One of the (many) benefits of having children, is being able to watch kids’ telly. I’ve a particular penchant for animated films such as: Shrek, The Incredibles, Monsters V Aliens and Monsters Inc.
My kids may go to sleep petrified and wanting me to leave the landing light on, but you should see their little faces when I slide out from under their bunkbeds pretending to be Randal*. Priceless**.
Not only are these movies great fun, they’re great ideas to begin with.
Shrek – The anti-hero. No Prince Charming here. Well, there is. But he’s the bad guy. Animated proof that you can be ugly, grumpy, live in a shit-hole and still get the princess.
The Incredibles: Dysfunctional super-hero family who are forced into government imposed anonymity, only to resurface to save the world.
Monsters V Aliens: What do you do when an alien species invades the earth? You wheel out the monster mutations you’ve created from secret government experiments.
And who could forget Monsters Inc: How does Monstropolis get its energy? From children’s screams of course. From a parallel world, monsters come into ours to scare the bejaysus out of kids, then bottle their screams. The power company’s motto: We scare, because we care.
One of the downsides of kids’ telly is the guff that’s put out on Disney Channel, Milkshake, Cartoonito et al.
What must the insurance premiums be like in Pontypandy***? That Norman Price has started more fires than Son of Sam. The town is a goddamm death trap. I’m not sure I’d be too happy if I was a loss-adjuster.
And what about Postman Pat? Not exactly a good advert for the Royail Mail. Every delivery he makes is beset by some calamity. Not of his making, I agree. But do I care if the post is late because of a sheep on the train tracks? Bottom line is: it might get there in the end, but it’s invariably late, if not a little tarnished.
Then there’s the cutesy wootsey Tinkerbell. Who looks about 8 years old, has the attitude of a 13 year old and the dress sense of a Bangkok hooker.
I appreciate there’s a great distinction between a multi-million dollar feature film and a low-budget TV series. But what does matter is the quality of the idea. Not to mention the challenging of stereotypes.
So all I need to do is create a chubby, not-too-good-looking heroine, from an ethnic minority who’s of good moral standing, adventurous, a teacher, and always saves the day through her good deeds…
Oh, well. Back to the drawing board.
*Randal: Meany monster antagonist in Monsters Inc.
**In case any social workers are reading this, I’ve never actually hid under my kids’ bed to scare the life out of them. In fact, they don’t even have bunkbeds. They sleep on straw in the cellar with their granddad.
***Pontypandy: Welsh town where Fireman Sam is set.