Puppet Puppies: Is PAW Patrol’s Overbearing Propaganda in Disguise?

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Puppet Puppies: Is PAW Patrol’s Overbearing Propaganda in Disguise?


BAdvertising news for parents of children under seven this week: Paw Patrol: The film has landed on British screens, to better feed a generation of children hardened by Covid with authoritarian neoliberal propaganda in the form of an optimistic cartoon about puppies. That’s right: the early childhood TV show that criminology professor Liam Kennedy suggests as an accomplice to a “global capitalist system that produces inequalities” is back!

The astonishing popularity of PAW Patrol has made it a fascinating case study for the tastes and cultural politics of a generation. Many of these peculiarities have been highlighted by the shift from the small screen to the big screen programming. The first thing to say – even if it seems obvious – is that parents can’t just leave their kids in front of PAW Patrol: The Movie, like you would a TV show. Maybe because the filmmakers know adults will watch, it dampened his generally frenetic activities somewhat. Indeed, a somewhat pointed scene at the start of the film involves a fireworks display in which all the rockets go off at the same time in a pandemonium of color and noise, and the manager says, “Hey, I’m trying to create a dynamic here. ”

Adults can be relieved of this odd downtime, but in general the film maintains the immortal vibrancy of the program, a world in which everyone is alert and ready at all times, and where dreaming and imagining are likely to happen to you. get run over by an auto howl. It seems like a room with a modern culture where kids are obviously overly stimulated and connected.

The main peculiarity of PAW Patrol is the way in which young people are called upon to rectify the mistakes or crimes of adults. Ryder, Charlie in the angels of the doggies, is a 10-year-old vigilante, and in the new film has become a tycoon at the head of a lucrative empire. The animals themselves, the film reminds us, are clearly not dogs but puppies – who never get old, like Bart Simpson or Just William. This is important, because it aligns with a sensitivity in which young people, without ambition or other adult considerations, are able to save the day again and again. Perhaps this is enjoyable or recognizable for the children raised by the last millennia to become adults in a world where traditional markers of aging (such as home ownership) are changing. Additionally, children raised after Philippa Perry are probably used to being viewed on an equal footing with adults than previous generations.

PAW Patrol: The Movie is working hard enough to undo some of the more obvious damage in the series, in which only one of the super puppies is featured as a female. (Skye is portrayed as so girly that not only is her uniform hot pink, but, oddly enough, her eyes are too – properties of biology clearly come second after gender essentialism in the film universe.) The film features a new female character, Liberty (finely voiced by Marsai Martin – the film’s best asset). It remains to be seen whether Liberty will go hot: another female, Everest, appears several times in the series but is kept out. Liberty is a pretty decent character, although it’s unclear why this street ragamuffin would aspire to join the ranks of these narcs. At the end, she is fitted with an apricot pink outfit of her own.

“The film draws funny parallels between the puppy antagonist, Mayor Humdinger, and another blonde megalomaniac from North America”… PAW Patrol: The Movie. Photographie : Landmark Media/Alamy

The film’s appalling genre politics are in sync with the franchise’s far right, which sees these types of privatized Avenger-dogs endlessly called upon to fix the failures of various officials. A sort of objectivism Ayn Randian prevails in the film, visible most uncomfortably when Chase (the most cop of all, in his blue uniform and police car) learns that he was “born to be a hero.” “. The film draws playful parallels between the puppy antagonist Mayor Humdinger and another blonde North American megalomaniac, right down to the grotesque tower that Trump – I mean, Humdinger – erects in his own honor. But the film’s own sensibility is not much different from Trumpian individualism, contempt for the state and capitalist materialism – indeed, in the film, the dogs have their own turn, subsidized by the sale of products, and come with sparkling luxury gadgets that make Liberty, the poorest dog, swoon with envy.

How PAW Patrol will be viewed in the years to come is an interesting question: it seems likely that a generation of children of age at a time when gender fluidity is far greater than ever before will have little time to the patriarchal genre of the series. performance. In other words, abandoning their children to this endlessly happy neoliberal nightmare for 90 minutes shouldn’t worry parents too much.

PAW Patrol: The Movie hits theaters August 13.

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