A clip of Mr. Rogers as a documentary will be shown at the Sundance Film festival, showcasing as ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’. Mr. Rogers was without a doubt one of the greatest shows ever made for kids and it was essentially very cheap to make. But it had such a good message to it that despite the ridicule and parodies that it’s endured it is still a classic. For a while people were led to believe that Mr. Rogers was a pedophile and not at all genuine in his values and pure love of teaching children how to exist in an ordered and structured society, but thankfully more reasonable heads prevailed. Why would anyone think such a thing about this man though?
It could be said that people envied the simplicity of the show, that they wanted to see something behind the seemingly good and wholesome nature of Mr. Rogers and were driven to do and say something drastic that could ‘put him in his place’, but it could also be said that people are just vindictive when something they don’t understand gains notoriety of any type. The truth of it is that someone came up with the idea to paint Mr. Rogers as a child-abusing pedophile simply because he wasn’t the partying type, he didn’t jump around in a big colorful suit while children were screaming with delight and acting like sugar junkies the entire show. He wasn’t as colorful as other hosts and he certainly didn’t exhibit their energy. Mr. Rogers came from a time when respect, dignity, and imagination didn’t need the flash and pomp that kids are exposed to in this current era.
So that seemed to make him ‘creepy’ and ‘weird’, but for a while no one seemed to stop and think that it made him a genuine human being that acted the same way on his show that he acted in life. People seemed to forget that he helped to keep educational programs on TV for kids so that they could learn and enjoy their programs at the same time. His accomplishments, of which he had many, were nearly wiped out by the flawed opinions of a few people that couldn’t handle the fact that he was in fact a decent person and didn’t want to jump around his set like a crazed buffoon vamping it up for the kids so that they’d pay attention. That’s a big part of why his show was so popular for so long, it was a slower pace but it was still entertaining. The kids didn’t have to be shocked and amazed in order to learn, they had everything they needed on the show, and that was enough.
The programs that exist now range from wholesome and fun to outrageous and eye-popping when it comes to their content. Kids still learn but far too often it seems that they need the type of visuals that might have scared the living daylights of kid that were growing up when Mr. Rogers first went on the air. He had a much calmer and more level-headed approach to teaching children.
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