I’m rarely up early on a Saturday morning. It is usually the day I allow myself a few extra hours in bed after the ravages of the working week.
But with yesterday being Good Friday and consequently a bank holiday, I found myself well-rested this morning and thus I was up with the lark.
Actually I can’t substantiate that claim. I’ve no idea what time the lark gets up. I don’t know the lark personally.
But I’m given to understand that the lark is an early riser and I was also up early this morning. It’s 7.45am as I begin this and I’ve been awake for well over an hour. So there’s every chance that the lark and I were beginning our day at the same time.
But unlike the lark, who is probably now just ‘larking around’, I am trying to get on with my day and be productive.
And I thought I might begin the day by writing a blog post.
But on what subject I wasn’t sure.
Until I decided to watch a bit of early morning telly with my breakfast.
Normally Saturday morning TV is just bland, inoffensive, moving wallpaper, often involving a combination of cookery and the self promotion of minor celebrities who want to be slightly less minor.
But apparently that sort of programming starts a little later, and the early hours are filled with niche programming about some of the less popular ‘world’ sports, technological developments that, frankly, humanity does not need, or a combination of the two (drone racing? Seriously?).
There also seems to be quite a lot of kids programming at that time.
I used to love children’s TV.
When I was a child predominantly (but not exclusively).
That was back in the golden age of children’s television.
These days it all seems to be cheap CGI remakes of beloved stop-motion classics. Thomas the Tank Engine, Postman Pat, and Fireman Sam have all suffered the ignominy of the cheap CGI remake.
There is quite a skill in taking something that was quintessentially charming and rendering it utterly charmless.
But at least this barbaric reimagining of classics is still underpinned by a concept that was at least, half-decent to begin with.
This morning I was introduced to a show that genuinely made me a little bit sad.
I’ve never been one to be mawkish and overly sentimental about how things were ‘better in my day’ but this cartoon did make me feel a bit sorry for the infants of today.
The travesty I watched (and I did watch quite a lot of it) was something called Paw Patrol.
From what I can gather, Paw Patrol is a team of talking dogs with ‘special skills’ led by a fairly annoying boy called Ryder (I looked his name up on Wikipedia). They go on missions to ‘save the day’.
They all drive different vehicles which reflect their different skills. One is police-themed, one is fireman-themed and there is a (clearly token) ‘girl’ dog do who can fly a helicopter. And if were just those three, we might have the basis of a puppy themed ‘superhero’ squad that almost makes sense. But the rest of the entirely male ‘patrol’ include an environmentalist, a construction worker and a surfer.
Don’t get me wrong. Most of the cartoons I loved when I was a kid were just thinly veiled opportunities to sell toys, but in this case they haven’t bothered with a veil at all.
From the entirely lacklustre animation, to the feeble plot, and the inexplicable saccharine songs that punctuate the show, there is nothing but cold cynical marketing underpinning this poor excuse for children’s entertainment.
As an adult I continued to watch out of sheer astonishment, in much the same way as a tragic news story, though upsetting, can also hold my attention. I genuinely couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
Has the world really come to this?
But even as I watched in horror, a more unsettling truth was emerging.
Deep down I know that as a child I would have loved ‘Paw Patrol’.
Because whatever I may or may not be as an adult, as a child I was fundamentally stupid.