Can TV Teach People a Sense of Humor?
Cartoon Network's amazing unique selling proposition
Sept. 22, 2005, Vol. 1, Issue #33
IN THE NEWS
Don't touch that dial! Not unless you want your children to grow up to be clueless, sad-sack 40-year-old virgins. That's pretty much the message Cartoon Network is sending parents as it launches its new block of programming, "Tickle U," as in University: two hours of cartoons on weekday mornings that will ostensibly help preschoolers develop a sense of humor, without which they will lead a sad and lonely life.
"TV telling kids what's funny? It's laughable."
New York Daily News, Aug. 24, 2005
Yet another tussle about proper parenting has bubbled up.
In one corner is Time Warner's Cartoon Network. In the other corner are parents' groups and educational organizations.
Caught in the middle--not knowing right from wrong--are parents of toddlers.
Cartoon Network would love nothing better than to steal kids away from the wholesome PBS kids shows--"Sesame Street," "Arthur," "Clifford the Big Red Dog," "Caillou," the "Berenstein Bears" and all the other favorites. These are seen as more educational and wholesome than old-fashioned cartoons.
Time Warner's pitch: Instead of a steady diet of ABCs and 1-2-3s, the Tickle U ("U" as in "University") producers claim that they have put together really funny cartoons that will make preschoolers laugh and teach them to have a sense of humor.
To an old geezer like myself, this is preposterous.
I believe that because of TV millions of Americans do not know what is funny and what is not.
What is funny
In the 1930s, my uncle, Eric Hatch, wrote the great screwball comedy, "My Man Godfrey," and went to Hollywood to write the screenplay. His brother, my father, went out to visit him, and at a party at Ginger Rogers's house met Ruth Brown, a wildly attractive little Texan who later became his wife and my mother.
- Al Capone
- Ben Glenn II
- Charley Douglass
- Chester Morris
- Denny Hatch
- Diane Levin
- Eric Hatch
- Ernie Kovaks
- Ginger Rogers
- Goodman Ace
- Hank McCune
- Jack Paar
- Jerry Lewis
- Jonathan Winters
- Norman McLeod
- Perry Como
- Quincy Adams Wagstaff
- Ruth Brown
- Sid Caesar
- Steve Allen
- Susan Linn
- The News
- Tickle U. Harvard