The other morning I turned on Good Morning America to watch some morning news. As they were returning from commercial break, they ran a short snippet of one of Lady Gaga’s music videos acting in a way that was beyond PG-13 to put it kindly. I thought for sure the show’s hosts were going to talk about how appalling this was and how it is being exposed to our children. However, it was just the exact opposite. The show’s hosts came on happily talking about how great a performer she is and that she was going to be on the show performing live for a free concert. Most of the audience cheering in the background were little girls.
I’ve seen Lady Gaga now a couple of times making appearances on some other morning news programs and other shows like American Idol. I can’t speak for her talents because I’ve never really listened to her singing, but her appearance and provocative fashion and dancing I would say are always well beyond a G, PG, or TV-14 rating. She may have the right to freedom of expression. But when the form of expression surpasses a level of decency, morals, and ethic and is marketed toward kids, it has to make you ask, Really?
For years now, I’ve seen R-rated actors portray characters on various children’s shows. For example, the narrator’s voice for the Thomas the Train kids TV series has been George Carlin, Jerry Springer, and Alec Baldwin. Really? Is this the best Hollywood could find to market to children? Most young children wouldn’t recognize these names. So why would producers spend the extra money to hire these celebrities?
As adults, we may recognize George Carlin as the infamous comedian for making popular the 7 dirty words. Or how about Jerry Springer as the king of trashy talk shows. Other voices I’ve seen over the years on children cartoons on PBS, Disney, and other kids’ channels have included Cheech Martin, Gilbert Gottfried, Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy, Michael Myers, Jack Black, and so many others.
If you think about it, most of us probably wouldn’t allow these people to babysit. Yet we invite them into our homes every time we tune in to any of these shows or plop in these popular DVDs.