Thursday, October 21, 2010

TV Report: The Hub, G.I. Joe, and a Personal Moment

My TiVo knows that I love me some Family Ties. One of my favorite sitcoms of all time, it sometimes records it from a local channel on Saturdays, which was, until recently, the only time Family Ties was ever on.

I noticed a couple of nights ago that, in the evening, my cable box had turned to channel 130 and my TiVo was recording Family Ties. And not just Family Ties, but the two-part episode "The Fugitive," famously featuring Tom Hanks as Uncle Ned. That's about as classic as Family Ties gets.

I wasn't sure what channel 130 was, so I flipped over and checked it out. 130 used to be Discovery Kids, but is now calling itself The Hub and has re-branded itself as a channel for families featuring classic television. And though I'm not sure I ever need to see reruns of Happy Days or Laverne & Shirley ever again, the channel shows some classics I'm thrilled to get to see more often: Fraggle Rock, the 1965 Batman series, Transformers, and most importantly, G.I. Joe.

As most of you know, last year I watched the first season of G.I. Joe--including the first two miniseries--with Becca, rediscovering them for the first time since I was a kid. I expected they would be like a lot of programs I watched when I was a kid--I'd look at them and think, I can't believe how much I loved this when it's dated so poorly, and then never watch it again. But I really enjoyed them. A surprising amount. Not only that, but Becca, who had never seen them, really liked G.I. Joe.

So when she saw that The Hub was rerunning G.I. Joe at 11:30pm Mondays through Thursdays, she got really excited and asked if we could start recording it. They've started pretty recently, because last night's episode was the second part of the second miniseries, The Revenge of Cobra. So now I'm DVRing and watching G.I. Joe at the age of 34 with my enthusiastic wife.

I'm going to rehash an old, painful gripe of mine once again here. (This is the personal moment of the post title, obviously.)

In 1986, when Transformers: The Movie came out, I didn't go see it with my friends. That's because I didn't really have any that year. Besides gaining a bunch of weight, I was also still into cartoons, and everyone had just sort of decided in 6th grade that it was stupid to be 10 years old and still be into action figures and cartoons and comic books--which is, I maintain, why there are now industries devoted to remaking and repackaging the things you loved as kids and selling them back to you, because you gave them up too soon and now you miss them. Look how much money you could have saved if you just gave things up in your own time.

Anyway, suddenly--and it really was very, very sudden; I called my best friend Shane one morning and asked if he wanted to play, and he just coldly said "No thanks, Aaron, I'd rather not play with you" and was suddenly not just no longer a friend, but one of the people leading the charge to ridicule me, leading the pack of kids that beat me up and berated me all the way home one day--suddenly I was the only 10 year-old in the neighborhood who still played with his Legos and G.I. Joe figures and watched cartoons. So I was suddenly by myself for a long time, and being told repeatedly what a loser I was because I was "still acting like a kid." Almost no one wanted to be my friend if they could help it, and as I got older, no girl wanted to go out with me. I was, supposedly, destined to be alone.

So anyway, cut to 2010. I'm 34 years old, and I still love cartoons. And now I'm married to a beautiful, talented, silly, dorky, sexy, funny, artistic, smart, awesome, perfect woman. Who loves to watch G.I. Joe with me.

Fucking suck it, Shane. Suck it, everyone who told me what a loser I was simply for being myself and not caving in to the peer pressure to grow up too fast. Fuck every last one of you for being so, so stupid.

It's nice to get rid of that bit of lingering shitty memories.


Roger Owen Green said...

Don't take this as being glib, because I don't mean it as such. But it seems to me that you, as a straight guy, personify the same zeitgeist as the It Gets Better video movement, if you know what I mean.

Kal said...

Boy are you ever telling my story.

I was a kid who loved comic books. I have told the story how my mother would bring me a box of them every week from the hotel she worked at. Nothing was more enjoyable for me to come home from school and flop myself into the large leather chair in my room to escape into the world of comics. I carried that love with me to this day.

I supect that it's because I moved around from base to base as a kid that I developed skills to help me cope with being alone and leaving all your friends behind.

New friends meant new interests but I never felt ashamed or let anyone tell me that I couldn't collect action figures or toys.

I was the only one in my high school click that liked things like cartoons and toys and fantasty
stories. Sure they made fun of me at times but I never let that bother me. In fact I had pity for them that THEY were the ones who were missing out.

As a teacher, those geeky things helped me connect with students in a way that an adult almost never can. Knowing that an adult loved cartoons like Pokemon and who could name a ton of the critters was a revelation to them and made them feel that if I liked the same things that they did, that it was okay to be who they were while continue enjoying what they liked.

The internet, with it's ability to connect me with other like minded souls has been a godsend to me. I don't have to explain everything to my internet contacts. We have a shorthand that is easily understood.

You are so lucky to have married a fan-girl because of the opportunity to share what you love with someone of like mind and vice versa.

Jaquandor said...

I was insanely lucky in that I never had to suffer the complete loss of a circle of formerly geek friends. I met others along the way, as some fell aside; yes, there were bullies, but they never made life sheer hell for me. But man, were the raw materials ever there.

(Speaking of Family Ties -- I had a big ol' crush on Tina Yothers back in the day. She's only a year and a half younger than me, so it was easy to think "I'd totally have a chance with her!" if she'd been in my area. And she might be the first evidence I ever had for my lifelong belief that girls in overalls trump everything. She wore overalls a lot on that show....)

SamuraiFrog said...

Roger: No, I don't think that's glib. I think it's cool that you say that. I remember long stretches of time when it felt like it wasn't going to get better, so the fact that it did makes me feel pretty good.

Kal: I know what you mean about students; kids were amazed I was into Hannah Montana and the very little kids especially were pleased when I knew the words to the songs.

My problem is that it took me forever to develop the skills to cope. I was a pretty popular kid; the other kids, especially the girls, liked that I was creative and funny and could make up games to play. When it hit me in the fifth and sixth grade that everyone was leaving me behind and suddenly I was the whipping boy, it was such a shock it took me years to stop being so angry all the time.

Jaquandor: For me it was Justine Bateman. She was like my babysitters.

And yeah, Tina Yothers did were overalls quite a bit.

DrGoat said...

As far as I'm concerned, you're in good company. People like Cal.
I was a kid in the 50s when B&W sci-fi movies, great toys from Marx and Ideal and the newly opened Disneyland were king. I'm 60now and still have most of my comics (still read them), some of my toys, my whole collection of Tom Swift books and a host of other stuff I've bought since then.
'Growing up' is for chumps. I see plenty of grown-ups in the tea party. 'nuff said.

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