When Good Bunnies Go Bad

Max and Ruby are brother and sister. Max is three years old, Ruby is seven. They are also rabbits:

‘Max & Ruby celebrates the triumph of the individual against the impossible odds of being little… What goes on in the mind of a three-year-old boy is very different from what goes on in the mind of a seven-year-old girl, and Max and Ruby enjoy working and playing together in spite of their conflicting agendas. The brother and sister relationship is at the heart of these stories….’

Unfortunately, Max & Ruby is also one of Ian’s favorite shows on Noggin. Kelly and I hate this show. I have nothing against bunnies, or rabbits. Or bunny rabbits. I also think Max is awesome. My problem is with Ruby, and with the siblings’ parents.

Every episode is about Ruby having fun with friends, and Max tagging along. No one likes to feel left out, especially toddlers, and so when Max is bored and wants a little attention, Ruby just pushes him out of the way with a box of toys. They never play together, and Max never gets his way.

She belongs to the Bunny Scouts, and once took Max on a camping trip with the troop. Just as the girls were making s’mores and were about to tell ghost stories around the campfire, Ruby tells Max to go to bed. And then gets upset when he won’t stay in bed. Marshmallows. Ghost stories. Fire! She expects her three-year-old brother to stay away from fire?

Max gets the shaft. Always. It’s Ruby’s way or…nothing. Max can’t even take the highway – he’s only three. Ruby and a friend were painting, and Max was only allowed to be their model. When he kept trying to paint, Ruby only scolded him and said that Max was too young.

Ruby is a harpy. She’s a shrewish hare whose loving attention I wouldn’t wish upon Cinderella’s wicked step-mother. I know these are strong feelings toward a cartoon rabbit, and I’m dealing with that, but I really can’t stand her. She’s selfish and unrepentant, and is a vine strangling her brother’s childhood.

What bothers me about this show is that it’s supposed to be about the relationship between a brother and sister. This isn’t a relationship, it’s a dictatorship. Ruby and Max, like all siblings, have their conflicts, but they’re never resolved. Ruby never compromises with Max, nor does she apologize for her actions. Max is not taken seriously, and never has the chance to express himself.

And who’s responsible for Ruby’s reign of terror? The parents, whom we never see. Ever. There’s food in the fridge, clothing in the drawers, and a roof over heads, but there’s never a hair (Ouch. Sorry.) seen of the parents. Occasionally Grandma stops by, and the Bunny Scouts have an adult leader, but for the most part Ruby and Max on on their own. Who’s raising these kids!

I know these are probably subtle issues which Ian won’t notice until he’s lost interest in the show, but the reason I won’t allow him to watch Max & Ruby again is more tangible.

This weekend Ruby and her friend, Louise, were painting a banner for a party. Because Ruby can’t be bothered to take an interest in her brother, she tells him to play with the Louise’s little cousin, Morris, who’s also been forced to tag along. Morris takes a page from Ruby’s book, hordes the best toys for himself, and won’t share with Max. ‘Mine! Mine! Mine!’ is all Morris can say. Is Morris’ boundless greed ever checked? Of course not. Ruby and Louise just tell the two boys to share, and no discipline ever takes place.

After the show, Ian reaches for our camera, with which he knows he is not allowed to play. I ask for it, and he looks at me, frowns, and says, ‘Mine!’

7 Responses

  1. Dave
    Dave at | | Reply

    While I haven’t seen this show, I can see your point. My questions are about Bear in the Big Blue House. Exactly what is his relationship with the other animals? I mean, they live in his house, and he obviously cares for them in the way that a parent woud…but none of them are bears. And he’s a single “parent.” It’s kind of odd, and whenever I watch it I become fixated on what exactly the dynamics are.

    I need to start watching adult programming again.

  2. Total Depravity
    Total Depravity at | | Reply

    Would You Like a Dog?

    It’s like a hot bubble bath or warm cup of tea. Like slipping between newly-washed sheets or those foot massage chairs in amusement parks.

  3. Justin
    Justin at | | Reply

    You’re right about that Ruby, she is rather shrewd and controlling.

    As for the parents, I’ve read that the creators wanted to focus on the relationship between the two siblings, but it’s odd that there wouldn’t be at least a couple of episodes involving the parents, as there’s been episodes featuring their grandmother and that bunny scout leader.

    I also was read a post on wikipedia stating that their parents were perished in a confrontation with a farmer Mcgregor in the storybooks. I don’t believe this myself, and haven’t found any other reference to the incident.

  4. Lainey
    Lainey at | | Reply

    I let my 2 year old watch Max and Ruby for entertainment. That’s what the T.V is. It’s for entertaining them when you need five minutes to brush your teeth and hit the bathroom. It’s not for babysitting, or teaching your children lessons. My son picks up words and behaviour from the television he watches but it is more positive than negative. If your child grabed your camera and said mine then it is your job to decipline the child, not for him to learn it from T.V. Please don’t blame your childs decipline problems on the television programmers and writters of a show that was made to entertain pre school children. It’s sad. I’ve always wondered where the parent’s were but it really doesn’t matter. It is what it is. A cartoon for preschool children.

  5. silentpyjamas
    silentpyjamas at | | Reply

    i’d like to comment on this. just today max and ruby was on and my niece and her cousin were watching it. i remarked to my sister how max is such a naughty child, lying and hiding things. ruby is bossy and shrewish. i have never asked myself where the parents were. i’d assumed they killed themselves to save the lives of their very frustrating children.

    i’d like to say to lainey, i don’t think this guy is expecting the tv to babysit his child. it’s clear that he *watched* the show with his child, just as i watch the preschool tv with my niece. i don’t give a fizzle what you say, children are little sponges and they absorb everything. i watch the tv shows with my niece when she is watching them, and no i don’t ever expect a television show to raise my child or to show her right from wrong. by the same token, i don’t let her watch tv, even preschool tv, that i feel is full of crap she doesn’t need to see.

    today happened to be my niece’s last viewing of max and ruby, as far as i am concerned. i can’t imagine having

  6. Whwaldo
    Whwaldo at | | Reply

    It seems to me the following:
    Ruby and Max live at home during WWII -look at the decor, radio, old fashioned toys, candy store, etc.

    Dad is off fighting the war in Europe while Mom works multiple shifts at the local factory to help the war effort as a Rosie the Riveter type.

    Ruby is a responsible young bunny, and with grandma close by, she is able to look after Max for short periods of time. Plus kids back then would frequently take public transport unaccompanied by an adult.

  7. puppy1
    puppy1 at | | Reply

    ok this is what happend farmer mcgregger did somthing.if u look u can see a family picture ubove the couch.and there are 2 pictures facing oppisit directions to a pot with a lid on the fire place so… there creemated.its true!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!$()0/????//~`..,,,

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