From a young age, once I outgrew my teething toys, I became attached to my family's television. I remember growing up to sing-a-long cassettes, whimsical colors and car rides filled with laughter.
Even now, the television helps nurture children and what they watch shapes their ideology for the future as adults. While today's youth watches overly-dramatic Netflix series and shows that may not have the slightest educational value, the TV will forever be an important asset to society worldwide. For me, although I can only remember so much, there are 20 shows that I vividly remember that helped me become the person I am today. Each show had its educational and moral importance, comedy, heart and a special "kid-friendly touch" that made me watch more.
1. Dora the Explorer
Vamanos! Let's go to a world where a young girl and her best friend Boots teach children about respect and Hispanic culture. At the time, it felt like every girl idolized Dora's smile and unique haircut. I remember learning to count, learn the name of tools and yell at the screen for Swiper the Fox to stop swiping ("Swiper no swiping!"). I even had a Dora-themed birthday party featuring Dora's renowned purple Backpack and a Dora cake. The perfect show for three-year-olds, this Nick Jr. classic is one I will never forget.
2. Blue's Clues
A clue, a clue! When I was around 3 or 4 years old, there was a phase where all I would watch was Blue and Joe. I vividly remember the purple, smiling mailbox and the interior of the red and yellow house. Blue's Clues was very interactive and I enjoyed how I could learn new words and numbers along the way. Blue's Clues was in my childhood not only on the TV but when I learned how to use it, on the computer as well as through multiple word-assembling games. Blue's Clues was very educational, and this is a show I definitely wish still aired.
There's never ever ever ever ever been a show like VeggieTales in my childhood! With google eyes and innocent expressions, the squash and cucumber made me enjoy veggies even more! My favorite characters were for sure Larry the Cucumber and Bob the Tomato. Much to my surprise, I recently learned that VeggieTales is a Christian-based show in which all of the episodes relate to the Bible! Being a non-Christian, I do not recall anything I learned from the show, I just remember laughing to the songs performed by animated veggies.
4. Barney & Friends
A 1990s classic, this was the first show I watched at home according to my mother. I apparently giggled at the sight of a laughing, purple dinosaur, and his friends. I wish I remembered anything from Demi Lovato, Debby Ryan or Selena Gomez when they were co-stars on Barney & Friends. Although it later became controversial, I loved Barney, BJ and Baby Bop.
5. Tom and JerryGiphy
No words can describe the joy every adult and child receive from watching the battle of an innocent cat and a clever mouse. For many generations, Tom and Jerry have created joy for young children during snack time or at the dinner table. In my house, my family alone has collected dozens of CDs filled with countless episodes of the original Tom and Jerry Tales. Although not necessarily education, I know that I could come from school to turn on the TV for a good laugh, and it is a show I continue to enjoy today.
Ah, Arthur. Arthur has been a buddy of mine for a long time. As soon as I watched the DVDs filled with Arthur's paranoia, Francine's (intermittent) sarcasm and Buster's array of general knowledge, I immediately said, "Hey! What a wonderful kind of day!", grabbed my fruit juice box and glued myself to the TV. What I appreciated about Arthur the most is how the show encourages teamwork, collaboration and emphasizes the Golden Rule. I have taken every moral of the Arthur episodes to heart and make sure that I treat everyone I meet with a great deal of respect.
7. Dragon Talesmedia.giphy.com
I wish, I wish with all my heart that I could play with Ord, Cassie Zak, and Wheezie on a daily basis and snack on Dragon Berries. When we were younger, my brother and I would turn on PBS every night at 6 pm to watch the whimsical adventures of two children who stumbled across a magical dragon scale. I was always in awe because, at such a young age, dragons appeared to be a reality. What amazed me about the show was how the dragons were children as well, so their teacher, Quetzal, would educate the dragons and children about respecting differences, having fun and working together to achieve success.
8. Sesame Street
La la la la, Elmo's World! Who doesn't love a fluffy red creature singing along on TV? I cannot emphasize how much Sesame Street was in my house. I had the pink soccer ball Elmo is holding above, I had an Elmo themed chair, Sesame Street cakes and so much more. My favorite characters were Big Bird, Elmo, and Cookie Monster; in fact, I met Big Bird once at Busch Gardens in my hometown. I loved singing along to these furry creatures while at the same time learning about numbers and words along the way.
9. Rolie Polie Olie
Rolie Polie Olie, a French-Canadian-American production, was the first show that taught me about shapes as robots made of shapes lived in a teapot-dome house. I loved the upbeat nature of the show; the children were friendly and would make me smile! A Disney Junior classic, the show has won awards for "Best Animated Series" and has warmed the hearts of some 90s children too.
10. Angelina Ballerina
For those of you who may not know, Angelina Ballerina is a French cartoon about dancing mice. These mice learn ballerina, go to school and make friends. I like Angelina for her aesthetic and her pink color (I have not seen a pink mouse with a tutu in person!). I enjoyed meeting Angelina's friends and more importantly learning about the importance of kindness towards other people, even if you do not know them.
11. The Magic School Busmedia.giphy.com
A field trip? I hope its a normal one. Not on this bus! My elementary school days in the science classroom were filled with episodes upon episodes of Arnold, Miss Frizzle, and the entire team. The developers of The Magic School Bus did a wonderful job of explaining concepts of human anatomy, earth science and biology in a simple, yet enticing way. The Magic School Bus did so well that the series is still played in schools and Netflix created a new series: The Magic School Bus Rides Again. I watched an episode with little expectations the other day and it did not live as much to its original counterpart.
Life is more than a hurricane in the town of Duckburg. The mysterious, jam-packed adventures of Scrooge McDuck, his nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie, their friend Webbigail (aka Webby) and Launchpad are marvels to the viewer's eye. I enjoy the excitement, the fear, the comedy and the heart. DuckTales recently revived its series with new animation, new villains and more stories to tell: 21st-century style. The new episodes are 9/10 as fun and close to the 1990s series. I enjoy DuckTales for the modern twist and the upbeat attitudes of the triplet nephews.
13. Charlie Brown
Charles Schulz came up with a vision that would capture the hearts of children across pre-schools and elementary schools everywhere. Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, and Snoopy don't have to talk too much to make the audience laugh and learn about the holidays, science and social etiquettes.
14. Phineas and Ferb
I know what we're gonna do today...as long as Candace doesn't try to bust us! Phineas and Ferb, which lasted from 2007-2016, was a wonderful series for 90s and 00's kids to watch regardless if it was summertime or a night after homework. I could only dream of 104 days to build ridiculous contraptions. Although I didn't realize at the time, Phineas and Ferb has given me a lot of general knowledge of science, math history and much more! Now, I can answer questions on Game Show Network's show "Cash Cab" and even "Who Wants to be a Millionaire". I am forever grateful for the laughs from Doofenshmirtz, the screams of a paranoid Candace, and Ferb's use of expression.
15. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Will Smith and Alfonso Ribiero were introduced to my eyes by my parents and their love for this late 20th-century comedy. I spend every episode cracking up at Will Smith's sarcasm and jokes, Carlton's dance and many more jokes from the family and their butler Geoffrey. Even today, although its past "childhood", I turn on channel 255 to Teen Nick at 10 pm to watch a fun-filled family show.
16. Avatar: The Last Airbender
Water. Earth. Fire. Air. Long ago, I watched Aang, Katara, and Sokka for the first time at my friend's house, instantly falling in love with the action and the jokes. I loved the 4 seasons as the suspense would build as these children would learn bending techniques and hide from the Fire Nation: the world's enemy-nation. I loved watching the series dozens of times, binge-watching it at 1 am with my brother even now. Who knew that a show I watched in my pre-teen years would be something I watch today?
17. The Jetsons
Elroy, Judy, Jane, and George take us on a trip to the skies where traffic is no longer on the ground. I would always pray that the future would be like the Jetsons where machines cooked our food and driving in the air became a reality. Hopefully, we can be on our way to the positives of the Jetson era in a few years!
18. The Looney Tunes
"Eh, what's up doc?" is a time-filled phrase with a lack of meaning and a familiar face. I joined Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Taz, Tweety, Sylvester, Porky and so many others on adventures filled with pleasure, pain and downright nonsense. The ridiculed accents, lisps, and voiceovers resonate in the minds of many generations. Even though Looney Tunes filled up a good chunk of my childhood, the silly Cartoon Network tales continue to hold a large spot in my heart.
19. Garfield & Friends
We're ready to party, we're ready! At around 6 or 7 years old, my parents put a DVD in the car for my brother and I to watch on a long car ride. As soon as the TV opened, I saw a cat, dog and man with big eyes in a house eating lasagna. Garfield the Cat was a hilarious character in that his eyes were expressive while his mouth did not open. I loved his remarks to Jon, the owner, and I had sympathy for Odie the Dog.
The other characters (hence Garfield and Friends) lived on a farm and had their own cases and jokes to crack. The self-proclaimed leader was Orson the Pig, the coward was Wade Duck (who wore floatie around his waist), Roy Rooster was the comedian, Bo Sheep had an extremely deep voice, and there was the Chicken and the Egg. I loved all 3 series of discs so much because of the theme song and the simple comedy throughout the episodes. I hope more episodes premiere soon for my enjoyment and throwback time.
20. Scooby Doo, Where Are You?
Scooby Snacks, The Mystery Machine, and fighting crime put my 8-year-old self on the edge of my seat! A Cartoon Network and Boomerang primetime cartoon, Scooby Doo and his friends always gave their enemies a run for their money. Velma, the brainiest of the squad, Daphne the sweetheart, Fred the driver, Shaggy the scaredy-cat and Scooby Doo used their super-senses to rid the town of the spookiest, most abnormal phenomena. I loved the show mostly for Shaggy's and Scooby's constant jokes. I used to eat the Scooby Doo themed fruit snacks at one point since I was obsessed for about a year or two. In the end, I loved mystery, even if it was cartoon-like.
Age is just a number, and I will always reminisce my childhood through television shows. Although today's shows don't live up to the 90s-00s hype, I hope that in the near future, we can revive these classics for future generations to enjoy in their childhoods.