally, I always looked forward to Friday's Legend of Zelda episode. Plumbers in New York who always seemed to eat pizza, although the cartoon Mario and Luigi only wanted figure it out. 

Bonus. Disney Afternoon cartoons, Inspector Gadget, and He-Man

Frankly, this probably should have been The Twenty instead, but alas.

Anti-Bonus. G-I Joe, Fraggle Rock, and ThunderCats

Never cared for these, although I know legions of kids watched them. This is the fun of such lists!

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