A blog about LGBT characters in mass media.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Neither Boy nor Girl, an interesting, if shallow, romp in space.



''We asked your Mom, at least I think he was your Mom.''- Kurt Blobberts



















'Neither Boy nor Girl' is an episode that appears late into the rather average Disney channel cartoon, Lloyd in space, a four season long series about a high school in space populated my a melange of alien species. While the show features the standard group of male protagonists, our 'hero' Lloyd, the big dumb kid, the shrimpy brainy kid (in this case literally a brain) and the average every kid, this episode bucks the trend of high school antics in space with an episode in which the boys feud with a group of young girls over the identity of a genderless purple blob child named Zoit. Not your standard TV fair but then again if it was we wouldn't be here would we?

The episode begins with an argument between the male protagonists and their arch foes, the girls *bom bom bom!* over which of two bands are better, a generic space themed metal group and an equally generic female folk singer, with the fight undecided they look for an independent adjudicator to decide the victor. Thus enters Zoit, our spotlight character, who gives them a surprisingly fair answer, denoting the value in both bands leaving the two groups rather confused. After leaving the table the groups begin to argue over if 'she' was right, the boys reply with confusion believing Zoit to be a boy. After several chase scenes with both groups looking for any signs of gender identity from Zoit they come up empty because Zoit exhibits traits equally stereotypically feminine and masculine, finally the collective group of boys and girls give in and ask Zoit about his/her identity.

Zoit reveals his/herself to be a Predilicon, a species that is neither a boy nor a girl until their thirteenth birthday at which point they choose which gender they become.
I love this idea, but what it leads to, well that's another story.

Kids cartoons often tone things down a notch too far in an attempt to appeal to their intended audience, which is exactly what they did. While this could have been an interesting discussion on gender identity this episode wallows in a very shallow idea pool as both gender groups bombard Zoit with very stereotyped ideas, boys are great because they can watch action movies and love them, girls are great because they can dress up and enjoy fashion.  Bull shit, they could have had fun with this, showed a middle ground between the two gender groups but nope, no middle ground only cliches and enforced gender roles, kids are smart and honestly deserve more than this.

The end is rather ambiguous, Zoit refuses to reveal his/her gender saying that it will only become apparent when he/she gets a crush on one of the other characters.
A wet fart to end a rather fairly uninspired script centered around a single interesting idea, I enjoyed the show as a kid but it certainly didn't grant me any additional insight into gender, enforcing the typical ideas generated by kids media giants like Disney  rather then breaking the mold and giving me something I can truly love.

I can't recommend it for more than a lark but if you must watch it with your kids remind them that the characters within shouldn't be taken completely seriously because honestly, they are fairly terrible role models and paper thin at the best of times.

See you soon for more antics with an entry on a personal favorite of mine, My Little Pony Friendship is Magic.


5 comments:

  1. Whee you has blog! :D

    I am surprised and happy that this episode even exists. Great concept but, yeah, poor execution. I guess there are no gay Predilicons then? Pfft. I pretty much hate that it actively reinforces the idea that people can only ever be attracted to persons of the 'opposite' gender. A great shame, it started out so promisingly.

    Also, *ahem* I LOVE THIS BLOG ALREADY. I look forward to the next installment very much. Thatisall. ^_^

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    1. "I guess there are no gay Predilicons then? Pfft."

      Oh, come on. The episode aired in 2001. Maybe you're too young to remember, but being gay was not widely accepted back then. It was only starting to become a bit mainstream on TV with gay characters and celebrities coming out.

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  3. I remembered this episode from when I was a kid and recently rewatched it and thus, stumbled upon your post.

    And while I agree with you, it would have been nice to see them go a bit deeper with the overarching theme... I think for what time was allotted they DID touch on the blurring of stereotypes for genders.

    While the girls showed Zoit a dance class and the boys were spying, the brainy boy got into it and started dancing around too. While veiwing the sappy girly movie, the massive boy wept opening and while the girls were shopping, the average boy got distracted from spying by looking at a vest.

    Also, when the boys bragged about playing their football knock off, one of the girls wanted to know why she was invited to play.

    So, while none of these were made big points in the cartoon, they were a nice subtle nod that there isnt anything too defining girly or masculine.

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  4. There were some gender-based lessons in this episode. Whenever the boys spied on Zoit and saw that he was enjoying something "girly", one of the boys would exhibit the same reaction (more or less). And what about Zoit explaining that no matter what they picked, they'd still be themselves. Thus teaching the others that they can still have Zoit as a friend no matter what.

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