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Normalize Watching Kids’ Shows as an Adult

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

After a long day, one of my favorite things to do is come home, change into pajamas, and unwind with dinner and some T.V. But when I reach for the remote, what do I usually put on? Honestly, it’s a mixed bag. I like true crime documentaries, workplace sitcoms, and dramas. But sometimes, I find that the easiest media to consume is the kind marketed for a younger age group. Though I’ve grown up, the shows of my childhood–Scooby Doo, Fairly Odd Parents, Teen Titans, Totally Spies, Danny Phantom, Monster High, and The Proud Family–haven’t lost their allure. They continue to provide a certain degree of comfort. I don’t need to think too hard. I don’t need to devote longer than twenty minutes to an episode. I can laugh at jokes I’ve heard a hundred times before, sing along to classic theme songs, and experience what it feels like to be a kid again. And for a moment, life is beautifully simple.

Is it just childhood nostalgia fueling this curious habit? I don’t think so. I believe these feelings extend beyond shows I’m rewatching. There’s just something about children’s television that is so much easier to digest–for one, its pacing can’t afford to be slow, as the attention spans of most kids are already limited. Since many kids’ shows are animated, the character designs have room to be colorful and bold. And honestly, the writing in many of these shows is just plain good. The lessons they teach are never difficult to parse, bogged down by weighty metaphors and the like.

But if all this makes you think children’s T.V. is immature, guess again. The shows I grew up with never shied away from darker themes in their storytelling. Take Avatar: The Last Airbender, for instance. In its run from 2005 to 2008, the Nickelodeon show tackled heavy topics such as genocide, war, abuse, and imperialism. Its sequel show, Legend of Korra, discussed political uprising and police brutality. But while the characters in these shows had entire worlds depending on them, they still had time for more fun, whimsical moments.

Over the last few years, some new shows I’ve fallen in love with are Young Justice, Gravity Falls, Voltron: Legendary Defender, Ever After High, Miraculous Ladybug–all of them airing on channels like Disney and Nickelodeon, all of them marketed for kids over the age of seven. And honestly–I’ve never been more content with what I’m watching.

Heraa Arshad

Buffalo '23

Heraa is a junior psychology major who loves to write book and film reviews! She also runs a Tiktok account (@heraa_reads) where she posts more bookish opinions and tries to convince everyone to read her favorite titles.
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