Once upon a time, as a small child, you sat patiently in front of the huge black box waiting for your favorite cartoon to come on. It's Saturday morning and you are anxiously awaiting the fantastical worlds of "Barney and Friends," "Arthur," "Caillou" and much more.
The plots are fascinating and clever, the characters charming. Enemies run wild, heroes rush to the rescue, and sinister people slink in the background. Your interest peaks. Around the age of 3 is when you have the attention span to stay put long enough to watch your favorite shows. And all of this slowly drives your parents to insanity.
When I was younger, I enjoyed watching "Arthur," "Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman," "Teletubbies" and many more cartoons. Well, I am now a teenager, and I have recently caught up with these wonderful shows of my childhood.
Yes, that didn't go over so well. These shows are horribly annoying! I found "Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman" -- a combo game show/reality show -- to be tolerable, but "Arthur" now makes me cringe. The horror of the terrible whiny voices had me flying to the remote to turn it off as fast as humanly possible.
If you have ever seen "Arthur," you know my favorite character, Arthur, the aardvark. When I watched the show recently, I found Arthur to be stuffy and too smart for my taste. Something that had once entranced me as a child gave me a feeling of boredom as a teenager. When I saw him as a little kid I absolutely adored him! He was the funniest and best big brother in the world. I look at him now and think, "Well, no wonder D.W. (his sister) was a mean little girl."
Then there's Barney: I grew out of "Barney and Friends" long ago because the magic of a man inside a totally fake purple dinosaur outfit soon wore off.
A word to the wise: don't watch those cartoons again! Let the magic run wild until you have kids, and then you can find out just how intolerable they can be.
Adolescent annoyance isn't the only problem I've found with the "cartoon industry." I have also discovered some of these cartoons are mind-boggling to behold. I can feel the brain cells literally leaving my brain ... voluntarily. There's a saying that high school students get dumber every year; well, that tends to happen when you let them watch things like "Boohbah!" I don't even think they say anything on this show!
"Boohbah" consists of creepy children who ominously echo "Boohbah" over and over, along with weird fat dancing blobs. It doesn't get any more "barely-above-sleep-level" than that folks. Unfortunately, it's also a little addicting. You sit down and watch "Boohbah" for a couple of seconds -- your first mistake was turning on the TV -- and then you're hooked. You sit there and wonder: "What in the world is going on?," and before you know it an hour of your life has withered away, an hour you will never get back, an hour that you have wasted in a very disappointing way.
Cartoons are great teaching tools for toddlers as long as you watch the right ones. Three-year-olds, have at it with Barney and Arthur! As for me, I will stick to the Discovery Channel. It isn't as though I enjoy the Discovery Channel, but at least my brain cells don't run for their lives.
Taylor Deem is a sophomore at Fremont High School. Email her at email@example.com.