I think it’s safe to say there is a part of me that will forever and always be a little kid. I don’t mean that in a creepy, Michael Jacksonesque “Hey little children, come to my amusement park slash house because we’re developmentally the same age and also I want to touch you in appropriately” kind of way. I mean that while a large part of me will become cynical and jaded and misanthropic over the years, there will still be, somewhere, a part of me that is blissfully ignorant and happy.
How can I be so sure? Well, let me paint you a little picture, a self-portrait of sorts. I am 23 years old, have a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Psychology, have held down a respectable job at a well-known institution for a year and a half. And I love the Disney channel, anything by Pixar, and pop music. To a reasonable degree (the fold out posters from Tiger Beat are only on one wall of my room), but nonetheless, I am unashamed of my life choices.
I can’t even tell you the number of times I’ve had to defend myself from holier-than-thou types who “grew up a long time ago” and know how to “act their age”. I don’t care that you don’t like the same stuff I do, and I’m sorry that you think because I don’t listen to Ladysmith Black Mambazo means that I’m uncultured. My tastes encompass plenty of other movies, music genres, television shows, etc., I just happen to also have the same taste as my little sister. I’ve come to realize that while some other people my age might choose to kill their brain cells via home cooked meth or other illicit substances, I get my high from Miley Cyrus and her ilk.
First, let’s take pop music. Um, hi, do you actually listen to the lyrics to any of those songs? They don’t make a lick of sense to begin with. You don’t listen to them because you want to relate to them. For instance, take this gem from the Jonas Brothers’ “S.O.S.”: Next time I see you/I’m giving you a high-five/cuz hugs are overrated/just FYI. Sure, the song is about a breakup, but has anyone ever high-fived their ex post-breakup in a breakup-related conversation? (“Hey, listen babe, I’m sorry it didn’t work out. Up top!”) And are high fives really less overrated than hugs? I’d be willing to venture that they are, in fact, more overrated. But back to my point, pop music is created to punch your brain into submission. You listen to it because it puts you in a good mood. That’s what it’s there for. If I wanted to listen to music that made me depressed, I’d get a fauxhawk, black eyeliner, and a Myspace page. There’s a time for that, but when it’s 10 PM and I’m getting ready to go out, Dashboard Confessional isn’t the best segue into the night. Britney gets the job done much better.
Secondly, children’s television shows. This is, once more, just a case of not wanting to be lulled into a foul mood. The format for any kid’s TV show is essentially the same thing: problem happens, problem is resolved positively, everyone learns lesson. Whether your watching Spongebob or Smurfs or the Suite Life (but why would you watch that garbage?), you’ll see the tried and true episode arc. I know that when that Cherie gets stuck in the fridge on Punky Brewster, she’s not going to end up dead. Clearly Punky will be able to save her with the CPR she had learned earlier in that episode, and Cherie will learn not to climb into abandoned appliances again, even if it is the best hiding spot ever. (So the Punky reference is a little dated, but you catch my drift.) But if the same thing happened on Law & Order: SVU, poor Henry is going to end up getting booked, because not only did Cherie end up dead because of his appliance but also that refrigerator is his creepy sex dungeon, or something equally as depressing. Who wants that? Not after a long day at work. No thank you, I’d rather watch The Wizards of Waverly Place than Hardball with Chris Matthews.
And finally, have you seen Wall-E? Did your heart not melt? Did you not fall irrationally in love with Wall-E because he is perfect and you sort of wish he were a human being that you could date? And also, yes, these movies are written with kids in mind, but keep in mind, the writers know that kids won’t be going to these movies without their parents. Go watch any of your favorite movies from when you were a kid right now and I guarantee you’ll pick up on things you never noticed before.
Let me reiterate my point: I like these things because they are dumb. They genuinely put me in a good mood. And unlike years of coke addiction, I can enjoy them for as long as I want with no ill side effects. So to everyone who is going to say “What a freak.” I say go fist yourself. If you don’t like to be put into a good mood, then you are a Communist. You do what makes you happy, and so I’ll do the same. So I’m going to continue rocking out to Aly & AJ (“Potential Breakup Song.” Download it. You’ll thank me later.) and being the oldest one in the theater without children for High School Musical 3. I don’t want to grow up; I’m a Toys-R-Us kid.