My wife had just finished putting Luke to sleep, when she came out into the living room, and I was watching "Super Why" -- alone.
Paul Starke: It all started rather innocently. We noticed that if Luke was eating breakfast while watching TV, he was far less likely to throw food at us. We stumbled on a PBS Kids cartoon that he seemed to enjoy, called "Super Why." For those who don't know, "Super Why" chronicles the adventures of the "Super Readers," four kids who live in fictional Storybrook Village (a charming burg where all your favorite fairytale characters live).
At the beginning of each episode, one of the Super Readers has a "super big problem," like being unable to find their shoes, or being afraid of riding the slide at the playground. The Super Readers then transform into superheroes with the powers to spell and read, and fly into a famous story ("The Three Little Pigs," "Tom Thumb," etc.) in order to interact with the characters and, ultimately, solve their "super big problem." Sounds like a pretty simple and educational show, right? Well, it is ... except it's starting to take over my life.
I started TiVoing a bunch of episodes to watch with Luke. It was our little routine: have breakfast and then watch some "Super Why." One day, we were watching the episode about "The Princess and the Pea," when I realized we'd seen this one before. So I stopped it, and loaded a new one. It dawned on me that at 15 months old, Luke probably didn't give a crap that he was watching a rerun. I switched to a "fresh" episode ("Humpty Dumpty") purely for my enjoyment. Like it mattered -- this wasn't "Lost" we were talking about. But for some reason, I refused to watch a rerun. That should have been a red flag.
Another red flag was raised a few weeks ago. I was doing some putting away of the laundry and singing Alpha-Pig's alphabet song out loud. When I realized what I was singing, I just shrugged it off as another example of kids' songs or jingles getting stuck in one's head. No reason to worry about that, or the fact that I'd recently joined a "Super Why" Facebook fan group. That seemed totally normal.
But perhaps the most ominous sign came last night. My wife had just finished putting Luke to sleep, when she came out into the living room, and I was watching "Super Why" -- alone (it was the one with Juan Bobo and the Pig -- a classic!). My reaction was like someone who'd just been caught smoking in the basement. I immediately switched the channel to C-Span and got all flustered. "Honey, were you just watching 'Super Why'??" How could I tell her the truth? That her 35-year-old husband needed to find all the super-letters in order to put them in the super-duper computer???
At that point, I admitted that I had a problem, and vowed to give up "Super Why" -- cold turkey. It's been almost 18 hours since my last fix ... I'll keep you updated on my progress.
Unless you've seen the show, none of this means anything to you. But if you HAVE seen the show, admit it -- it's wonderific!!! "Super Why" junkies understand that word. Lickety-letters.
|Paul Starke is an Emmy-winning TV producer, and a co-writer of the #1 New York Times bestseller, "An Inconvenient Book."|