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Nick Jr's PAW Patrol is under fire for its pro-police depiction

  • Last week, when the Nick Jr. animated kids' series put out a bland call on Twitter for "Black voices to be heard," commenters responded with “Defund the paw patrol" and “Euthanize the police dog.” "It’s a joke, but it’s also not," says Amanda Hess. "As the protests against racist police violence enter their third week, the charges are mounting against fictional cops, too. Even big-hearted cartoon police dogs — or maybe especially big-hearted cartoon police dogs — are on notice. The effort to publicize police brutality also means banishing the good-cop archetype, which reigns on both television and in viral videos of the protests themselves. PAW Patrol seems harmless enough, and that’s the point: The movement rests on understanding that cops do plenty of harm." As Hess notes, "Cops are not just television stars; they are television’s biggest stars. Crime shows are TV’s most popular genre, now making up more than 60 percent of prime-time drama programming on the big four broadcast networks. The tropes of the genre are so predictable that a whole workplace sitcom, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, is layered atop them....On television, the hero itself is a concept under review. Just a few years ago, at the height of the antihero craze, a prestige drama could seem a little fluffy if its protagonist was not an actual murderer. There is an artistic justification for humanizing bad people and complicating good ones. It’s hard to argue that a show like Watchmen (in which a black policewoman brutally beats suspected white supremacist terrorists) or Unbelievable (in which two female detectives repeatedly collar the wrong guys) would make for better television if their star cops acted more like German shepherd puppies."

    TOPICS: PAW Patrol, Nick Jr., George Floyd, Black Lives Matter, Kids TV