I realized with a kind of suspended horror the other day that all my cultural references are to kid shows. I don't really watch TV except for with my children (in an attempt to monitor what goes into their little brains), so I'm clueless when people talk about Lost, or Desperate Housewives or whatever.
However, repeated showings of Spongebob Squarepants and Avatar have convinced me that TV is not a vast wasteland. And no, I don't think Spongebob is gay. Silly, spongy, square, and very strange, but not gay. Okay, there was that one episode where he and Patrick became parents to a baby clam, but that was just surreal and not intended to be interpreted as a sexual metaphor. Spongebob's attraction is his very innocence, so let's not layer all our own stuff on top of him, okay?
Avatar has some of the best scenes of Goal, Motivation and Conflict I have ever seen, and has managed to develop a complex protagonist who started out being a bad guy, but now we just feel sorry for the poor sod. Not to mention having an absolutely cool premise. Creative, different, and yet not too different (it evokes memories of the Far East, American West, etc.). Why can't I think of stuff like that?
I also decided to read the Harry Potter series before my kids did, and got hooked. I know some people don't like the ending (I won't spoil it here), but anyone who knows about The Hero's Journey understands it had to be. Just like Luke and ObiWan. That's all I will say.
Perhaps I'm reliving my childhood, which in fact occurred overseas on military bases that showed TV that was already twenty years old. Deprived, that's what I was. All I got to see were things like the Berlin Wall, the Eiffel Tower, the Coliseum...boring stuff like that.
Take care, TJB