Declan is a sophisticated five-year old. He’s evolved from Nick and Disney Jr to regular Nick and Disney Channels.  This is a milestone in our lives. One I don’t love. There are some shows I avoid on the Big Kid stations. I stand firm on censorship with some, like a modern-day Tipper Gore, but I guess superheroes aren’t so bad. I’ll allow some. “They’re good, Mommy. They save the world.” We all need a superhero from time to time.
What I hate are the commercials. Ruthlessness. Once you get sucked into these big kid stations, the pretense of commercial-free learning is gone. This is very, very bad.
Sugar cerealI wouldn’t mind so much if the commercials were for compost bins, natural foods, or world peace, but they’re incessant pleas to bother me for things that have no value–sugar cereal, fast-food restaurants, action figures that support the shows on the station, and things that beget the need for other things.
Here are a few I marketing campaigns that stand out: 

Monopoly electronic debit card version: Who can argue with Monopoly? I love that game. Consolidating resources made this nation great. This new version takes out some of the rustic charm out of beating friends into poverty and submission, I think, starting with the credit card. One good thing is they don’t have to print the one-dollar bills that are so devalued in today’s society that even the slumlord on Baltic won’t take them. And everyone just steals the 100’s from the bank anyway. Maybe the credit card keeps them honest. But it also makes it so kids can’t count back change. The good news is that the debt card allows children to be indoctrinated to the great American past time, getting into debt.  There is, I hear, a National Deficit version of Monopoly where instead of “going directly to jail,” you go directly to Beijing to negotiate a forbearance for the deficit.

Jenga Boom:  What genius infuses a domino stacking game with mini-simulated IEDs these days? A domino game that blows up? Hmmmm….Perhaps I’m misunderstanding. In this zero-tolerance day and age where you can’t say “Man, I’m gonna beat you,” in jest without getting slapped with charges for attempted murder, it’s permissible to train kids play games that explode? Might as well give them Nerf or Red Ryder BB guns. This game would be better suited for a fraternity party, I think.
Stompees–Slippers that have ears and eyeballs that pop out? Genius. These are cute, but the air inflatable body parts that cause eyeballs to protrude and ears to rise when the child stomps, filling the little character with air—-my dog would eat them, or The Boy would trip.
Sugar Cereal. These commercials are relentless. One commercial has a bird bouncing off things hitting his head off of walls. Do you really want a cereal that makes you smash your head into walls? Or one whose flakes, loops, or chunks can’t readily be found in nature without two graphic artists altering them?
Can’t we watch PBS? The only thing they sell is pledge week–give them some cash and they will leave you alone, or even better yet, send you Pete Seeger’s collection or a lifetime subscription to the digital version of Antique’s Roadshow. That’s much better than sugar cereal. I think.
I really want to go back to little kid TV.  Or better yet, no TV at all.
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