It’s so weird to think how five years ago Despicable Me started out as a passable but enjoyable movie about a super-villain raising three little girls but has literally devolved into nothing but an unforgiving minions franchise
if you follow my blog at all you’ll know that I absolutely fucking love Despicable Me. Like… LOVE. It’s one of my favorite movies of all time. The writing, the comedy, the timing, the animation; it’s all incredibly well put together.
In fact, I’m a fan of Illumination Studios in general.
Granted, I’m not a fan of their movies.
LE GASP you say. How can you be a fan of a studio but not all their movies.
Becuase, dear reader, their movies lack a lot of things. And, for the most part, many of their movies aren’t really displays of “We Do What We Want”. They’re more “We Do What the Audience Wants.” Which… sort of makes sense. They’re a new studio. They don’t have the funds to really take huge risks yet. But god, their audience-pleasing choices can be so….
Like remember that time a few people stood up and said “hey those Minions were sort of cool”
and Illumination Studios said
OKAY HOW ABOUT WE FLOOD THE WORLD
And brought us one of the most annoying things to grace this planet.
The LEGO Movie was my favorite movie of 2014, but it strikes me that the main character was male, because I feel like in our current culture, he HAD to be. The whole point of Emmett is that he’s the most boring average person in the world. It’s impossible to imagine a female character playing that role, because according to our pop culture, if she’s female she’s already SOMEthing, because she’s not male. The baseline is male. The average person is male.
You can see this all over but it’s weirdly prevalent in children’s entertainment. Why are almost all of the muppets dudes, except for Miss Piggy, who’s a parody of femininity? Why do all of the Despicable Me minions, genderless blobs, have boy names? I love the story (which I read on Wikipedia) that when the director of The Brave Little Toaster cast a woman to play the toaster, one of the guys on the crew was so mad he stormed out of the room. Because he thought the toaster was a man. A TOASTER. The character is a toaster.
I try to think about that when writing new characters— is there anything inherently gendered about what this character is doing? Or is it a toaster?
Bojack Horseman creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg commenting on how weird gendered defaults in entertainment are, and why we should think twice about them.