No guys, I need to stop and talk about something in this movie and how fucking revolutionary it was; something that I haven’t seen in a movie before or since.
This is a movie about a kid who leaves her birth family.
Not a kid who find that they have a secret lineage or something that allows them to find their ‘true family’ - this is a movie about a kid whose true birth family is made up of bad people. So she gets out. And that is played as the right thing to do. She isn’t punished for it or made to feel bad about ‘abandoning her family’. There isn’t an underlying ‘but they’re your family and you have to love them’ or ‘they’re your family and they love you even if they don’t show it well or do hurtful things’ message of the kind that I see OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER in media. Matilda gets out and lives happily ever after because of it.
We need a million more movies like this to counter the metric shit ton of movies that directly counter this message.
can we talk about how this fucking pbs show aimed at little kids easily talked about how anxiety is stressful but normal
Ok no but can we talk about this entire episode?
It was called April 9th, and it was actually a response to the 9/11 attacks. It didn’t talk about the attacks themselves, but rather focused on teaching kids to deal with the all of the emotions that they might be feeling as a result. They set up a situation that might evoke similar emotions in children: a massive fire at the school.
Arthur’s dad was in the fire, so (as you can see above), Arthur is constantly worried about his dad’s safety.
Sue Ellen is grieving because her journal, which contained a huge amount of precious memories, was destroyed in the fire. Muffy is confused why she can’t just cheer Sue Ellen up by giving her a new journal.
Buster wasn’t at school that day, and feels confused and guilty that he isn’t sad about the fire like the other kids. He then befriends the school janitor, who has to retire due to an injury that, at his age, is pretty serious.
Binky actually saw the flames, and is constantly traumatized by the event. He doesn’t tell anyone because he feels like he would lose his tough-guy reputation if he admitted that he was scared.
The episode teaches kids that all of these emotions are perfectly normal and natural, that there’s not one right way to feel, and that even if it takes a while, things are going to be okay.
The thing that makes this show so great, in my opinion, is that it knows that kids are intellegent and strong enough to deal with these things if you present them in the right way. It doesn’t hide them, it doesn’t sugar coat them, it just presents them in a way that children can understand and shows them how to deal with them.