Generally speaking, I try to not let kids watch TV. It’s just so…gross. It’s loud, the shows are bad, it’s a time suck, it makes the kids act like little junk addict zombies…ugh.
That said, I know it’s easy to turn it on and let them zone out and then you get to do the same and maybe have 20 minutes of peace. I get that, and I’ve definitely employed TV as a means to give myself a chance to even out for a second.
So, a little TV isn’t bad, and as long as that box is gonna be blaring at you, it may as well be tuned to something that you can enjoy, too…like one of these six shows:
- Phineas and Ferb
My absolute favorite to watch with Salvador and Yoshi. The theme music by Bowling for Soup takes me back to the days when I used to go Warped Tour in Montreal every summer, and the Perry the Playtpus/Doofenshmirtz side plots are perfectly woven into the hijinks of Phineas and Ferb. Some of the jokes are clearly intended to keep the parents entertained, like this CSI: Miami bit. Something for everyone!
- Regular Show
Regular Show is anything but. Its main characters are best friend tandem of a talking blue jay and raccoon, who are employed at a local park by a Benson, who is in fact a walking, talking gumball machine. I don’t know why he’s a gumball machine, and every time I ask Salvador, he just incredulously yells back, “It’s called Regular Show!” At any rate, the show is silly and irreverent, and I can’t help but laugh at it every time. For example, who hasn’t made this name change snafu before?
- Level Up
This live action show about three high school gamers who have to battle the monsters from their game IRL (that’s gamer speak for “in real life,” you dorks) is much better than its plot basis would lead you to believe. Their adventures are compelling enough, the jokes are funny enough and there’s none of that insipid “I don’t know if she likes me and I want to die!” teenage over-the-top teenage drama going on. The whole show is cheesy, but it knows it’s being cheesy, so it’s none of that super serious Power Rangers cheese. Personally, I’m partial to this montage from the Bicyclops episode.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars
I haven’t watched this show much, but I’ve seen enough to know it is remarkably well done…which doesn’t surprise me from this franchise. The animation is top notch, the characters are well-crafted and the storylines are compelling. You’ll have to really unleash your inner geek to get into it, but you’ll be glad you did.
- The Amazing World of Gumball
Like Regular Show, I can’t say exactly why I like this one. Something about the mixed media animation and implausible situational comedy just gets me. For the uninitiated, I recommend starting with the picnic episode.
- Jimmy Neutron
An old standby. Smart, funny, good animation, decent plotlines, a robot dog…nothing to hate about this show.
What kids’ shows do you find yourself enjoying? (It’s OK, I won’t tell anyone. Fine, I will, but whatever. Get over yourself and tell us.)
Next week: children’s shows you absolutely don’t want to see.
(Image credit: jerine’s flickr. Used under Creative Commons license.)