The Lalasmiling Girl In Mickey Mouse Ears

Why Do We Watch Kid’s TV as Adults?

I don’t know about you, but I find myself watching children’s TV shows a little too often. Whether it's the newest drop on the Netflix Originals tab or a recommendation from a friend or family member, I always find my teen dramas and workplace comedies sprinkled with the refreshing breath that is a television show made for children half my age. As the oldest child in my family, I had tight restrictions on what I could or could not watch, and that meant watching Disney Channel a little longer than most of my friends. A lot of people my age did not watch Zendaya’s not-so-hit show K.C. Undercover when they were 14 or 15, but I did. I wasn’t exposed fully to adult TV shows until mid-2015 when my family got Netflix, and even then, I didn’t have any ideas of what to watch in between chapters of my APUSH textbook. 

Some of the first non-kids TV shows that I was first introduced to were cooking and home makeover shows on HGTV and the Food Network that I watched when my mom was cooking. Then, when I finally decided to sit down and binge on Netflix for the first time ever, I decided on 30 Rock, one of the lesser-known but still incredibly popular NBC sitcoms of the late 2000s and early 2010s. But as a freshman or sophomore in high school, I didn’t like the adult comedy all of the time, so when I would get bored, I would journey downstairs to see my brother, who was barely six years old, watching shows like Paw Patrol, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, or my personal favorite Team Umizoomi on Nick Jr. and Disney Jr. 

While these shows are not technically what I mean by watching kid’s TV as adults, it did drive me to find that middle ground between the shows made for preschool aged kids and the shows made for adults that I forced myself to watch because that’s what my friends were doing. One genre that embodied that happy medium perfectly for me was cheesy superhero shows like The Thundermans and Henry Danger on Nickelodeon and K.C. Undercover on Disney Channel. I found myself insanely attached to the characters, watching Henry Danger all the way up until it ended during my freshman year of college and even giving the spin-off a try (FYI, the spinoff is a dud). 

While it is easy for me to say that my love for children’s television is a combination of the tight leash my parents kept me on and finding middle ground between sitcoms with adult themes and shows for toddlers, the true reason I still stay attached to these shows is escapism. The real world is scary, boring, and stressful, so why would I choose to watch a show about it, no matter how much comedic timing is used? Instead, I can watch a quick, 20 minute episode of a show about a ghost band from the 90s (Julie and the Phantoms), some mischievous witches going to school in Miami (Every Witch Way), or three Australian mermaids who try life on land (Mako Mermaids) among many, many others.