OK, so some childhood films or TV shows left us twisted shells of our former selves. But which ones helped make you the upstanding – albeit quirky – citizen you are?
My earliest example was probably Jonny Quest. I’ve always had an affinity for sidekicks, and it probably started with Hadji. They just always seemed to have cooler skills. Later examples were Kato (Bruce Lee: duh!) and Artemus Gordon in The Wild Wild West.
Whattaya think, Sirs?
Herry Monster from Sesame Street taught me that you could look disheveled, act loud and awkward, and be a klutz who broke stuff, and still have friends.
(Sometimes, this was even true.)
[ETA- “Oldies” radio when I was young was hit songs from the 1950s and 60s. So “Rag Doll” by The Four Seasons was my favorite song of theirs. For similar reasons. Don’t give in to despair, Kid. Somebody out there will see past your looks. ]
As corny and psychedelic as they appear now, shows like Make A Wish and Vision On were good for me. They strongly encourage imagination and were an early encounter with ideas of abstraction and symbolism, as well as lateral thinking.
I would also be remiss if I didn’t credit Star Trek with giving me a lot of optimism about the future, in both the technological and the humanitarian sense.
I’m not even aware of those first two shows. I’ll have to try to find them on YouTube.
I used to wonder what Herry Monster’s reason for being was – I guess that was it.
He has a number on the Monsters Of Sesame Street LP where he sings all about it. Somebody should re-dub a key scene in German Hamlet with that song. (“I Just Can’t Help It.”)
The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.
Very funny show with a phenomenal cast but what really elevated it were the dramatic beats which made an indelible impression on me. The episode where Will and Carlton are stopped when driving the judge’s car; Carlton getting hazed by the fraternity; Aunt Viv stepping in to teach Black History; Will’s dad. The last one in particular with “how come he don’t want me?” being perhaps the most emotionally devastating scene I’ve seen on TV, partially for very personal reasons. As a white kid growing up in the UK I may not have understood it all at the time but it was still apparent that the show was significant. Sure, other comedies tackled social issues too but I don’t think any did it as well as Fresh Prince or felt as important.
“Jeopardy!” was also pretty influential in my life and love of trivia.
State your answer as a question, please.
I credit Star Trek (all incarnations) for my interest in space travel, exploration, and the wisdom of Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations.
I thank Cosmos for instilling in me a sense of wonder and curiosity.
Combat! taught me about leadership and camaraderie.
Night Court, Wings, and Cheers taught me to laugh at life.
The X-Files taught me to question everything and seek truth.
And last on this list for now, but certainly not least, The Rocky Horror Picture Show taught me a lot, including that high heels + me = disaster. (I’m 6 ft tall, why do I need heels!?! )
Star Trek is my other TV love as well. I’m so happy that both MST3k and Star Trek are experiencing these fantastic returns to life.
Superfriends, no question. I wasn’t allowed to read comics as a kid, but I came to love superheroes and become an idealist because of those cheap, silly animated shorts.
Monty Python, The Young Ones, SNL, Police Squad, and Sledge Hammer! taught me to appreciate ironic and transgressive humor. Parents have told me the progression from scatalogical/slapstick to ironic humor is a noticeable developmental milestone.
I was pretty lucky as a kid my mom and dad just watched whatever they liked with no regard for entertaining the kid in the room. So when my friends the next day talked about “Different Strokes” or “Perfect Strangers” I’d rattle off details on Monty Python reruns on PBS. I also loved watching “Columbo” reruns with my mom. So… coming into high school I loved Sci Fi, '70s TV character actors, and arch surreal humor. And then I discover mst3k late one night? Is it any wonder I’m here now?
Giving a shout-out to Free To Be You And Me and its assertions that gender need not be a lifelong cage . Yes, even “William’s Doll.” @ me all you want. I can take it.
3-2-1 Contact helped me down the road of a lifelong love of science. Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood helped me learn that it’s okay to be calm and quiet sometimes.
Speaking of Jeopardy!, I got curious and MST3K was indeed featured several times there!
Jacques Cousteau gave me a love for the ocean and the wonders of the earth that has never left me.
I think it’s safe to say that the Simpsons quickly evolved my understanding of humour around season three.
Shows like Monty Python, The Kids In The Hall, The Simpsons, and Late Night with Conan O’Brien were instrumental in shaping my sense of humor. Sesame Street and Reading Rainbow enabled me to teach myself how to read at an early age. The Golden Girls, a show I didn’t totally understand as a kid, taught me that family didn’t necessarily have to be by blood.