Thursday, April 10, 2014

Watching '80s Night with a Child of the Twenty-Tens

Last night, as we sometimes do, Bella and I watched American Idol together to unwind. She DVR's it and doesn't miss an episode, whereas I usually only half-watch, while cleaning up dinner or folding laundry.

(Watching American Idol with her feels all-too right because the only time I ever watched it from season's start to end, was the second season, the winter/spring of 2003, when she was an infant. With lots of time and no other kids, I sat in front of the TV nursing her, and avoiding news of the brand-new and too-frightening Iraq war by not missing a minute of the all-out battle between Ruben and Clay. Maybe it seeped in to her more than I realized...)

But last night was the "'80s" theme, so I perked up and paid attention. I felt a strange camaraderie with Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr. because we remember the 80s! Those two judges are like critical yet encouraging parents to the contestants, none of whom were born when the songs they sang last night were recorded. I wanted to jump into the screen and shake J Lo's hand when she said exactly what I was thinking, that that dope Alex totally ruined "Every Breath You Take" by ignoring the melody (there's no point in "making a song your own" if you're going to ruin it--but, I digress).

Bella wanted to know what I was talking about, so we started watching videos. "Yeah, that is much better" she agreed when we watched The Police.

And then she had lots of questions for me: did you love that song, way back when? And I had to explain that, yes, I liked that song, but no, it wasn't my favorite Police song because it was overplayed, kind of like I can't stand "Roar" by Katy Perry, but not exactly in the same way because "Roar" isn't a good song to begin with, whereas "Every Breath You Take" may be one of the best pop songs ever (it's amazing how much better it can sound after thirty years of not hearing it incessantly on the radio, and also compared to some shlep's mangling on American Idol). So maybe, for a current analogy, more like how I'm starting to not be able to stand "Let It Go."

Oh, to instill musical values on young minds! It takes patience, craftiness, and skill. We so enjoyed watching the video for "Time After Time", even though we couldn't really figure out the story that Cyndi Lauper was enacting. But she was so dynamic, so interesting to watch! "See? That's the look the American Idol stylists were going for with Jena's weird mismatched plaid outfit," I was able to helpfully point out. Then we googled "scrunchy socks" and I explained how to fold and tuck your stone-washed jeans at the ankle.

It's good to feel like I'm instilling sage wisdom on my daughter.

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