If you don’t have small children, you’ve probably never heard of “Paw Patrol,” a show on Nick Jr. about a group of talking pups, all trained and outfitted with specialized rescue gear. (Example: “Marshall” the fire dog and his puppy-retrofitted fire truck with ladder and water cannon, “Chase” the police dog and his police cruiser with megaphone, bad-guy trapping net set slinger and so on.) These pups are all led by “Ryder” — an adolescent who is in charge of the safety of everyone in Adventure Bay.
I don’t know which is more disturbing: the fact that supposedly sober grown-ups invented this storyline, or that I know vast details about it. But wait. There’s more.
The mayor is none other than Mayor Goodway, a power pump, power suit wearing, high strung hot mess of a woman who —and this is not a type-o—carries a trouble-making chicken named Chickoletta around in her purse. Mayor Goodway and her beloved poultry pet are constantly getting into ridiculous snafus requiring rescue from none other than Ryder and the Paw Patrol, whom she of course calls from her smart phone. Which was in her purse. With a chicken. Eew.
So this show is supposed to teach teamwork and how to be a helpful member of your community. I support that wholeheartedly. Our world needs more of that. However, the underlying messages leave me scratching my head:
- Adventure Bay seems like a town riddled with poor leadership choices. It is governed by a chicken toting woman who acts like she has about 4 more IQ points than said chicken. The citizens are protected by a kid and dogs, albeit well-equipped dogs. And Ryder is the most mature person on the whole show.
- Mayor Goodway’s archenemy is Mayor Humdinger, the maniacal, greedy leader of the neighboring town. Is this the most poorly veiled current political commentary ever? Can’t we all just get along??!
- There are only 2 female pups: “Skye” the helicopter piloting “eye in the sky” and “Everest” the snow rescue dog. These female protagonists have only minor support roles at best. The only other real female role model is Mayor Goodway. Hello? Purse chicken? Honestly!
Paw Patrol is one of my daughter’s favorite shows, and frankly it’s come to my rescue a few times when I needed to get stuff done. Like create a blog. Is this something I should be showing my daughter? Will this encourage her to be an empowered, intelligent woman? Or will she become a barnyard animal hauling, vapid excuse for a woman?
I think I better get going on teaching her to read and write…and use the big girl potty. Maybe not in that order.