J2 Content – Perspectives

A varied collection of thoughts on education and parenting

Is Our Childhood Coming Back to Haunt Us?

The other night, I was at the movies with my girlfriend and she stopped to peruse a poster for the new Smurfs movie. She expressed concern that the Smurfs were drawn to look fuzzy, as if they were covered by  short blue fur. I said to her, “That’s what concerns you? Not the fact that somebody took a crappy cartoon and made it into a crappy movie?” That comment stopped all conversation for the evening but it got me thinking.

Is it our own fault that Hollywood continues to make awful movies based on childhood projects from the 70′s and 80′s? I remember when I took my children to see Alvin and the Chipmunks. The experience was so excruciating, I wanted to abandon them and flee the theater. Afterward as they talked about how much they loved it, it reminded me of how much I enjoyed the first revival and my parents teaching me all about Ross Bagdasarian and the genius of The Witch Doctor.

I may be late to this party but it occurs to me that the plan is for me to take my children to The Smurfs and pretend that it was their idea. Then whether I enjoyed it or not, the kids will be hooked and just like many of us, will buy the stickers, socks and key chains bearing their favorite blue creature.

Now I wasn’t a fan of The Smurfs in the first place, but I recognized their significance to pop culture. For what it’s worth, they were the first cartoon to use their own name as every conceivable part of speech and never apologized for it. The Smurfs pioneered that practice long before The Snorks appropriated it or people started using Lewinsky as a verb.

What I came to realize was that I and my generation are directly to blame for the revival and subsequent molestation of our beloved childhood icons. I knew Yogi Bear was going to be terrible but I just had to see it for myself. It was clear that The Green Hornet would be sub-par and still I shelled out good money to witness it firsthand. I even chuckled at Eddie Murphy’s gassy antics in the remake of The Nutty Professor instead of LOL-ing at the far superior original with Jerry Lewis.

So before you bemoan the fact that Hollywood insists on co-opting your childhood memories, take a look at yourself in the mirror and be thankful that Romper Room will never be remade … probably.

Hear more from the King of TV on The Paul Goebel Show podcast and at his website, www.TheKingofTV.com. You can also follow Paul on Twitter @PaulGoebelShow.

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