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Posts tagged ‘Fantasy’

GI Joe: A Real American Fantasy

For this post I watched the twenty-second episode from the first season of GI Joe: A Real American Hero, titled “The Funhouse.” In this episode, Cobra Commander has kidnapped a group of scientists and imprisoned them in his temple base in South America. Cobra imprisoned the scientists to try and draw the GI Joe team into an elaborate fun house of traps that he constructed inside the island base. At the end of the episode the team overcomes Cobra’s traps and rescues the group of scientists, all before the bomb planted by Cobra underneath the base explodes.

This episode of GI Joe relates well to Cross’ ideas that PLC’s in the 1980’s showed children a fantasy world that didn’t relate to the actual world around them. According to Cross, toys and t.v. characters of the 1980s’s,” fought in fantastic miniworlds of rocketry and lasers where the child could not fully identify with the creature or violent acts he performed” (Cross, 291). This idea ties in with the GI Joe series. In the episode both Cobra and the Joe team utilize weapons that fire lasers, and real bullets are never actually displayed. This allows the child watching the show to fantasize that no one is ever actually killed in conflict. The victims of laser wounds always get up later if they are an important character to the show. By idealizing combat in this way, the child is completely removed from the actual horrors of battle, and never has to rationalize the violence they are shown. The Cobra enemies presented are also made to look more like robot soldiers than actual people, which further removes children from reality, as countless waves of faceless Cobra soldiers are mowed down in the Joe assault on the base. In this way, television  producers in the 1980’s could show fantasy conflicts and weapons without having to worry about excessive backlash from concerned parents over the televised violence.



Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake

In Gary Cross’s article “Spinning Out of Control” he argues that “the old view that children should learn from the past and prepare for the future is inevitably subverted in a consumer culture where memory and hope get lost in the blur of perpetual change (290).” After reading this I watched an episode of Strawberry Shortcake because it is an example of a PLC (program length commercial) according to Cross (296). In this particular episode Strawberry Shortcake was a finalist in a baking competition where she had to travel to Big Apple city and participate in a bake off with the “villain” Purple Pie Man that will be on TV. In order to get to Big Apple City, Strawberry Shortcake has to travel on the back of a butterfly. Once she is there she makes tons of friends instantly, and they are all eager to help Strawberry Shortcake win. Throughout the whole episode Purple Pie Man is constantly trying to sabotage Strawberry Shortcake’s chances of winning, but always fails because Strawberry Shortcake’s new friends are there to help her out. Ironically at the end of the episode the announcer of the bake-off offers Strawberry Shortcake a television show, but she politely declines because she will miss her friends. The announcer then punishes Purple Pie Man by making him the new vice president of the television network. Strawberry Shortcake according to cross was the “girls’ version of Star Wars,” and I would completely have to agree  because it the whole show was not relatable to real life (299). The whole setting and plot was unrealistic and so was the process of making so many new friends. No where in this episode did I see any type of life lessons or preparing children to live in the real world. It was all about making new friends, so in my opinion Cross’s argument holds true for the episode I watched.