Speaking of addiction, my household is addicted to the nanny shows–Super Nanny and the lesser, Nanny 911. We love Super Nanny especially because of Jo, or “Jo Jo” as she is often called, the star of the show. She is the most excellent nanny ever (indeed, she is the super nanny!). She is smart, empathetic, strong and helpful. Each week we watch as she whips another family into shape. Typically, it is the parents who need more help learning how to behave than the children.

Nanny 911 has rotating nannies and at the end of the show the family is awarded a trip to Hawaii or somewhere of the sort. It just doesn’t have the same emotional appeal that Super Nanny does.

Okay, so I’ve started to wonder what is it about these shows that appeals to us, a childless couple? I think it is some smug twofold belief that a) if we ever have children they will be perfect and we will never need Super Nanny (but HA HA! I know this would not be true and that everyone thinks this before they have children) and b) that if we can’t have children it will be a relief because they won’t turn into little spitting, swearing, peeing in street beasts who need a super nanny. OR is it some latent Puritanical appeal–do we like watching people be taught proper manners? And what are proper manners anyway? Maybe it’s none of these. Maybe we watch to learn because I have to say that Jo Jo does teach skills that apply not only to rearing children but to conducting successful human interaction on a whole. Basically, it’s about mutual respect.

I could go on and on… but maybe it’s not something I should try to deconstruct.

I would love it if the shows would follow up with some of these families and show how the kids are doing several months later. I hope they are still managing because some of them were in pretty rough shape at the beginning of the show and I truly feared for their safety (one family in particular comes to mind because the older kid was putting pillows on the face of the younger kid. Also, choking him I think. It was scary).

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