• Fri, Feb 17 2012

What’s Wrong With Kids These Days: The 2012 Kids’ Choice Awards Nominees Seem Random And Unrealistic

Will Smith host 2012 Kids' Choice Awards NickelodeonNot to be all “grumble grumble In my day…” because I’m just out of college myself, but the tastes of our current generation of “kids” are pretty mind-boggling. Nickelodeon just released the nominee list for the 2012 Kids’ Choice Awards, and we’re having trouble wrapping our heads around it.

It’s incredibly spotty, with a lot of emphasis on Disney and Nick shows or, at the opposite end of the spectrum, nominees that you would never imagine today’s Twitter-savvy, too-cool kids voting for.

You can read the entire list here. To start with, there are plenty of categories that make perfect sense: Tim Tebow, Michael Phelps, and Venus and Serena Williams for athletics; Bruno Mars and LMFAO in the music category. But other parts of the list read like, well, an old person’s idea of what “kids these days” like. (Tim Allen for Best Actor? Really?)

For one, it seems a bit skewed that the Best TV Show nominees — iCarly, Victorious, Good Luck Charlie, and Wizards of Waverly Place – come from only Nickelodeon and Disney. TeenNick, The CW, and ABC Family have come up with plenty of shows that kids love — Degrassi, Switched at Birth, The Secret Circle – and yet they’re not represented at all.

Same with books: Even this Twilight-obsessed generation must have more specific likes beyond “the Twilight/Harry Potter/Hunger Games/Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.” I’ve been learning a lot about YA literature in the past few months, as part of the Hunger Games fandom; and those kids are reading Divergent, Delirium, Matched, and other dystopian series. So why aren’t those on the list?

And if the nominees aren’t extremely limited, then they’re weirdly obscure or outdated. America’s Funniest Home Videos, really? You’d think that with the convenience of YouTube, kids don’t need to, and wouldn’t want to, tune in at a specific time of day to see a collection of funny videos.

I’m a bit of a weirdo, but growing up, my interests always skewed much older: My babysitter got me into the Mel Brooks satires early, and as a result of reading Entertainment Weekly from a young age, I was really into CW shows like The OC and One Tree Hill. For books, I read Animorphs and Janet Evanovich. Sure, the interests of the 2012 Kids’ Choice Awards voters are likely much more mainstream than mine were, but these choices seem like they’d prompt preteens to turn up their noses and declare, “That’s what little kids like.”

The fact that Will Smith hosts this year’s awards should be reason enough to include books and movies that are a bit more grown-up.

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