I don't have kids and don't spend a lot of time with kids, so I'm not sure if the Saturday morning routine of watching cartoons is still alive. I remember being around 8 or 9 years old and making sure I'd wake up before my little brother. The goal was to beat him to the television, and I almost always did. If he got there first, it was Digimon, Dragon Ball Z, and maybe some Speed Racer if I was lucky. But if I got there first it was a lovely morning of Eggo waffles drowned in syrup, hot chocolate in my Tweety Bird mug, and a couple hours with my best friends T.J., Spinelli, Gretchen, Gus, Vince, Mikey, Pepper Ann, and Doug Funny.
It was this weekly meeting that sparked my obsession with "the character". I had so many questions about their lives, only somewhat realizing they were not real people and all I saw on the screen was all that existed. I wanted to know more. Who put King Bob in charge? Why were kindergarteners so vicious? Why did Pepper Ann have 3 identical copies of the same outfit in her closet? What kind of creature was Doug's best friend Skeeter (everyone else seems to be a regular human)? My connections with these people who came from someone's mind and sketchbook were strong.
With the new millenium (and by that I mean the year 2000) came some real-life shows. One Saturday Morning now had Even Steven's and Lizzie McGuire. Here I discovered my first love in the eccentric, dweeby, jew-froed Louis Stevens (Jewish and from Sacramento? Meant to be! And played by Shia Labeouf, who only got better with age.) and the creation of my internal monologue, inspired by the frustrated tween Lizzie (Hillary Duff's only good role if you ask me).
I gained so much curiosity about the world and picked up things from these characters, whom I associated with reality. I took my few hours with One Saturday Morning and made them last all week, until the next Saturday where I could soak up more. Good or bad, I was a true 21st century child. Perhaps this is why I'm such an oddball. My personality is a mish-mash of characters I've met over the last 20 (almost 21 !!!) years.