There are tragic moments in history that are seared into the American consciousness. These moments can galvanize a generation into action or apathy. These moments can spring forth spontaneous memorials and public mourning. These moments make us true citizens of the United States. In playgroups and daycares and parents’ day out groups all over America, tragedy has struck a new generation: Nick Jr. has REPLACED the actress that played Marina in the tour-de-force pre-school program, The Fresh Beat Band.
Where were you the day the music died? I was in the kitchen sneaking me an ice cream sandwich. (When you have pre-school aged kids, you never get to ENJOY treats near them, because they are like crayon-wielding sharks. They can smell a snack from a mile off, and they have no problem with “sharing” your snack.) I remember this moment like it was yesterday. Because it was yesterday when Adam let loose the scream heard round the world, “That’s not my MaWeena! Gimme my MaWeena back!” He then dissolved into a screaming, snotting meltdown that ranked up there with “The Great Wal-Mart Hissy Fit of 2011.” I actually had to put my ice cream sandwich back in the freezer, because I knew this wasn’t gonna be one of those temporary freak outs. ( Sidebar: Dontcha just hate it when the first ice cream sandwich you eat out of the box is the perfect temp then you leave the box in the freezer and you grab another one a couple of days later to find those yucky ice crystals?) Damn you to hell, Marina! I wonder if I can sue somebody, and get the child some college money because of this trauma ?!?!
Who the hell is the Fresh Beat Band? For enlightened parents, who actually care about real issues in the world, they are an annoying pre-school version of a pre-fab TV show band-- an updated, multicultural, “Monkees” without the dreamy Davey Jones for four-year-olds. They even have a Latina as the lead singer. Old Marina is not the lead singer. Old Marina has fiery red hair, and she plays (insert laugh track here) drums. Old Marina manages to look like the grown- up version of that little girl from the Partidge Family who could give less than a damn about “acting” or staying on beat. But my son loves Old Marina. For four-year olds, the Fresh Beat Band ROCKS!!!! Their songs speak to my son’s soul: Let’s Go Bananas, Great Day, Quack Shoes, are like Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On to little Adam.
According to “sources,” Old Marina has left the show to get married and start a family. But, I did some cyber stalking, and it appears Old Marina may have been moonlighting as a singer- songwriter. Damn you to hell, Old Marina. Parents have taken to the interweb to loudly reveal their displeasure. And here I was thinking my kid was the only stalker-in-training. Twitter is atwitter with calls for the beheading of the Director of Programming at Nick Jr. Facebook posts on the official Fresh Beat Band page are scathing and down-right ugly. As my friend Tara said, “Those parents are ready to riot.” I wish these people would find a life.
After much thought, I have decided not to “take it to the streets” over this new, Miss Clairol- assisted Marina. In the stay at home mom community, I bet that makes me a bad mother. As if I care. I’m old-school. I believe this is a teachable moment for my distraught toddler: change happens. You may hate it, but it does happen. I wonder if losing “his MaWeena “will be to my sons’ childhood what the Challenger Explosion was to mine. That was the day I learned to never watch another space ship launch live. I wonder if in 20 years, a group of young people affected by this Old Marina/ New Marina thing will get together and pen a moving, hip-hop anthem to commemorate the day the music died?
Ever the subversive, I am part of that shadow group that prays that the New Marina adds a Ted McGingley cancel curse to the damn show, BECAUSE I HATE IT. I hate every vapid song. I hate every jerky dance move. I hate every scratch of the turntables by “The Real MC Twist,” or is he Shout? Hell if I know.
I do feel bad that my child has lost his first character on a TV show, but if he would stop beau-guarding the damn TV, I could introduce him to the world of soap operas, where character replacement is high art: one day you are seven years old, and poof the next day you’re 32, and head of Jabot Cosmetics, like Victoria Newman on The Young and The Restless.
I will have to endure another old black lady all up on the casket moment with Adam, because I just cut the TV on, and wouldn’t you know it, the channel is set to Nick Jr. I feel a meltdown in 5,4,3,2,…