6teen, made for kids, but I like it too.

It is no big surprise to anyone who knows me that my kids enjoy watching television. I try to emphasize watching ON DEMAND programming so that their limited tube time is not handed freely to corporate advertising. I like to watch what they are watching, or at least be somewhat familiar with the shows. However, at times, it is a stretch to become engaged with many of them (particularly the live action laugh track riddled comedies like Wizards of Waverly Place and iCarly). Certainly, most of the pre-school programming was insufferable (Ugh Dora, would that child ever stop yelling?) and I was glad when they were beyond that stage. There were TV shows that I steered them to they gravitated toward that I enjoyed as well, shows such as Teen Titans, Avatar: The Last Airbender and 6teen.

6teen is a show that my husband and I can still enjoy rewatching with our girls. We own most of the episodes on DVD. We find ourselves engaged as we watch together and share in the laughter. It is a great way to unwind for ½ an hour before bed after a busy day.

6teen is a Canadian (featuring talented writers Sean Cullen, George Westerholm) cartoon show about, you guessed it 6 teens who are 16. They work at the mall and hangout at the mall and get into trouble with security at the mall. This show is extremely well written despite its basic sit-com setup (thankfully without a laugh-track). This diverse and engaging group of teens are:

Nikki Wong pierced punk rebel

Jonesy Garciacharming ladies’ man and Nikki’s sometimes boyfriend

Jen Mastersonsmart, athletic and Jonesy’s step-sister

Jude Lizowskisweet slacker skater-boy

Caitlin Cookecheerful boy-crazy fashionista shopaholic

Wyatt Williamsthe sensitive musician

Together they navigate friendship, loyalty, crushes, disappointment, responsibility, work ethic, value of the dollar, resourcefulness and countless coming of age themes. Because it is animated, it gets away with a great degree of silliness. It gets away with silliness because it is very smartly written with many pop culture gags. Most of the episodes would appeal to a broad age range. As a word of caution, on occasion, the episodes deal with topics that some would deem more appropriate for a slightly older age group such as occasional gay characters, discussions about menstruation, and wearing a name tag as Assistant manager that says “Ass Man.” I love the creativity in the names of the mall stores:

Albatross and Finch (Abercrombie and Fitch)

Grind Me (coffee shop)

Stick It (Kebab Stand)

Taj Mahome Video

Burger McFlipster’s

The Big Squeeze (The lemon shaped lemonade stand)

Soft Rock Cafe (Hard Rock Cafe)

This show has fun with the peripheral characters, such as Nikki’s colleagues at the Khaki Barn (aka Crappy Barn) whom we know as the clones. They are 3 interchangeably similar dim girls named Chrissy, Kirsten and Kristen. The there is Ron (not so affectionately referred to as the rent-a- cop) the mall security guard who seems to be working a great yet deliberate Christopher Walken impersonation. If anyone has seen Walken in the music video for “Weapon of Choice” by Fatboy Slim

then this Ron segment becomes an extra funny parody.

One of the long running gags of the show is Jonsey not being able to hold a job for more than a day. Every episode ends with him being fired for some boneheaded scheme, except for the one episode where he just decided to quit. There were some great one liners. Some of my favorites are below:

Interviewer: “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

Nikki: “Not working in a mall.”

Wyatt: “I don’t even know what I’m doing this weekend.”

Jonesy: “I know where I’d like to see myself tonight.”

Whenever I find myself cringing at the inanity of some of the stuff my kids watch, I find myself saying “What about an episode of 6teen? I could really go for that.” Sometimes it works and I rejoice, sometimes it doesn’t and I know it is karma for all the time I spent watching Gilligan’s Island as a kid, with my parents cringing in the next room. You couldn’t pay me to watch that now.

6teen had its original 4 season run of 93 episodes between 2004 and 2010. It continues to be rerun on Teletoon in Canada and is available on iTunes and on DVD.

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