As my kids get older, it’s getting trickier to figure out what movies and television shows they should and shouldn’t watch. We’ve watched the Spiderman movies with them, for instance, and while there are parts where I cringe and wonder if I’m a rotten mother for allowing them to watch, for the most part, they’re okay, in my opinion. And while I’m opposed to wars and drive-by shootings, if someone were to threaten one of my kids, they’d see me get really violent really fast. Likewise, while you won’t see me beating the crap out of my kids at Wal Mart, you also won’t see me petitioning to render spanking equal to child abuse. There’s violence and then there’s Violence with a capital V, and it only takes an ounce of common sense to know the difference.
Yeah – that’s what I used to think.
One day a few months ago, I was going out and my husband was going to stay with the kids, and he said, “We’re going to watch Pulp Fiction.”
And, naturally, I said, “You’re going to watch what? With the kids? Have you lost your fucking mind?! You’re not watching that with my kids. Forget it.”
He said, “Don’t worry, I’ll fast forward through the bad stuff.”
I said, “THE WHOLE THING IS BAD! Good God, there are images from that movie I wish I had never seen.”
(Don’t get me wrong – I love the movie as much as everyone else, except maybe my husband – it’s just not for kids.)
He said, “It’s not that bad, don’t worry about it.”
And I said, “Well, I’m not going then, or I’ll take the kids with me. I’m not leaving them here with you. Psycho.”
And then he looked utterly shocked and said, “You feel that strongly about it?”
“Of course,” I said, “What is with you?!”
So he promised not to watch it with them and sent me on my way. That evening he put it on after they were in bed, and like eight seconds into the movie he paused it and said, “Oh my God, you were right, the kids are way too young for this -- I'd have to fast forward through the whole thing for them! I guess I didn’t remember it very well.”
But then sometimes it’s me. Several kids at J’s school have Power Rangers. We had never had any – I didn’t even know what they were, but when J wanted to rent a video of them I didn’t really think anything of it. It’s a kids show right? They just do karate and stuff, right?
So my husband watched it with them one day, and he asked them, “Does Mama know you’re watching this?”
And they told him I was the one who let them get it at the video store. So he asked me, “Have you seen that show? It’s like seriously non-stop violence. The whole thing – I really don’t think you’d like it.”
It would seem that at least we’re on the same page then about this, right? But then the other day the kids said, “Mama, do you know where the DVD Little One got at the store with Daddy is? The one with the skull on the cover?”
(Pirates and skeletons and such are all the rage around here, so I didn’t think anything of that.)
I said I didn’t, but then a while later my husband brought me said video and said, “Honey, Little One picked this the other day and the kids want to watch it. I’m sure it’s fine, do you have a problem with it?”
It was The Terminator 2. I’m not kidding. I said, “You can’t possibly be serious!”
He said, “It’s not that bad. You know he just picked it because it has a skull on the cover.”
“Yes, but it’s rated R,” I said, “Why didn’t you just tell him it’s a grown-up movie and he needed to pick something else?”
“I think it’s only rated R because there are a couple of F bombs in it.”
(As I’ve mentioned before, my kids could teach Arnold a thing or two about how to properly use the F word in a sentence, so that’s not really a big issue here.)
“And not because maybe it’s excessively and gratuitously violent?” I asked.
“I don’t remember it being that bad.”
“No, they can not watch The Terminator,” I huffed. “Anyway, maybe you just don’t remember it that well.”
And do you know what the most annoying end result of this is? I have been suckered into watching the Terminator 2 with my husband (God give me the wherewithal not to die of boredom) in order to see if I really think it’s inappropriate for young children. Should this really be necessary? Is it really that fine of a line between Scooby Doo and The Terminator? I just don’t think so. But – I’ll be baaack – to let you know.