I watch a lot of television. Obviously. And my list of guilty pleasures is easily as long as my list of friend- and critic-approved shows.

But when it comes to my three-year-old daughter, it’s a different story.

I’m no extremist, forbidding any TV at all. But I do limit her viewing to an hour (or two, okay?) a day, and I’m pretty strict about which shows we watch together. For instance, SpongeBob SquarePants is not allowed, and ever since I noticed that Phineas and Ferb use the word “stupid” often, it’s been on the no-fly list as well.

Basically, we watch a lot of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and pretty much anything on PBS.

Except on Saturday mornings.

Now, we’re a bit limited in our viewing options. Unlike my parents and several of our friends, our cable package doesn’t include Nick Jr. or The Hub. So our choices for children’s programming are the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, the Cartoon Network and PBS.

And yet, even with those four channels, my daughter has nothing to watch between the hours of 8 and 10 on Saturday mornings.

I know, I know. Saturdays are family days! Saturdays are for picnics and parades and swimming and crafts and all sorts of things that are NOT television.

But sometimes? Sometimes, Saturdays are for vegging and lounging and lazing around. Just sometimes. Not all the time. But every once in a while, I wouldn’t mind clicking on the TV and just hanging out for a little while as we ease into the weekend.

Obviously, this is not the end of the world. Still, it makes me wonder: Whatever happened to Saturday morning cartoons?

I couldn’t tell you the last time I ran across an episode of Looney Tunes, Pink Panther or Tom & Jerry. And remember Care Bears, My Little Pony and the Smurfs? (The real Smurfs, not the movie Smurfs.) Oooh, and how about Muppet Babies? And Inspector Gadget? And Rainbow Brite?!

What do you think? Are cartoons better today, or do you miss the cartoons of our childhood?


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