Have you ever taken the dust jacket off a book you were reading so other people wouldn’t see the cover illustration of a teenager riding a dragon?
|Illustration: Christopher Healy|
There should be no shame in an adult enjoying a bit of entertainment that just happens to be targeted at younger audiences. In fact, the lines between children’s entertainment and mainstream pop culture have been blurred more than ever before.
This comes as a blessing for parents who are captive audiences to their kids’ pop culture choices (i.e., all of us). When you read your children a book, chaperone them to a movie, or listen to a playlist at one of their parties, you hope you can get through the experience with your sanity and good taste intact. And if you make the right entertainment choices, you can. You can even genuinely enjoy yourself.
But wait! Those of you without kids — don’t leave yet. This blog is also for any non-parent whose bookshelves sag under the weight of Harry Potter hardcovers. Or who goes to late night showings of Pixar films. Or who knows the actual channel number of Cartoon Network.
This blog is also for those parents who happily use the existence of their kids as an excuse to engage in children’s pop culture for themselves. Like the mom who bought a copy of The Hunger Games to save “until her daughter is ready for it” — and her daughter is two. Or the dad who plays post-bedtime games of Lego Star Wars on the family Wii, so he “can give the kids a hint if they get stuck.”
Of course, some kid stuff is just for kids — as it should be. And when a bit of media falls into that category, I'll be sure to point that out. In the meantime, I invite all of you to join me in the search for that holy grail of children's entertainment: Crossover appeal.