The spirit is willing but the tech is weak. Until recently our fathers’ desire to pass down their pop culture wisdom was limited to errant trips to video rental stores and weeklong James Bond marathons on TBS, which should have been revered as a series of holy days on par with Hanukkah, complete with litany of miracles: In the beginning, there was Connery. But streaming services are providing new ways for dads to cross the generation gap.
In advance of Father’s Day, Netflix has released numbers showing the huge amount of dads who believe passing down their favorite shows is just as important to their child’s education as teaching them how to change a tire or vote for lower taxes — trust me, you’ll understand when you’re older. The company’s polls found that 85 percent of dads at home and abroad already plan to start their kid’s media diet with the same cartoons they grew up with. This has the added benefit of making most of them (75 percent) feel like they’re experiencing the show for the first time all over again. Seventy-six percent also thought those cartoons, mostly from the ‘80s, were an easily understandable way to impart life lessons. Because what would Papa Smurf do?
Each country had a favorite. American Dads made time to teach their kids about Inspector Gadget, while Brazilian dads prefer Tom and Jerry. British fathers like Danger Mouse, presumably because Queen and country. Canadians are into The Smurfs, which speaks for itself. The German infatuation with Pippi Longstocking remains a media mystery on par with their embrace of David Hasselhoff’s music career.
Netflix’s data found that U.S. dads were also more likely to let their kids stay up late, proving pretty conclusively that U.S. dads are the coolest dads. German dads think they’re the top snugglers. That’s hilarious and all, because of course Germans would think that, but what the hell is going on in Germany?
Cross-generational familiarity is a weird thing, because it means kids in the ‘80s and kids in the 2010s can grow up nursing nostalgia for the same characters. Everyone will have their own personal Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The downside, or upside, depending on what kind of fan you are, means that certain properties will be perpetually milked by reboots and sequels, so that someday your children can introduce the same characters to their children. The turtles have always been with us.