Last week, in a New York Times article, Neil Genzlinger made some hilariously scary points about NickMom—the new block of mostly scripted shows on Nick Jr. He blames the decline of males on the constant availability of sports shows (thanks to ESPN) and fears that the same might happen to women now that Nick Jr. is offering a mindless alternative to reading, working, and doing other tasks that might advance the human race.
Although the article has a humorous tone and made me laugh out loud several times (he exaggerates that the only thing he knows about is football) Genzlinger illuminated the very real idea that television shows have become so mindless and mesmerizing that their lure is nearly impossible to resist. Real thinking, after all, is very hard work. He says:
A plea to all the women out there, especially the mothers: Resist the numbing allure of NickMom, a late-night programming block Nick Jr. began last month. Do not be seduced by its rehashing of mother-child dynamics from drab sitcoms or its relentless focus on penises. Do not allow yourselves to be captured by its I.Q.-lowering gravitational pull. You’ll end up like me. Like us. Like guys.
The shows are constructed to award immediate gratification to its viewers, and everyone knows that immediate gratification can lead to negative long-term consequences. Easy come, easy go, as they say. In an effort to sum up the ridiculous nature of the shows, Grazlinger said:
It (the block) includes "MFF: Mom Friends Forever," a reality show about two boorish mothers from St. Louis; "NickMom Night Out," a stand-up comedy series whose performers, most of them women, lean toward jokes about toddlers and genitals; and "Parental Discretion With Stefanie Wilder-Taylor," a talk show/street interview hybrid in which crass is the new urbane. (Sample question in a segment about multitasking moms: "What is one of the tasks that you have done while being on the toilet?"Answer: "Brush my teeth.")
This gender specific programming also has the potential to make women think that only certain types of jokes or humor or subject matter are entertaining. It also reinforces common stereotypes about mothers. Let’s hope enough woman can resist the urge to become mindless, so that they can use their endless potential to lead fulfilling lives and make the world a better place.
Images via nytimes.com
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