Kids and TV

My husband and I have been watching M*A*S*H, which has been a lot of fun. I’ve seen many episodes before — I imagine M*A*S*H was the syndication king before Seinfeld came along.

We’re on the last third of season two, and it’s funny what you notice. For example: did you realize that of the major male characters, most are cheating on their wives? That’s Lt. Col. Henry Blake (McLean Stevenson), Trapper John McIntyre (Wayne Rogers), Maj. Frank Burns (Larry Linville), and Hawkeye Pierce (Alan Alda). The first three characters are married, and cheat on their wives with merry abandon, while Hawkeye is single but let’s face it, promiscuous. Then there’s Maj. Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan (Loretta Swit), who is sleeping with Burns, and knows he’s married.

Yet we sympathize with and like these people. If we don’t like them, like Burns, it’s not because of the infidelity, it’s because he’s a jerk. He’d be a jerk whether he was cheating on his wife or not. We sympathize with Margaret, too. For one thing, it’s hard to figure out why she’s with Burns. He’s an idiot, a mediocre surgeon, and the only thing they really have in common is their patriotism. Yet Margaret is a woman in a man’s army, and working up to the rank of Major and being head nurse at a mobile surgical unit is an accomplishment. She’s a strong woman, and I guess that makes up for the affair (which we just can’t take seriously and it is played for laughs).

So we’ve watched nearly forty-eight episodes, all of them amusing, some more so than others. The show is quite tame compared what’s on today, even on network, and certainly compared to what’s on cable. M*A*S*H ain’t got nothing on Game of Thrones, let me tell you. We tend to watch the shows after the kids are in bed, not so much for content so much as other things are going on and the kids want to do other things.

Tonight we were watching, figuring we could close out season two. Our son was still up, but busy doing something on the computer and we figured, what the heck, even if he comes out, it’s not like we’re watching Boardwalk Empire.

Indeed, he joins us and (perhaps prompted by the laugh track) laughs at the show, declares it “hilarious” and wants to watch a full episode. We say okay, one episode and then off to bed. The episode is #22 from season 2, and is called “George.” Every episode to date has been a little silly, and what happens in this one? Turns out one of the injured soldiers, a Private Weston, is gay. In the parlance of the show, “homosexual.”

Figures.

Now, of course, the boy is laughing, not understanding. Weston, a white guy, tells Hawkeye that two guys in his outfit were beaten up, a Negro and a homosexual. Hawkeye’s joke is, Who’d have guessed you’re a Negro. Son wonders if homosexuals are Negroes (hey, he’s eight). I pause the show at the next break and ask if he knows what a Negro is – he says yes, colored. Close enough. Now it is left to define homosexual.

I’m a big believer in answering a kid’s question as simply as possible. So I tell him it’s when a man falls in love with another man, or a woman with another woman, instead of a man/woman pairing. Son says, well, no, that can’t work because they can’t get married. We say, no, that’s not true, they can in some places. Luckily we have a real-life example of this. Friends of ours, a gay male couple, live not too far away. They are married, active in their church and have adopted two boys. It’s on the tip of our tongues to add more, but we hold back and await reaction.

Big grin from Son, and then happy days! He exclaims that he and his best friend can get married!

Screeeeeeech!!Reverse thrusters, Captain!

No, actually, we tell him not to worry about marriage to anyone for at least another ten (or twenty or thirty) years. We also point out that friendships change and he and Best Friend may not always be so. This results in a defense of said friendship and we are happy to concede the point. Then – bed time. Ahhhh. No more awkward questions.

Except that he went up to his room, turned on the AM radio he made from an electronics kit and came back to tell us about a report her heard about a girl getting caught in some kind of cross-fire. Gah! Makes you think the Amish may be on to something.

It’s funny, you never know where that stuff will come from but you can’t always be waiting for them. A couple of years ago, my son asked my husband how babies are made (he’d just had a testing assessment and the teacher administering it was pregnant). Husband’s wonderful response: they’ll tell you that in fifth grade. 😀 I thought that was a great answer, and probably appropriate for a 6yo who didn’t really want the details.

But it’s all great story fodder.

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by JD Bell on April 24, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    My mother had a story that she imparted the facts of life-circa 1959 or so-three times to me; and each time I told her she was flat out lying. I didn’t accept the “facts” until I got a hold of a Sex education book-if it was printed it was more trustworthy than Mom sitting across the table telling me this outlandish tale.

    I was about seven and had learned to read at four. Unabridged dictionaries and encyclopedias were magnets at the library.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Lady Falcon on April 24, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    Added to kids and TV…I would say songs too. I listen to all sorts of music and have my favorite songs in just about every genre. Until my 9 yr old daughter then 5 started singing along with me I never really listened to the words or the connotation behind the phrases. When she was 6 she heard “Apple Bottom Jeans” by T-Pain. She loved the beat and would dance to it…still does. After a few months the dance moves started mimicking the words…
    Boots with the fur [With the fur]
    The whole club was lookin at her
    She hit the flo [She hit the flo]
    Next thing you know
    Shawty got low low low low low low low low

    Them baggy sweat pants
    And the Reeboks with the straps [With the straps]
    She turned around and gave that big booty a smack [Ayy]
    She hit the flo [She hit the flo]

    I freaked out and found a Christian rock station to listen to when she was with me for the next 3 years and only recently started listening to main stream radio again around her. Now when she asks a question and she does often we discuss it. It helps I think that we have always talked in her room every night when I put her to bed about whatever is on our minds. I hope our relationship will stay close as she moves into her teenage years. As she says she is a pre-preteen. Lord, help me. 🙂

    Reply

  3. When I was younger, seven or so, my parents would play Jimmy Buffett (he of “Margaritaville” fame). At the time, I attended an Assembly of God school (we were Catholic, but the Catholic school had a waiting list, and this was the alternative). Apparently I would sing along with the albums. One song would get my parents diving to turn it off so that I wouldn’t be singing it in the halls. It was called “Why Don’t We Get Drunk (and screw)…”

    In concert, Buffett introduces this as a “love song from a different point of view.” 😀

    Sample lyrics:

    “I really do appreciate
    the fact that you’re sitting here.
    Your voice sounds so wonderful
    but your face don’t look too clear.

    Barmaid, bring a pitcher,
    another round of brew.
    Honey, why don’t we get drunk and screw.”

    Reply

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