Patrick Milescu
Doctor Martins
The Regular Show and Piaget\'s Theory of Development
A thorough understanding of child development is vital to analyze what exactly exterior forces such as media have on children and their educational progress. Jean Piaget, a Swiss psychologist, began a study of the maturity of children\'s cognitive abilities based off of four categories he developed after examining the behavior of children of different age groups. This developmental theory he created can be utilized to comprehend a child\'s perspective or personal understanding of what is happening during media exposure. The Regular Show is a great example of a television show that contains multiple layers of content that may be tangible to the various age groups defined by Piaget in his theory.
The Regular Show is broadcasted weekly via Cartoon Network and has been active for five years, attracting a large fan base of various ages. The show itself caters to the average twelve-year-old viewer, but it also appeals to younger or older audiences. "Regular Show is a quirky, fantasy cartoon series targeting older teenagers and young adults. It\'s unsuitable for children under 12-13 years because of its slapstick violence, intoxicated characters, crude humour, coarse language, sexual innuendo, and racial and cultural stereotyping," ( The show focuses on risque themes and incorporates witty humor that can be tangible to an older audience, but it stays tame enough to keep its home on Cartoon Network. I chose an episode that revolved around the habitual procrastination of the two main characters, Mordecai and Rigby. Although it is a common theme in the series, this specific episode left Rigby in charge of a task that he promised to take care of for the both of them. However, Rigby procrastinates and fails at finishing the chore efficiently and lets down his friend Mordecai and angers their boss.
Jean Piaget was a Swiss developmental psychologist who is well known for his work, which has helped further our understanding of cognitive maturity in children. Breaking his focus groups into four different categories, Piaget attempted to grasp how children of diverse age groups were able to comprehend the media content they were exposed to. The first group is called the sensori-motor stage, starting from the child\'s birth and lasting until they are two years old. The next stage is called the pre-operational and lasts until the child is seven years old, classified by the beginning of cognitive analysis. Afterwards, the concrete operational stage takes hold until the child is eleven years old and replaces the characteristics found in the stage beforehand. Finally, the child enters the formal operational stage in which they can make logical judgments and think abstractly about concepts that are presented to them. These four crucial stages of development as noted by Piaget are the approximate yet accurate age groups in which children begin to start thinking logically.
When children are born, they directly enter the sensori-motor stage to begin their journey of cognitive development. "In this stage, infants construct an understanding of the world by coordinating sensory experiences (such as seeing and hearing) with physical, motoric actions," (Smith 2000). Two distinguishing features characterize the Sensori-motor stage, one of the two Piaget called "Schemas." Schemas can be defined as mental depictions, or personal thoughts about what something may be or how it can be interacted with. In this initial stage of life in which their cognitive skills are limited, children still attempt to differentiate between various objects or ideas. The second distinguishing feature of the sensori-motor stage is the concept of object permanence, or the idea that something that may be hidden is still physically there even if it is not in sight. Interestingly enough, the episode of The Regular Show that I watched actually dealt with the idea of object permanence. In the episode, Mordecai trust Rigby to finish painting a house that they were initially asked to paint together. Since Mordecai has other plans, Rigby agrees to finish painting the house but ends up procrastinating and calling a shady business he saw in a commercial to do it last minute. The company prides themselves in the art of stealth and ends up painting the house with invisible ink, leaving only the backdrop of the park in sight to the viewer. Although the house is still there physically and characters still interact