Have you ever watched a movie or a television episode so many times with your kid that you develop a love-hate relationship with the show? That’s about where I’ve been the past week watching a particular episode of a particular kids Netflix series with The Wizard.
When I was the Wizard’s age of four, five and six my go to movies were the following: The Little Mermaid, The Land Before Time, and All Dogs Go To Heaven. We didn’t own them on individual VHS tapes. Instead, at some point they had come on regular television and my parents had recorded them on a blank VHS tape. They were my favorite movies - I watched them constantly, both when my mom and dad were home from work and when they were gone to work. I knew that all I had to do was push the button on the VCR that had three arrows pointing backward to rewind the tape and then the single forward arrow button to play it once the tape was rewound. Back to the beginning for another three and a half hours of watching the same movies, over and over and over.
One time I watched them so much that my grandmother who was babysitting me at the time was begging me not to watch them again. But alas Charlie B. Barkin on his quest to heaven outweighed what Granny wanted and we turned off the nightly showing of the Grand Ole Opry to watch my shows. I wore the VHS out to the point that it literally fell apart - thank goodness there was the Disney channel soon and all of those movies were eventually released on single tapes for purchase.
It’s a memory that has stayed with me forever - begging to watch Little Foot on his journey to the Great Valley and Ariel fall in love with the prince. I am sure my obsession with dogs stem somewhere between Itchy and Charlie delivering warm, cheesy, gooey pizza to the orphaned pups in that movie.
So you can all imagine the reality check I was given this past week when I watched a season two episode of the Netflix show The Boss Baby: Back in Business titled “ Night of the Frodarg.” It’s a dark and stormy night in this particular episode where Tim and Boss Baby set traps for a mythical creature called a frodarg. It’s a creature with the head of a bullfrog, two red eyes, the body and spines of a dinosaur and the claws of a tiger. And it only comes out during summer, stormy weather.
I am not sure what the appeal of this particular episode is, but The WIzard has watched it so many times that together we can almost quote it. When I sit down on the couch, he tells me that he knows, “exactly what I want to watch,” and turns it to Boss Baby season two episode five. Then he giggles maniacally, knowing that he has already had me watch the same episode four times that day. “Watch out Lola, it’s the frodarg!”
I wonder if I laughed maniacally at my grandmother each time I pressed the rewind button on that old VCR that sat atop our living room floor tv. I wonder if she silently loved getting to spend that time with me watching those three shows back to back to back, waiting for hours until mom and dad would arrive home from work. I wonder if she, like me, could see the episodes play out in her sleep. After all, I’m convinced that the cats are chasing frodargs in the house at night. It’s the only explanation for their chaos at two in the morning.
Even in the middle of a pandemic life still finds a way of coming full circle, this time with a kid’s television show. It would be a lie to say I am not enjoying every minute of it. Perhaps I’ll introduce the Wizard to Charlie B. Barkin and Itchy and Little Foot and Flounder. But right now we are hunting frodargs during stormy weather and that is perfectly ok.