The Boob Tube ain't so bad. As a child of the 60s, I grew up with regular doses of TV viewing and I can say without a doubt that it didn't stunt my creativity or damage my social skills. If anything, it cultivated
my creativity, but with all things, moderation is key. TV shows are just another medium for telling stories and I think for a storyteller, having exposure to as many different methods of telling a story is fundamental to developing a keen sense of story, character, pacing, and structure. Watching TV to the exclusion of other activities is unbalanced, but you could replace "watching TV" with virtually anything and the sentence would remain true.
Some of the speculative fiction shows from childhood that profoundly influenced my writing include Scooby Doo, The Banana Splits, H.R. Pufnstuf, Star Trek, I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, Lost in Space, The Munsters, The Addam's Family, Dark Shadows, Night Gallery, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, and Space: 1999. Is it any surprise that most of these are comedies?
And really, I'd have to count movies shown on TV because we're talking about a time before VCRs and DVDs. Back then, TV stations would air certain movies every year once a year, such as Rogers and Hammerstein's Cinderella in the Fall, The Wizard of Oz every spring, and old monster movies every Halloween. On Sunday afternoons you could look forward to such classics as Abbott & Costello and Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movies. The Wonderful World of Disney would often air their animated films like Winnie the Pooh. I soaked these all in like the proverbial sponge. And I also read books and comic books. And went to the movies every chance I got. And listened to the CBS Radio Mystery Theater every night at 8 PM during my middle school years.
All modes of storytelling. All part of American culture. And all firmly wound in my psyche.
So, am I worse off for watching television as a kid? Absolutely not.
My mother monitored how much time we spent in front of the TV and limited our viewing to make sure we spent time doing homework, played outside with friends, took care of household chores, and for my sister and me, practiced our baton twirling. I went on to become the Salutatorian of my high school class and graduated from Auburn University with a 3.8 average in my major.
Growing up with the Boob Tube turned out to be more of a boon than a boob.