Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Enough With the Creepy Talking Babies, Already

Considering all the Horror/Sci-Fi/Fantasy movies and shows I watch, you would think that very little would scare, unnerve or creep me out. And you'd be right. But there is one thing that disturbs me more than you can imagine - talking babies. I'm not not talking about babies and their first words. "Dada" and "Mama" are hardly scary and can be downright adorable under the right conditions.

No, I'm talking about CGI manipulated images of babies dubbed with adult voices, as seen in TD Ameritrade's commercials of late. Honestly, little else can make my skin crawl like those commercials. Except perhaps the 2002 CBS sitcom "Baby Bob," which starred Adam Arkin and Joely Fisher as the parents of a particularly precocious talking infant. The show also starred the underrated Holland Taylor (now stuck on the obscenely awful and inexplicably popular "Two and a Half Men") and former Mr. Barbra Streisand, Elliott Gould. Apparently, the show was so creepy, I couldn't find any clips of it, anywhere. According to Wikipedia, the character of Baby Bob originated in commercials for the now-defunct and after the show's run, reappeared in a series of commercials for the Quiznos sandwich chain:

Okay, I don't know what's creepier in that clip - the talking baby or the sexualization of an infant. Of course, the sexualization of young children always disturbs me. Especially in this context:

Dear God, why is a four year-old being referred to as "...a seasoned professional?" You might as well call her a "whore." The whole concept of child beauty pageants disgusts me. I recently got into a rather heated debate with an old friend about this very subject. Apparently, she had put her daughter through the pageant experience and found it to be positive and uplifting for the girl, who has (according to my friend) since gone on to well-adjusted life. I'm still dubious. Is it any wonder that some creep found JonBenet Ramsey such a turn-on that he had to kill her?* Growing up in the 60's and 70's, there were no children's pageants (or at least, none of which I was aware). Now, they are everywhere. And it saddens me that parents would subject their kids to wearing makeup, hairpieces, false teeth and suggestive costumes in order to win money and scholarships.

I firmly believe that children should be allowed to be children, and not be subject to their parents' fantasies or vicarious hopes.

Now that I have veered slightly off-topic, let's get back to Creepy Talking Babies, shall we?

Still... the sexualization of children continues to pervade the airwaves, especially in Ameritrade's (E*Trade) most recent Superbowl commercial in which the hip, talking baby not only has a girlfriend, but a piece on the side, as well:

It's almost like the Talking Tina episode of "The Twilight Zone":

Or even worse, this commercial for a real talking doll, Mattel's 'Baby Secret':

"I want to tell you a secret... you must kill Mommy and Daddy!"

Seriously, is it just me? Or have we all become so numb to advertising that we allow this kind of crap to go on? Did we learn nothing from "The Bad Seed;" "The Village of the Damned" "Children of the Corn" or "The Children?" More importantly have we learned nothing about the early-sexualization of children since the JonBenet Ramsey murder? That any parent can allow his or her child to subjected to this kind of judgment at such an early age, only manages to reinforce the stereotypes of beauty that Hollywood and Madison Avenue have foisted upon us for more than a hundred years. Should we be surprised that anorexia and bulimia are so prevalent among young girls? And should we be surprised that images of children in adult makeup and costumes encourage pedophiles to act on their deviant impulses? Okay - I'm all for attractive young adults showing off their bodies, but we need to draw the line somewhere.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

More, anon.

*While there is no evidence to support the theory that JonBenet was killed by a pedophile, there is little doubt in my mind that such pageants encourage deviant behaviors among those already inclined toward such activity.


Stephen said...

& the very, very creepy Dancing Baby on Alley McBeal! It still gives me nightmares!

Look Who's Talking? Yikes!

Stephen said...

you have been tagged: