Tuesday, August 5, 2008
In our neighborhood
We like Mr. Rogers.
On the days Rye wakes up early, (read: 6:30 a.m. or before), we turn on the PBS show from my youth. Rye always points out the trolley meandering through the toy neighborhood at the beginning, and he always seems mesmerized by Fred Rogers welcoming us into his home.
Dane asked the other day why Mr. Rogers changes from a suit coat to a cardigan. Really, I thought? Well .... just because he does. It's so he can be more comfortable at home, I explained.
Yes, Dane said, but he has a TIE on. Ties = uncomfortable.
I grew a little flustered. I don't know, I conceded, but don't mess with Mr. Rogers.
In September, PBS officials announced earlier this summer, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood will no longer be included in Monday through Friday programming that is given to local stations. While local stations could still choose to air Mr. Rogers, chances are good that they won't. Rather, most markets will get one weekend showing.
In a time when children squeal over Kung Fu Panda books and Lightning McQeen cars and Handy Manny jammies and all sorts of other manufactured, heavily marketed toys and licensed characters, we need Mr. Rogers. Maybe more than ever. He is a stronghold of sorts for parents concerned about the commercialization bombarding our homes and our lives.
He's also just a really nice guy.
A campaign has been started to save Mr. Rogers. Check it out here. There's also a Facebook group.
I plan to at least send an e-mail to the two PBS stations here. I'll tell them how much I want my child to get to know the man who taught all of us 80s children about sharing and kindness and tolerance and make-believe.
I went to the library two weeks ago to get books for me and Dane. But I secretly hoped they'd have a Mr. Rogers DVD, too. They did, and Rye has asked to watch it just about every day since then. Though I'm thoroughly sick of the Land of Make Believe by now, I'm happy to put this show on for my child.