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'Kenan and Kel': Why we must resist the urge to overthink it

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Kenan Kel Nick
Nickelodeon

Aw Here It Goes… (Sorry. That felt appropriate.)

A few weeks ago, I feared I’d lost my inner child. To me, that’s probably one of the worst things that could ever happen. I don’t mean that totally sincerely, of course. There are much more terrible things that can happen in life, but if we’re talking existential crises, that’s at the top of the list.

I was bored at home, and while browsing Facebook (the one-way street to boredom), someone’s off-hand mention of Kenan and Kel prompted me to look up and watch an old episode. I was horrified that I’d ever enjoyed it. Rather, disappointed in myself.

In an age of great TV (<< I truly believe that), watching Kenan and Kel was almost painful. It was poorly acted (“That dad should have been recast…”), never laugh-out-loud funny, and ridiculous in more ways than I could compute. “I once watched this!?,” I said in judgement of myself. Then I felt sad. Sad that something I enjoyed so greatly had lost its spark.

Almost a month later, I found myself at home, coughing up my right lung after falling ill from a Nerd Flu I caught at Comic-Con. I couldn’t move my head without feeling like I’d fall over and was in desperate need of a focal point from my position in bed so the room didn’t spin. I dimmed the light on my laptop and began looking for brainless entertainment that could lull me into a deep sleep (or death), and suddenly all I craved was the simple pleasure of Kenan and Kel. Nothing gut-busting (Sorry, Parks and Recreation), just something familiar, cozy, and maybe a little ridiculous.

It did the trick. Each of those negatives were suddenly the very reason I craved the show’s comfort. Perhaps it was the fever, but it felt like old times. Gone were the instincts I now have as an (gulp) adult to suck all the fun out of something silly like Kenan and Kel. We were illogical and uncritical as kids, which is probably why we had more fun.

So before you sink your teeth into some of the old shows that seem to be making a comeback, I urge you to put your adult away. You don’t want to scare yourself like I did. That was a close call…

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