Last week the girls and I went to Pajama Night at Cochise Theater on Fort Huachuca. They just started holding these events again, and with Paw Patrol: The Movie as the feature film for the evening, the girls were pretty excited to go. I will freely admit that I had never seen a single episode of Paw Patrol before and I figured it was just another cartoon turned into a full-length film. I was absolutely not prepared for what I was walking into when it came to my brain and overanalyzing my daughters’ cartoons.
First off, it is always great to go to Pajama Night at the on-post theater. The girls love dressing up, they love seeing all their friends dressed-up, and the popcorn continues to be the best in the world. So a good time was almost guaranteed to be had by all. And I had learned a valuable lesson from the previous week: Do not wear full pajamas when your daughters are both wearing extremely fluffy full pajamas. At one point, Gabriella was on my lap and Elaina was using me as a pillow, meaning that I was getting close to keeling over with heat stroke late in the movie. Shorts and a t-shirt were definitely the right move this time around.
So I have a terrible history of looking a little too deeply into my daughters’ cartoons. Whether it is pure disbelief at how the economy works in Sofia the First, how Hawk Moth (Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir) is the most incompetent villain in fiction, or the abysmal private school models in Monster High, Ever After High, and Rainbow High, sometimes I just take them a little too seriously.
Studying English history in college, I cannot look at shows like Tangled: The Series (amazing, by the way) without wondering how far back an ancestor of King Frederic drowned his father or brother in a butt of Malmsey wine to take the throne. Knowing a bit about how government works, who in the heck is funding The Octonauts and how is that funding getting through the House Committee on the Budget? After studying economics for my Master’s Degree, I can say with a high degree of certainly that operating Pleasure Island to create donkeys (Pinocchio) in lieu of raising them is just not a financially sustainable business model. And, as noted above, I cannot watch a Disney movie without looking at the defensibility rating of the castles (sorry Triton, but with no standing army and an open castle, your kingdom is ripe for invasion by the Atlanteans). At least True and the Rainbow Kingdom and Star vs. the Forces of Evil are so off-the-wall to never make me expect any sort of realism. And every time I watch Avatar: The Last Airbender, I cannot help but think… wait, who am I kidding? Avatar’s perfect. Carry on, girls.
But Paw Patrol: The Movie put them all to shame. And for those of you that are still waiting to see this, there will definitely be spoilers… you have been warned. So the movie starts off with them saving a truck that is about to go off a bridge in Adventure Bay. While I have never seen the show, I can only assume that this is what most episodes consist of, saving people in trouble. Good message, but it leads me back to The Octonauts: Who in the heck is funding this and what size budget are we talking about? Small complaint that can be levied against most cartoons nowadays, but valid nonetheless. When they find out that Mayor Humdinger (primary antagonist of the series, I am assuming) has become the new mayor of Adventure City, they immediately move to stop him.
Wait… so the Paw Patrol is going to move to Adventure City in order to stop the Mayor? Ok. So let us break this down. First, the Paw Patrol seems like a completely rogue organization comprised of vigilante puppies that can talk (there may be more to their background from the series, but I doubt it). So this band of vehicle-supported canines is just going to change jurisdictions at will in order to stop a seemingly duly elected mayor (he hints in the movie that he cheated) of a major metropolitan city… so they are instituting a coup? Wow.
This is where I really want to know how the Powers-That-Be conferred such authority on the Paw Patrol. Or did the Paw Patrol and their vigilante-style of justice take out these individuals long ago? It is never explained, so I can only extrapolate from what I have seen on screen. But as a Military Intelligence officer, something else stood out to me. If they do work for some type of government agency, they are certainly breaking some serious Intelligence Oversight laws. While there are more specifics and some exceptions, the gist of Intelligence Oversight is that United States Intelligence Agencies cannot collect on US citizens in order to comply with civil liberties and privacy protections. And of course, the Paw Patrol violated this statute multiples times in order to foil Mayor Humdinger’s plans. So an independent government organization (of talking puppies, do not forget) conducted illegal collection against an elected official to eventually arrest him? Again, just wow. I am glad that my daughters enjoyed it and did not walk away with that message.
Maybe I have worked in the Federal Government for too long (or at least, the Department of Defense), but absolutely nothing is easy, especially when several organizations are involved. Heck, it took me four months to get a computer port turned on. But these bureaucratic problems simply do not exist in Adventure City. In fact, in the span of three days, the Mayor held an election fireworks celebration (expected) that both backfired and went up in smoke (“Please, please, hold the applause and cheers to the end.”), converted the city’s monorail system to include vertical loops (what the heck?), and then built the city’s tallest tower (ambitious), all to the backdrop of him employing a cloud catching drone to get rid of stormy weather (since there is zero pollution in Adventure City, I am assessing that the whole city runs on solar power, so this seems like a pretty smart play by the Mayor). But every one of these projects should have taken years and/or decades to complete. After initial designs, getting estimates, environmental surveys, town halls, city council meetings, budget approval, etc., most of the puppies would be “getting on in years” and Ryder would be in college. But not here, because this movie is only 86 minutes long and we need to get things moving. But now that I think of it, if Mayor Humdinger could quickly gather so much support and resources for these projects, maybe the Paw Patrol was not too far off on the whole “him being a dictator” thing…
And the over-analyzation came around full circle when they moved into their new headquarters in Adventure City. As I am asking Elaina how in the heck they are funding this, I felt like the writers knew parents would be asking this, because boy did they come prepared: Paw Patrol Merchandising. Yep. Those Paw Patrol pajamas that I bought Gabriella three years ago… helped to fund their new headquarters and their vehicle upgrades. Damn… I am part of the problem. Well-played, Paw Patrol. Well-played. The movie also talked about good topics such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), overcoming one’s fears, and working as a team, but that is not what this post is about.
By this point, long-time readers are probably thinking that this blog just took a hard left turn into Crazytown. Not exactly. Just like I did not want to watch Descendants: Wicked World, Elena of Avalor, or Glitter Force (*shutter*), you try to take interest in the things that your kids like. And if your kids want you to sit down and watch Winx Club with them, then you just swallow your pride, watch it, and just enjoy how silly it actually is. So while they are spending time with their Dad and I am spending time with my daughters, my overactive brain tries to have some fun in the meantime by seriously overthinking the plots of these utterly ridiculous cartoon premises (“Wait… so they are kids… that are pirates… are richer than Captain Hook and constantly outwitting him… does not sound plausible, but sure, count me in!”). Just another way to pass the time as a family and I will continue to try to enjoy it as long as I can.
Thanks for checking in on us.
One thought on “Overanalyzing Cartoons on Pajama Night”
Dad! One does not simply walk into a children’s movie and have it make any logical sense. Same for comics, sci-fi literature or most sequels (e.g. Terminator?) turned into cinema. But I agree with your analysis 100 %. Excellent blog post 👌🏼
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