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  • Gianna Porco

TV Shows Amongst Generations

Anyone from the age of 9 to 24 is a part of Generation Z. For example, a current high school student is classified as part of Gen Z. Those at the tail ends of the generation's age span could be considered a Millennial (Gen Y) or a member of the Alpha Generation. For example, anyone born in the years 1981-1996 are Millennials.

According to Gen Z, Millennials are pumpkin-spice-loving, ugg-boot and knit sweater-wearing, overly-sensitive, side-part wearing individuals. According to the rest of society, Millennials are known as the bringers of more cultural diversity and 'wokeness,' possibly because of the TV shows they grew up watching. For the younger generations, TV shows, movies, technology, social media all constitute major influences. .

The Alpha Generation started in the early 2010s. By the time the oldest of that generation were able to sophisticatedly engage with what they saw on TV, it was around 2015. Many popular TV show companies for children, like Nickelodeon and Disney, changed their TV programs during that same year. Most kids in the previous generation grew up with programs that were canceled by 2015. In their place, new programs were added to different companies' streaming, and some TV shows were substantially altered.

Today, the Alpha Generation toddlers/babies watch shows like; Cocomelon, Dino Ranch, T.O.T.S, Muppet Babies, Bluey, Mira, and Blue's Clues. However, the Blue's Clues that children watch today isn't the same that many high school students remember watching when they were younger. The 'notebook' and 'mailbox' are still a part of the current Blue's Clues series, but there are also emails to answer and a phone used on the show.

Another show many are familiar with that has been around for kids since Generation X is Sesame Street. Like Blue's Clues, for each episode's 'Elmo's World' segment, a smartphone helps Elmo answer questions. Speaking of smartphones, many kids today in the Alpha Generation are being raised by technology. Even though many parents aren't pleased with this, in many cases, they still let their children watch TV and play on their phones. Some toddlers even have iPads where they spend hours watching videos.

Popular TV shows consist of Coop and Camie, Henry Danger, Gabby Duran & the Unsittables, and Sydney to the Max for young Alpha kids to tweens. In 2020, after Henry Danger no longer aired, a sequel series followed involving a teenage sidekick. Danger Force still takes place in 'Swellview,' the town where Henry grew up and still has 'Captain Man,' the superhero of Swellview. Instead of having one sidekick on Danger Force, Captain man has multiple.

Unfortunately, many kids who watched the sequel show did not enjoy it and did not find it comparable to Henry Danger. Children who are known for being raised by the TV didn't have nice things to say about one of their babysitters.

Another popular TV show, Raven's Home, is a sequel series to That's So Raven, a show that some Millennials might be familiar with; the show now focuses on Raven's children. Raven's Home has had around 10 million views, while That's So Raven had approximately 13 million views.

Another show that had a sequel series was Jessie; the TV show that followed it was Bunk'd. Jessie was a hit series that starred a nanny in the city who took care of and practically raised the wealthy Ross family's children. Bunk'd took place at a summer sleepaway camp that the Ross children attended. Initially, the show used most of the original Jessie cast, but Bunk'd's cast changed after a few seasons, and the Ross family now isn't a main part of the show. Many feel that the show is worse now than it was back when the Ross family was a part of it.

Millennials. For starters, we have Barney, a TV show for younger kids and toddlers. The purple dinosaur came to life on the show because of a child's imagination. But, this purple dinosaur happened to be accused of sexual assault towards children, quickly dismantling the show.

Another show, the Teletubbies, was actually about little creatures who had televisions in their stomachs, hence the name, where they would watch children. The show constituted a bit of reversal viewing for one of the couple generations to grow up 'in front of the TV.' Some other series many Millennials grew up watching when they were toddlers, or young children were, Rugrats and Arthur.

As Millennials grew up, they could watch Boy Meets World, Zoey 101, Victorious, iCarly, Fairly Odd Parents, and Drake and Josh. Those TV shows are most likely very familiar to teens in Generation Z because of constant reruns on TeenNick and other TV channels. A sequel to Boy Meets World, Girl Meets World is about the main character of the original TV show's daughter. Girl Meets World was liked amongst Gen Z, but it has recently received mocking Tik Toks relating to the series and its content.

Another sequel series targeted for Gen Z, based on the original Millennial TV show, was Sam and Cat. Sam Pucket from iCarly, and Cat Valentine from Victorious star in a sitcom for young kids about their life as roommates. Sam and Cat generally received praise, though some had mixed feelings about it.

Do the popular TV shows for those who grew up during the turn of the century have anything to do with the “pumpkin-spice loving, ugg-boot and knit sweater-wearing, overly-sensitive, indecisive, side-part wearing” image of Millennials? From a not-so kid-appropriate or friendly dinosaur to alien-looking creatures with TVs in their abdomens, most would agree that.

Millenials had some wacky TV shows while they were growing up. But, as they got older, many of their 'go-to' series have remained popular through three Generations; their own, Gen Z, and even the Alpha Generation. It remains up to each individual's personal opinion whether or not Millennials' TV shows molded their personality.

The Edgemont Jr./Sr. High School student body consists of Generation Z, and are purported to be social, tech-savvy, less focused, digitally-sophisticated, and philanthropic. This seems to be true for most people at Edgemont; many kids want to help the world, and most are very social and tech-savvy.

But Gen Z is also described to be full of teens who are multi-tasking, educated, entrepreneurs. That information might leave some of Edgemont's teachers wondering why their students have so many missing assignments due to procrastination. Still, maybe in the future, those assumptions will be proven true.

As young kids, most of Generation Z's toddlers watched Dora, Little Einsteins, Backyardigans, Octonauts, Wonder Pets, Blue's Clues, and some shows that were also common among Millennials, such as Barney, Teletubbies, and Sesame Street, which was, and still is, a hit amongst many children since the 1960s. Recently, Backyardigans has a couple of popular sounds on TikTok, which makes some wonder; will TikTok have more of an effect on Generation Z as they grow up than the TV series they watched as kids?

Generation Z is the first generation to grow up with smartphones, and with phones comes social media. But, TV still has its role. Many will remember infamous shows like Jessie, Fog with a Blog, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Phineas and Ferb, Wizards of Waverly Place, and Austin and Ally. Only the future will tell what kind of negative or positive effects social media apps like Tik Tok and Snapchat will have on Gen Z, Generation Alpha, and future generations. The truth about TV (and all media) is it shapes society; it has done so for ages; it will surely continue to do so. Thus, every new generation will continue to have their own nostalgic shows that they will look back on.


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