I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
April 2, 2015
When my kids were small, there was one noise that never failed to fill me with an overwhelming urge to stab out my eardrums with a seafood fork.
It was the sound of Dora the Explorer on television.
Years later, hearing “Swiper, no swiping!” blare from our television set as the kids flip channels still makes me break out in a cold sweat. Then there’s that song. THAT. DORA. SONG. It goes a little something like this:
“I’m the map,
I’m the map,
I’m the map,
I’m the map.
I’m the map,
I’m the map,
I’m the map,
I’m the map.
I’M THE MAP!”
(I know you’re asking yourself right now, What MUSICAL GENIUS came up with these MASTERFUL LYRICS?)
To this day, “I’m the Map” (I’m assuming that’s the title) gets stuck in my head for days at a time- I’ve learned the hard way that this particular earworm can only be killed with a double dose of Excedrin Tension Headache chased with Chardonnay straight from the bottle. And while I generally feel a wistful tenderness at the passing of my kids’ childhood milestones, I have to tell you that on the day that the last Ferrier child declared Dora to be ‘lame,’ I sent myself flowers.
As it turns out, the bouquet came years too soon.
Because Dora was quickly replaced by Spongebob, whose nasal voice and grating laughter made Swiper sound like an angel from Heaven. (Say it with me: “Ohhh, MAN!”) Spongebob was so popular in our house that I began to fear he’d become a permanent part of our lives– and that’s right about the time that my daughter discovered Nickelodeon’s Sam & Cat.
Goodbye, Spongebob. Hello, Ariana Freaking Grande.
The Sam & Cat summer wreaked havoc on my sanity, but it also resulted in a spiritual epiphany:
Hell is for real, and this video plays there on a loop:
THANK GOD this girl abandoned acting, is all I have to say. I am entirely convinced that her recording contract was secretly financed by millions of moms who JUST COULDN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE.
Once Sam & Cat went dark, there was peace in our house for several months and I dared to hope that we had finally escaped the Children’s Programming Vortex of Doom. We watched episodes of Andy Griffith and Little House on the Prairie together, where shouting and dumb voices were practically non-existent. And we were happy. So happy.
Little did I know this idyllic time was simply the calm before the storm. Because all too soon, my children happened upon something so insidious, so barbaric, so… loud, that all other kids shows would pale by comparison.
I’m talking, of course, about Cartoon Network.
Now that my kids have discovered the cable channel that must be responsible for more mental institution check-ins than any other, the top three phrases that come out of my mouth each day are as follows:
“Turn that thing down!”
“Time for a screen break!”
“TURN THAT THING DOWN!”
I try to keep my kids’ television viewing to about an hour a day, which really isn’t hard because there are lots of other things they like to do– but IF the TV is on, Cartoon Network is definitely playing, and even in limited doses, THAT SH*T IS ANNOYING AS HELL.
I can’t even name a specific program because as far as I’m concerned, they’re all interchangeable. Uncle Clarence Time, The Adventure Grandpa Show, Regular Teen Gumballs– All follow the Cartoon Network formula, which includes:
-aggressively abrasive music, performed by someone who seems to have just snorted a giant Pixy Stick.
-dialogue that’s consistently rude and inappropriate, but falls just shy of what you can ban as a parent without feeling like one of the Duggars.
-Screaming. Lots and lots of screaming.
This is just a sample of what’s now the soundtrack of our lives:
What’s worse, my son has somehow figured out how to record Cartoon Network shows on our DVR. Now, every time I want to watch something highbrow and adult like Dance Moms, I have to sort through THIS.
I mean, did you ever?
In an effort to ‘speak my kids’ love language’, I asked them yesterday, “What is it that you like so much about Cartoon Network?”
“It’s weird!” my eight-year-old son said gleefully.
“It’s soooo weird!” my ten-year-old daughter agreed.
“Yah,” my son chortled. “And that’s what makes it SO FUNNY!”
“I just love it!” my daughter giggled.
“Mr. Rogers is weird,” I said with an enticing grin. “He’s REALLY weird. Have you seen that sweater he wears? Why don’t we watch Mr. Rogers instead?”
They both gave me a withering look. The conversation was over.
And so, Mothers of America (Dads, I’m not even going to bother. I’m fully aware you all LOVE Cartoon Network just as much as my kids.), I’m issuing a nationwide warning: If your children haven’t yet been touched by the CN Strain, block Cartoon Network on your TV now– Once they’ve been sucked in (and it’s only a matter of time- I guarantee), you are in for some serious aural torture, with probable longterm psychological ramifications.
As for me, preventative measures are too late. Instead, I’m stocking up now on Chardonnay and earplugs.
It’s gonna be one long-ass summer.
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This is exactly why we don’t have cable! My preschooler was introduced to CN when we visited my parents and we watched it. If I ever have to sit through another episode of Uncle Grandpa or anything like it, it will be too soon.
Uncle Grandpa is THE WORST.
This post is soooo true!!!! My kids followed the exact same sequence and CN is on ALOT! But now we are moving on WWE (wrastling!) Seriously…. just go outside!!!
Ha! I went through a WWE phase when I was about 11. Wrestlemania was my FAVORITE! LOL
OMG!!!! Is that her REAL VOICE?? Goes to show you how out of the loop I am!
It sounds like most kids make the same transition from Nic and/or Disney to Cartoon Network. In my son’s cartoon watching days on CN he had: Powderpuff Girls, Dexter’s Laboratory, Ed, Edd and Eddy, Johnny Bravo, Cow and Chicken.
I miss those days!
It seems like the cartoons used to be better on Cartoon Network– or maybe I was just younger and could handle it better!
I’m not ashamed to say that I have banned MANY of the shows on Cartoon Network and have flirted with the idea of not letting my kidswatch it at all. It’s so inappropriate and I don’t like that my little sponges seem to pick up on the rude dialogue and “Weirdness”. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a Duggar either, but some of the things I’ve seen on Adventure Time have me seriously puzzled about whattheeverlovingheck is going on w/ children’s programming. We recently moved and we haven’t turned our cable on. I can honestly say I am tempted to never have it turned on again.
You’re smart to do that! It’s a lot easier to ban it before they start watching than after. I guess the only good thing about Cartoon Network is that it helps me very strictly enforce the one hour limit- because I seriously can’t take more than one hour of hearing that noise in this house!
I hate Sam and Cat. That voice drives me insane. I’m pretty sure the writers of Adventure Time are all on drugs.
My husband (huge Andy Griffith fan) and I (Little House fanatic, as in I’ve met cast members) would love your previous TV schedule.
If you hate SpongeBob, you would love Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America. Everytime your bracelet or ticket is scanned, Spongebob’s laugh comes out of the scanner. It’s absolute torture.
That laugh is straight from Satan. I think it’s going to haunt my dreams for the next two decades.
Watching anything on Cartoon Network is like vacationing in the 7th Circle of Hell. My 8-year-old son loves their awful shows. I am convinced that a requirement for writing for CN is that you are constantly tripping on Acid. Thank goodness, he informed me yesterday that he no longer likes Clarence because it’s gotten too weird. That made me laugh because I thought it was horrible to begin with, but it’s a start.
I can relate completely…. currently watching Gumball…off the dvr… #awful #DVRwontRecordMyHousevwivesItsFull #CartoonNetworkHasOverloadedMyLIfe.
I must be a weirdo. I love Adventure Time and Gravity Falls and enjoy watching them with my kids. There are annoying ones (Clarence has been banned in our house altogether) but I enjoy them way more than the formulaic Disney shows…those made me want to poke my eyes and ears out.
I used to LOVE the Powerpuff Girls- and I’d probably like some of the shows in limited doses. But right now, it’s what’s the kids ALWAYS choose when they have TV time and as background noise, it’s freaking annoying. LOL
I’m laughing so hard right now. I’m actually one of those weird people that enjoy cartoon network. I agree with the humor sometimes boardering on a little too suggestive but they have some funny shows. I guess some of the shows match my crazy and dramatic imagination. I just can’t stand Annoying Orange. Hate it with a passion. My 5 year old knows to turn it when it comes on lol. I like Gumball and Regular show is one of our favorites. Oh boy…let me just have a self relflective moment.
I am so with you! Sam and Cat was about the most obnoxious thing ever, and my daughter started to talk like Ariana Grande. Made me want to punch my sweet little girl. Who cast that girl in anything? She had multiple tv shows, and I know personally at least 10 teenagers who are better actors in my area (we are into community theater). Anyway, my kids are clearly on the same path as yours…Teen Titans is our go-to at the moment. I cringe to wonder what week be next.