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Essay: 90's Nostalgia
Angry Beavers Is Meant For Good Laughs, Not Life Lessons
By Gillan Ritchie
I was born in 1990 and I am proud of the decade I grew up. Everything in the 90s was better, especially cartoons. I primarily watched cartoons on Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon – cartoons on stations like PBS didn’t even come close in my book.
Like every other 90s baby, I watched all the popular shows: Rugrats, Rocko’s Modern Life, Hey Arnold!, The Powerpuff Girls, Courage The Cowardly Dog, Sailor Moon, Pokémon…
I could keep naming off shows but the list would get pretty long.
But the one that I always remember is Nickelodeon’s Angry Beavers, which aired from 1997 to 2001. The show is about two brothers, Norbert and Daggett, who happen to be beavers. After their parents had another litter of kits (baby beavers), Norbert and Daggett were left to care for themselves. So they opt to build their home on a lake in the middle of the forest.
Sounds kid friendly right?
For the most part it was, but after watching a few episodes as an adult, there some things that I noticed.
Daggett is genuinely stupid and there is no way getting around that – he just doesn’t have any common sense. Norbert is the smart one in the family; he is so smart, he even has his own lab and a particle accelerator.
As an adult, I have to wonder why Norbert has a science lab and a particle accelerator. Why does he have a love for fine arts?
If we were discussing a show like Dexter’s Laboratory, I could understand why the main character has a science lab – even if he was a kid genius. But why does a beaver need a science lab? He doesn’t.
Another thing I noticed while watching the show is that Norbert and Daggett wrestle a lot. I don’t have any siblings but I feel the amount of wrestling that occurs between the sibling beavers is unnecessary. For me, it teaches kids that it’s OK to resolve problems by using physical confrontation.
During the episode, “Another Bites the Musk,” the audience watches as Daggett discovers he can spray musk out of his castor sacs, located between the pelvis and the base of the tail, to claim property. Daggett proceeds to torment Norbert by spraying all of Norbert’s belongings with musk. It repels Norbert and is upset that Daggett is being childish. But then, Norbert turns the tables by spraying Daggett’s belongings. Now the audience sees Norbert and Daggett rushing around the house trying to spray belongings that don’t belong to them with their musk. They end up having an accident which damages their home. As a result, their home sinks to the bottom of the lake.
Neither beaver brother can take responsibility and blame each other for losing their home.
To me, this episode screams that it’s OK not to share … it’s OK to take other people’s belongings without their permission … it’s OK not to take responsibility when something goes wrong … It’s OK to blame someone else for your problems.
I tried watching Angry Beavers so I could reminiscence as an adult. But instead, I overanalyzed it and thought about all the wrong things the show was teaching kids. I am sure though, that this would happen if I watched any show from my childhood.
I would like to let go of all the smaller details of the show and watch it again without looking at it as an adult. It is after all, a show meant for kids.
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