A Dressing Down For….The Worst Sons/Daughters in Animation!
As Mother’s Day rounds the bend once again, we take the time to remember all the good things our mothers and our parents have done for us, and Ed Liu celebrated that with a look at the finest of animated mothers. But it’s not enough that we simply take our collective moms and pat them on the heads. The time has come to remind ourselves of what it is we could be doing better in our own lives to pay back those who have done so much for us over the years. And what better way is there to improve on ourselves than to look at what you definitely should not be doing? So Toon Zone has put together a list of the most ungrateful, disrespectful, miserable little punks and punkettes that have ever been depicted in animation. Some of these you’re expecting, and some of these you aren’t, but they’re all the worms in the apples of their parents’ eyes.
The Bastards (a.k.a., The Boys)
Justice League/Justice League Unlimited (Warner Bros./DC Comics)
Voiced by Soren Fulton
Why: Gee, Mordred, you ever stop and think about how much your mommy Morgaine Le Fay does for you? She funnels all her youth into you. She kills thousands of people in your name. She spends her entire life trying to get you on the throne, and when her life proves too short, she extends her life and yours until she can do it. And when she finally gets you what you want, you stab her in the back? Sheer genius there. Mordred, you are one of the worst sons I’ve ever seen on screen, and that includes Macaulay Culkin in The Good Son.
Advice For Would-Be Mordreds: Take notice of all the sacrifices your parents make for you. And try saying “Thank you”, as opposed to, “I banish you to a Jackson Pollock dimension.”
Peter Pan (Walt Disney Studios)
Voiced by Bobby Driscoll
Why: This is a slightly more abstract entry, since we never actually meet Peter’s parents. But one can only imagine how little they’re being reflected in what this Lord of the Flies castaway does for a “living”. The whole point of parenting is to train and mold children into being ready for their adult lives, and this conniving rascal not only refuses to live up to any of that training, whatever it is he got (and he must’ve got something), but he also tries to convince other kids to do the same thing! He’s not just a bad son; he’s a bad son by proxy.
Advice to Would-Be Peter Pans: Your parents are only trying to prepare you for the real world, so suck it up and start preparing. And if you must rebel, keep it to yourself.
The Fairly Oddparents (Nickelodeon/Viacom)
Voiced by Tara Strong
Why: Sure, his parents aren’t world-class, but they do care about him. And so does Timmy….that is, after he’s learned his lesson about something. But for whatever reason – ADD, stubborn ignorance, need to keep a TV series going, etc. – he just doesn’t seem to care about any of his loved ones until circumstances force him to admit otherwise. Heck, he’s shamed into it half the time, and the rest of the time he’s flagrantly lying to them. (Internet, indeed.) But as bad a son as he is, consider how bad a godson he is. There’s no question about his godparents’ devotion to him, but he milks that for all it’s worth by asking for the most selfish, ridiculous wishes ever. Of course, it’s a fantasy, so they can actually give him what he wants when any other parent could only respond in tears, “WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?!” And once they do, only then does this little guttersnipe realize how awful a wish he’s made and have to try to undo the damage he caused. Oops, guess making everybody a gray blob wasn’t so smart after all!
Advice for Would-Be Timmys: Don’t demand of your parents that they give you things that they just can’t give you. A lot of the time, you wouldn’t really want them anyway.
The Simpsons (Gracie Films/20th Century Fox)
Voiced by Dan Castellaneta
Why: Thinking I aimed a generation too high? Think again, for the parent I mean here is Abraham Simpson, and we are examining Homer as a son, not a father. True, Abe is hardly an excellent parent, but he did do more for Homer than he ever recognizes, and how has this jerkoff repaid him? He stuck him in a home, marginalizes him beyond compare, and waits for him to kick the bucket. Abe may not have been all that great on his side of the relationship, but that doesn’t mean it’s appropriate to spend what little of his life he has left as the subject of his son’s revenge. For once in your life, Homer, take the freakin’ high road.
Advice to Would-Be Homers: You don’t stop being somebody’s child once you’re an adult, and your elderly parents just want your love and respect. That’s not so hard, now, is it?
Alvin and the Chipmunks (Ruby-Spears)
Voiced by Ross Bagdasarian, Jr.
Why: What is a parental “No” to you? Maybe it’s a disappointment. Maybe it’s just a simple fact of life. But to Alvin, it’s just a minor buzzing in his ears. He can’t be bothered to hear that somebody with any kind of authority over him – like, say, his father – is telling him not to do something he’s not supposed to do. He’ll either incessantly hector his poor belaboured patriarch until he’s left screaming, or just go around him and try to plot some sneaky way to do what he wants anyway. However, the justification of “he’ll never know, anyway” is no justification at all, and all Alvin succeeds at is being a really bad son.
Advice to Would-Be Alvins: No Means No. You might as well learn that one now, because they’re gonna expect you to remember that one on your own in your adult years.
The Brats (a.k.a., The Girls)
Voiced by Wendy Hoopes
Why: There shall never be a prettier and more passionate love story than the one between Quinn Morgendorffer and Quinn Morgendorffer. Unfortunately, all that love that she’s funnelling into herself seems to detract from any affection she’d give her fellow family members. Between pumping her parents for extra cash and ignoring as many of their rules as she can get away with, she’s already a fine candidate to be counted amongst the worst daughters. But nothing could seal the deal as well as the peerless contempt she has for her parents, viewing them as meaningless little bugs. Embarrassing meaningless little bugs. Ouch.
Advice for Would-Be Quinns: Your parents may not be of your generation, and they may not be completely in line with your style, but they do have worthwhile things to say and you shouldn’t treat them like your dirty little secrets.
The Simpsons (Gracie Films/20th Century Fox)
Voiced by Yeardley Smith
Why: Again, you are probably wondering where Bart is. I thought about it, and I figured that Bart’s not really that bad a son. He’s a hellion, to be sure, but he’s pretty grateful for the things his folks give him, and he’s mostly trouble for other people (that is, everybody else). When you really think about it, he can’t hold a candle to Lisa, who may be the goody-goody of the family and yet still manages to make herself into a pretty poor daughter. The problem is her condescension; she thinks herself so much better than her family that she has almost no respect for her parents at all. To Lisa, her mother is a mindless housewife and her father is a drunken lout, and even though she’s right a lot of the time, she’s still ignoring all the good they do. And so she tries constantly to forcibly remake them into people that they aren’t and, frankly, shouldn’t be. With all the preaching and whining and yakking about “important” things on and on and on, no wonder she can’t find the time to be an appreciative daughter.
Advice to Would-Be Lisas: You may someday surpass your parents, and maybe you already have. But nobody likes a braggart, and certainly not one who can’t see that there’s other kinds of virtues in the world.
Ranma 1/2 (Kitty Films/Fuji TV)
Voiced by Minami Takayama/Angela Costain
Why: Is it wrong to desire more out of life? The American Dream is founded on the concept that if you can want it, you can get it with the right amount of effort. (Nevermind that we’re talking about a Japanese character.) As Gordon Gekko once put it, “Greed is good. Greed works.” Yeah, well, one wonders what kind of son he was. Because the greed that Nabiki Tendo seems to feel every waking moment has made her the most duplicitous and manipulative witch ever seen in anime. While this is true of her interactions with everyone, I feel she especially stands out as a bad daughter. Not just because of her constant draining of Soun Tendo’s funds without ever offering a penny in return or charity, but also because her greed strikes me as an unspoken insistence that everything Soun has accomplished isn’t good enough for her. It’s the ultimate example of ingratitude towards what someone has given you when you simply toss it aside and say, “I want more, and I want it better.”
Advice to Would-Be Nabikis: Respect and appreciate what it is your parents have done for you, and if you’re enterprising enough to gain more than them in wealth, perhaps you should consider repaying their longstanding kindness with an open invitation to share in the success.
Teen Titans (Warner Bros./DC Comics)
Voiced by Tara Strong
Why: What an ingrate this little goth chick is. Her father Trigon takes years to set up his grandest plans and dreams for his life (and everyone else’s), and entrusts his daughter with one of the most crucial parts of that plan. He does everything he can to convince her that she must fulfill her part of the grand design, despite her bad attitude about it and her need to pout all the time. He doesn’t raise his voice, he doesn’t send her to her room, he just consistently and constantly reminds her that she needs to do her job. And then she does it, and everything goes right for him, and he even keeps her around after everybody else is frozen as his special little girl. How fatherly. And what does she do? She kills him and says he was never her father. Oh, and how’d she come to that sterling conclusion? She joined a gang!
Advice to Would-Be Ravens: If your parents are trying to do something important, don’t get in their way. Or suck them of all their magic energy or anything like that.
Voiced by Cheryl Chase
Why: You gotta ask? Have you not watched the show? She’s the queen of bratty behavior, undeserved demands on her parents, disrespect to anyone and anything, and anything else you can think of that would define a terrible kid. Some of the offspring on this list act the way they do out of sheer accidental ignorance, but not Angelica. She’s malicious. She’s doing it on purpose. She sucks the light out of a room and profits off of every soul the Devil receives. If this sounds impossible, just watch the show and you’ll see what I mean.
Advice for Would-Be Angelicas: Seriously, just shut up and go sit in the corner.
So, for all of you reading this, remember to love and honor your mothers (and your fathers as well, while you’re at it), and do not act like these poster children for disowning. Your parents deserve better.