TV and films during our childhoods were great. They were all lovely and colourful with lovable, anthropomorphic characters and life-affirming morals that made us want to go out there and find an orphaned fish or closely watch our toys whilst hiding to see if they came alive…
But when you think about it, are kids films and TV shows all that nice? According to a (fairly banal) study, two-thirds of childrens movies ahve depicted the death of an important character, while only half of adult’s films have…
Not that nice, after all, are they? Now think back to the 90s Nickelodeon days. Rugrats. Great show but, think harder… where’s Chuckie’s mum?
Well, sorry to break it to you, if you didn’t already know but, rather predictably (and sadly), she died.
This twist of fate wasn’t originally part of the show but, much later on, it was brought into light, as the show’s co-creatorPaul Germain has it.
When he spoke to Entertainment Weekly, he said that the topic had been initially put off as Nickelodeon had branded it too scary for their youthful audience.
“The one thing we didnt do that frustrated me was, we wanted to talk about Chuckies mum.
We developed the baby crew, and we developed Chuckie, and then we thought, This kid magically appears at the house, but where are his parents?
So we thought, lets do Chuckies dad but we decided not to do a mum.
We just didnt want an extra character there. But why? Why would there not be a mom? By the second or third season, we were saying, What actually happened to Chuckies mum?
We talked to Arlene, we talked to Nickelodeon, and we said, Lets do that shes divorced.
And they said, No, no, we dont want to touch divorce. Thats too heavy a subject, we dont want to go there.
So we said, Okay soyou know that meansChuckies mumis dead?
And they go, No! No! No! We definitely dont want to talk about that , thats scary!Children dont want to see that. So if we cant say that shes divorced, and we cant say that shes dead, we cant talk about her.
If you watch the first 65 half-hours of Rugrats , they never mention Chuckies mum or if they do, its a tease.
We mention that she exists but we dont tell you what happened to her. We even made a joke out of it in one episode. But we werent allowed to go into the subject.
And from there, it was never mentioned until years later. Germain and his team left in 1993 and, under new management, the show finally covered the death of Melinda Finster.
They did a whole thing about Chuckies mum, and that she died, this whole very maudlin thing,In that episode, Melinda was voiced by Kim Cattrall.
I just sat there thinking, We werent allowed to do this, and now you guys are doing it. Thats something I regret,”
I mean, that’s sad. Some could argue that, by featuring death in children’s shows and films, you’re preparing them for later life but, honestly, I can’t help but think they overdo it. I started watching a Pixar film that I hadn’t yet seen the other day (I won’t say what it is for fear of spoiling it) but there’s death like almost immediately. Odd.
Anyway, what do you think? Let us know in the comments!