Thursday, October 08, 2009

Seeing a young world with old eyes

So I'm sure you've noticed by now that the new logo theme is Mad Scientists, and to save myself from answering various questions over and over (the number of people who didn't recognize Mickey from "Rocky" last week really depressed me), they are, from left to right, Professor John Frink from "The Simpsons," Walter Bishop from "Fringe," Dr. Bunsen Honeydew from "The Muppet Show" and Walter White from "Breaking Bad".

But the only one I want to talk about in this post is Dr. Honeydew, whom I haven't been able to look at in the same way since I became a grown-up. Seen through adult eyes, the man is a monster - and not a cute one like Grover or even an excitable one like Animal. No, he's an out-and-out SOB, constantly torturing poor Beaker, aware of Beaker's suffering and not really caring. I was aware of the dynamic when I watched as a kid, but as an adult, I just feel bad for Beaker all the time, and cheered when Beaker was a pumped-up bouncer in the Pottersville fantasy in 2002's "It's A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie." (At last! Beaker could stand up for himself for a few minutes!)

In a similar vein, I know lots of adults make jokes about Bert and Ernie being a couple, but if they are, it's an emotionally abusive relationship, with Bert as Ernie's constant victim.

So here's my question of the day: what fictional character or characters from your childhood do you have a completely different take on now that you're an adult? Is there someone you once loved and now find creepy? Anyone you've developed a greater appreciation for as a result of age and (alleged) wisdom?

107 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ferris Bueller. For me that movie is nearly unwatchable because he's such a little wanker. I've clearly crossed over to the other side, because I just want to grab him by the ear and make him get a job and some responsibility. I hope he has three kids and a mortgage today, and I hope his kids torture him daily.

Imamarilyn said...

I was very afraid of Mr. Clean when I was a kid. I mean very, very afraid. Complete with nightmares. For years I would change the channel when his commercials were on. I don't know what that was all about, but now that I am in my 50's I have no problem with him. I can purchase Mr. Clean products (although I usually buy the generics.) I can even sing the "Mr. Clean can clean our house and everything that's in it..." Maybe he was the equivalent of the boogie man to me.

Imamarilyn said...

Anonymous, I think Ferris is now married to Sarah Jessica Parker and they have a family.

The Topiary Cow said...

Harold and Maude.

Luuuved the movie, still think it's artistic, beautifully filmed, and clever.

BUT Harold is a classic passive-aggressive, which I didn't know about before. If you have a problem, discuss it with the person, don't go around their back flipping them off, mutilating their presents (the Jaguar) and staging horrifying scenes to upset them.

Alas the lost innocence of youth, made even worse by now hearing the great Cat Stevens soundtrack from the movie now adopted to sell phones for T-Mobile. Ouch.

Singing out.

Hatfield said...

Ren and Stimpy. If you think Bert and Ernie is a destructive relationship... I still marvel that Nick showed that weirdness in the mid 90s. And this is speaking as a huge fan

RachelP said...

I always felt, even as a child, that they should just let the poor rabbit have some Trix, already. What's the harm? Why were those greedy kids bogarting all the Trix? What gave them the right? They had a whole box of the stuff! Oh, I could go on for days.

I remember being very shocked when a friend in college said that she found Lucy and Ricky's relationship kind of depressing, but I see her point. Lucy would have been a lot happier if she had some sort of meaningful work outside the home.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Ferris Bueller. For me that movie is nearly unwatchable because he's such a little wanker.

Last summer, I wondered if I would have felt the same way if I'd first watched the movie as an adult. But I guess it still has that nostalgic hold over me, so I therefore still like it/him. (It helps that Matthew Broderick plays him so sweetly; to see how unbearable the character would be with a lesser actor, check out Charlie Schlatter in the short-lived "Ferris" sitcom.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I always felt, even as a child, that they should just let the poor rabbit have some Trix, already. What's the harm? Why were those greedy kids bogarting all the Trix? What gave them the right? They had a whole box of the stuff! Oh, I could go on for days.

Also, if we're on the subject of cartoon animals from commercials, why exactly is Charlie the Tuna so excited to be ground up into a can of Starkist?

Bobman said...

Re : Ferris, I kind of look at it as "he's just a high school kid." Maybe a bit of a punk or whatever, but I would be much less forgiving if the guy was like, 25 and skipping out of work or something...


For me the biggest disconnect from when I was a child is just realizing all of the adult jokes in a lot of cartoons, in particular Bugs Bunny / Looney Tunes. I mean, just the references to 50's film legends alone....

DonBoy said...

I'd like announce that I was ahead of the curve and recognized both Ferris Bueller and Harold (of "..and Maude") as a--holes from the first time I saw their movies. (The message of "Harold and Maude", as I remember it, is "Everyone should be a wacky non-conformist, just like me. And if you don't want to be a wacky non-conformist, just like me, you can go f--- yourself.")

bsangs said...

Alex P. Keaton.

I'm pretty sure a right-leaning idealist like him would get kicked to the curb by his tree-hugging, hippie family in today's world. :)

Or at least be the subject of constant scorn by the current crop of sitcom "writers." Imagine his character actually being beloved in this day and age? I can't.

Danny Forcella said...

As a kid I always enjoyed anything that took place in the hundred acre wood. As I look back at it now, I continue to wonder which characters are male and which are female. The ambiguous take on sexuality with some of these characters is astonishing.

Jackie said...

Oh Winnie Cooper, how I loved thee. When I was eight or nine, she was just the epitome of cool (plus, she had really perfect hair). When I watch the reruns now, I can only cringe at how she jerks poor Kevin Arnold around, while he follows her around like a puppy dog.

Heather said...

I recall watching Grease a few years after I watched it the first time at 8 and going "What the hell? I watched all that as a kid?!" That musical is surprisingly sexual and I wonder how all that blew by me. The same goes for That 70's Show. When I was a kid, I really did not get anything but thought it was funny due to Fez.

alynch said...

The first thing I thought of upon seeing this entry was Roger Ebert's 30 years later reassessment of The Graduate when it was re-released, concluding that Benjamin was "an insufferable creep":

http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19970328/REVIEWS/703280304/1023

april said...

Maybe not as a kid, but as a preteen/young adult, I loved Love Story. It definitely never aged well with me mostly for the "Love means never having to say you're sorry" line. It's so romantic as a young girl that she's so quick to forgive, but as an adult, I think love means always having to say you're sorry.

I wonder if my daughter will feel this way about Special Agent Oso. She adores the show, but seriously, the special agent bear is an absolute imbecile. The children he is helping often know more than he does. I hope she figures this out sooner rather than later, but if she does, she'll become disillusioned much earlier so it's a double-edged sword.

Kat said...

For a 19th cent. American lit class, I had to re-read "Little Women" last fall, which I loved at 12. Little Women is hell, y'all. Marmee and Pa lord over everyone, and pressure all their daughters silently with morals, in this very grim way. And then the second half, which even with the constraints of the times, congratulates itself for "taming" Jo. Even in a traditional wife and mother role, Jo didn't need taming. She was badass. God.

der Hundepo said...

All of the adult characters in "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", but especially Santa - what an a**hat. I remember watching that out of college for the first time since childhood, and being astonished at the cruelty and utter disdain heaped on Rudolph for being "different". And Santa only came around in the end because Rudolph proved useful. I kind of wish I would have realized that earlier in life - it might have made finding out Santa wasn't real a bit of a relief.

Ingrid said...

I'm with der Hundepo. Santa in the Rudolph movie is no fan of diversity. What a fascist.

Also, the Cookie Monster is obviously a pot smoker. Munchies!

Anonymous said...

Daniel Faraday doesn't rate?

Me (a scientist) and some of my scientist friends are sensitive to negative portrayals of scientists in popular media. I haven't watched Sesame Street in ages, but Honeydew sounds like he'd depress us.

For the record, I don't consider Walter White a negative portrayal of a scientist, since it's clear that his actions are a result of the f-ed up kind of person he is rather than his career. Some of my friends disagree, but I also don't consider Faraday a negative portrayal, since Lost also has less eccentric examples (Horace, Dr. Chang, I consider Juliet a scientist), so Faraday's eccentricities can be chalked up to his character and not his profession. Frink is negative, but it doesn't bug me because negative portrayals is sort of the whole point of the show. I haven't watched Fringe.

Anonymous said...

As a young child I loved the Peter Pan movie, and adored Tinkerbell. When I saw the movie as an adult, I thought Tinkerbell was a petty, jealous little b!+c# and can't stand her now.

Bitsy said...

I can't wait for all the screaming preteens who drool over Edward Cullen to realize in fifteen years how utterly ridiculous he is!

But for the time being, I'd have to owe that Rugrats kinda freaks me out now that I think of it again. The parents leave a bunch of babies unsupervised for hours, and consult that creepy Freud guy every day because they have no clue what to do! And that's just in the house. The best episodes were when the parents lost track of their kids at the bank or the park or something.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Also, the Cookie Monster is obviously a pot smoker. Munchies!

I liken him more to a crackhead. There's a kind of Origin of Cookie Monster video I saw in an episode a few years back where he sings about how he was once a very normal kid (named Sid) and then one day his mother gave him his first chocolate chip cookie... and you see his eyes turn all googly, and he becomes obsessed with cookies and nothing but.

Cookie Monster is one of the great tragic figures of our time.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Daniel Faraday doesn't rate?

As I say every week when people complain about someone left off the logo, only room for four, m'man.

Eric said...

As a kid, I was on the side of the Road Runner. As an adult, he seems insufferably smug, and I wish Wile E. Coyote would catch him.

(This may have been influenced by issue #4 of Grant Morrison's Animal Man, released when I was on the cusp of adulthood.)

Brit and Heath said...

My husband would die if he heard me say this but I think cartoons like He-man and The Thunder Cats are a little creepy now. The skin tight costumes, the scantily clad women and men. Surprising what you don't notice as a kid.

But I have to say that if you watch any movie or tv show that you loved as a kid will almost always seem either creepy or incredibly boring now. sad but true.

Toby O'B said...

Darrin Stephens - what a stuffed shirt, bossing around his wife to do what he wants and to hell with giving her the chance to express herself creatively through witchcraft. It's all about him and she's supposed to be subservient to his needs willingly and happily.

He'd fit right in at Sterling-Cooper.....

Also, I watched a DVD full of Heckle and Jeckyll cartoons over the summer with my nephew. They were mean, cruel, destructive, just plain evil. They never got killed off enough times to suit me.

Heather K said...

I directed a high school production of Grease a few years back, and I kept trying to explain to the ADULTS and the administration that they play they picked is not full of the values they would like it to be full of. The theme is good girl goes bad, and I was fresh off a degree in theatre and very seriously wanted to honor the production and skate around the scandalous portions. And they almost shut my show down and I was all like, listen people I didn't write the play and you show the movie to your little kids, and it is all the same!!!

christy said...

Toby O'B: I've had this hint of a theory bubbling in my head since I started watching Mad Men, that it's actually a remake of Bewitched :) I don't have ALL the details worked out yet, but you have to admit that Roger Sterling share some essential qualities with Larry Tate.

This is how I amuse myself.

Yet another anonymous said...

Eric, I was a strange kid, because I always rooted for the Coyote over the Road Runner, and Sylvester over Tweety.

I despised the character of Archie Bunker, but now, though I don't condone any of his views, I think I see him more for as the product of his experiences and times, and how trapped he was in a changing world. And I find Mike more insufferable than I used to.

And Alan, no offense meant to anyone here, because I miss a lot of these cultural references, too, but not knowing who Burgess is from Rocky? Sniff.

RachelP said...

I totally agree about most of the characters in "Rudolph" and all the females in "Peter Pan." I watched it with my children and was appalled that every girl character in Neverland (Tinkerbell, the mermaids, Tiger Lily) are in love with Peter and treat Wendy like crap.

Another movie from the John Hughes canon, "Pretty in Pink," -- I was too blinded by my adolescent lust for Andrew McCarthy to realize that Duckie is much cooler, and a much better person, than Blaine.

Yet another anonymous said...

Oh, and I meant 'sniff' as in, it mades me feel sad. And old. :)

thegrenade said...

Alan your blog needs more Honeydew! You are too hard on Bunsen, the poor guy is forced to go around with glasses, yet he lacks eyeballs, which is usually the prerequisite for eyeglasses. Beaker is only true source of entertainment. He did let Beaker out to do a killer rendition of "Feelings" with the band.

I would think that if Bert and Ernie were a couple that Ernie is the one who is truly getting abused by having to put up with Bert and all of his boring interests. No wonder Ernie has to bathe alone with a rubber duckie.

The Waitress said...

Angela Chase. I was a teenager when My So Called Life was on so of course I related to the angsty girl on my screen. I caught an episode a couple of years ago. You know you've gotten old when you find yourself sympathizing with the parents rather than the teens.

LA said...

I despised the character of Archie Bunker, but now, though I don't condone any of his views, I think I see him more for as the product of his experiences and times, and how trapped he was in a changing world. And I find Mike more insufferable than I used to.

I co-sign.

I recall Archie Bunker from my childhood as a grumpy ignorant racist/sexist blowhard. I recently rewatched the first couple seasons of All in the Family, but this time through the eyes of a 46-year-old woman worried about her job security and stressed out with all the responsibilities of middle age. For the first time, I saw Archie's motivation was fear. I was also surprised to see his humanity and his heart through all his vitriol. And like the previous commenter, I found Michael a little too smug for comfort.

The other thing that struck me is how much older people in their late 40s looked then, not to mention the total disconnect between the generations.

Love this topic.

Anonymous said...

Clarissa, from Clarissa Explains it All! She wasn't perfect, I don't think I appreciated what a great character/role model she was when I was a kid. If you can get past the dated clothes, Clarissa was a very thoughtful, funny girl who came up with really creative ways to think through her problems. I mean, she made her own video games!

Tom said...

Dorothy, from the Wizard of Oz.

When I was six years old, I thought that movie had a happy ending.

Pamela Jaye said...

Tangenting off the Grease theme, I listen to songs I sand as a kid and am stunned at the lyrics now I understand them.

As for Laugh In, which my father made me stop watching "cause [I was] old to enough to understand it, now" - he was wrong. I didn't have a clue. And Gay meant happy (just like the name of the street my elementary school was on.)

I gave up anything animated long before I hit my teens, and I'll have to get back to you on the rest of what I watched as a kid. F Troop? McHale's Navy? Flying Nun?
all seen safe. The annoyingness of Every Single Ep of I Dream of Jeannie being solvable (or avoidable) in the first 5 minutes but missed and dragged for 30 hit me by the time I was 20. if that counts.

Pamela Jaye said...

oh, also, re: Lucy, who I never "loved" - The Honeymooners. I don't think I loved it as a kid, as an adult, it gives me claustophobia and makes me depressed, simply by its set (and I don't think Barney Miller did that to me).
Abusive? Probably not much more than my own house.

Hatfield said...

Oh, and it's been discussed here before, but it is rather striking how blatantly inappropriate Long Duk Dong really is when you look back now.

And You Can't Do That On Television is actually pretty creepy and messed up when you think about it, isn't it? The scenes with the mom with the yellow gloves and the gross dad are straight out of Tim Burton, and all the stuff with the kids in prison was pretty sadistic. And, again, I loved it.

Pamela Jaye said...

@LA - late 40's? seriously? I really thought they were "old." It's things like that that cross my mind when reading the status updates of my friends and cousins kids on Facebook. (they whine that they are bored - while sitting in front of the whole internet!)

The day I told my duck that "bugs don't grow in paper towels - you have to catch them yourself" I knew I'd turned into my mother. Although I don't feel a day over 12 (until I see some "kid" being irresponsible - and the first time that happened (I was around 30) I wondered when I'd become "a grownup.")

Nice point about Charlie the Tuna. I may have wondered that before, too, but now I'm too "old" to remember.

Holly Martins said...

For me, the movie that's aged worst is "Reality Bites" - I was about 12 when it came out, and I loved it. Seeing it again more recently, DAMN, almost everyone in the movie is insufferable. I was shocked. And Winona Ryder clearly made the wrong choice in going off with Ethan Hawke's pretentious, emotionally distant a-hole - Ben Stiller wasn't perfect but at least he was a mature adult who cared about other people.

Bobman said...

This could be one of the better comment threads you've had on here, Alan.

Totally agree with the lion's share of these. Especially Winnie Cooper - I was in love with that girl as a kid, but seeing her now she really was just a bee-otch.

Dorothy, from the Wizard of Oz.

When I was six years old, I thought that movie had a happy ending.


How does it not have a happy ending? I'm well past 6 years old and still think it has a happy ending...

TODD said...

Thats what's so great about Robot Chicken, is that they poke fun at 80's cartoons and the absurdity of their premises. Such as Smurfett as the only woman in a village of blue men, or Strawberry Shortcake and the creepy old man 'Purple Pieman'. They also have some great He-Man/GI Joe skits where the villains are made to look incredibily foolish, as they were in the kids cartoons.

David J. Loehr said...

Also, the Cookie Monster is obviously a pot smoker. Munchies!

I liken him more to a crackhead. There's a kind of Origin of Cookie Monster video I saw in an episode a few years back where he sings about how he was once a very normal kid (named Sid) and then one day his mother gave him his first chocolate chip cookie... and you see his eyes turn all googly, and he becomes obsessed with cookies and nothing but.

Cookie Monster is one of the great tragic figures of our time.


I remember that, and at the time, I wondered if they were making a reference to Reverend Jim on Taxi, who was nice, normal, straightlaced, upstanding and pure until his first brownie. (And Christopher Lloyd managed the googly eyes, too.)

Alan Sepinwall said...

How does it not have a happy ending? I'm well past 6 years old and still think it has a happy ending...

An argument could be made that the message of the movie is to settle for the miserable life you have rather than seeking your dream over the rainbow. The counter-argument is that perhaps the rainbow goes right through the world you know, and you just need to appreciate it more.

Dylan said...

This is gonna be sacrilege, but Goonies is really tough for me to watch now and it's all because of Joey Pants. He is SO over the top slapstick and I found it hilarious at the time, but now I think about how toned down he was in Bound and I realize just how much he was turning it up to 11.

Bobman said...

I guess I'm a sap, but I always took away that your dreams can be found wherever you want to look for them, and constantly looking "over the rainbow" isn't going to make you happy. Kind of a "the grass isn't always greener" type of thing.

OF course, that's my modern take on something that was made in, what, 1939? :)

Anonymous said...

My childhood icon I loathe now? - Mickey Mouse. What the heck did he ever do to warrant the iconic treatement he gets? He's a whiny, little schmuck in the cartoons, not particularly interesting or bright.

Vanessa said...

I've heard this from other people, but I was shocked when I saw Saturday Night Fever as an adult. I remember seeing it when I was 12 or 13 and missing most of the horrible stuff. As an adult, I can't imagine I missed how horribly the women portrays women. What was my mom thinking?

LA said...

Pamela Jaye - I don't recall the details now, but there was an episode or two that approximated their ages... Edith was late 40s, Archie may have been 50 or more, but it was stunning to me how close they were to my age of 45 at the time.

Vanessa said...

Correction - How horribly the movie portrays women. I should proof my comments.

Jenn said...

Like many kids probably do/did, I found Owl from Winnie-the-Pooh to be dull and insufferable. But as an adult, I think he's funny and I can appreciate the fact that he can't read when someone is looking over his shoulder.

The Topiary Cow said...

"Mad Men, that it's actually a remake of Bewitched :)"

AH! Now to see Betty twitch her nose and get Don to stay home instead of roaming, and who is the wicked sister in the black wig?

Joan, making trouble in the office? Peggy, twitch twitch, corporate takeover of Sterling/Cooper/Olsen?

Even better, Pete Campbell, stunningly disguised, twitch-twitch, finally gets the respect he craves and deserves!

kostia said...

In "A Muppet Christmas Carol" Beaker and Dr. Honeydew play the two charity solicitors that Scrooge (Michael Caine) tells to get lost in the beginning.

On their way out the door Beaker gives Michael Caine the finger. Just stone cold flips him off.

It's my favorite Beaker moment ever. That one tiny moment gives him more personality and spine than he ever had before. I love pointing it out to people.

Joolie said...

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Blinded by lust as a kid...or something; loved this movie, one of the first I saw at the theater. Saw it in college and did a feminist analysis, was not sorry to see them die in Bolivia.

gina said...

I love this topic, Alan!

I'm with der Hundepo - Santa was a bastard in "Rudolph" and I never realized it until I watched it as an adult.

Also, re: "Grease" - The movie came out when I was 14, just entering high school. How did I not see how OLD those people were? lol!

Cathryn said...

Great thread Alan.

I can't think of anything, though I haven't actually watched any of my childhood favourites as an adult (or near adult anyway, I'm 20 now, so I guess I'm still seeing the world through young eyes?)

Agree with Bitsy about Edward Cullen! Overprotective, controlling, creepy...

It's actually a bit depressing thinking about how in years to come I might look back on my favourites and have all those innocent illusions shattered. Like Spongebob - I can't imagine not loving Spongebob!

OOh! I thought of one - Sailor Moon! I loved her as a kid, I thought she was so cool, I wanted my very own Tuxedo Mask. A year or so ago I found some eps on youtube - I can't believe how annoying and whiny she was! Crying and getting upset at the stupidest things, no wonder Rei disliked her, and Tuxedo Mask found her insufferable.

Greg said...

As I said during the Hughes eulogies, count me in as anti-Ferris. Manipulative little twerp, mistreating his alleged best friend. I like to think he grew up and became Broderick in Election.

I revisited Meatballs about a year ago, and Bill Murray seemed way too old to be spending that much time with Rudy.

I had problems with Damone from Fast Times until a friend shared her theory that SPOILER...




the hookup with Stacy was in fact his first time.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's a spoiler if the movie's been out for 25 years. Anyway, that was my thought too re Damone.

Hatfield said...

Uh, spoiler for a movie from the 80s? I hope we can get away with discussing Fast Times.

Anyway, I thought it was supposed to be clear that it was Damone's first time, not just that he was a hair trigger.

The common theme I keep coming back to is how I wasn't scared to death of some of the things I saw in TV and movies when I was a kid.

Ingrid said...

I liken him more to a crackhead. There's a kind of Origin of Cookie Monster video I saw in an episode a few years back where he sings about how he was once a very normal kid (named Sid) and then one day his mother gave him his first chocolate chip cookie... and you see his eyes turn all googly, and he becomes obsessed with cookies and nothing but.

You're right, Alan. That explains his manic glee. Too hyper to be a pothead.

Davy said...

My favorite show as a child but which is now impossible to watch: Super Friends. It was such an awesome cartoon back then, but looking at it now makes me say, "What the...?" It's honestly too stupid for words.

As for Ferris Bueller's Day Off, I *hated* the Ferris character even back then, mostly because I empathized with Cameron.

Jessica said...

I must echo the comment about Saturday Night Fever. I was probably 10 years old when the movie came out and my sister would have been 12. MY DAD TOOK US TO SEE THAT MOVIE! I can only imagine: (a) he just thought it was a dancing movie (i.e., the trailers didn't give away the ENTIRE story back then) and (b) the only way he could convince my mom to let him go to the movies was if he took us. In retrospect, obviously it was WAY too mature for a 10 and a 12 year old kid. Thank goodness I wasn't a few years older and more cognizant of what was going on -- I would have been MORTIFIED to be watching some of those scenes with my dad.

Girl Detective said...

Mine's from a book, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. I remember thinking it sweet and deep when I read it as a kid. I recently read it to my kids when we got it as a gift, then promptly gave it away--the kid is a little succubus, and the tree gives till its dead. Creepy.

Isaac Spaceman said...

I'm glad people said Santa. I covered this in a review of Rudolph a couple of years ago:

Anonymous said...

For me it’s He-Man. I mean here is this 16 yr old kid, whom all of his friends thinks is a coward, with ranging hormones and dealing with the uncomfortableness of puberty, probably in love with his best friend(Teela) who think he is not man enough for her (but He-Man definetly is) who can transform into a muscle bound scantly clad man-god any time he wants to.

Now I think about this poor kid who can have everything he ever wants: power, looks, Teela by saying a few words( BY THE POWER OF GRAYSKULL!!) only he is prevented from living this life because he is the crown prince.

I wonder what would happen if the his Father gets mad at him or if Adam gets tired of being made fun of and in a fit of rage (as teenagers tend to get) he transforms into He-Man and proceeds to pound/break everything around him. Poor poor kid.

Bobman said...

This isn't particularly a "young" person's movie, but in It's a Wonderful Life, someone once pointed out to me how ridiculous it is that the worst fate that they could think to befall Mary in the alternate timeline was that she was an "old maid" - ie, she never got married. The horror!

Zac F. said...

Growing up watching Family Ties, I thought that Mallory was easily the most annoying character on the show. The things she did and said drove me up a wall.

Watching the early season DVDs over 25 years later, I realize that the writers wrote her as a normal teenage girl and Justine Bateman (still a knockout at 43) played her perfectly.

Anonymous said...

This isn't so much my interpretation changing as society. I caught an episode of Adam-12 yesterday. The main characters respond to a domestic violence call. The wife has locked herself in the bedroom and when she comes out she has bruises and a scratch on her face. The good guy heroes address the situation by getting the husband to promise not to do it again. I was floored.

Brandy said...

I agree about Edward Cullen. I can't wait until all the obsessed fangirls I know grow up and realize he's a creepy stalker.

I hated Giving Tree as a child because the kid destroys the tree and then is like, "Hey it's a chair, BONUS!" But I haven't grown into that opinion.

I was a huge fan of Threes Company as a kid. I had a huge crush on John Ritter and called the show Jack and The Girls.

I watched it when it reran on Nick at Night when I was a little kid and was like WOAH my parents let me watch WHAT? Heh. That show was blue! It all went over my head, though!

Matter-Eater Lad said...

I suspect that if I were to watch Dead Poets Society again I'd come away thinking Mr. Keating was a irresponsible jackass who contributed to the death of one of his students, rather than an inspirational teacher brought down by The Man and The System.

Daniel Iffland said...

Agree on Mallory from Family Ties, Elyse now seems frighteningly smug and annoying.
Is Justine Bateman sort of agreeably bonkers now? Haven't seen much of her but had a quick google peruse and she seems to enjoy a little eccentricity.

mkr said...

How could you leave off Dr. Horrible?

GeeMan said...

Well, I must have been a very perceptive child, well, I was, and watching I Love Lucy in the 60's I would get very upset at the thought or the hint of domestic violence--Lucy was so afraid of Desi's wrath and to this day I cannot stomach watching it. Also, I used to get very upset watching Abbott & Costello. Abbott was so cruel to Lou and I really disliked Abbott. I still get upset to this day thinking of poor Lou.

Bix said...

My sister and I made up a song about the plight of Beaker years ago:

Bea-ker
Bea-ker
Be caaaaaaaaaarrrrrreful
Your life is on the line

Bea-ker
Bea-ker
Be caaaaaaaaaarrrrrreful
You're running out of time

kwig said...

I've seen a coupe of Wonder Years eps recently, and can't say I saw Winnie being a bitch. I did not realise how much of an insufferable douchebag Kevin Arnold was though. I guess I didn't see it when I was young, but he's constantly petulant and selfish, his dad, who I thought was so mean as a kid, is a pretty great father, looking out for his kids all the time, doing his best to raise the pissy little ingrates.

One episode I watched, their dad gets Kevin's brother a job, and it's like the end of the world to him. Then Kevin gets angry at Paul and Winnie because they have jobs too. I didn't realise paid employment was such a horror that was imposed upon people, rather than something I really want but I have to beg and plead and jump through hoops to secure.

Karen said...

I watched The Dick Van Dyke Show all the time as a kid, and I thought Laura Petrie was the coolest, most beautiful, funniest woman ever (well, until I met Mrs. Emma Peel).

Then I started watching her again on TV Land and she was just an embattassment. So weak. So pathetic. So pre-feminist.

It broke my heart.

filmcricket said...

"The Flintstones." I know it was a take-off of "The Honeymooners" and so bound to be pretty awful, but I'm astounded at how sexist it is - and it was made for kids! I kind of can't believe my mother allowed me to watch it, since she forbade both "The Brady Bunch" and "Three's Company" on the grounds of sexism.

I've also found I can't watch early episodes of "Cheers" anymore - Sam is just so awful. I mean, the guy is a walking workplace harassment suit.

Paul Outlaw said...

As a child I liked James West and Artemus Gordon and didn't understand why; as an adult, I completely get it. What a great show. What great slacks.

Larry C said...

Stripes: As a kid, I thought Bill Murray's character was totally cool, but catching some of the movie recently I found the character insufferable.

And I agree with the Ferris Bueller haters, although I didn't like the Ferris character when I first saw the movie in my late teens. I found myself rooting for the adults in that movie, as Ferris just seemed to be a jerk who used others (and in particular, his friends)

Anonymous said...

I can't think about this topic without thinking of that Dave Chappelle comedy routine where he talks about how Pepe le Pew is a rapist and how Snuffleupagus is a stoner.

MCB said...

Holly Martins -- oh yes. I am so with you on Reality Bites. Back when I was 14 and subscribing to the teenage girl magazines, the Ethan Hawke character was a dreamboat idealist who Didn't Compromise His Principles. I watched the movie again in college and he was insufferable! And the greasy, greasy hair! Get a job and buy some shampoo, dude.

I'm also with those who found Ferris Bueller kind of uncomfortable -- I identified more with Cameron, and I thought Ferris would be an incredibly stressful friend to have. (Nothing is more stressful than being told to "relax" all of the time.)

Anonymous said...

Older than most here:
Loved Lost In Space (and all the cheesy SciFi shows from the 60s)but find it unwatchable now. I dug June Lockhart (holdover love from Lassie)and Bill Mumy and the Robot is classic, but now I need Dr. Smith to have an airlock accident.

Oh, and embarrassing parents at movie moments, my Dad took me to a Patton/M*A*S*H double feature and he probably didn't know about the Hot Lips scene or the Painless Pole scene beforehand, but I survived and became a Pro from Dover...

Puff

Marquis said...

Re Edward. I wish that would happen, but there are a LOT of older women who are into Twilight, and don't see the connection.

I just want to digress for a second about the And then Buffy staked Edward The End t shirts I've been seeing.

Really? Have you watched Buffy? Did you see Season one where even after she thinks Angel tried to attack her mother she still was reluctant to stake him? What about season 2 and where she really needed to stake him and didn't. Did you see her falling in lust with Spike before he gpt his soul?

Angel and Edward are pretty much the same vampire.

She'd have sex with him before she'd stake him.

I've been terrified of going back to watch Buffy because I'm terrified it won't hold up. Seasons 6 and 7 were terrible and I never liked firefly, so I don't know what would happen since i'm past any joss whedon is a god notions.

Chuck Nottheshow said...

Willie. Wonka.

Anonymous said...

Any disney cartoon where they gave the animals ethnic voices. The definition of cringeworthy.

JKChicago said...

I never minded Ferris Bueller, because it always seemed that while he obviously enjoyed getting the best of the adults, the day was equally about helping Cameron.

One movie that I recently saw in a whole new light was Mary Poppins. As a kid, it's all about how the children finally get to have fun. But now I see it being just as much about the father. The scene where Mr. Banks sings about not realizing his ambitions is very moving. So is Bert's gentle, understanding rebuke about getting too lost in working for the good of the family instead of being with the family. I also appreciate the vocabulary in that movie; how many films for children use the phrase, "carve his niche on the edifice of time?"

Susie said...

I'd like to treat Ethel Mertz to a nice relaxing day at the spa. She had to contend with a much older husband who delitrd in insulting her and a best friend who at best subjected her to regular humiliation, and at worst put her life in jeopardy!

Alf said...

On rewatch, Kevin Arnold was a little shit, but I still love the show.

I was never a huge fan of Veronica and Logan together, but rewatching their relationship was barely possible. I rolled my eyes and groaned a lot.

I am pretty sure I'm never going to read The Catcher in the Rye again because I'm afraid I'll hate it now that I'm an adult.

Toby O'B said...

@Christy: You ever work up that "Mad Men"/"Bewitched" theory and are looking for a place to showcase it, I'd be happy to give it a mirror berth at my Inner Toob blog! It sounds perfect for that venue!

Toby O'B said...

"I revisited Meatballs about a year ago, and Bill Murray seemed way too old to be spending that much time with Rudy."

There are a couple of episodes of 'Columbo' - "Etude In Black", but especially "Identity Crisis" - in which the Lieutenant's banter with children seems especially creepy today. Otherwise, there's still so much to love about that show!

"As a child I liked James West and Artemus Gordon and didn't understand why; as an adult, I completely get it. What a great show. What great slacks."

For those who would be interested, "The Night of the Underground Terror" had a major wardrobe malfunction during the big climactic fight - and "Little Tommy Lopaka" popped out of those tight purple pants (still covered in the tighty whiteys, however).

"Oh, and embarrassing parents at movie moments, my Dad took me to a Patton/M*A*S*H double feature and he probably didn't know about the Hot Lips scene or the Painless Pole scene beforehand, but I survived and became a Pro from Dover..."

My grandmother took me to that same double-bill when I was a kid, and of course we made it through "Patton" okay. But five minutes into "MASH", and there's an overhead shot of Sutherland and Joanne Pflug making out on a bed, fully clothed, and Grammy's up and out the door. I had to go to - she was my ride!

Later we went to see "The Godfather", and when Sonny took the maid of honor against the bedroom door, I started gathering up my things. But Grammy never budged. It didn't even bother her when the "lightning bolt" unrobed in front of the window.

I think it had to do with her parents both being from Italy and she wanted a taste of that era once again. (By the time of my Dad's generation, you couldn't tell that there was an Italian background to that side of the family.)

Sorry for going on so.....

G. Beck said...

Atticus Finch. In my youth I was indoctrinated by my liberal teachers that he was a heroic figure. But now it is just so obvious that he has deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture. I'm not saying that he doesn't like white people. I'm saying he has a problem. This guy is, I believe, a racist.

It's just a joke. I don't care whether you're a patron of The Gem or The Bella Union.It's all good as long as you watch my show. SHow me the money!

Amanda P. said...

Snow White and Cinderella, and even Sleeping Beauty.

I now understand why my mother HATED those movies. The sexism is almost unwatchable....it's all about how you have to have a man (or take care of men in Snow White's case) to be fulfilled as a girl. Ugh!

bettyd said...

Love this thread. Santa Clause in Rudolph was mean. So was Donner, the Dad.

The book I am always debating is the little kids book "I Love You Forever" I, and many friends, think it is incestual. Others find it depicts a nice son and mom who take care of themselves. Creeps me out though when the grown son has mom on his lap and climbs through the window to get to her.

http://www.amazon.com/Love-You-Forever-Robert-Munsch/dp/0920668364/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1255099080&sr=1-12

srpad said...

When I was a kid I thought the Oirginal V was good but the Final Battle was beyond awesome and made the original look lame in comparison. Rewatching them as an adult and I loved the subtext and methaphor of the original and the Final Battle seems awfully silly.

My take on Superman the Movie vs. Superman II took a similar turn as well.

Anonymous said...

H.R. Puffinstuff. I was 7 when it came out and thought it was like the best Saturday morning show ever! I got my sister the DVDs for xmas a few years back and we couldn't make it through even one episode.

Pretty much anything I liked when I was under 12 is unwatchable to me now.

lizkdc said...

Charlie Brown: like most children, I felt a deep resentment of crabby, critical Lucy and was heartbroken for eternally sad and disappointed Charlie.

As a grown-up, it reads very differently. There's something about Charlie Brown's constant anxiety, unfixable longings, and stubborn downerness that DOES make you want to shake him. A real life Charlie Brown indeed tends to produce Lucy-like behavior in one, and then he looks at you, all sad and stomach-hurt. Gaaah!!

Graeme said...

In terms of TV, Bewitched. I loved that show as a kid. I had a huge crush on Elizabeth Montgomery. I thought Dick York was awesomely funny.

I watched as an adult and suddenly the premise seemed horrible. A husband forces his wife to deny her heritage in order to pass in middle class suburban society. Substitute 'witch' for any other ethnic group and what Darrin is making Samantha do is horrible.

belinda said...

The Archie comics.

Archie is kind of a bastard, isn't he?

LA said...

Toby O'B said...
Later we went to see "The Godfather", and when Sonny took the maid of honor against the bedroom door, I started gathering up my things. But Grammy never budged. It didn't even bother her when the "lightning bolt" unrobed in front of the window.


I hope you're still reading, Toby O'B, because this story reminds me of the time my siblings and I, all teenagers at the time, were watching The Godfather. I think it was the scene Carlo was beating up Connie. At any rate, there was lots of cussing in Italian. My dad - whose first language was Italian - came storming into the room yelling, "what is filth you kids are watching?" We said, "It's The Godfather, Dad, and we only speak English." Dad said, "Okay, carry on."

It was a nice moment, maybe you had to be there.

John Frink said...

Oh, sorry I'm late. There was trouble at the lab with the running and the exploding and the crying when the monkeys stole the glasses off my head.

Professor Frink, Professor Frink,
He'll make you laugh, he'll make you think, He likes to run, and then the thing, with the... mm-m person...Oh boy, that monkey is going to pay.

notemily said...

I can't believe those who mentioned Peter Pan didn't say anything about the absolute horror of the portrayal of the "redskins" in that movie. It's such a racist piece of crap, I can't even watch it anymore. Now I watch the 2003 live-action one instead.

Also, when I was a kid, I totally didn't get that "Fern Gully" is complete environmentalist propaganda. Not that I'm in favor of cutting down the rainforest, but it's just so blatant.

Anonymous said...

Gone with the Wind...I LOVED it when I saw it at 13 and was obsessed with it.

Didn't realize until a college professor pointed it out that the second half of the movie is just sooo depressing: the war is over & the South's glory days are over, none of the movie slaves are freed, everyone is dirt poor, the death of Bonnie, etc.

I guess I was just so swept up with the "romance" between Rhett & Scarlett to notice.

dez said...

You make it sound like Dr. Honeydew treats Beaker the way Dr. Weird treats Steve. There's no "Gentlemen, behold!" psychosis coming from Dr. Honeydew. I think you're being too hard on the Muppet :-)

Greg said...

It may sound like sacrilege, but I find the parenting on "The Cosby Show" difficult to watch at times. The joke repeated over and over again is that the kids' problems are ridiculous. And yes, many things teens worry about are pretty ridiculous, but what kind of complex are those kids going to have when their dad mocks them every time they come to him with a problem. The basic message seems to be: "You don't have to pay a mortgage or worry about grown-up stuff, so everything you're worried about is just a bunch of BS."

Funny? Yes. True? For the most part. Considerate parenting? Not so much.

filmcricket said...

"Also, when I was a kid, I totally didn't get that "Fern Gully" is complete environmentalist propaganda."

I doubt anyone's reading this thread anymore, but this reminded me of two things: one, what a sign of the times it is that the villain in Ghostbusters is from the EPA.

The other is of a short film some classmates once made talking about how Fraggle Rock is Communist propaganda, because the Fraggles keep consuming the labour output of the Doozers, or whatever those workers were called.

Finally, I agree with Greg on Cosby. There's just such a Father Knows Best vibe to the whole thing. The only thing that made Cliff ruling those kids palatable was the knowledge that Claire ruled Cliff.