I’m probably leaving out a few but, for the most part, that’s what Nickelodeon looked like during the late 1990s and early 2000s. I learned my morals from those shows (well, not really) and stayed up late just to watch the Huxtables’ daily routines while examining Cosby’s sweater collection.
So, when I discovered that the Republican Presidential candidate has refused to make an appearance on Nickelodeon’s “Kids Pick the President” (a political version of Kids Say The Darnest Things, where children ask the candidates about the most serious questions we face as a country heading into the next four years) next week, my ten-year-old self felt betrayed by Mr. Meanie. In a press release this morning, the network announced that Mr. Romney would not be participating in the program because “he was unable to fit it into schedule.”
He’s treading on a fragile playground: if pre-teens were the leading electoral bloc, Mr. Romney would lose in a landslide. But they cannot vote yet so us adults in the media will latch onto anything the candidate can throw at the pint-sized, be it the professed Big Bird hate in last week’s debate and, most recently, his resounding “No!” to the children of America.
This doesn’t look good for the Republican candidate, especially because Obama is making an appearance and he’s the President on his free time. Also, the program has been around since 1992 and only two Presidential candidates have bailed: Dubya and Kerry in 2004. And that was just a bad year in general for the kids of America.
Now, Nickelodeon is already making it clear that they’re a little pissed about the decision to abstain: Nick News host Linda Ellerbee declared that the “several million kids” who will vote in an online poll for their Presidential choice “don’t deserve to be dissed. But former Gov. Romney also blew off Letterman and Big Bird so I guess we’re in good company.”
It should be expected that Romney will lose the online poll simply because he will not be there to defend himself. The President will be facing off against an empty stool a la Clint Eastwood. And, luckily, the future generations of this country aren’t as indecisive as the independent voters in this country – the online poll has successfully predicted the election in five out of the six past elections.
However, as short-lived trend stories in any election, all these children-based quips do not add up to much in the end; the Big Bird story was fun for, like, 16 hours post-debate and this Nickelodeon story will probably fizzle out in due time (less than a day) as well. Because, as mentioned before, these little squirts cannot vote yet and the electorate cares more about the present moment than the future generations’ prospects for survival.
Sorry kids and my ten-year-old self, America’s eyes are focused on broke/unemployed Mommy and Daddy, not Mr. Romney’s policy on Big Bird. But, using that logic, this article falls under my own trend criticism.
It’s alright, though. My favorite childhood TV network was Cartoon Network anyway.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 9, 2012