All That cast
One of my favorite TV shows growing up was All That. All That was a comedy sketch variety show that had musical performances by the “it” pop stars at the time. All That began in 1994 and continued until 2005. The show aired on Nickelodeon I think on Friday evenings. The show was created by Brian Robbins and Mike Tollin. The All That cast consisted of 7-8 adolescences some where around the ages of 12-15. All That was structured much the same way that SNL is structured. There is usually an opening skit followed by the intro, and then followed by different comedic sketches and finally closed with a musical performance. Most of the comedic sketches poked fun at current stereotypes or certain elements of pop culture. After listening to the Mad Magazine lecture in class it is quite apparent that programs like All That were heavily influenced by Mad Magazine. Mad Magazine was created in 1952 and offered a satirical look on culture, the media, the nuclear family and so forth. Mad Magazine paved the road for TV shows like Mad TV, All That, and SNL to exist. Whenever Mad Magazine came out parents were worried about how much it was influencing their children. Growing up I never had an issue with my parents not letting me watch All That because my parents thought it was funny themselves. When I was younger I never really thought too much about the sketches, but now that I am older some of the sketches could have influenced other children. One sketch that struck me as offensive was one in which Kenan Thompson and Nick Cannon played the stereotypical Black woman cashier. This sketch is filled with lots of stereotypes most of which portray Black women in a negative light. Being a children’s program this sketch can negatively influence and strengthen certain stereotypes children have of others.
Toys for children serve multiple purposes, some of the ideas behind toys revolve around inspiration and building dreams. I was the only girl in a house of boys, I have an older brother and a younger brother. I learned how to play with Street Sharks, Beast War and when PlayStation came out I knew how to dominate at Marvel Super Heroes. So hopefully this makes it easier to understand why there was not much room for My Pretty Pony and Cabbage Patch Kids in our toy box. These were just a few of the popular girls toys of the 90s; when I received my first Barbie, she was so beautiful and everything I knew I wanted to be. It was easy to start a collection, at approximately $25 a doll. Christmas and birthday wishes became easy to guess. Barbie possessed the perfect hour glass shaped body, with long legs. She had big colorful eyes, with long hair. Every outfit she ever had always fit perfectly, and looking back now I know that I grew up with that image in my head of what girls were supposed to look like. As I grew older and grew out of my Barbie phase, I noticed that Bratz dolls quickly began to become the new “it” toy for young girls. With my new maturity and perspective on dolls like these, I was quick to notice that the Bratz dolls wore twice as much make-up as Barbie, their facial features were much more pronounced as plastic surgery began to grow in popularity amongst celebrities. Their outfits became more revealing and Bratz portrayed as overall much more “trashier” appearance than Barbie. In Gary Cross’ article about “Modern Children, Modern Toys”, he explains about Locke’s theory that “children should have a variety of toys.” (page 46) However he also goes onto explain that toys should be used to “…guide the child’s “progress” or training.” By training he was referring to how girls should be taught how to be exemplary caretakers and housewives. While Barbie stood for everything feminist, she did not emphasize learning those types of lessons. I appreciate the fact that she didn’t teach this, because as our society grew, women started to devote more time away from the house and more on their jobs and careers.
Barbie, featured in the center, with her two friends.
Some of the Bratz dolls featured together.