YTV, Youth Television as it is sometimes known, is a channel dedicated to kids and youth programming. The channel is put on the air by Shaw Media and it is, and will always be, on channel 25 in Toronto.
Goddamn, I loved YTV. It had the best shows, it had the best hosts, and it even had some of the defining anime that introduced me to the art of Japanese animation.
It was the best.
A lot of this love has to do with me being about 9-years-old at the time. At that age, the television acts as the provider of the majority of your entertainment. Everything from cartoons to educational programs come out of this magical box at certain times a day, and parents seldom say, “Oh, you can’t watch Sesame Street!”
YTV provides young people with programming that is relevant to their outside-of-education needs including some fairly, culturally progressive scheduling. Along with showing a variety of Western shows they also had animes like Digimon, Pokemon, Escaflowne, Dragon Ball, Tekka Man: The Space Night, and even Samurai Pizza Cats. In other words, it was the bomb.
When you grow up…
The appeal of television slowly starts to wane as you get more and more distracted by “adult” concerns. For instance, I can’t sit down for a half hour of YTV including the segments that Carlos (last name known) hosts. It has a certain appeal and I really appreciate that they are still doing the host-introduction format of television, but I’ve grown.
What’s really changed is the programming and me.
Nostalgia from the 90s is something that I’ve been struggling to come to terms with for the last little while. It was a time that we remember as being sunny, warm, and filled with Fresh Princes, but when you look back on things it’s simply today just with the hue of sodium-vapor lamps creating a sepia-tone tinge on the world.
THE 90S WERE GREAT, BUT THEY’RE GONE is what I’m trying to say, but few of us move on from that reality. For instance, and through the lens of the growing distance between my childhood and YTV’s The Zone.
Isn’t that a lovely video? For those who might not remember, Sugar and Carlos made up what was probably the golden age of the television channel’s hosting. Sure, they didn’t see to many super stars, but they epitomize the best part of television: We cared about them as they cared about us.
Matthew, what the hell are you talking about? I can hear your confusion and I understand that many people might not have looked at television in the same way as I did. However, when you look at the most familiar faces of television in the 90s you start to see people like Mr. Rogers, Mr. Dressup, and even Barney. What you see in the 2000s, especially after 2001, is the emergence of the 24-Hour news cycle and the disassociation of care from the airwaves.
Back in the 90s, television acted as a second parent helping kids find his or her way to lessons in morality and ethics, love and care. It might seem a bit like that scene in The Cable Guy where Jim Carrey sits down in front of the stupid box drooling, but families are rarely that disassociated from the well-being of their children. I watched television a lot, but I also went out to play sports, interact with family, and learn from others. Television shows like Mr. Rogers was just that extra something to help make me feel special.
Which brings me to: Fox News‘ asshole video segment.
Fuck Fox News. I don’t usually swear on the Internet, but fuck you for taking this lovely person and demonizing him for your ignorant viewers. Fuck you for ruining television for everyone because of your callous, horrid, awful news reporting that takes sides and offers little insight into the world itself. Fuck you for perpetuating the true evil that can exist when you broadcast ignorance rather than the truth. Mr. Rogers was a saint and he cared more about his viewers than any of your hosts ever will about the general populace’s well being.
But think about it, do kids today still have people they care about on television? I wonder if Canadian kids turn on the television and find the same personalities that made us feel that extra feeling of care. On the Internet, kids are inundated in everything from the violence of real-world to the masses pornography that’s everywhere online. Even when I was in about Grade 6 I first began to explore the fullest extents of the Internet I still wasn’t ready for what was out there.
Did Mr. Rogers, Mr. Dressup, and YTV care too much about kids making them feel entitled? I don’t agree with Fox News, but I can see their perspective on the study that was released saying Mr. Rogers was evil. However, studies that sample 1,000 people within a population of millions rarely shows the whole picture. For me, 90s television was good! It was decent! And it’s a whole lot better than what we see today.
This is the crux of 90s nostalgia! Everything was so “good” then that nothing that exists afterwards will ever be better. It’s how the people from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and now the 90s felt, but things do get better and they are better now than they once were. We’ve just grown up into the world that we realize is much different than the sodium-vapor tinted version of our past.
Like Phil said in the video way above, “You’ve just go to roll with the changes.”
A lot this blog has been critical the 90s and it will continue to look at this time in our lives through a microscopic lens. It’s important to see that world and to discuss the good and the bad. It’s not enough to say, “Medabots” was great, but also to look at it from the standpoint of today.
Look forward to a few more articles in the next few weeks about YTV, and also look forward to reading this article again after I take an hour to copy edit the whole thing later today.