Some of the most famous children's shows, including Max & Ruby and Charlie and Lola never show the main characters' parents. Like many other curious people in the world, I have always wondered where these parents are and why they've left their children alone to do mischievous things that no real preschooler would be doing. Obviously, these are TV shows, so not everything about them is meant to be taken seriously, and I understand that Max & Ruby is a story revolving around two talking bunnies, but don't you still wonder?
These shows are geared towards younger, elementary-school aged kids. They take what they see in shows literally, and a huge portion of lessons they learn or knowledge they gain comes from TV shows, movies, or anything created for children's entertainment. So if they watched shows where the parents were never to be found, what would they think of their own parents? Were the creators of these shows deliberately trying to leave guardian-type roles out? Why?
If I were to assume, the reason a producer would do this is to teach kids how to be independent and solve problems on their own, with some guidance from an only slightly older brother or sister. This could be beneficial because kids would learn to think on their own and develop skills to help them make their own practical decisions, even if the decisions are something as small as choosing a new pair of shoes, an actual episode of Charlie and Lola. I specifically remember this episode, where troublesome Lola can't wear her favorite shoes since they've become too small for her, and she has to choose some new ones at the shoe store. After careful consideration, Lola and her brother pick out a pair of shoes with buckles on them. Lola, with a sour face, wears them to school the next day. As she walks into the playground at school, the buckles make clicking sounds and all her classmates are mesmerized by her awe-inspiring new shoes. Lola ends up very proud of her footwear choice.
By centering around young Lola for the whole ten-minute duration of the episode, I suppose children may be better able to relate to Lola and her emotions. Sometimes adults don't quite understand the concerns of little people, and with shows like this, kids have a source to help them out with their tiny life problems. Lauren Child, creator of Charlie and Lola, says to The Guardian, "Children have a world you can’t enter as an adult. In it, small things can be unexpectedly significant. When I was young, I used to find going to other people’s houses very difficult because I liked food done in a certain way. Pies were especially troubling because you never knew what was in them. It was dreadful when I was given liver or steak and kidney pie because, in that era, you had to finish whatever was on your plate.....Also, as a child, I’d often found myself alone with my friends or siblings, with no adult supervision. I realized that that rarely happens in children’s books: grownups are always making an appearance."
Lauren Child was probably better able to understand a child's perspective on life, and therefore better able to create a story just for them and their entertainment. The creator of Max & Ruby, Rosemary Wells, gave a similar statement to Nick Jr., "We don't see Max and Ruby's parents because I believe that kids resolve their issues and conflicts differently when they're on their own. The television series gives kids a sense about how these two siblings resolve their conflicts in a humorous and entertaining way."
So it seems that the idea for parental figures to be missing from children's entertainment is that it gives children a relatable perspective on how to solve small problems that they might have to face each day. They learn what to do to make decisions when parents aren't around in a fun, happy TV show, since they come across situations where adults aren't present more often than you'd think.
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