The Dreaded “EAT RAY!”

I always have Nickelodeon on.  It is one of the ways I combat negativity.  No horrible news stories for this gal!  Just Spongebob, T.U.F.F. Puppy, and Timmy Turner for me, thanks!  So the other morning, as I was doing my household “chores,” I didn’t think much of the sounds of maniacal laughter and dramatic superhero music booming from the living room television.  I glanced at the clock and instinctively knew that it was the Power Rangers waging their daily war against the forces of evil.  But when I also started to hear exaggerating eating sounds, followed closely by threats of somebody having to “pay” for their wrong-doing, I had to see what was going on.

I saw one of the girl superheros telling the others that their arch nemesis had used some kind of terrifying device that was forcing the innocent bystanders to “…eat and eat and eat!  They are going to eat until they are sick if we don’t stop him!”

I must say, I am not sure how I feel about this.  Admittedly, this is all I caught of the whole episode, so it may not be a true analysis of what was meant by it, but the very first thought that popped into my mind was, “…But this is supposed to be a show for five-year-olds!”  I get that it may be sending the message that overeating is bad for your health, but I can’t help thinking that, in this particular context, it is associating compulsive overeating with something evil.

On the one hand, I totally agree with this perspective.  Not only do I think any addiction is “evil,” I also had that same specific experience with food addiction myself – that feeling that I was doing it against my will – – as if I was under the control of an evil force.  I get that part.  But there is more to it than that.

I think it is the underlying premise behind this episode that is what’s really bothering me.  I can’t help feeling that the writers actually believe that compulsive overeating (and the natural consequence of weight-gain) are so horrifying that they are to be avoided at all costs – in the same way that the typical Power Rangers cast of extras flees from explosions and karate chops.

Maybe I am just overly sensitive to this whole topic. I always suffered from the delusion that my food addiction was a moral issue.  And while it is true that compulsive overeaters do have something “wrong” with them, I just don’t know how wise it is to present this topic to young children who don’t yet have the emotional or the intellectual maturity to understand the depth of it.  In fact, I think it could very easily have more of a negative impact than a positive one on impressionable minds.  Without the sensitivity that an older audience may be able to bring to this topic, I can so easily picture the bullying that could spring from this type of portrayal of overeating.  Surely the creators to of this series could have come up with something a little less offensive, and a little more…well…”creative!”

May 1, 2012 This post was written by Categories: Pop Culture & Addiction Tagged with:
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