Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Why I Like "Juvenile" Entertainment

It's no secret that, despite being twenty-four years of age, I am a big fan of all sorts of "juvenile" entertainment (I'll explain the quotes later).  Nickelodeon creations such as Victorious, iCarly, and House of Anubis are among my favorite shows; "teen pop" music, ranging from well-known artists such as Selena Gomez and Victoria Justice to obscure bands such as the singular-album duo V*Enna, dominate my top played songs; my DVD collection has "kiddie" flicks ranging from the Jennifer Stone Disney Channel Original Movie (DCOM) Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars to the Nickelodeon comedy-sketch-turned-movie Good Burger to the old-school animated favorite Mulan to even the live-action 1997 remake of George of the Jungle; and I have read and enjoyed novels from series such as Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Bill Myers' Journeys to Fayrah, both of which are intended for younger audiences.  Some people don't get that, though; they seem to think that, since I am an adult, I should not spend so much time immersed in entertainment meant for the younger crowd.  If you believe that everything I watch, read, listen to, etc., is meant for kids, then you're sorely mistaken; one look at my playlist, which features classic rock by the likes of Electric Light Orchestra and the Beatles, just to name a few, as well as "adult contemporary" tracks by Josh Groban, Michael Ball, and numerous others; my DVD collection, which includes every theatrical Batman flick from the 1989 Michael Keaton original to The Dark Knight, as well as the entire Visual Bible series, not to mention a seven-film John Wayne set, and especially my book collection where adult fiction outnumbers juvenile fiction by at least a four-to-one ratio, disproves that claim.  Still, "juvenile" entertainment takes a big chunk of my spare time.  Some people would just blame that on me being mildly autistic, but I hate to use a blanket statement like that to describe why I do what I do, especially since modern technology allows me to express my feelings fully and honestly.  So, now, I will explain why I am such a fan of "juvenile" shows, movies, books, and music.
In my early years, I wasn't much of a television watcher.  Sure, I watched the nightly news, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, Home Improvement, and a Saturday morning show here and there, but most of my spare time was spent playing computer games.  It got to the point where my mom would put me on restriction from even touching the computer, for no other reason than me spending too much time in front of it.  However, around late 1997, that all changed when I was introduced to a little show called Growing Pains.  Some of you long-time friends may remember me mentioning GP as "my first classic sitcom addiction," but, at first, I didn't know that it was a classic sitcom.  I got into it thanks to reruns on the Disney Channel (seriously!) that aired at least twice a day, every day, on there back then.  Over the next few years, I found out about other vintage television series, including Scooby-Doo, Mork and Mindy, Diff'rent Strokes (ugh!), and ended up going right back to the Seavers in summer of 2002, just before I started high school.  Their main appeal was the fact that they were humorous without being bawdy, a trait which proved hard to come by in network shows, even back then.
Right after school started, I hit a wall.  Growing Pains had been taken from ABC Family's line-up, and it was nowhere to be found on any of the other channels or technologies available within my household, and I just felt lost.  I even wanted to throw my television into the garbage bin; without the Seavers, what on there was even remotely worth watching? Yet, that all changed when a somewhat younger guy I knew showed me Lizzie McGuire.  I'd seen it before, mostly thanks to him, but, that one time, it clicked for me.  They were just like the vintage sitcoms, except with modern pop culture references and actors/actresses that were young at the current time, as well as without the occasional episode that dealt with a main character doing drugs or having sex.  When I saw Even Stevens, That's So Raven, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, and even Drake and Josh, I loved them all because they fell along the same lines: clean, funny, and enjoyable modern entertainment.
That trend has continued well into today, because I still don't like entertainment that goes against my morals; in fact, I never have.  I can still remember refusing to play video games such as GoldenEye or Mortal Kombat: Sub-Zero all the way back in the nineties, just because of their content.  Some may believe that it was because I wasn't allowed to experience such games, movies, television shows, etc., but, honestly, I'm old enough to choose what I want to watch, play, read, listen to, etc., and I still have that same rule.  It really wouldn't be hard to sneak such media past my parents, but I have no desire to; the last time I did that, I ended up wasting about two hours watching a bunch of rocker chicks swear and use drugs in Satisfaction, and felt like an idiot for even wanting to try such a flick.  To be frank, the vast majority of my friends, no matter their religious beliefs, watch movies and television, listen to music, read books, etc., that I would never even want to try.  It seems like "juvenile" (non-literary) entertainment such as Victorious or Lemonade Mouth is, for the most part, the only genre of entertainment that fits my sensibilities.  Sure, there are adult-oriented-yet-morally-correct flicks out there; my mom is a big fan of Hallmark telefilms, and they usually fall into that category.  I've actually been considering expanding my horizons by giving them a try.  The problem is that, unless its target audience is the under fourteen crowd, recent morally good movies and television are hard to come by.
Now, for the explanation of the quotes.  Shows such as iCarly or The Suite Life on Deck (and their musical, literary, cinematic, and gaming counterparts) may be looked down upon by those above the intended audience, but, in my opinion, they're not juvenile entertainment.  Here's why I say that: Middle schoolers are the most immature of all people.  Although some kids within that age group show remarkable maturity, most of them are so immature, they don't even realize how immature they are.  They even do things such as get into "relationships" that last a week or two at most to show their supposed maturity, not realizing until years later just how immature it actually makes them.  One thing that I remember from my middle school days was that, to my classmates, if it wasn't sexually explicit and/or demeaning to someone else, it just wasn't funny.  I mention that for one reason: There are plenty of "comedies" that have come out in recent years that would put the average seventh grader on Cloud Nine because of how bawdy and/or mocking they are...yet, they're given an "R," which is an "adult" rating.  To me, irrespective of the rating, anything (or anyone, for that matter) who only considers such things funny suffers from true immaturity.
In conclusion, I will share some words a Facebook friend sent me last night:
"When someone disagrees with you, it doesn't mean they are wrong. It simply means you have a difference of opinion."
I don't remember who told me this, but this quote popped into my head while I was folding laundry tonight, and I thought of you. Make of that what you will.
 That's very true; in fact, I agree wholeheartedly.  I don't have a problem with people disagreeing with me; I learned many years ago that no one is going to see things exactly my way.  My problem is with people who are very adamant about expressing their opinion about what I'm doing, especially when they don't have any right and/or need to be telling me what to do and how to do it.  There might be some people reading this who feel that I shouldn't be watching Victorious or listening to Selena Gomez, but that's not their choice.  For each person who vehemently opposes me being a fan of such entertainment, there very well may be two or three others who are 100% fine with it.  I'm not going to be able to please everyone, so I just worry about pleasing the ones I have to answer to: my parents and God.  I can't let popular opinion, even that of the people I interact with, dictate what I like and don't like; that isn't and never has been my style.  My mom used to always say, "Opinions are a dime a dozen," and that's very true; however, some people don't always feel that way about their own opinion.
Any comments?

No comments: