I think it’s a pretty universal experience, since the first child sat down in front of a black and white television to watch “Howdy Doody”, that there are shows that parents hate and others which are generally tolerable. In my home there are even some shows which are completely off limits such as Barney, Caillou (which I feel is universally hated by all parents), and Spongebob. But there is a special category of shows which bother me, so excuse me as I go on a bit of a rant.
Many of these shows are based on properties that existed when I was a child myself. But there is one franchise I want to specifically talk about: Peter Pan. It’s a Disney classic in every sense, based on a play that was based on a book. We all know the story of the boy who never grew up, lost boys, Wendy, Captain Hook, Tinkerbell and Neverland. Looking at it as an adult: Peter is a massive A-hole, Tink is a possessive psychotic girlfriend, lots of racial stereotypes and attempted child murder.
Now 2 spin-offs of sort came from this film (I’m not counting the unnecessary sequel “Return to Neverland”) and they are “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” and Disney Fairies which are a series of straight to DVD films about a pre-Peter Tinkerbell.
I’ll start with Jake…oh Jake. Look, I get it. This is meant to be an educational and interactive show in the same vein as Dora the Explorer with Neverland as the back drop. However in doing so they neutered one of the baddest villians in the Disney universe: Captain Hook.
What. The hell. Is that? Does that look like the baddest pirate to sail the seven seas? No, it doesn’t. In the original film Hook remains in Neverland for the express purpose of taking revenge on Peter FOR CUTTING OFF HIS F***ING HAND!! Of course when we say revenge we mean child murder. What about now? Pan is gone. All you got is Jake and his crew looking for treasure. Why are you still there? You’re whole purpose for staying in Neverland is gone. Go, leave! I mean, i guess he’s trying to steal the treasure Jake and his friends are gathering but how many times can you fail at stealing from children before you either call it quit or actually murder them and steal it that way? Don’t get me started on Hook having love interests or a mom who keeps him from being too bad.
Now I probably have less of an issue with this spin off series since this is more a prequel for Tinkerbell. In this series we follow Tink and her fairy friends on a number of shenanigan filled adventures. Also her name is actually a reference to her “talent” which every fairy had, apparently Pixie Hollow is big on the caste system. My thing with this series is I continually wait for that movie where she goes from loveable Tinkerbell to psycho possessive girlfriend Tinkerbell. What finally pushes her over the edge? That moment she becomes so attatched to Peter she is willing to murder young girls to keep her man. I think THAT would make for some compelling and dark viewing.
The world’s a little dark and it’s worth exposing kids to a little of that via the media they consume. After all truly great heroes are made by great, complex antagonists. Then again, it is Disney Junior, maybe I shouldn’t overthink it so much.