Kids just don’t get the same kind of enjoyment out of something their parents may have loved as children. Try to give a modern kid Grandma’s rusty slinky or a can of dad’s Ninja Turtle Ooze (which by now is a solidified rock of preserved 90’s bacteria). You’ll be lucky if that kid doesn’t drop kick your groin simply out of principle. The same disconnect is apparent with old-timey children’s performers. What follows are three such personas that many misguided parents still believe kids love. In reality, of course, kids actually dread these things more than Bill Murray fears the script of Ghostbusters 3.
We believe if you beat a dead horse long enough eventually it will become funny again. With that in mind, let’s begin with the internets favorite red nosed punching bag, the clown. Technically there isn’t much left to bash when it comes to this topic…but we’ll give it a shot. We checked around online and shockingly there are still websites that insane parents can visit to rent clowns for their kid’s birthday parties. It is our hope that any parent who browses such sites instantly has their IP reported to Child Services and the local law enforcement.
The association of clowns as an acceptable form of entertainment for kids likely stems from their circus routines and popularity in late 50’s and early 60’s American television.
Ever heard of something called Coulrophobia? Exactly ten out of ten people you know probably have it. It’s a pretty popular trope as well. Bart Simpson clearly has it, Kramer from Seinfeld has it, and Columbus from Zombieland has it.
Coulrophobia is essentially a fear of clowns brought on by their disturbingly exaggerated features, swollen noses, enormous feet and undeniable sense of creepiness. According to a 2008 BBC report, a University of Sheffield study of more than 250 children (ages 4-16) found that imagery of clowns was commonly loathed. Researcher Dr. Penny Curtis stated, "As adults we make assumptions about what works for children.” We found that clowns are universally disliked by children. Some found them quite frightening and unknowable." This primal hate and fear is the central reason why clown gimmicks work brilliantly for many of our favorite villains.
The perception of Santa Claus as a jolly, white-bearded, fat man who inexplicably trespasses in your home to bring you Christmas gifts seems to sit quite well with most children. The history of Santa is actually fairly interesting. Although we’re not sure some of the accounts we researched on the internet that spoke of “reindeer abuse” and “elf porn” is necessarily true to the spirit of Santa. Anyway, for our purposes we’ll simply be discussing the iconic version of Santa which originated in America and Canada in the 19th century. Created by Thomas Nast, a prominent caricaturist and political cartoonist, the following iconic image has endured throughout the years.
So where did things go wrong regarding Santa? Well there is a curious phenomenon regarding children who are seemingly cool with the idea of Santa, yet the very same kids will shriek in horror at the sight of him in a mall or any other venue.
As you can see…
Really we could go on all day. There are countless blogs dedicated to pics just like this. Many child psychologists believe that kids crapping their pants and weeping over being plunked down on the lap of a mall Santa are suffering from separation anxiety. They believe kids just can’t cope with being away from their parents. But what exactly are children seeing that adults aren’t?
In a timesnews.net article Ed Yonkey, who has a Santa gig at malls in Johnson City, chalked up kid’s fears to the massive white beard. The beard, he stated plays into the fear that kids have with seeing Santa. “Now picture Santa in your mind. Can you see his face? No, you can’t. You see his beard. It’s covering a good portion of his face. If they’re down lower on your lap all they can see is your beard, and that’s enough to scare anyone.” In our view, the beard factor combined with Santa’s weird interrogation as to whether you’ve been naughty or nice is more than enough reason to make kids freak out at the sight of him. It’s the same reason we stopped going to church.
The Easter Bunny
There’s a slim chance that at some point in human history children may have found clowns and Santa Claus tolerable. But we doubt that holds true for the Easter Bunny. There are more images on the web of kids crying while being held by the Easter Bunny then there are pics of Beyonce’s crotch.
For those of you living under a rock (which is adrift in space) here is a brief rundown on the Easter Bunny. Basically, he’s a popular rabbit character who brings baskets of colored eggs, candy and toys to kids. He has absolutely nothing to do with Jesus as this Christian pin wisely illustrates…
Despite the massive amount of “Screaming Kid / Giant Bunny” images online, an article from altoonamirror.com states that the Easter Bunny gets mixed reactions from kids. Charity Foor, who is the set manager for the Easter Bunny at Logan Valley Mall in Altoona , PA, stated: “Babies are usually pretty laid back with the bunny, but starting at around 18 months, some kids get frightened. The fear of the Easter Bunny could last until 4 years old.” She went on to say that although kids around 4 and up may become comfortable with the Easter Bunny, that still doesn't mean they're completely at ease. Adding to the creepiness factor of the Easter Bunny is the fact that traditionally he doesn't talk. We assume that makes things upsetting for kids trying to make conversation. Imagine being a child dumped on the lap of a ridiculous looking 5 foot tall rabbit who is also a MUTE. Perhaps it’s best that the Easter Bunny doesn’t talk as no words could truly describe such a horrid experience.