Tween TV: A Generation Gwap

OK, I know 1 chord... now where's my recording contract and my 3 picture deal at Universal?!

A theory, but first indulge me as I throw a little background at ya…

I tend to wake up by very small increments every Saturday morning, and as I do so I normally switch on the early morning kids programming. It’s all colorful images and inoffensive white noise for the most part.

But as my cognitive functions start to kick in, I’ve started to notice a recurring theme amongst many of the non-cartoons. Let’s call them Child Sitcoms, or ‘Chitcoms’ (a name which is surprisingly close to what I think of their content).

‘The Jonas Brothers’… ‘Sonny With a Chance’… something called ‘iCarly’… and of course ‘Hannah Montana’.

You're good at pretending to be strange, pouty jail-bait??? OK, I take it back Miley... you have ONE talent

I can’t help but compare these shows with their equivalents back when I was 10 or 11 (Tweendom hadn’t been invented yet). Shows like ‘Full House’, ‘Blossom’, ‘Diff’rent Strokes’, ‘Family Matters’, ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’…

Lord I’m dating myself.

My point is that, thematically, the ‘Chitcoms’ of my youth were generally set in middle class suburbia. Setting was unimportant. What mattered was that they almost always dealt exclusively with some variant of the American nuclear family. The children were precocious, but they lived what could be considered normal lives with normal problems. At some point during the half hour, an adult figure would offer sage advice, they kid would resolve their weekly dilemma about homework, or dating, or a bully at school, and everyone would be just a little wiser for the experience. Until the following week anyway.

"One day about 10 years from now... I'm going to be one of the biggest stars on the planet. What?! Why are you laughing?"

The Gen-Y ‘Chitcoms’ might occasionally deal with many of the same minor dilemma’s, with vaguely similar archetype characters. However, it seems to me that most of them share one key similarity:

Their child protagonist is famous.

No longer are they normal kids in a relatable world. Instead, Hannah’s a pop star with a secret life, the Jonas triumvirate are successful musicians, Sonny is a TV star, Carly is a famous internet celebrity…

According to Google Images this is an iCarly apparently

Now, I get why this is so. It’s a cynical ploy by television production companies to create extra revenue streams, like merchandise, clothing lines, CD’s, etc. But does anyone ever stop for a moment and wonder what influence this new brand of kids programming may have?

It was Andy Warhol who once said that “in the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes”. God, was he right.

Because now we’re creating an entire generation of kids who think that worldwide fame isn’t something to achieve. It’s something they’re owed. They don’t have to be talented, or driven, or pre-naturally gifted in any way. Lord knows Miley Cyrus ain’t. Wanna argue with me? Watch THIS:

Wha?!?!

A world where you’re beloved by everyone, not just by your family and friends, THAT’S the goal now. Why aim small?

And these child stars, who are thrust into an adult world, where they’re exposed to celebrity and the red carpet and magazine covers and publicity demands and being constantly photographed… gee, it seems they become sexualized within that system at such a young age! And if they become role models to other children… hmm… I mean… what kind of effect could that have anyway?

Well?!? Does this top make my boobs that I don't have yet look big?

One can only look forward to a time, say 5-8 years from now, when a wave of depression hits a whole ass-load of kids suddenly forced to face the fact that not everyone becomes Hannah fucking Montana. Reality can be a harsh pill to swallow. Once stripped of their dreams of worldwide adulation and worship, something that was supposed to be their God-given right… care to imagine what kind of fucked up attitude they’re gonna sport?

It’ll create who knows how many embittered, lazy, cynical young people with no outlet. Forced to watch their dreams wither and die, they’ll rebel against the very thing they used to love, pop-culture, by creating blogs where they can rant about how unfair the worl…

Oh. Umm… sorry. Where was I?

Or, like Warhol said, maybe they DO all become famous. Maybe in 2020 they’re ALL Z-grade celeb’s, desperately courting New Idea to cover their latest stint in rehab, whilst the millions upon millions of Max Markson-like agents (created by this new overwhelming demand in the marketplace for representation) try to land them roles on whatever horrific reality-based show Channel 10 has in development.

In this Dystopian nightmare, EVERYONE’S famous, at least until they reach the decrepit age of 19, at which point they’re forced to join the paparazzi so as to continue to feed the flames of the celebrity machine. It’ll be horrible.

Not that I’d know. I’m going to take the cowards way out and shoot myself in the fucking neck long before that comes to pass.

All this may sound like an awful lot to extrapolate from annoying Saturday morning television, I know. And I’ll grant you that perhaps I over thought this little theorem wayyyyyy too early in the morning. But at least if this shitty, Cyrus-centric future comes to pass, I’ll be prepared.

Because if ‘The Jonas Brothers in 3D!’ isn’t a sign of the apocalypse, then I don’t know what is.

BPM

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2 Responses to “Tween TV: A Generation Gwap”

  1. Righteous Schimmelbusch Says:

    Your germaphobic hypersensitivity to Miley-centric cultural innovations is bordering on catastrophic slapstick.

    What’s not to like about the Cyrus girlie?

    Her English is good, apart from a few stubborn idiosyncrasies of preposition and tense, but it is her music that speaks to me.

    Have you no consideration for the amount of time it takes her to write declarations of her true feelings for me and her other fans?

    First KKK cocks, then placenta wearing, now Chitcoms.

    Perhaps you should just not wake up on Saturday’s?. This is our time, and we have so little together.

    Tweens. Let them tweet cake

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