I have introduced my daughter to television from a kinder, gentler, sweeter time — a time when parents still ran the house and weren’t the constant butt of jokes…a time when children honored their parents and respected adults in general…a time when kids asked their parents for advice on everything from how to win the backyard potato sack race to getting Davy Jones to perform at prom. Yes, I’m talking “The Brady Bunch.” Three DVR’d episodes in, Emma Kelly had the theme song fairly well memorized and she was obsessed with understanding the family dynamics. How is it that Mike and Carol were each married before and what happened to the first wife and husband? Exactly how old is each child and which first name do I think goes best with the last name Brady? Is she as old as Cindy? And just how old was I when this show was on the air? These are all very important questions to ponder. It’s too much for me, actually, which is why I decided to divert her attention with “Full House.”
Within a week, and thanks to back-to-back daily episodes, I had a little “Full House” library stored on the DVR. And thanks to one particular episode where Uncle Jesse had to be firm with his twin toddlers who were misbehaving at the dinner table, I think Emma Kelly finally had a little epiphany. As much as it pained Uncle Jesse to put his boys in time out, it didn’t compare to the pain it caused him when his little boys repeated in unison, “Mean daddy! Mean daddy!” Oh, the anguish that was etched on Uncle Jesse’s face. Oh, the heartache he expressed to his wife, Becky, whose only concern was whether or not the boys thought of her as “mean mommy.” This episode couldn’t have come at a better time, actually, because right before the first notes of the “Full House” theme song kicked in — “Whatever happened to predictability?” — my lovely daughter handed me a note inscribed to “Mommy Poo-Poo Head.” And by the end of the episode, Uncle Jesse was forgiven by his bratty boys and my little brat handed me a new note she’d written — a note covered in hearts and smiley faces and X’s and O’s that said, “I love Mommy!”
So, thank you, Uncle Jesse! For a brief moment, you showed my daughter that she has the ability to break her mother’s heart with her words and you made her feel really bad about it. Now, I know this could backfire on me later when she realizes the full extent of her power over me. But for now, I’ll just say thank you to that kinder, gentler, sweeter time of TV that my daughter just discovered. I just hope those writers for the Disney Channel have kids who catch a kinder, gentler, sweeter episode or two. Maybe they’ll be tempted to write some episodes that make us parents look a little less like poo-poo heads.