Television shows talk about everything these days, and for the most part I’m pretty cool with that. The days of extreme censorship appear to be in the past, which is fine, I think- the censors used to go way too far. Did you know that when Joan Rivers was pregnant with her daughter back in the 60’s she was not allowed to use the word “pregnant” on television? It was considered taboo and inappropriate to use such a word, and that is totally insane. So I’m glad the reigns have been loosened; I don’t like when art is censored. Just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean it should not be made or shown. But, due to the change of censoring tides, watching television with my kids around is getting more and more difficult. Thanks to television and other media being allowed to talk about almost anything, I feel like I’m dodging informational landmines every time I tune into any show not airing on a children’s programming network.
You might think I’m about to go on a rant about the amount of sex or violence on television or in movies. But no, that’s not what is pissing me off today. I mean, there is a lot of sex- SO MUCH SEX– and it has made for some awkward moments between me and my kids. Due to not wanting to explain various sex related topics to my young offspring, I have pretty much had to start watching every show I like after my kids go to sleep at night. And I’m not just talking about Game of Thrones type programming; I’m talking prime time, airing at 7:00pm, network sitcoms. I have learned the hard way that prime time television is becoming less and less “kid friendly”. Thanks to 2 Broke Girls, my then 7 year old asked me what “blow job” meant. That was not a fun moment, but I like to think you will enjoy my reaction:
I scrunched up my face, tried my best to look puzzled, and told her, “Ummmmm…..I…I don’t know. Never heard of that.”
Yeah, you better believe I played dumb! There was no way I was touching that one with a 10 foot pole, not at that age. So the sex landmines I’m used to; most of the time those topics have sailed right over my children’s heads or I’ve managed to side step well enough to get through it. (I’m telling you, just play dumb. Works like a charm.) So, while T.V. recently screwed me over as far as my daughter was concerned, it had nothing to do with doggy style or gunshots.
A couple of weeks ago, a damned television show told my child…..that Santa Claus wasn’t real.
WHAT THE HELL, TELEVISION!!!!
Is nothing sacred these days? Why you gotta talk about that, T.V.? I know why the sex is there; sex sells. Does debunking a beloved childhood icon get you anything great? I doubt it. You just did it to be assholes. And don’t think it’s only one show that has pulled this crap; it’s happened many times before. I was just lucky enough that neither of my innocent little tots have ever caught it until now.
Friends did it. Simpsons did it. Big Bang Theory did it. Fresh Off the Boat did it. Several other shows have also, I just can’t remember every single one at this moment. Granted these are not shows that are geared for being children’s programming; kids are not the target demographic. I get it. But, these shows air (or have aired) during the evening hours, they are some of the most popular shows on television, shown at the most popular viewing hours, and they must know that there is a good chance that children might be in audience. My kids don’t actively watch these shows themselves, but they are around the house while other are people watching them. My daughter had not been paying any attention to most of the episode I was watching, she just wandered into living room in time to hear a character blatantly say that Santa is make believe.
Why? Santa had nothing to do with the episode. At all. Came out of nowhere.
Generally, a sex topic that Lily has no understanding of isn’t paid any mind on her part. It doesn’t even register usually because those words mean nothing to her at this point and at her age. But, holy shit, she understood that topic all too well, and she paid it plenty of mind.
I didn’t even catch it right away. It took me a few seconds to even register the situation: T.V. just said Santa isn’t real (again). Kid is standing right there. Oh, bloody hell, did kid hear it? Sneak a guilty look at kid. Yep, kid definitely heard it. Kid glaring at me in an accusatory manner. Can I play dumb? Nope, not this time. DAMN YOU, TELEVISION.
Look, my daughter is 9 years old. It’s not like I didn’t know her Santa believin’ days were numbered. But she did still believe that afternoon, and neither of us were prepared for that to change. I had hoped I would be able to find a good way to tell her when the time came. As I have blogged about before, I struggle with the whole Santa situation anyway; I’ve never loved the fact that I’ve been lying to my kids their whole lives. Maybe there is not great way to reveal to your kid the truth of the situation, but I can attest to the fact that being side-blinded by a sitcom is not a good one.
I was so taken aback by the whole thing that I didn’t know what to say; I froze for a moment, staring at my daughter who is staring back at me. Finally, I said, “Um. Did you hear what they just said?” Like I didn’t know.
“Yes,” she replied, through her tightly pursed lips, eyes narrowed. “Is it true?”
What else could I really do but just admit it? Trying to make Christmas magical with a fairy tale is one thing; bold-faced lying when asked directly about it is another. (Especially when the jerk on the screen already let the cat out of the damned bag). I told myself a long time ago that when she was old enough, if she ever asked me I’d tell her the truth. So, I fessed up.
She was upset, of course. Unprepared to hear it even though she said her friend at school had already told her she caught her mom playing Santa the year before. Although, she got through it and handled it pretty well, it still pisses me off because it wasn’t up to the creator of that show to tell my kid about Santa Claus. It’s bad enough the these shows insist on giving kids crude sex lessons; they don’t need to get into every possible, childhood innocence destroying topic, amirite? As far as I’m concerned those television writers need to stick to the dick jokes and leave the parenting stuff to me.
Christmas is going to be an interesting one this year. Thanks a heap, T.V.