A self-indulgent moment of reminiscence:

Children’s shows from my childhood that hold a special place in my heart

Erin Burchill ‘25, Entertainment Editor

When I look back on the prime of my life— my childhood—the memories that always come to the forefront of my mind are the TV shows I used to love. Sure, I may sound like a cranky grandfather when I say this, but children’s shows today, are just…not as good as they used to be. Back in my day, kids’ YouTube channels like Cocomelon were not available; you watched whatever was on TV and you liked it, which actually was not that hard to do. There were always good shows on, most of which were popular even before I was born and some of which have aged phenomenally. It may just be my childish mind taking over when I see colorful characters teaching math or telling riddles, but it also may be the addictive feeling of nostalgia that comes with rewatching shows from your childhood.

There are some shows that are known by many, among these being Peppa Pig, Team Umizoomi, Bubble Guppies, and lots more. However, sometimes it is the more obscure, strange pieces of media that really take the cake.

Special Agent Oso (2009-2012)

Special Agent Oso was your pretty standard kids show: talking animals, colorful and kid-catered animation, and some varied educational content. This is not at all to say that the show was basic or boring because it was not. While it might not be the most unique piece of media ever created, it still deserves a fair amount of praise. Oso was a blue and yellow bear who worked as a special agent tasked with assisting kids around the world with whatever they needed. Some of his missions were as simple as teaching a girl how to use a drinking fountain, while others had him helping a group of friends practice a fire drill. Whenever I think of shows I used to obsess over, this is one of the first that comes to mind.

ToddWorld (2004-2008)

ToddWorld may not be the most entertaining show, but it does still hold its appeal. The show was created by Todd Parr, author of famous books such as It’s Okay to Be Different and The Feelings Book. Parr’s main message to kids was that being yourself is the most important thing, no matter what other people might think or say. He weaved this message into ToddWorld flawlessly, basing most of the episodes directly on his books. The show’s animation was very simple, its episodes’ plots straightforward, and its characters silly and colorful. The childish simplicity may be one of the best aspects of this show, as it is a welcome contrast from the rapid pace of adolescence and, most likely, adulthood, as well.

Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child (1995-2000)

HBO’s Happily Ever After series put a subtle spin on tons of traditional stories, but it was significant enough to be impactful. As the name of the show suggests, one purpose of this show was to cater to everyone. Every episode featured a new fairy tale with a cast of racially and ethnically diverse characters. This display of diversity positively impacted two groups of people: children of color, who could see themselves more largely represented in media, and white children from racially homogenous areas, who could see a wider, more accurate spectrum of society. The show can also appeal to multiple age groups; the songs and animation kept the younger version of you interested, while the stories keep the older coming back. Some of the stories told are well-known—such as Cinderella or Rumpelstiltskin—but some less popular ones are included as well, like the Brothers Grimm’s “Seven at One Blow” and the Greek myth of King Midas.

Crashbox (1999-2000)

Crashbox is one of the weirdest things I have ever seen, which is where much of its charm comes from. The entire show takes place inside a computer, where tiny robots make games that range from answering math questions to solving riddles. Games typically last no longer than two minutes, keeping viewers engaged throughout. Some of the games are “(Like, Totally) Paige and Sage,” which features twin dolls Paige and Sage in two similar scenes that contain 10 specific differences; “Eddie Bull,” which follows Eddie as he is eaten by a mystery animal that viewers must guess based on hints; “Captain Bones,” which has viewers fix incorrect math problems by moving only one of Captain Bones’ bones; “Mugshots,” which is a true-or-false game where viewers must determine who is guilty and who is innocent; and “10 Seconds,” which gives viewers rebus puzzles that they must solve in under 10 seconds. There really is something for everyone in this show. 

Here Come the ABCs (2005) and Here Come the 123s (2008)

It is difficult to assign a label to these, considering each is around an hour long, but, for the purpose of this article, they will be referred to as shows. That being said, these shows were likely the biggest influences on my personality, and might still be. When I say I cannot get enough of them, I mean it wholeheartedly. The main purpose of these shows was to have them both be albums written and sung entirely by the musical duo They Might Be Giants. Eventually, visuals were applied to the entirety of each album, and both were sold as DVDs in the early 2000s. Each song has a different type of animation to go along with it, and some even have real life footage. The songs and visuals are clearly meant to appeal to children—most likely those who are in the process of learning letters and numbers—but they have always made me happier than almost anything else. The goofy songs and characters never fail to make me laugh.

I believe it is important for everyone to remember to appreciate things from their childhood, especially the TV shows your parents would turn on when they needed a break. There is nothing wrong with letting your inner child run amuck every once in a while, and people should not be ashamed to revisit shows from their youth. Nostalgia almost never fails to bring a good feeling to  Life would be no fun if everyone was a serious adult all the time. If people find happiness in the things they used to love as a kid, then they should channel that happiness and relive the good old days.

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