Commercial crosses ‘family’ TV line

“Some things cannot be unseen.” —Josh Zuckerman from the movie “Surviving Christmas”


As a rule, I am not an advocate of excessive censorship. Lately it seems the exceptions to that rule are taking precedence more often than not in my house.

I may be wrong or overly cautious, but hasn’t the starting time for “questionable” TV material always been 9 p.m.? Once the little kids are in bed, the murder/cop/racey/drama shows can start. I don’t know if that was an unspoken rule or a loose guideline, but it seemed to be a pretty safe bet.

My kids watch the normal stuff, Disney and Nickelodeon. And since my censorship plan has some holes, Spongebob’s allowed, too. It’s a different television world than it was when the choices were Bugs Bunny or Tom and Jerry, and all things considered, I think we could do worse than Spongebob. The CSI shows are off-limits, no “Family Guy” or “Two and a Half Men.” And most of the time, the news.

These are easy to control. We know when they’re on, so we turn it off. That’s my idea of censorship: It’s my job to regulate what my kids see and hear in our own home anyway.

I wish it were that easy. Here’s the problem. My husband and I were watching nothing special this past weekend. All of a sudden—at just after 8 p.m.—up pops a commercial with Rudolph peering into a window, his mouth gaping open in surprise. Pan over to a giggling Mrs. Claus, sitting in bed with a snowman.

Umm…what is…that?

So, of course, as normal people would, we stared intently at the screen.

“You think that’s wrong?” Mrs. Claus asks the camera. “Santa’s busy and I have needs.”

There’s more—which I’ll skip for good reason—but it involves things that I never ever needed to associate with Mrs. Claus. By the end, Santa gets home early, and Mrs. Claus turns a hair dryer on the snowman.

Mrs. Claus. Rudolph. A snowman with a carrot nose. And it’s all animated like a Christmas special. Sounds like something that would grab a child’s attention. That was…funny? OK, a little. But wrong, it’s definitely wrong. I can guarantee if my kids had been in the room, their eyes would have been as glued to the screen as mine. I’m not sure how I would have handled that one.

Awkward. All this for a cell phone special?

I can keep certain shows out of sight, but it’s not as easy to regulate the commercials. So, I suppose that’s just one more thing to add to my motherly worry list. What’s another line item?

I suppose my alternative is to ban television all together. That would lead to a riot, followed by a meltdown. Then they would be on my heels and I wouldn’t get anything done. It might make me a bad parent, but do you know how much can be done in an hour if iCarly is on? Seriously.

But that’s my own problem. I think the 9 p.m. cut-off just got pulled back to 7. Because now I have a little more to think about.

Thanks a lot, Mrs. Claus.

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