Scrappy Dappy Doo!
One of the great joys of being a father is experiencing pop culture that I loved as a child anew through my son Declan’s eyes. I almost feel like children’s entertainment was wasted upon me as a child, because I was a precocious sort forever in a fever to experience what I thought of as adult entertainment.
During the entirety of my eighteen year career as a film critic, meanwhile, I thought the job of children’s entertainment was to entertain cynical adults like myself. If they also entertained the Younglings, so much the better, but I really did spend my entire pre-fatherhood career as a critic under the arrogant assumption that kid’s entertainment was not so secretly for adults first and foremost.
It wasn’t until I had a child myself, and saw everything through the prism of parenthood that I came to realize just how wrong I’d been. I now subscribe to the revolutionary and far-out idea that kid’s entertainment is for children, and if it entertains adults, great, but that should always be a secondary concern if it’s a concern at all.
So far I’ve felt privileged to experience a lot of wonderful entertainment from the my childhood with, and through, Declan. As I have chronicled here exhaustively, being a parent has caused me to fall in love with Sesame Street all over again, to a degree that borders on pathological, unhealthy and abnormal. I’m more into Sesame Street than Declan is. At three and a half years old, Declan seems to have outgrown Sesame Street but I still watch new episodes by myself each week.
Some of the Declan’s favorites I’ve learned to love for their sheer absurdity and pandering ridiculousness, like Mutt & Stuff or Paw Patrol. But a lot of what Declan loves is stuff that I legitimately love as well, like It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, The Ramones doing the Spider-Man theme song and superhero media in general.
Declan also loves Scooby Doo, which I watched and loved as a child despite knowing that it was ultimately hot garbage. I wrote about Declan’s discovery of Scooby Doo’s Twin Peaks homage Mystery Incorporated here and while Declan does enjoy the hip, adult, thinking person’s Scooby-Doo I have also discovered that he likes Scrappy Doo as well. I mean, he really likes Scrappy-Doo.
And that is totally fine with me. Obviously I do not enjoy the character as much as him. In fact, I find him rather annoying. But Scrappy Doo was not created for me. He’s not for me. He was made for Declan and children his age. This is true of other characters like Jar Jar Binks and Tow Mater as well. If you’re up in arms about those characters being made for babies, that’s because they were made for babies. And that, also, is totally okay. In fact, it’s great.
Babies need entertainment. Toddlers need entertainment. Very small children need entertainment and while I wish Declan chose stuff everyone could enjoy, I am never going to judge him for liking something kids his age are supposed to like. I’m not going to judge him for feeling enjoyment and pleasure at something that’s not hip or good or fashionable.
It’s my job as his parent to judge things for appropriateness but I’m not going to be such a snob that I veto things because they do meet my aesthetic standards. Scrappy-Doo is for Declan, and that's more than good enough for me.
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