pictured: a bad representation of what some people think Snarf is.
This is something I’ve been meaning to write about for years, but having to suffer through issue #3 of Thundercats: Hammerhand’s Revenge today just really drove the point home and I have to get this out of my system. The hatred of the “mascot character” (sometimes also called the “kiddie character”) is getting old. Rip Van Winkle old.
Look, I get it. Kids can handle more than some adults think, but at the same time there are limits, and what both sides of the argument forgets is that kids are individuals. Some can handle more than others. I also get that there are people out there who don’t believe in comic relief characters because they think everything needs to be dark and intensive the entire movie, especially in something not geared for kids. (And there’s that small group who I swear thinks “for kids” equals “I have to like it too but my sister won’t flip out if I show it to their kids”.) And there are plenty of comic reliefs who are just annoying, like any character Rob Schneider has ever played. (And yet somehow he gets to be the main character in stuff.) I’ll even be coping to mascots who just aren’t very good near the end of this commentary, which went way longer than planned. However, I want to take some of those mascots you all hate and explain why they’re actually good characters. Because characters evolve over time, even in shows without a continuous story, because the character serves a purpose on the team, and sometimes because of both. Remember, the Doctor of Doctor Who didn’t start out as the champion of the weak and defenseless. In his first storyline he was ready to kill a wounded man by smashing his skull in with a rock even though he wasn’t a threat to him or his kidnapped companions. Which HE kidnapped. Characters do get better, but it’s the early years that seem to cause a lot of bias.