I'm what one (one being me) might term an expert in children's television. I admit it. I'm a fan.
It began a long time ago. I watched kid shows with my children in the early 90's when Nickelodeon was really starting to hit its first national stride. We'd laugh to You Can't Do That on Television reruns and the All That kid answer to SNL. We cheers for the kid contestants in Guts. The cartoons were awesome, being Doug, Rugrats, Ren and Stempy and later Rocko's Modern Life. (This is, by the way, when Saturday morning cartoons died, for which I will always grieve.)
We also watched TGIF on ABC fairly religiously, thank you Miller/Boyet. The families of Full House, Step by Step and Family Matters were a part of our weekend kick-off. We also giggled to the "odd-couple" relationship in Perfect Strangers, the sly antics in Boy Meets World and the magical fun in Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. Anybody remember Teen Angel? Yeah, me neither.
Maybe it was the fact that my wife worked nights at a restaurant that made these Friday's so memorable. It was just me and the (then) two kids. It was fish sticks night with BBQ potato chips. It was good, cozy fun. I loved it.
Anyway, flash forward to my second brood of children and I'm doing it all over again.
I've watched Josh get disturbingly thin on Drake and Josh. He gained it back a little and then got thin again, but at least now he doesn't look like a heroin addict. Come to think of it, I remember when Drake and Josh were on the Amanda Show. And to add a third generation to the line, I watched their Drake and Josh little sister, Megan, find her own show in iCarly.
By the way, Jack Black was on a recent episode of iCarly. He sang and everything. It was awesome. In it they reprised a bunch of characters from previous Nickelodeon shows and for me and my kids it was like a frikkin' class reunion.
I loved seeing Victoria Justice get her own show recently, Victorious. My daughter and I decided (quite wisely) that she would have her own show soon because she kept popping up in Nick's interstitial promos. She used to be on Zoey 101. (Zoey was played by Britney Spears little sister until she got pregnant and they cancelled the show.) They threw Victoria on an episode of iCarly a couple of years ago, just to keep her going I think. She was a boxer in that episode.
I watched Zach and Cody's Suite Life inexplicably get on a cruise ship and change its name to Zach and Cody on Deck. On that show, London Tipton is the daughter of a hotel mogul. Ha! London Tipton = Parison Hilton. And London is stupid in a caricature-like way. It's awesome.
There's more, of course. Spongebob (love this guy), Sonny with a chance, Wizards of Waverly Place, Phinneus and Ferb... I'm starting to bore myself with all these names, so I know it's not good for you.
The point is, through my children I have been a regular watcher of children's programming now for twenty years.
It's part of who we are and how we share. My wife doesn't watch any of them. She hates most of them, save maybe Spongebob. So it's just me and the kids. Maybe that's why I love them so much. It's OUR memory. It's just for us. Even though the shows can be lame, aren't teaching any more than the most basic lessons in life and are mostly riddled with mind-piercing laugh tracks, they're still our shows. My older kids will still talk fondly of that time we had together.
I guess it doesn't matter what you share with your kids.
It just matters that you do.
(I lifted that picture from here http://theretronickelodeon.webs.com. If you go there you can reminisce about the good ol' days of Nick.)