Friday, May 27, 2011

Death to Max and Ruby

So 'irl' I have a baby girl. One of the things this entails is the need to have cartoons on TV more often than any adult human can stand. This, in our case, manifests itself in 'Treehouse', a Corus TV channel that is all told fairly innocuous, because the cartoons are not violent and there is minimal advertising.

But it has to be said that, while a handful of their shows are quite charming indeed, several of them are fingernails-on-blackboard grating, few more than Max & Ruby.

Max & Ruby, along with Toopy & Binoo and 4 Square, is the channel's main time-killer. If they find themselves with a few minutes to kill before the half-hour, time that other channels would fill with advertising, they tend to throw on a Max & Ruby. If you leave this channel on for a few hours at a time, you're guaranteed to see Max & Ruby at least a few times. And while no proof has ever been established between violent cartoons and violence among viewers, I can say at least conjecturally that Max & Ruby fills me with a homicidal rage. It is so annoying.

It's the story of two rabbits: a bratty kid, Max, who says one word over and over every episode, and Ruby, an obnoxious know-it-all who, by comparison, never shuts up. They're apparently 3 and 7 respectively, and appear to live at home alone with no parents and just a grandmother who lives nearby. A such, Ruby serves as the 'mother figure', and in fact the programme's main value is in teaching older sisters how to be insufferably bossy. Every single episode is functionally the same: Max wants to play with something and insists on doing it over and over again until you're filled with an urge to smack him upside his creepy squeaking head, while Ruby is obsessed with some banal thing she's got it in her head she must do. Max's OCD meets Ruby's OCD and what ensues is much paternalistic sighing on Ruby's part and 'Max, I know you want Diet Coke and Mentos, but you can't have them right now. I simply have to given Grandma her enema now.' Inevitably, whatever it is Max is trying to do accidentally helps with whatever it is Ruby's trying to do, and while Ruby's grateful as the credits run, it doesn't prevent her from being exasperated with Max all over again next time out.

Ruby's annoying whine is the low point of the show. I actually find it difficult to sit in the same room when it's on. God knows what kids are supposed to get from this show, except 'how to be annoying'.

And a good many kids are already experts there.

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