In defence of Muzzy’s unusual plot
You may have heard of a late American comedian named George Carlin.
Highly skilled in his art form, he propounded an anti establishment mantra through unrelenting acerbic wit. Look him up on YouTube and you’ll see what I’m getting at.
Here’s what Carlin said about ‘political correctness’:
On and on political correctness goes, slowly reaching out its tentacles into all aspects of society.
Of course, it was not always like this.
The BBC has lately and often been dubbed a highly politically correct establishment, but back in 1986 it was allowed the freedom to make Muzzy in Gondoland (often shortened to simply Muzzy), an animated film for teaching English as a second language. Later, by way of simple dubbing, the same film would be used to teach other languages, Spanish included.
I use the word ‘freedom’ in association with the making of Muzzy because it’s not without its controversies.
As dose.com informs us:
Parts of Muzzy have not aged well — watching the 1986 film with 2016 eyes made me especially aware of some of the more problematic moments, including one cringe-worthy sequence where the Queen rotates in front of a full-length mirror, staring at herself and repeating the phrase “I’m fat.”
No language course designer would put that in these days. Cringeworthy indeed!
Nor, unlike the case with Muzzy, are we likely to find an old fashioned ‘baddie’ in any modern production. Meet the villain of Muzzy, Corvax:
Corvax rose to such prominence as a cartoon character that he even has his own page devoted to him at villains.wikia.com. There we are told the following:
Corvax is the evil vizier of the king of Gondoland. He is a slimy, sinister green goblin who plots to marry Princess Sylvia and take over the kingdom. Corvax also has a computer lab which he uses to carry out his wicked deeds. When Bob and Sylvia meet and go on an outing via a motorcycle, he carries out a scheme that involves telling the king and queen Sylvia is in love with Bob, which in turn gets Bob arrested and taken to prison. Corvax tries to take Sylvia as his own even when she refuses, and after rejection after rejection, he smashes his computer in a fit of rage, which leads him to clone the princess. Afterwards, he fixes his computer and traps the king inside. Bob, who has escaped with Muzzy, helps the royal family free the king. Corvax manages to escape in his helicopter, but Bob arrives and knocks him out cold. The latter is taken away to prison and Bob and Sylvia are married.
Wow, that’s some plot. And it scores a big fat Queen zero on the political correctness scale.
But whether or not we are in favour of our children being subjected to such plot lines in 2017, we will do well to remember these words from a French philosopher:
Jim Porter is a co-founder of Speekee®, the most comprehensive Spanish for kids learning program ever to appear online. Jim’s work includes this homeschool Spanish curriculum and this homeschool Spanish curriculum (not a misprint – he wrote two!) and this Primary School Spanish curriculum.
Jim began his Spanish learning journey in 1990. He has been a language teacher since 1994 and he lives in sunny southern Spain. He has two bilingual children. More…