Our family watches such a small amount of “regular TV,” (local channels), that we make do with rabbit ears to get the signal we need.
Most of our viewing time is spent watching DVDs, and my nine-year-old son, Ryan, and I also watch YouTube videos quite a bit. We turn to YouTube for the same reasons we read — to learn something, to gather information, or to be entertained.
And our favorite person to watch is Ellen of The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
We’ve been Ellen fans for years. Before Ryan was born, my husband and I were members of Ellen’s audience twice. Ryan knows that his Daddy even got the chance to dance in front of the audience before the taping and earned himself an “I Danced With Ellen” t-shirt.
We don’t watch her show on a daily basis, because we don’t watch any show on a daily basis. But YouTube allows us to watch snippets and segments of her show. And now Ryan watches with us. Here’s why we’ve decided watching Ellen is good for our son.
- Ellen is funny and silly. She makes us laugh which makes us feel good, and sometimes that’s all you need for a virtual mood re-set. My son may have been grumpy after completing a long social studies homework assignment, but he doesn’t stay grumpy once we’ve watched some “Epic or Fail” videos on Ellen.
- Ellen is “clean.” I know it is safe for my son to watch Ellen, because her show is aligned with our family’s values. She doesn’t use profanity, and her humor isn’t mean-spirited.
- Ellen is creative. Who else would think to hide in a bathroom stall to startle someone all in the name of comedy? Who else would scare her guests on a regular basis while in the midst of their on-air interview? And then there are the always amusing “Average Andy” segments — the ones where producer Andy learns (or tries to learn) how to do incredible things by the experts, such as playing hockey with the Los Angeles Kings or doing gymnastics with Simone Biles.
- Ellen is celebratory. You won’t just see the most famous actors and musicians on Ellen’s show. You’ll also see children, athletes, and teachers. You’ll see “ordinary” people doing “extraordinary” things. You’ll see people who haven’t asked for recognition but are receiving it anyway.
- Ellen is inclusive. Ellen happens to be a gay woman married to another woman. (So was Ryan’s third grade teacher). But that’s not all she is. She is a responsible citizen of planet Earth. Someone who believes we are all deserving of respect, and that our differences don’t detract from our larger purpose, of living peacefully on our one planet.
- Ellen is true. She is true to herself and to her beliefs. She lived through a major career “change” (many thought her career was over after she publicly announced her sexuality), but she remained true to who she is, and what she wants to do. And now she’s doing it. And she’s doing it well.
- Ellen is appreciative of the effort. She often hosts “second-place winners” on her show, because their feats are no less impressive. Ryan and I particularly enjoyed seeing Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic jump over producer Andy to make a slam dunk. (Mr. Gordon didn’t win the Slam Dunk Contest last year).
- Ellen is generous. She gives out cash and cars to people who really need it, who really deserve it. Sometimes people are struggling and just need that one boost, that one chance to get their bearings and continue on.
- Ellen is dynamic. Her show has been on the air since 2003, and she continually evolves it, while she evolves her own career. She has now branched out into her own lifestyle brand, ED by Ellen, creating shoes, home decor, pet items, and more.
- Ellen is kind. Ellen ends each show with the reminder to “Be kind to one another.” At my son’s school the rule is to “be safe, be kind, be respectful.” And Ellen is using her very visible platform to spread the message of kindness.
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