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My Critique of 5 Children’s Characters Never Meant to Be Taken Seriously

Because of my daughter, I watch a lot of children’s characters on tv and I often find myself analyzing these characters way too intensely.

So, I will preface this by saying that this list is mainly comprised of Nickelodeon characters that I have some dislike for children’s characters who, on several occasions (episodes), have made me say angry things out loud to the TV. Before you read, make sure you have a sense of humor. Maybe we’ll have a few in common, but here we go.

Franklin

This turtle has to be one of the most self-centered, inconsiderate amphibian douches ever conceived. Franklin (aka Rajon Rondo ~ click for a laugh) has the social IQ of a, well, a turtle. It never fails; he gets into a situation where his friends, parents, teachers, etc., have to teach him lessons on how not to be a jerk.

Franklin and his friends create this wonderful picture in one particular episode. Franklin decides to enter it into a contest at the local convenience store to win a skateboard. That sounds great, but Franklin doesn’t tell his friends that the sweat of their collective brows has earned the new skateboard they are in awe of. Franklin doesn’t even fess up to it. His friends find out by seeing this amazing art that Franklin supposedly had drawn himself. Only after his friends become aware of Franklin’s misappropriation of the truth does Franklin offer to let them skate on the board because that’s how considerate he is (sigh if you think I mean that). Of course, his friends, who are all about the value of principle, are like, ‘You can’t just make it better by sharing your board! You gotta know what you did was wrong first, you dumb turtle!’ Well, maybe that’s not what THEY said but I said it while watching it. Franklin’s friends don’t let facetious Franklin off that easily. That’s just one example. Try watching the show. His whining and propensity for getting himself into asinine dilemmas will have you cursing at your TV… but relax… It’s just a kids’ show, after all.

Olivia

The animated series Olivia is an acclaimed 3D CGI children’s program inspired by the popular collection of children’s books bearing the same name. Ironically enough, the animated Olivia seems to be a bit more colorful than her paperbound counterpart. She’s a feisty little girl with a very vivid imagination. She always has these self-serving fantasies where she’s usually an expert at something. In most cases, her visions trickle over into her real life and make for a really interesting journey to surreality and back again. It’s interesting how often she lives in these fabrications — which are quite creative for a girl her age. As good parents should, her parents often encourage her mild complacency and reward her confidence. There is nothing wrong with nurturing a superiority complex in a child.

Although Olivia isn’t the only pig on my list of critiques, she is the more polarizing swine. She isn’t all that bad on most occasions, but sometimes, she is a bit of a brat. I guess the same can be said about most kids at some point. There’s something about her voice that bothers me, though. I think it brings back memories of that girl in the class who reminded the teacher that she hadn’t taken up homework a minute before class ended. To be blunt, Olivia is a goody two shoes and very much self-absorbed. Heck, she sings a song referring to herself in the third person at the end of every show. The only other person I know who does that is Kanye.

Peppa

Peppa Pig is the second of two swine on this list. I will start by saying that I generally love this show, and it’s easily one of my favorites to watch with my daughter. Peppa, though, the show’s namesake, can sometimes be a bother. Peppa is an anthropomorphic female pig who shares both animalistic traits and primarily human ones. She and her friends and family live in a town where some animals are dumb like the real ones, and others are smart like people. Peppa is one of the smart ones. On the one hand, she demeans her little brother George and often speaks insubordinately to her elders, especially Daddy Pig (who gets no respect). Still, on the other hand, she has one amazing European accent that makes what she says entertaining. Ultimately, the show is quite adorable. The supporting cast does a good job of mellowing my angst with Peppa’s sometimes socially abrasive characteristics.

Ruby

Now I love everything about the premise of Max and Ruby — little brother who can only ever say one word each episode, continually shows his sister he is a brilliant kid — much smarter than his limited vocabulary.

Before I put the magnifying lens on Ruby, let me ask this: why is it that Max says a new phrase every single episode but can never put any few of them together to form at least a fragmented sentence..and what the heck, how old is Ruby? She sounds like she’s 18… but surely an 18-year-old isn’t having tea parties and pretending a floaty is a magical chariot. Right? I digress…

Ruby, Ruby, Ruby. This bunny here is a piece of work. Not only is she a know-it-all, but she is also extremely condescending to Max, her little brother — the same prodigy who continually defies Ruby’s limited confidence in him. She always deads his fun by telling him to get out of the way or chiding him to turn off one of his amazing wind-up toys (from what seems like a never-ending collection). Ruby also never takes the time to slow down and decipher what Max is getting at as he’s repeating the same word repeatedly in each episode…but somehow, she’s always astonished at his incredible foresight at the close of the day.

The Map

Dude, I hate the map! Why couldn’t he be like his other rolled-up cousin from DC, The Bill (see Schoolhouse Rock), or laid back like Spliff from Jamaica? For starters, there is his STUPID song about how he’s the map. The Bill did that already, and his song was classic (‘I’m just a Bill, yes, I’m only a Bill’). Most of the reason the map bothers me is his ridiculous voice. It’s so animated and goofy-sounding. The more he repeats his directions, the more laughable yet annoying he sounds. By the 4th or 5th time he repeats his directions, you want to throw one of Boots’ red Walla bees at the screen. Then, as if a million times isn’t enough times to repeat something for you to remember, Dora comes right after he’s just agitated the crap out of you and asks what the directions are. Are you kidding me? The dude just said them like 28 times. Hey, my daughter loves it, so mission accomplished. Down the windy trail, past the whistling rock, over the dinosaur tail… Down the windy trail, over the dinosaur tail… Down the windy trail, over the dinosaur tail, I go.

Dude! Chill.

DJ Lance Rock

Besides the obvious wardrobe qualms I have with this guy, DJ Lance more confuses me than anything. Here is an apparent music-loving guy, most assuredly in his 30s, hanging out with weird silly-talking—obviously imaginary—characters who oddly enough think he’s the coolest thing since the ‘Jumpy Jump’ dance (educate yourselves on it, it’s amazing). On a positive note, I have to say, the real Lance has to really be a DJ or at least an eclectic individual with a wide-ranging knowledge of music. Take a look at this video. Oh, and ask yourself—why?—when you see the grown-up onesie this guy is rocking.

Now I know some of you are like, ‘Is he serious?’ The answer is, NO. I am not… well, sort of… nah, I am serious about this list. Heck, I typed a whole article about it… Be sure to comment and let me know which children’s characters grind your gears. I’m sure there are at least a few.