Never try to tell me what’s “made for me” unless you know me personally. My philosophy has always been (when I thought about such stuff anyway) a good story is where you find it. If that means reading or watching something meant for a different age group, gender, or whatever else we use to further divide ourselves like we’re less than human nowadays I’m going to do it and will not apologize for it. Something meant for my supposed demographic may actually annoy, bore, or insult me while something made for someone who hasn’t even entered kindergarten yet is exciting and fun. I know what I like and I’ll take it from whatever marketed group offers it. If you don’t like it, you can go appropriate yourself.
That’s why I get annoyed with someone belittles kids entertainment by responding to comments of quality that “it’s for kids”, as if kids get to have crap. I get equally annoyed when something marked as for kids clearly isn’t, or it wasn’t the intended audience but still gets treated like you can get away with anything. I watched Rubik The Amazing Cube as a kid and enjoyed it just fine, but kids can tell when they’re being talked down to or pandered to, only they aren’t able to express it the way adults can. They take what they can get but even as a kid they know their tastes. They know what they like. We adults can tell when they’re getting crap and those of us who are still in touch with our inner child can make that distinction as well.
The following video from animation reviewer CellSpex questions the notion that adults take kids media too seriously. Kids are more accepting than grown-ups but bad stories are still bad stories, and if you don’t think kids deserve good stories (which don’t necessarily have to cater to adults to be “good”) then you’re insulting a lot of people.
Catch more CellSpex on her YouTube channel.
When reviewing anything a critic is giving you his or her opinion on the topic at hand, whether it’s a TV show or a waffle iron. Their views may not match yours and that’s okay. I’ve put money and time down on stuff that someone gave a negative review to, but the more they described it the more it appealed to me. On the reverse the more someone tried to tell me something is good the less interested I became because I didn’t like the sound of it at all. That’s how opinion works. Everybody has one, but some people are able to explain it better than others. We follow different critics for different reasons. It could be simply to confirm our own opinion, which is good if it’s a “I want to know I’m not the only one” way and bad if it’s an “everyone needs to agree with me and every story needs to be made to match my preferences alone” way. If you can’t agree to disagree at some point, even while defending your perspective, I don’t want to discuss it with you because it will not be fun or informative in the end. I reject the hivemind, as seen in some of the things I’ve defended and rejected over the years on this site.
Any critic speaks only for themselves. We can’t judge what a child would like. There was a time I was around children and had some idea what they were into but I lost that when my job changed even before I lost that job. I don’t get to interact with kids. However, I know what I enjoyed as a kid, and do have some ideas what kids long after my adulthood liked, giving me at least some idea. Still, what a kid enjoys and what I enjoy may not necessarily cross paths…though given some of the stuff I enjoy it probably does more often than others. Thrown in that I’ve learned for the most part to tell when something “not for me” is still good quality or at least could find an audience (even if I don’t always understand why) and I can translate that well enough to kids entertainment as well as I can adult entertainment. That’s because I don’t look down on kids or their stories. Writers (and whatever creators are part of the media in question) who enjoy telling stories for kids or all-ages (not the same thing) put as much effort into it as someone who writes for adult drama, and in some cases more so. I can tell the difference between someone who enjoys writing kid-friendly stories versus someone who is clearly reaching for a paycheck or being bogged down by a committee listening to “experts” on kids. That’s being a good critic, which I try to be as much as being a good storyteller…and given I do more critiquing lately than storytelling it’s probably more important at this point in my writing life.
Kids deserve good entertainment that isn’t turned into adult entertainment. Kids deserve something fun without being preached to, especially if the moral lesson is rather immoral when put under any scrutiny. Why take kids media seriously? Because this will define what kids are into as they get older, and while like adults they will each be taken with different types of stories and form their own paths it will affect who they become, the heroes and other characters they’re exposed to and the creativity they’re inspired by. Any creator needs to take the story they’re telling seriously, and using the “it’s for kids” argument shows you’re doing nothing of the sort. It’s an insult to the writers who enjoy making these stories and it’s an insult to the kids they’re writing for. Kids’ tastes are different than adults’ tastes but garbage is universal.
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