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Lighten up: Spongebob took over our television

With kids around, there’s really no need for a remote control.

Five televisions, each with 350-plus channels, and we are perpetually watching "Spongebob Squarepants."

Time Warner Cable really should offer a parental discount. Most of us never get to see ESPN, let alone ESPN2, with kids ruling the show. Lifetime, HGTV, the History Channel – I hear they exist, but I have yet to see anything but Spongebob, his famous square arse and his little network friends.

So we keep buying TV’s, putting them in new places in the hopes of having a set of our own. We’ve tried sneaking into other rooms, looking for a television without a child planted in front.

But here they come, racing behind us, beating us to the couch. The males of the house, my husband and son, both lunge for the remote at the same time. Click! Guess what’s on?

That’s right, you nailed it – Nickelodeon.

This especially irks my husband, who wants to watch ALL the channels ALL the time. Like many men, he has another woman – her name is Remote Control. His faithful lover R.C. offers him hundreds of choices and hours of flicking fun.

Yet the television continually blares shows rendered in primary colors.

Couple this with today’s studly program offerings – "Sportscenter ,""Cops,"anything on the Military Channel – and you can see the guy’s dilemma. His colleagues often ask him what he watched the night before.

”Hey, did you see "Rock of Love"last night? Chicks were fighting – in a Jell-O pit!” says friend one.

”Nah. The kids were watching the TV,” says my man.

”You been watching "Shark Week"on Discovery Channel?” asks friend two.

”Couldn’t watch it – "iCarly"marathon,” says my husband.

”Dude – you watch the Buckeyes Saturday?” says friend three. ”Double overtime!”

”Nope. Five brand-new episodes of "Spongebob,"all this week,” he says.

Way back in the day, when we were kids, if the sky was clear, the planets aligned and the foil-covered antenna aimed just so, we had three choices: ABC, CBS and NBC. That little plastic RCA only showed children’s programs on Saturday mornings. Pop Tarts in hand, we sat bundled in our footie pajamas watching "Superfriends,""Speed Buggy,""Schoolhouse Rock"and "Grape Ape,"their vibrant colors reduced to shades of gray on the black and white sets.

Our moms and dads slept in while we were glued to the TV all morning. No doubt some of our parents can thank Scooby Doo and his crew for the chance to conceive our younger siblings.

The rest of the time, we got stuck watching whatever the grownups watched – the news, "Kojak,""Chico and the Man,""All in the Family."If we complained, we were told – in profane terms – to take our plaid-polyester-panted behinds elsewhere. If we kept griping, we had a good chance of a swift parental smack.

Ah, the good old days. A kid could be a kid, and a parent could be abusive.

Fast forward the VCR. We’ve landed in 2009 with all these color televisions, and hundreds of channels. But not much has changed for us: we still have no TV rights.

So guys? We are old and tired, and we quit. Here’s your remote. Your Dad and I will be in the bathroom, hanging the new flat-screen.

Dawn Weber is a Brownsville wife and mother of two pre-teens who commutes daily to Columbus for her full-time job.

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