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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Are Max and Emmy Junkies? Or, Panic in Dragon Park

One of the reasons I haven't been posting so much lately is that I've been spending time (not, I must admit, an equal amount of time compared to my spouse) taking care of our three-year-old and three-month-old.  Any parent of a child of a certain age is likely to have had to endure hours upon hours of the television show Dragon Tales.  Why this thing is the recipient of a Department of Education grant will have to be the subject of another post.  But, in my sleep-deprived state, I've come to wonder: Is Dragon Tales a parable of drug addiction?  It's not just that the child characters in the show are prone to slipping off to a fantasy land of talking dragons, rainbow canyons, magic, and so on.  It's how compulsively they do so.  The least complication in their lives -- or, indeed, no complication at all, beyond mere boredom -- and they are eagerly, I would say desperately, clutching the magic dragon scale (don't ask) and flitting off to Dragon Land.  Really, for an adult who has little choice but to watch and think about the show for long periods of time, it's almost chilling how strongly these kids seek to escape reality.

I grant you that there are more harmless explanations.  Maybe the show posits that dragons really exist.  Or maybe the whole thing is taking place in some kid's head.  I like the drug explanation better, though.  It ties everything together well -- and, if you've got to watch children's television, it's nice to find food for thought in it.    

Posted by Paul Horwitz on March 11, 2009 at 03:43 PM in Paul Horwitz | Permalink


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Why haven't I seen this show? I only just barely recognize the name. My 3 year old's drug of choice is Little Einsteins, which is the only show we depart from PBS Kids to see (it's on Disney). It teaches them about classical music (among other things), and now he wants to take piano lessons (which he's starting tomorrow), so I approve. Disney can thank me later for the free plug.

Posted by: Kalyani Robbins | Mar 16, 2009 3:31:44 PM

I thought it was funny when my 2.5 year old started saying "I wish, I wish with all my heart, to fly with dragons in a land apart." Now, on top of worrying about killer peanut butter, deadly magnet toys, and toxic sippy cups, I need to worry that Emmy is a bad influence??? thanks a lot. :-)

Posted by: r. bratspies | Mar 14, 2009 6:09:38 PM

Too many easy jokes here with other kids' shows (and the entire boring Magic Tree House series). I don't even want to think about Harold and his purple crayon now.

Posted by: Christine Hurt | Mar 13, 2009 10:48:28 AM

At least it isn't Barney. When my monsters were the same age (one of them is in college, now!), Barney was at his height. A couple of years after that, I saw a cartoon with Barney at a bar claiming that it was all a community-service requirement for a DUI conviction... which is a pretty good description of what the parents were going through, now that I think about it.

And shudder.

Posted by: C.E. Petit | Mar 12, 2009 12:37:26 PM

Puff, the Magic Dragon, ...

Posted by: Positroll | Mar 12, 2009 10:55:40 AM

"it's almost chilling how strongly these kids seek to escape reality."

Maybe it's a parable for television watching.

Posted by: Mrs. H. | Mar 12, 2009 5:51:04 AM

Dragon Tales? Lo-ove it!

Posted by: Weezy | Mar 11, 2009 4:52:47 PM

I'd be grabbing that damn dragon scale too if I was left all alone with my little sister day after day in an empty house. I mean, have you ever seen or *heard* an adult in that house? Creepy, man. I'd run to Quetzal too, and have dragonberry cookies in his cave.

Posted by: Ord | Mar 11, 2009 4:46:56 PM

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