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Five shows I love to watch with my kids

by Jane Boursaw, posted Apr 21st 2008 11:01AM
House, M.D.We watch a lot of TV around this house -- hey, it's my job, man -- so the kids, ages 11 and 13, get to see a wide assortment of shows. Sure, there's a few I can't get them interested in (hard as I try), like Lost, Heroes, and Grey's Anatomy (probably just as well, with all the bed-hopping). Still, there are lots of shows I've had to recap or review over the years that they've gotten hooked on. Here are a few of our favorites.

1. House, M.D. There's something refreshing about an infectious disease specialist who walks with a limp, pops Vicodin like dinner mints, and has the bedside manner of a schoolyard bully. The kids and I can't wait to gather around the TV and watch the tortured doc hurl insults at colleagues and break into patients' homes looking for mysterious mold or a DNA sample. We like to place bets on how long it'll take somebody to start seizing and spewing blood. Last season broke the record when a drug-addicted rock star started puking blood during the first five seconds of the show. Sure, this show is rated PG-14, but it's still a family favorite around here. My kids especially love the scenes where the camera goes inside the cells and arteries of a patient (not). House, M.D. moves to Mondays at 9/8c, and returns with new episodes on April 28.

2. 24. Nothing says mother-son bonding like watching a rogue agent work over the bad guys and hunt down terrorists. We especially love the inane plot twists where Jack Bauer is tortured, injected with something painful, and beaten to a bloody pulp, then sprints off to hijack a plane and do some crimes, all in the name of justice. All this after he's spent the previous two years in solitary in a Chinese prison. All I can say is he must have gotten his hands on some good Chinese herb to have that kind of stamina. Almost as much stamina as the 13-year-old and I had during our four-season catch-up marathon a few years ago. Whew. That takes it out of a person. Season 7 of 24 returns in January, 2009, with a TV movie slated for this fall. We're giddy with anticipation.

3. Family Affair. If you can get past grumpy Uncle Bill, his stodgy life partner Mr. French, and those saccharine sweet kids, this show has some of the funniest stuff in TV history. Sometimes we have to pause the DVD to re-group after laughing ourselves silly at the pointless plots, beehive hairdos, and god-awful green-and-orange decor. And my, how times have changed. Six-year-old Buffy and Jody were always wandering off on their own into New York City, and 15-year-old Cissy often dressed up like a prom queen and hit the nightclubs with her Uncle Bill (hmmm). And is it just me, or does Jody have one of the biggest heads in TV history? His head is as big as Mr. French's with that crazy bowler hat perched on top. Buffy's, by contrast, is tiny, even with those ever-present pigtails. Yeah, I know all about the tragedy surrounding this show. I won't go into it here, because I don't want to be a downer. If you don't know, look it up. Barring that, this is one funny family affair. All five seasons, 1966 - 1971, are available on DVD. We're on Season 4.

4. Mystery Science Theater 3000. There's no better way to introduce your kids to the fine art of The Insult than by watching Joel or Mike and the 'bots rip old B-movies a new one. It's precisely because of the many hours we've spent watching MST3K that we're able to fully enjoy shows like Family Affair and The Brady Bunch. Our favorite offerings from the Satellite of Love are Time Chasers and The Touch of Satan, both of which can be found on Vol. 5 of the MST3K Collection. The worst? Horrors of Spider Island and Swamp Women, starring Mike "Touch" Connors. Yeah, the guy from Mannix. Oh, Touch...be still my heart.

5. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. A kid with a great memory comes in handy when you're watching shows that fall chronologically in between a trilogy of feature films. Like, for example, during The Demon Hand episode last season, I kept thinking they were destroying the hand and chip from the second Terminator movie, but wait, didn't all the original pieces of T2 get destroyed when John Connor threw the hand into that vat of molten metal after the good Terminator was lowered in there? "No, Mom," my son said, rolling his eyes. "The Demon Hand revolved around the hand the T-888 that shot Derek Reese lost in his fight with Cameron. Don't you know anything?!" Hey, at least it prompted a good 40-minute discussion that we otherwise never would have had. At this writing, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles is this close to being renewed for a second season. I sincerely hope it is, so the kid and I can continue to have these deep discussions.

So, what are some of your favorite shows to watch with your kids?

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24??? With 11 and 13 year old kids?

That's just sick. Honestly, get your values in order. I know that in the US there are different standards for violence and sex on tv compared to here in europe but they were discussing the amount of TORTURE on that show and whether it was too much on tv FOR ADULTS.

Seriously. I mean really. That's really really sick.

April 23 2008 at 8:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I always watch Psych, Murder She Wrote and NCIS with my two little brothers (10 and 12). We always make bets on the who/what/why of the crime. They get out of more chores by knowing who the killer is ...

It's good family time, plus it's good for their brains because they have to follow the story line and find the clues to solve the mystery before Gibbs or Jessica Fletcher or whoever does (and most of the time, they do!) We also like the other crime-solving old people shows - Diagnosis Murder, Matlock, etc. My brother who's 12 often asks why we don't have all of our old people out solving crimes in real life since they're so much smarter than the rest of us.

April 23 2008 at 11:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Nicol Leoraine

I always get my mom hooked up on some new show we then watch together. It started with Supernatural, Heroes, Navy NCIS, now we moved to Eureka and Psych, and then I'll be introducing her to the fantastic Doctor Who and Torchwood. Other then that, the whole family used to watch sitcoms like Married with Children, Frasier, or Red Dwarf.

April 22 2008 at 1:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My kids are older teens and we watch completely different shows together: Lost, The office, Battlestar Gallactica, and we used to watch the O.C., friends, Seinfeld. I write a whole blog on this topic: Connect with your Teens through Pop Culture http://connectwithyourteens.blogspot.com/

April 22 2008 at 8:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am a single mother and have been from day one. Him and I LOVE to watch America's Funniest Home Videos. Even when he was 2, he would laugh so hard which always makes the parent laugh. He is 17 now, and we still watch it together every Sunday night!

April 21 2008 at 9:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My 15 year son and I watch Lost and Heros. We have great discussions on theplot twists and which road it may take us down next. His insights are usually spot on and he ctshes alot of the small hints that I miss.

April 21 2008 at 4:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My six year old just LOVES dexter. and the eight year old is already dressing and dancing JUST like the girls on pussycat dolls girlicious! i'm so proud. they've also both learned a lot from flavor of love regarding male/female relations - looks like i won't have to give the big talk after all!

April 21 2008 at 4:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Let's see... when we actually have control over the TV (meaning it isn't on Cartoon Network, Disney, or Nick) we watch(ed), 1 v. 100, Kid Nation, Top Chef, Good Eats, Pinks, Deadliest Catch, Ultimate Recipe Showdown, Flip that House...

Lots and Lots of TLC and Discovery it seems.

(Oh, for the record, my kids are 7, 5 and 3)

April 21 2008 at 2:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Never much thought I'd like sci-fi, but my fourteen year old daughter and I got hooked on BBCAmerica's terrific TORCHWOOD, which got us hooked on the new incarnation of DOCTOR WHO. Both shows are intelligent, thought provoking and fantastically fun to watch.

Now that TORCHWOOD has ended it's second season, we're looking forward to new episodes of HOUSE, BONES, and both BBCAmerica's hilarious chat show, GRAHAM NORTON, and Showtime's DEXTER (two shows decidedly not for younger kids, but great TV)

Since we got clued in to all the great panel shows on British television, we spend quality time on YouTube getting caught up on the incredibly educational, yet hysterically funny panel show QI, hosted by the uber intelligent, Stephen Fry. There are so many more, I could go on and on. British telly is one of our favorite ways to spend quality time together. The topics and the humor have a way of opening up discussions that overly censored American TV just can't.

April 21 2008 at 2:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I used to watch the West Wing and all the Law and Orders with my mom. During SVU it got a little awkward sometimes, but its fun to share family time like that.
When my dad and I found 24 during Season 5 we went binging and watched the first four seasons in about a month.
The best though is House because my dad loves the blood, my little brother loves the insults, I love everything, and my mom hates Dr. House and gets frustrated everytime he does something arrogant.

Good Times.

April 21 2008 at 2:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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