Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Reality vs. Fantasy in "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood"

When I was a kid, I used to watch Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. I used to wonder why he would talk about the Neighborhood of Make Believe where he would have his puppets and the trolley. Why not just have the puppets and trolley, instead of making a big deal about how he used his imagination to do it? No other show did.

Now I have toddlers, and they watch shows like "Lunar Jim" and "Dora the Explorer," and are always asking, "Is that real?" "Is this real?" And I have to explain what is real (yes, porcupines are real), and what's not (no, people can't breathe on the Moon).

I realized that Mister Rogers knew that children struggled to understand the difference between fantasy and reality, and that TV shows could blur the line. That's why, on his show, he always made it clear what was make-believe and what was real.

Thank you, Mister Rogers.

1 comment:

Maurice Mitchell said...

That's a great point. I remember the first time my son saw Disneyland and thought it was real. He begged me for a week.