Not too long ago, Phelan Porteous (Phelous) presented a video review of Our Friend Power 5 (a Korean movie made to promote a toy line that unnaturally mashes up Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Voltron, and must be seen to be believed).
This got me thinking about the types of roles that parent characters usually play on shows tailored for kids. I know that this is the type of thing that most people don’t even notice or care about, but I usually notice because I’m a weirdo.
I’ve noticed that in most Eastern (Japanese, Korean) shows that focus on kids going on amazing adventures, doing science fiction-y stuff and so forth, it will often be the father who has a secondary role in the proceedings, such as the dad being a professor or some type of scientist who will assist the kid protagonists in their adventures, while the mother will usually just be a happy housewife who has no connection to the fantasy side of the show other than being related to and living in the same house as the kid protagonist(s). Some examples include:
The Mifune family (from Speed Racer):
Mr. Racer – A former wrestler turned owner of the Go! racing team franchise.
Mrs. Racer – Subscribes to Good Housekeeping and Woman’s Day.
The Taylor Family (from Dinosaur King):
Dr. Spike Taylor – Archaeologist who assist the D-Team and sometimes directs the kids to that mission’s location.
Aki Taylor – Artist. Housewife. Makes a mean tuna casserole.
Now, my first thought is that something like this would never fly in an American kids’ show. If us yanks ever tried to have a formula like the one aforementioned, there would the inevitable cries of…
Most likely American kids show producers would deal with this issue by simply omitting the mother character altogether, which I don’t like. At all.
Now don’t get me wrong. Generally speaking, I prefer it when mother characters are active characters who do things, such as Phoebe Calisto from Miles From Tomorrowland, who’s not only a crew member of the Stellasphere, but she’s the ship’s captain!
…but even if the mother of the main family is basically Susie Homemaker, I’ll take that over the total absence of a mother from the household.
Personally, I haven’t seen any anime or Asian kids where the parents roles are reversed. That is, where the mom is the scientist/adventurer who helps the kids and the dad is just the dad. Mind you, I don’t watch a lot of anime, so if any such examples do indeed exist, feel free to enlighten me.
I know that this character isn’t a mother, but I want to give an honorable mention to Nintendo’s character Pauline.
In the course of the character’s history, Pauline went from being Mario’s one time helpless (and blonde) girlfriend who existed solely to be captured by Donkey Kong…
…to the mayor of New Donk City in Super Mario Odyssey. Not the Mayor’s aide or the Mayor’s secretary, but the freakin’ Mayor!
You’ve come a long way, baby!
Lola Bunny made an appearance on New Looney Tunes. Specifically, the short “Hare to the Throne”.
Some fans were wondering what Lola would be like if/when she were to show up on New Looney Tunes, the athletic but bland Space Jam version or the kookier Looney Tunes Show version? Because of the HIGHLY divided opinions regarding this character, I was reluctant to post this at all, as I didn’t want to restart that lame, annoying “Which version of Lola is better?” argument.
Furthermore, I have no desire to re-ignite that tired debate again. Anyone who’s planning to vent about Lola in the Comments section is SOL, ’cause I won’t be engaging in that discussion, nor will I allow this place to devolve into a stupid Lola Bunny debate. I’ve had too many ridiculous arguments about this single cartoon character on message boards, and now that I’m retired from message boards, I’ve officially washed my hands of that whole thing, so the Lola Wars ain’t happening here.
I will say that Lola here appears to be composite of the 2 main versions we’ve gotten so far: appearance-wise, she resembles the TLTS version, but with a more focused and aggressive personality (though it should be noted that this short seems to be something of a Game of Thrones sendup, so it’s possible Lola may be spoofing someone from Game of Thrones. (I’ve never seen a single episode of GoT, so I couldn’t name any character from it; the only thing I know about GoT is that There Be Dragons.)
-Ditsy, aggressive, they’re both good choices, whatever floats your boat. I personally don’t care. As long as Lola’s not portrayed as a bland, unfunny cipher, I’m cool with any version.
We’re living in an interesting time right now. While some things are just plain awful, there are some things that are definitely cool. For one thing, last year Disney launched it’s reboot of DuckTales.
This reboot is an improvement over the original in several ways, not the least of which is that the reboot includes the return of this guy: Donald Duck.
Not only is Donald part of the main cast (as he should have been from the get-go – Carl Barks’ original comics series has always focused on Scrooge, the nephews and Donald), but he’s back as his old slapstick-y self, engaging in the wacky cartoon hijinks that made him famous. Viz…
Yeah, now that’s the stuff, man!
Having Donald around as a main character fits in to the new DuckTales perfectly. I even have an easier time accepting supporting characters such as Launchpad McQuack and Fenton Crackshell (Gizmoduck) this time around, because here they’re not serving as stand-ins for Donald.
Then on the Warner Brothers side, we have New Looney Tunes (formerly known as Wabbit! here in the U.S.) with it’s new old take on Daffy.
Here. in the States, we have to watch the series on Boomerang’s online streaming service because Turner doesn’t air the show on Boomerang U.S. for some unfathomable reason. Anyway, in New Looney Tunes, Daffy is back to being certifiably insane rather than Bugs’ greedy, jealous rival. Take a look:
I don’t need to elaborate on this much, since Damon has already covered New Looney Tunes and it’s take on Daffy both here and here. So basically, I’m going to echo what he said (and not for the first time): While I like the selfish, greedy, egotistical version of Daffy OK for the most part, the above has always been the version of the little black duck that I’ve always preferred, and this version was long overdue for a return. I sincerely hope that crazy Daffy sticks around for a while for future Looney Tunes projects, as this version of Daffy has been sorely missed.
Yes, it’s definitely a good time to be a fan of cartoon ducks. Hit it!
Welcome to the first installment of our newest segment on Twinsanity, Brain Candy. As Jason mentioned previously, Brain Candy is what Highly Opinionated has morphed into after a 2-year hibernation with nothing to rant about. These will be random, stream-of-consciousness musings about inconsequential pop-culture trivia that we have running through our heads; you get a glimpse of what runs through the recesses of our twisted creative minds. Enjoy.
Indigo is not only my current favorite color, but she’s also one of my favorite Color Kids from the Rainbow Brite franchise.
But I’ve always wondered: why is her name just Indigo?
The other 6 Color Kids each have cute, toyetic names which incorporate their respective colors: Red Butler, LaLa Orange, Canary Yellow, Patty O’Green, Buddy Blue, Shy Violet, but Indigo’s name is just her color. Why is Indigo the Jean Grey of the Color Kids?
Recently I cam across something interesting (to me, anyway): in a Rainbow Brite coloring book, Indigo was listed as having the full name of Indigo Doll. So why wasn’t that moniker used full time? It works. Were the Powers That Be worried that calling her ‘Doll’ would be considered sexist? Throughout the 20’s through 40’s, ‘Doll’ was what guys called a pretty girl or an attractive young woman.
Not only does the title ‘Doll’ apply to her from an aesthetic standpoint…
…But in the 80’s, she was made into an actual doll. So why not call her Doll? From now on, as far as I’m concerned, her name is Indigo Doll. That’s what I’m calling her now, ’cause that’s her name. Her name shouldn’t just be her color; that’s lazy.
The following is Indigo’s character profile from Golden’s ‘Who’s Who in Rainbow Land’ coloring book.
Indigo (Doll-Ha!) is a very beautiful little girl who wants to be a famous actress. She is always “on stage,” so to speak, rehearsing and reciting lines from famous plays and making entrances wearing imaginative costumes. Though some may think she is over-dramatic and somewhat of a dreamer, she likes to think of herself as an artist with high aspirations. Indigo’s color represents drama and emotion. Her responsibility is for the indigo Sprites and for the colors they create.
-Now that sounds like a fun character–too bad we never got to see that in any of the TV shows, specials or movies. To be fair, most of the Color Kids were more or less fodder in the Rainbow Brite TV and movie adaptations, that Golden book gave us some interesting character traits and quirks which we typically only got fleeting glimpses of, if anything at all, such as LaLa Orange supposedly having a “giant crush” on Red Butler or how Canary Yellow was the Color Kid who got caught by Murky Dismal the most due to her extreme naivety. More’s the pity; I would’ve liked to have seen this version of Indigo in action. She sounded fun.
Indigo, along with all of the other Color Kids, recently appeared in the Rainbow Brite reboot from a year or so back which aired on Feel’n (now called Hallmark Movies Now). I have yet to see this reboot, so I don’t know whether or not we got to see any of this ‘drama queen who’s always on’ persona from Indigo there, but at least she was included.