18 December 2010

How would Phineas and Ferb handle Benita Bizarre?

Saturdays aren't what they used to be. When I was a child, I looked forward to Saturday morning all week. The parents would sleep in and the TV would be all mine (well, ours, I have brothers). We'd watch cartoons until our eyes glazed over--or until we'd get into a  fight over the channels.

I'd get up early and watch the Bugaloos, a strange show about bugs with British accents who were always escaping from a witch, Benita Bizarre, who wanted their music or their wings. Then I'd watch Ultraman, a strange show about a superhero who helped a Japanese team fight monsters (Yes, I wonder about my strange taste in TV shows).

Then my older brother would get up, switch the channel to Bugs Bunny, Wylie Coyote or Scooby Doo, and we'd get into a fight over what to watch until Pop would get up and threaten to send us outside, to our rooms or into next week.

Now, my niece and nephews can watch cartoons any time they want on a dozen or so cable channels. Disney has at least three and there's a couple of Cartoon Networks, but cartoons are nothing special.

Yes, they still fight over what to watch until I come in and turn the channel to Phineas and Ferb. Yes, they still all like something different, but without a special day for cartoons, there's no ritual for getting up and watching them, and there's nothing at stake in the fight over what to watch.

If you lose the 10 a.m. fight, you can watch a rerun of the same show at 2 p.m. By being available 24/7, cartoons have lost their specialness. I kind of miss that.

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