Sunday, July 1, 2012

Children's T.V.

Alright, does anyone reading this have younger siblings? Younger family members, friends with siblings or kids, your own kids, kids you babysit? Either way I’m just wondering how many of you have spent a fair amount of time watching children’s programming.

I ended up watching T.V. a great deal with my younger sister K as we were growing up. Sister K is seven years my junior and my entire family ended up watching a lot of children’s programming.
Of children’s programming.
We all got rather into it; sometimes it was nostalgic (watching shows like Little Bear or Blue’s Clues)

Sometimes it was educational (Dora the Explorer)

Sometimes it was weird (shows like Maisy)

Some of it was downright irritating. (Wiggles, which my entire family detested)

And then we come to the show Max and Ruby.

Now, my entire family loves Max and Ruby, when Sister K watched it, we would all pretty much end up sitting and enjoying the show.
Now as time went by I started to have a problem with the show.
Specifically this little fucker.

You see that little hellion?
Yes, that would be Max, one of the titular characters. Now before I get started I will warn you, this is me taking a children’s cartoon, of all things, way too damn seriously, but I feel that no one else has ever had the guts to come out and say what a terror Max really is.

The rest of my family thinks he’s hilarious, but I know better. Beneath that sweet smile and those cute bunny cheeks is a true mastermind of evil.

Max is the fun, creative, and mischievous kid brother of the fussy, girly, and stuffy Ruby. On the surface it seems that Max is always trying to have fun and his sister Ruby just doesn’t understand how boring everything she wants to do is! I mean my goodness! Max just wanted to make mud pies and bring them inside, so what if Ruby was preparing to earn a badge for Bunny Scouts by hosting the meeting in their home?
All of the things Max do sound irritating when you put them down in writing. When Ruby is preparing the both of them for a picture he constantly gets himself dirty, when Ruby is having a tea party with her dolls he replaces them with his own toys, when Ruby gives him money to buy a music box for their grandmother’s birthday he buys himself glow in the dark cherry juice oozing vampire fangs.

(Fucking sweet actually, but still)

When Ruby is trying to make a garden he takes all the mud, rocks, and worms she’s putting aside to use and makes a mud pie, he leaves the house without her knowledge causing Ruby to search for him frantically (before finding him at their grandmother’s house). It seems everything Ruby tries to do Max always has to pull tricks on her, get things dirty, and be a general nuisance. But his brattiness is played for laughs.
Ruby is the stuffy one
Ruby is supposed to be the irritating one.

We’re supposed to see her desire to play dress up and have tea parties and keep herself neat as boring.
We’re supposed to root for Max, triumphing over his sister all the time. Never once is Max reprimanded, not by his grandmother, not by other adults shown, and certainly not by their parents. (Who you never see except in a blurry family photo hanging in the den.)
That’s another thing! The goddamn grandmother! She is constantly on Max’s side. She obviously loves both her grandchildren and seems more than willing to help Ruby’s crafty pursuits (like baking or playing dressup) but when Max is ruining everything and her granddaughter is standing there looking shocked and hurt and exasperated what does she do? Chortle and praise Max on his cleverness.
Every time Ruby threatens to tell their grandmother on him it backfires on her. Grandma loves the vampire teeth Max gives her for her birthday. Never mind the fact that he bought them with Ruby’s money, that she earned herself, that she saved up to buy the music box that she thought would be so perfect for her grandma.

Now on occasion Max is shown to care about his sister and want to make her happy, like wanting to have a gift for her birthday or trying, genuinely, to help her with decorating the house or playing games.

You want to know how I think Max could make his sister happy? By considering her feelings for once. In this show Ruby’s feelings are constantly brushed aside. She’s the stick in the mud, the Ricky to Max’s Lucy, the unsuspecting dolt in the force of Max’s wild child desires. She wants to stay clean and take a picture with her younger brother? Who cares! He wants to eat all sorts of messy candies. She’s worried that she can’t find her brother? Don’t worry! He was getting ice cream for her; he’s just the most perfect little brother! Max, our practically mute hero, is always shown to be in the right. It’s his feelings we consider as we see him roll his eyes over his sister’s over emotional tendencies or the stupid games she wants to force him into. We snicker at Ruby’s prissiness. After all, why would any of us ever want to listen to our older siblings?
Maybe that’s my problem; I’m speaking as the oldest child in my family. I’m not saying I want my younger siblings to look at me like a parent, but some measure of respect is expected. Max has no respect for Ruby and the things she tells him to do are never enforced by a parental figure.  I would be nowhere without my parents. If I reprimand Sister K for the way she speaks to me or for something she does, I am backed up by my parents if I am justified in my feelings. (Which usually I am) Yes Ruby is bossy, most older siblings are. Yes it’s irritating about being told what to do sometimes, but when someone in a position of control over you tells you what to do you have to suck it up and just do it ya brat. Ruby even comes off as a little controlling, and honestly, wouldn’t you be that way? A child in your care constantly eschews what you tell them to do in favor of what they want. CONSTANTLY.

Little siblings! Heed my words. Do not act like Max towards your older brothers and sisters.

Now I’m off to go and watch Little Einsteins or something.