Regular readers may notice that I've managed to already turn my three-year-old into a little Whovian, and thus may envy me that I get to watch Daleks and Cybermen with her rather than other children's fare. The sad truth is, though, that she calls just as equally for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. We've watched every single episode on Netflix streaming... twice.
In a desperate bid to not hear the name Pinkie Pie anymore, I noticed that Powerpuff Girls was also available for streaming. I bribed the little one, and then proceeded to once again follow an animated series from front to back.
And frankly, I really wish I hadn't done that because Powerpuff Girls is a terrible show to expose your children to.
"But wait, With One F," you say sputtering with anger. "That's horse hockey. It's a trio of little girl superheroes. That's empowering right there!"
Let's set aside the fact that we have a girl superhero team for a bit here. My daughter has Dora and Kai-Lan and Abby Cadabby and Daphne Blake and a whole host of plucky young Miyazaki heroines to choose from. She associates the word "princess" with "sword-wielding adventuress." Her daycare provider teaches karate, and her mom does science while dad does the dishes. She's not so hard up for empowering figures that I'll allow just whatever.
Besides, just how empowering are the Powerpuff Girls? No matter what happens they spend the entire run of the show at the beck and call of two male figures, Professor Utonium and the Mayor. Granted, they're in grade school and grade school girls should do what their dads tell them, but let's look at the other part of the coin.
The Mayor is a blithely ineffectual nincompoop who can't solve the slightest problem. Behind him is Ms. Sara Bellum, his assistant who is the real brains behind the Townsville government.
Ms. Bellum is probably the absolute worst figure you could expose a young girl to. You almost never see her real face. Instead she exists from the neck down as the Mayor's overly-sexualized ornament. She's a caricature of vivaciousness that sets up as laughable a body aesthetic as any Barbie Doll. Worse, Barbie in her CGI adventures looks way more normal than Bellum does.
While she may be effective, she remains weirdly hamstrung to the male authority of the Mayor. She refuses to assume command even when it's clearly needed, and in an alternate world where the Powerpuff Girls left Townsville she spends her old age muttering incoherently about him as the city crumbles around her. She's more than capable of handling issues, but without a man to tell her it's OK she snaps.
That episode ("Speed Demon"), by the way, is the one that really convinced me that the Powerpuff Girls was a really bad influence. Not because of Ms. Bellum, but because the show routinely teaches absolutely horrifying lessons.Flashback Disney Drops "Sexy-Merida," But You Should Still Be Mad
In it, the girls are excited because they get to go on vacation and be away from constantly saving the people of Townsville for a whole week. They're so excited that they race each other home, but they in end breaking the light barrier and rocketing into a future where without them the city was taken over by Him.
In the end, of course, the girls return to the proper time and everything is saved. They even tell the Professor that they want to cancel their vacation so they can be on hand to solve every little emergency that may come up.
To be clear, they can't leave these idiots alone for a single week without disaster falling? Hell, even Obama gets vacations. Sure, he's never really "off," no president is, but the man can at least play a round of golf on the weekends to relax. What kind of message is, "If you ever don't show up for work the apocalypse happens" to send to a kid? If you have a boss that acts that way, you need to get the hell out.
That's not to mention the fact that the whole show is ridiculously socialist, even to someone like me that worships at the altar of the social safety net. Take the episode "A Very Special Blossom."
With Father's Day coming up the girls want to give their dad a nice gift, but they have no money being kids. Their dad wants a really expensive set of golf clubs but can't afford them. The girls respond to this by asking the Mayor for a wage, which seems extremely reasonable. He offers them pocket change, and orders them out of his office when they try for $8,000.
How much is the ability to stop giant monsters worth? I'm wiling to bet it's way more than an '06 Corolla on Craigslist. They don't even want the money for themselves. They want to get their dad something nice. This all ends in robbery and wrongful incarceration... all for wanting to get paid for highly specialized skill.
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They have a special phone connected to a government office. The only reason Batman doesn't charge for that is because he's loaded. The Avengers get paid, Reed Richards pays the Fantastic Four out of patent royalties, and even the X-Men got room and board. What's the moral here? That we should serve the state with no respite for free and without question until we drop from exhaustion? Isn't that exactly what happened to Boxer the horse in Animal Farm?
Ayn Rand makes a whole lot more sense after a week of watching nothing but Powerpuff Girls... though to be fair so does Mayor McCheese and the second season of Heroes. Maybe the Rand estate could hire Lauren Faust to sell her philosophy with musical ponies or something. It can't be worse than those Atlas Shrugged movies.