By Elliott Suddoth
From the age of 3, I toddled innocently into the living room at the familiar sound of the “Rugrats” theme song. My father loves to revisit this memory every milestone in my young adult life, but it isn’t until now that I understand the significance. How amazing is it that a 3-year-old child has the ability to recognize their favorite television show just from the theme song playing in a nearby room?
Some argue that media has the ability to shape who we are. We may gather our values and beliefs from the media that has been prominent in our lives. As I grow older, this has become more relevant. The media has an omnipresence that affects everyone and how they perceive the world. Due to my “Rugrats” obsession, as I got older, I believed my friends and I could build club houses and try to find Reptar with no complications.
When I reached kindergarten, and a “Rugrat” themed birthday didn’t seem exciting enough, I remember thinking that if the real Tommy Pickles was here, he would save the party.
With wild childhood adventures influenced by “Rugrats” came fears and worries I experienced vicariously through the show’s characters. Until age 9, I was extremely wary of babysitters of any kind because of Angelica and her tyrannical qualities on “Rugrats.”
As I grew up, I began to associate all older people as mean, tyrannical people the way Tommy and his friends saw Angelica. It’s remarkable how one show can change how you view yourself and other people.
“Rugrats” then came out with a movie that I watched every day and every night. There was a particular scene in the “Rugrats” movie in which Chucky cries over his mom, and I remember crying every time I saw it. Even at a young age, media had the ability to control my emotions. Also, through Chucky’s character’s struggle, I was grateful I still had a wonderful mother. The media actually made our connection grow and shaped a relationship that I will always carefully value.
Now, as a college freshmen absorbed in the daily chaos of social media, I have taken a step back to think about when my biggest worry was not losing the orange VCR that shaped me into the person I am today. So media, thank you, but please be careful regarding the young innocent ears who will take your values to heart.