Fat American Children

Work continues on more episodes of both Ricky Sprocket and Pucca. Comparing and contrasting the two projects, it becomes clear how often the geographic location of the broadcasters has an effect on the content of the shows they run. Both offer plenty of notes at each stage of production, but there can be a distinct difference between American notes and British notes. Even when it comes to something as basic as food.

On the one hand we have Nickelodeon, a broadcaster so preoccupied with not being culpable in the fat assening of America’s youth, they’ve asked that any reference to unhealthy food be removed from scripts. In one instance, for example, they requested that characters visiting an ice-cream shop go to a juice bar instead. Since Americans seem hell bent of doubling their size every generation, all venues of children’s entertainment have become worried about a theoretical class action suit on the horizon that might focus blame on them for childhood obesity. It’s therefore become passé to suggest chocolate tastes good, popsicles are refreshing on a summer afternoon, or that toast really begs to be buttered.

Then we have Pucca being broadcast all over Europe and shilling for McDonalds at the same time. “Be full of energy just like me and run around for an hour a day,” Pucca tells us via word balloon on the back of her very own Happy Meal box. Forget for a moment that Pucca doesn’t actually have shit to say in her cartoons. I’m still trying to figure out if the message is burgers and fries give you energy to run around, or that you need to run around to burn off those burgers and fries. As long as no one is shown receiving a head butt or some similar culturally taboo injury, the Brits will stand by and let their cartoon characters endorse greasy gluttony. I suppose with all the mangled, crooked teeth English DNA has imposed on generations of kids, the parents are grateful if their children can successfully chew and swallow anything to keep them alive.

Rest assured, by the way, that I’m not one of those superior North American pricks who likes taking cheap shots at bad British teeth. Being the product of too much English DNA myself, I felt the genetic curse of dental deformity throughout my childhood. Only thousands of dollars of oral engineering and years of excruciating tooth-torture made my mouth presentable enough for me to leave the house without a sack over my head.

Not that I ever leave the house these days. I’m too busy writing cartoons – with or without officially sanctioned foodstuff contained therein.

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