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Adam Conover discussed on Factually! with Adam Conover

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Automatic TRANSCRIPT

What are the welcome to factually i'm adam conover and we have a bit of a different episode for you this week a little bit of a change of pace but before i explain in what way it's different i'd like to take you down a little trip down memory lane early nineties i was a huge fan of children's educational educational television i i know i know it's a big surprise coming from the guy who doesn't educational comedy show wearing brightly colored outfits but i used to eat up shows like bill nye the science guy where on earth is carmen sandiego and especially beakman's world i don't know if you remember beakman's world it was a show that combined cutting edge special effects puppeteer hiring and comedy to illustrate complex scientific concepts for kids there was even a dude in a rat costume who burp and farted i love this show it perfectly we spoke to my nine year old sensibilities now you'd think a show like that would just succeed in the cutthroat marketplace of children's television because of how great it was right i mean kids like to learn and they like farting rats so it should have been an easy sell well it wasn't until recently that i found out beakman's world and many of your favorite kids educational occasional shows like it that you remember from growing up wouldn't have existed at all if not very particular law passed by congress see in the late eighties there was very very little educational programming on children's tv and what programming there was to put it plainly sucked ass i mean seriously go back and watch one of those opposed classics a GI joe a transformers or a gummy bears you'll see shows that are badly animated designed purely to sell toys with incredibly long commercial breaks because kids kids would watch anything right including tons of commercials for toys based on the exact show they just watched now if you think that shoving loud aggressive ads odds down the eye holes of impressionable children without even giving them a good show in return sounds exploitative in gross well legislators in the late late eighties would agree with you and that is why congress passed the children's television act of nineteen ninety which did two things i it put strict limits on and how many minutes of commercials children's broadcast TV could have very good step and secondly it required networks to include genuinely educational children's children's programming on their schedules so suddenly we went from a world in which if you tried to pitch a show about science to a broadcast network they'd probably say hey get the fuck outta here how are we going to sell robot robot toys with that science crap to one where suddenly every network was suddenly scrambling to buy educational shows that met the new mandate and it was shows like commitments world bill nye and others that rose to fill that market now look i'm not gonna say this was a perfect law as with most regulations that were a lot of unintended the negative side effects too a lot of networks tried to get around the rule by making crappy quasi educational shows like for isn't a variety show hosted by brazilian actress model recording star in businesswoman shusha not a lot of good material for the growing brain there but the fact remains that these networks needed a nudge from the federal government to know what was good for them and put on at least some of the educational shows kids turned out to love again these shows turned out to be hits that law law is literally the only reason that bill nye and beakman's world were on the air at all today though things have changed see that law only affected acted broadcast stations that use the public airwaves it had no jurisdiction over cable television and definitely non over the internet which hadn't even really become popular yet and since those places cable and the internet are where the majority of kids watch their content today once again we're in a world where the majority of what kids you're watching is crappy content that serves adult pocketbooks far more than it does there growing brains except of course the nickelodeon kids show that i hadn't hosting the crystal oh maze which just remind you premiers january twenty fourth on nickelodeon that show is very quality police watch it but look that brings me the topic of today's show like i said it's a little bit different normally on this show we have scholars experts other smart folks on to blow your mind with a revelatory things they know today though i wanted wanted to bring on one of the artists who inspired and taught me so much and blew my mind so much when i was growing up and artists that i didn't really realize how much influence my a own style until i went back and watched his work and figured out how deeply my work is influenced by his i'm just gonna come out with it i'm talking about beekman himself himself or paul's aloom the actor who played beekman for so many years he was gracious enough to join me on the show today in this interview we eat into paul's life his career what it was like making a classic children's educational television and i try to contain my nervousness and excitement talking to a former idol of mine in whose footsteps i am following so like i said a bit of a change of pace but fear not i'm not turning the show into an infotainment version of mark barron's podcast and we will be back next week with more fascinating fascinating expert interviews and before we get into it i'd like to share with you a couple of tour dates on january eighteenth i will be at the san francisco sketch fest with khloe hillyard opening for me and and on january thirtieth i'll be performing at the irvine improv in lovely irvine california if you want to consider those shows go to my website adam conover.