I love the internet–having access to big ideas, stories, new possibilities. As Schoolhouse Rock taught me: “It’s great to learn ’cause knowledge is power.” I’ve been pleased to see some of the shows I grew up with making a comeback, including the recently released and highly acclaimed “Muppet Movie.” I haven’t seen it yet, but my friends have been raving for days. And now I’m greeted with a story millions are reading online—Fox Business Network has compared messages in the film to Communist ideas.
What is it that we hope to gain from this accusation? Are we going to have a puppet blacklist? Sorry Miss Piggy, we can’t serve you here. Apologies, Animal, but I can’t honor your invitation for Bert and Ernie’s Wedding.
I kid. I’m pretty sure that star-studded event was called off. But I am reminded of earlier this year, when the story sweeping the web was that Sesame Street’s beloved bff duo dropping the second f. With just one blanket statement shared thousands of times, the clean image of the first show I remember seeing was colored in adult themes as people debated about whether the puppets were more than “roommates.”
Not only do I think these statements are unfair and often incorrect, I think it’s appalling to comment on. Do we have nothing better to do than to search deep within our Saturday morning programming for deviant messages?
Consequently, there IS a trend of more mature content appearing in children’s films. The examples that come to mind are the Pixar films. Myself and several of my friends have compared notes of our own heartbreak watching the first few minutes of UP; I don’t suppose the miscarriage is supposed to mean too much to the film’s elementary school audience. Then there is the reveal in Wall-E- seeing the obese people, seeing what has become of our lazy society, a warning to literally clean up our act.
Funny enough, I haven’t seen much press on these things. I’m glad I haven’t seen complaints as I feel Pixar often does double duty–entertaining our children, and showing us adults some things we try not to see in beautiful animations and accessible storylines.
Are there some hidden propaganda messages in other programs? Sure. Is there an evil plotmaker making marionettes dance to his communist message? I’m gonna go ahead and say no. There is a time and a place to comment and a time to avoid the cheap accusation that turns everyone’s favorite lovable puppets into political figures.
If you want to go off on a speculative tangent, go back to college and write your own personal thesis. But if you’re going to spread news, at least be a little bit conscientious of the message you’re perpetuating.