A time even before Netflix...
Not all of us were blessed with cable growing up, making PBS the cartoon supplier extraordinaire. We didn't have the joy of Nickelodeon or Disney or even Cartoon Network for that matter. It would wistfully cross our paths at chance sleepovers or occasionally at a family restaurant. We craved the laughter of SpongeBob like a moth to a lamp. However, we had to make do with what we had. We lived for the moments when it was kids time on the public access network.. it fed our cable-deprived souls.
"I wish, I wish, with all my heart, to fly with dragons in a land apart." C'mon didn't we all wish that we could hold on to that magical stone with Max and Emmy and go hang with dragons? Even when PBS was your only source of imagination, the idea of magic dragons was pretty darn good.
"Thomas and Friends"Giphy
"Down the hills and round the bends, Thomas and his friends" Whether you were cheeky like Thomas or really knew you stuff like Emily, talking trains are relatable to anyone. It didn't matter if you even liked trains, when they're sassy and sarcastic anyone can enjoy them. Thomas' everlasting positivity made us believe that if a tank engine can make it through anything so can we.
"Barney and Friends"Giphy
"I love you, you love me. We're a happy family" Big purple dinosaurs bring joy to everyone, even if they're not scientifically accurate. Who wouldn't want to sing and dance with a man in a glorified mascot costume? Barney taught us the value of sharing and friendship, not like any of us really like to share.
Regardless of this show bringing us one of the best memes of the century, it also made is learn that an aardvark in cartoon form can ambiguously look like just about any animal. Also, that an aardvark and a bunny can be best friends if they truly believe. Oh yeah, and we can all agree that D.W. was the worst.
"Clifford the Big Red Dog"Giphy
Dog...awesome. Red dog...pretty cool. BIG red dog.. how could it get better? The bond between Clifford and Emily Elizabeth introduced us to the idea of man's (or girl's) best friend. We all secretly wished that our dog was big enough to slide down their tail. Clifford showed young kiddos that you don't always get what you expect in life but no matter the size or the color everyone deserves some lovin'
Before the age of Netflix, or online streaming, or even On Demand features for that matter; the deprivation we felt not growing up with cable ate us alive. PBS was our knight in shining armor, dashing in with life lessons and cute animals. They were the first to teach us about friendship, sharing, caring, and loving. Thank you, PBS for supplying me with my cartoon crack when my parents wouldn't give me cable. Thank you for allowing me to feel included (at times) in the cartoon conversations with kids at school. Kids these days will never know the pain of cable deprivation but those who remember the sting so clearly can agree that PBS was a life-saver.