My parents come from Greece and I am proud to be a first-generation Canadian (although I think my mom is more Canadian than I am sometimes). One of my first memories in life is my dad reading me “paramithia” or fairy tales. I also remember the influence the experience of watching TV had on me as a child. These days, TV is looked upon as bad and that it should never be used as a “babysitter”. Personally, I don’t really understand what all the fuss is about.
My parents didn’t have any problem leaving us in front of the TV for a few hours while we were growing up. I remember watching Sesame Street (in fact, this is how my sister learned to speak English), Mr. Dress Up and Captain Kangaroo. I remember those shows kick-starting my imagination. Saturday mornings were cartoon time: The Flintstones and The Jetsons were my favourites. I remember running home from Greek School on Saturday afternoons to watch American Bandstand. I remember quality time with my mom watching Dynasty and Dallas … quality time with my dad watching hockey and soccer. These were family bonding moments for us. We sat around, we translated most of the shows for my parents, and we talked about what was happening … it is one of the things I remember most about my childhood.
TV remains a huge part of my life. My favourite way to relax after a rough day at work is to put on my favourite TV show and escape reality for a while. There is a lot of quality TV on these days (along with some not-so-quality TV and some guilty pleasures). I don’t judge people’s choices in what they want to watch. If they enjoy it, and it speaks to them, in one way or another, then it’s their choice.
I always remember feeling like I was part of something culturally important when those big events happened: Who Shot JR?; Series finale of M.A.S.H.; Luke and Laura’s wedding on GH; Rachel and Ross finally getting together on Friends; Tina Fey’s perfect impersonation of Sarah Paley; the brilliant Joss Whedon’s Firefly being cancelled after just half a season (the anger remains) … those are just a few among countless others that I have experienced.
2013 was a particularly special year for that kind of momentous occasion. The Doctor Who 50th anniversary special was epic. The same TV show telecast internationally, simultaneously on TV and in cinemas brought about an excitement that I had years to experience. In fact, I don’t remember ever living through something like that. I am a Whovian … proudly so. I started watching it from the first airing of the reboot in 2005. It has become a show that I hold very close to my heart. I watch it with my whole family and many friends and while we don’t always agree on our favourite episode or our favourite doctor, we always agree that when you get into it, and you love it, you will always love it.
All these moments have shaped my world and have made me the person I am today. And for those who think that raising kids on TV brings them up to have no imagination, or makes them dumb, overweight or recluses, I would just like to add this. I write short stories and poems in my spare time, reading is one of my favourite things in the world to do, I graduated high school on the honour roll and went on to get a Master’s degree from a world renowned university. I am a geek who loves to mingle with other geeks, both online and in person, I love being surrounded by family and friends and I love to travel. I have several tattoos. I am very friendly and not shy. Finally, I watch TV every single night when I get home from work and I workout at the same time. And once in a while, my bff and I will have a movie day where we just watch movies all day and eat junk food. That is ALSO ok.
On Saturday of this week, I will be getting 2 more tattoos, celebrating and honouring 2 of my favourite TV shows of all time (photos to be added). They represent who I am right now in my life. Some people think those are the wrong kind of tattoos to get. It depends what tattoos mean to you. To me, they are a representation of where I am at different moments of my life. This year I will be 40 and I wanted to commemorate that huge milestone with tattoos that represent my particular love for 2 TV shows that I feel have shaped me in one way or another.
And remember, leaving your kids in front of the TV for a few hours doesn’t make you bad parents. You can use the time to teach them about the world, about entertainment, about values and morals and so many other wonderful things.