Wait, What?: Max and Ruby Edition

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Yes, I realize that this is the second time in four weeks that I've focused on something for kid. but since I'm a nanny, a former preschooler, and an early childhood education student (and actually have a copy of Bunny Money in my living room right now) it still fits. In some ways, it's extremely fitting, because watching Max & Ruby is actually what made me start noticing weird inconsistencies and oddities in the first place.

  • Max and Ruby are siblings. Ruby is supposed to be seven, and Max is three. However, never in the many episodes of this show that I have seen (Little J and Baby Z went through a MAJOR Max and Ruby phase, followed by a Peppa Pig phase, and now they're in their PAW Patrol phase) have their parents been seen. Forget seen -- I don't think they've even ever been mentioned. Their grandma lives within walking distance, but she is the only adult family member that you ever see. WHERE ARE THE PARENTS?!?! I mean, are we supposed to be expected to believe that a seven-year-old is raising her three-year-old brother, while somehow managing to keep a roof over their heads, food in their bellies, and pay her Bunny Scout dues? Not so much.
  • Kind of going along with lack of parents is the total lack of supervision. These kids do everything by themselves. In the previously mentioned Bunny Money book, Ruby wants to get grandma a present. She has $15. She and Max ride the bus -- alone -- downtown, Ruby lets Max (who, again, is THREE) go to the candy store by himself, they go to the laundromat and Ruby washes Max's clothes after he stains them (this is a recurring theme -- Max is always covered in something). Dude. These are not things children should be doing unsupervised. Why are the proprietors of the many businesses they go to okay with letting a couple of little kids do their thing in the store? It baffles me.
  • Why does Ruby have to do everything? She cooks, she gives Max a bath, she puts him to bed -- it's like she's his mother. Does she ever have any time to take care of herself? I NEED TO KNOW WHERE THE PARENTS ARE, PEOPLE!!!!
  • I know that every child develops at a different rate, but it really seems like Max's verbal development is behind. He rarely speaks, and when he does, it's generally just one word. Ruby, on the other hand, never shuts up, so it's not like he hasn't been exposed to verbal language.
  • Ruby is hella bossy, and kind of a nag (her voice will haunt your dreams), but what else can you expect from a seven-year-old raising a three-year-old? However, Max is kind of a douchecanoe. Like, he's pretty devious at times. He does things Ruby tells him not to do, he seems to delight in ruining her plans, and he's (developmentally appropriately) self-centered. I feel like Max is generally a terrible role model for little kids.
  • For some reason, all of Max's bad behavior always seems to pay off in the end, and I just don't understand that. Everyone will be delighted with the product of what he's done, or he'll ruin Ruby's project only to somehow make it better. It just doesn't make sense. It's just teaching little kids that being a jerk and not listening to anyone else pays off. And it always seems to end with Max smiling smugly like he knew exactly what he was doing the entire time.
Rosemary Wells says that their parents are alive but just never on-screen (or on-page, in the case of the books, I suppose), but I'm not entirely sure I believe that. If they have parents, why do their parents make their children raise themselves? Even crappy parents have more involvement than that. They mystery of Max and Ruby is one that may never be solved.

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