I haven’t had cable TV since the fall of 2001.
So, last month when I signed up for Netflix and they sent us a disc to put in the Wii to make movies and TV shows play on our television the kids threw me a big hero parade down our street. Or at least they planned to, but then they sat on their butts for twelve days in a row, eating cheetos and watching anything they could latch their starved little eyeballs onto.
Willow, bless her, has fallen hard for King of the Hill. And I understand her devotion. For me, it’s Weeds, Dexter, and the holiest of holy: Six Feet Under. She wakes up in the morning and first thing out of her mouth is some kind of bargain about getting ready for school fast so she can watch just a little KotH before school.
But, she’s seven, and sometimes the theme of a KotH episode isn’t really intended for seven year olds. Like last night, the episode she watched was the one where Peggy’s large and beautiful feet are discovered by the foot fetish guy who tricks her into making videos where she walks around on pork and beans in her bare feet and it ends up on the internet. I was in the kitchen making chicken soup and I was watching her watch the show, feeling rather odd about my lack of drive to distract her with something more appropriate. Can I really be the very same person who wouldn’t my oldest kid watch SpongeBob when he was her age, because the characters called each other “stupid” and said “shut up?”
I guess it was still bothering me this morning, because while I was in the shower washing my hair, I was wondering if she’d be telling the other first graders at recess all about foot fetishists and how they like to look at photos on the internet of bare feet walking on raw hamburger, and I was a little nervous about what that might mean for the kinds of playdates that are secretly babysitting and therefore much needed, when I had a thought: I’ll bet you, I thought, that when she sees Homer Simpson with a prostitute, or watches Peggy Hill cry when she discovers that perverts are hot for her giant feet, she feels like I do when I watch a David Lynch film (except for The Straight Story, which was 0% pretentiously weird). Maybe she knows that something is going on that makes some kind of sense to someone somewhere, but whatever it really is doesn’t matter, so long as Bobby keeps telling funny jokes.
I mean, honestly, if I thought that one song on the radio all the time when I was little, Afternoon Delight, was about setting off model rockets after lunchtime, then I have to believe that what’s meant to go over her head will do just that. Plus, Bobby goes to Tom Landry Middle School, which makes the 8th generation, born in Dallas, Texan in me cheer.
Look at me, all embracing my flaws!