Showing posts with label Cartoons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cartoons. Show all posts

Sunday 11 September 2022

Teletubbies is banned in our house, Peppa might get banned in Italy


Peter Griffin, from Family Guy, drawn by Monty

Today’s post is about cartoons rather than science.  Nowadays, cartoons play a big role in the childhood of many kids.  Kids with severe autism grow up to be adult-sized kids with autism and their love of cartoons never fades.

Cartoon characters feel like real characters to kids, perhaps more so than actors.

A polite way to judge severity of autism might be to just ask what kind of cartoons are watched.

We have a particularly broad range of cartoons because when Monty’s big brother was born, I wanted him to see some of the really great ones, that were not shown on TV where we live.  So we accumulated a vast array of videocassettes and then DVDs.

I was never a fan of baby TV and we rather skipped that genre and moved straight to the classics like Thomas the Tank Engine and many similar series, that seem to have been forgotten.

Monty has his iPad and his favourite spot at home is in a room facing the garden where he has his piano, and a TV with a DVD player and just about functional VCR.  His number one position is sitting on a bouncy (pilates) ball beside a large window while balancing his iPad on his knee.  To watch cartoons on the TV he just has to turn left slightly.

Monty was never a big Teletubby fan, but big brother must have seen him watching it, or checked the browsing history.  Teletubbies was banned. 

Like many people with autism, Monty really likes rules.  I don’t think he cares about Teletubbies at all, but he loves having a rule banning them.

 “Can you watch Teletubbies in B.P. street number 53?  Yes, or No?”

The correct answer is No, because no babies live there.

Cartoons have become categorized into suitable for babies, small boys, medium boys and big boys.

The Minions, long a big favourite of Monty’s, is fortunately suitable for everyone.  I am surprised that so many adults like it, not just Uncle Stuart.  I recently took Monty to see the newly released Minion movie and he was the youngest person in the audience and I was not the oldest.

I always liked stop-motion video.  This is the old-fashioned way of making cartoons when you use drawings or models and film them moving frame by frame.  When Monty’s big brother was 11 years old, he made this cartoon with his classmate.



The big hits in our house include:

The original Thomas the Tank Engine (before they used CGI), along with the books by the Reverend Wilbert Awdry   

Percy the Park Keeper, Bob the Builder, Brambly Hedge

Thunderbirds, Stingray and Captain Scarlet (made by filming models and puppets)

Wallace and Gromit (stop motion video with using plasticine figures), they won 3 Oscars

All the original Tom & Jerry

All the old Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Goofy going back to the 1930s

The earlier seasons of the Simpsons, when it was very good

Family Guy (see the above drawing of Peter Griffin - we also have a Lois and Chris)

South Park is more for me and big brother, who like what may appear to be politically incorrect, but actually is very inclusive.

We were never really into Peppa Pig, but Peppa is getting into trouble in Italy.

 Italian politician demands ban on Peppa Pig episode showing lesbian couple

A senior member of a far-right Italian political party tipped to win general elections this month has appealed to state broadcaster Rai not to screen an episode of the globally popular children’s cartoon series Peppa Pig over the inclusion of a same-sex couple in its cast of characters.


The episode, called Families, was shown for the first time in the UK on Tuesday, and features two co-parenting lesbian polar bears. A character called Penny announces: “I live with my mummy and my other mummy. One mummy is a doctor and one mummy cooks spaghetti.” The family then sit down for a meal together.

A much better example is Sanna Marin, the 36 year old Prime Minister of Finland; she has two mothers. Some people in Finland were shocked recently when she (and her male spouse) had a party at the official residence, photos leaked out and, horror of horrors, she really knows how to dance.  I would say that it a good thing - a Prime Minister whose dancing is not embarrassing! 

This then brings me to the latest work of autism self-advocates, Bruno the Brake Car.


            Bruno the Brake Car joins "Thomas & Friends" as first character with autism

 “Bruno rolls in reverse at the end of the train, which gives him a unique perspective on the world.  Detail-oriented Bruno enjoys schedules, routine, and knows where all the tracks lead on Sodor.  The engine car also uses his lantern on his red exterior to communicate his emotional state, moving when he is excited or cautious and he can create ear defenders by puffing out steam if he feels sensitive to loud noises.


This all sounds great, but out in the school yard don’t be surprised to have your child with mild autism be addressed by “Hey, Bruno!”, or “Your lights flashing again, Bruno!”.

I did do a quick check on political correctness and cartoons.

If you happen to watch Family Guy, you will know that Peter, the Dad, says many extremely unpleasant things to his daughter Meg (voice by Mila Kunis).  Some brothers now taunt their sisters by calling them Meg.  Mila Kunis, being interviewed by Graham Norton, told how she constantly gets told "Shut up Meg!"

On the other hand, in South Park we have two characters with cerebral palsy, Jimmy who walks with crutches but has normal IQ and Timmy, who is in a wheelchair, has a very low IQ and very limited speech.

While some people think South Park is a foulmouthed show (and it is), creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone really seem to 'get' disability much more so than many slightly disabled people, who self-advocate to the world.

The whole point is that Jimmy and Timmy are out there all day with the boys, behaving badly, getting into trouble and getting no special treatment.  That is real inclusion.

Who wants to be the brake car, at the back of train? Every boy, autistic or not, would want to be the engine, at the front, pulling the train.

Rather than asking the the Autistic Self Advocacy Network for advice, the producers of the new Thomas show should have asked Trey and Matt for advice.  The result would have been something I would watch.