Thursday, February 3, 2011

Same Old Story

"Say... you're a lot smaller than my last master." - The Genie from Aladdin

It's a vicious cycle. Little did I know that the simple act of recording a movie that I once enjoyed as a child so that my daughter could also enjoy it, or that giving her a DVD of one of her favorite movies, would be so detrimental - with the emphasis on 'mental.' Little did I know that when Penelope unwrapped "Toy Story 3" on Christmas morning she was also peeling off the final layers of my sanity.

Now, don't get me wrong. All of the Toy Story movies are very good. As far as animated films go, their powerful themes and dramatic messages are unmatched. They have star-studded casts. The humor is appropriate for both adults and children. But I've overheard these movies as they've played in the background so much, I'm incapable of remembering anything else. Except Toy Story quotes. It came to the point that I would hear a character utter a familiar line, repeat it to myself, laugh to myself, and actually say, "That's genius." Genius. Toy Story. Genius. I used the word "genius."

This image haunts every facet of our lives
 "Toy Story 3" is now nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. It's a great film. An emotional roller coaster. I think it should win. That probably has something to do with the fact that I've seen it four dozen times in the past five weeks. Comparatively, I've seen the other nine Best Picture nominees a combined five times. My wife and I now quote "Toy Story 3" in our everyday conversation. We use movie lines as jokes to each other. It is ingrained into our thoughts, our speech, our lives.

I get it. Children like to watch the same things over and over and over again. Tell me if you've heard that one before. They love the repitition, the familiarity, the security in knowing what's going on and what's going to happen. Fine.

But no one ever talks about what this does to the parents. The parents who are slowly going insane, losing their short-term memory because the dialogue from these movies is replacing the day-to-day details that you need to remember.

It doesn't stop at Toy Story. In the first week after we recorded it on the DVR, we watched The Grinch no less than 11 times. That was just the cartoon version. We got up to three on the movie before I put a halt to it. You know how I did it? I bought her the book. Now that's genius.

The Genie is indeed a larger than life presence.
There was also a point where we were watching "Aladdin" every day. Every day. Now, I love the Genie probably more than most people. What's not to love? He does puns, impressions. He's over the top and out of control. But every day? That's a lot of Robin Williams. That's too much Robin Williams. I was singing the songs from that movie in the shower. Insanity. "Prince Ali" and "A Whole New World" and "Friend Like Me." Pure insanity.

But it's my fault. I chose to record it. I introduced her to it. I am the enabler. That's why it's a vicious cycle.

How do you make it stop?

You can't.

And I'm being honest here: we don't even let Penelope watch a lot of television. She just watches the same television over and over and over again when we do let her watch.

Regardless, my daughter controls the television. One Sunday afternoon the Jets were playing the Steelers (not the playoff game) and she asked if she could watch Sesame Street and I agreed. Why? Because she hadn't watched any television that day, she was actually asking for Sesame Street and not the Grinch or Toy Story or Aladdin. And the Jets are aggravating, even when they win. So fine. I'm a pushover. And a bad fan.

When it rains, it pours.

Still, I will continue to try and alter my daughter's viewing habits. But as soon as we introduce her to something else, then she'll be watching it every day for 3 months. It's already begun with something called "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs."

It's the same old story - and there is no end in sight.

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  1. I'm right there with ya! I'm pretty sure I can quote all THREE Toy Story's from beginning to end. And we went through the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs phase. The Chipmunk movies were BY FAR the worst though. I actually gave them away because I couldn't take those little squeaky voices anymore LOL!

  2. My daughter is 16 and we still talk about her Iron Giant and The Road to Eldorado phases. Not just every day, but end, rewind, start over. Yes, this was before I could afford a DVD player, so it was a long rewind. You do know it's bad when you're alone, singing the songs and know them by heart.

    However, movie quoting is not just a guy thing. I quote movies (and song lyrics) to an annoying degree. I really can't help it.


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