All right, right off the top, I need to own my shame on this one. I admit it. I am acquainted with the current landscape of tween/teen entertainment offered by The Disney Channel and Nickelodeon. I am an unapologetic SpongeBob fan, but that’s not what is at issue today. Recently a new show has premiered on Nick called The Thundermans. It’s yet another pathetically idiotic kid-com about a family of superheroes. I just happened to catch the premiere and after a week of procrastinating, I’m ready to talk about it. The show in concept is interesting. It’s kind of a riff off of Wizards Of Waverly Place with superheroes replacing wizards. As far as execution, things start heading down. The acting is sub standard, which is par for the course with these shows and the writing is even worse. There are canned laughs, but unfortunately there are no jokes. When did random, non-sequitor statements replace jokes? The two teen leads have a semi-believable chemistry as sister and brother while the younger kids are of course overly sarcastic and are clearly meant to be the show pieces in every scene they’re in. The parents are once more two dopes who don’t seem to know what is going on in their kids’ lives and are only there to serve as foils for the children’s schemes.
This is unfortunately the way most of these shows are these days. I remember once upon a time I actually found a certain charm and enjoyment with shows like these. I actually liked “That’s So Raven” and “Phil Of The Future” was very enjoyable. Ever since ‘iCarly’ all these shows seem to have taken a major downturn. The writing is lazy. The characters are one-dimensional and the actors, both young and not so young, are horrible. The only bright spot in this storm of mediocrity would be “Good Luck Charlie”. The show could have done more with its concept, but despite that, the writing is better than most other shows and the cast does not seem as though they just came from some high school production. Most shows for children these days seem to be taking the low road. They are plagued with simple minded jokes that could only appeal to children younger than five and I’ve noticed that parental figures keep getting pushed to the back. Let’s not forget, these characters are still children and conventional wisdom would dictate that the parents would be, or should be, active in their lives. I remember one show had cast Nancy McKeon as the leads mom, and it was a good fit, but alas, she only had her mother for one episode. I’d like to see a show with parents, any parents, who are not only present, but are also not idiots who let their kids walk all over them. I’d like to see a show that actually tried to be good. Raise the bar, for Gods sake!
I know. It’s shocking that I would have this strong an opinion of children’s programming, but as I see this generation grow up, I can see that a lot of how they are is influenced by the media, for better or worse. There was a time that these shows tried to set a better example.