Great post by Belle Waring on Children’s tv and filmic conventions:
No, the thing I don’t understand with Little Einsteins is, since it’s an absolute given that the creators had all kinds of earnest meetings about the ethnicity of the characters etc., what was the motivation to just revert to ordinary filmic conventions and make the white boy the leader? I sort of imagine them feeling, well, me made enough concessions in putting the asian chick in, so… Finally, if the Little Einsteins ever get in any real trouble that little black guy is toast. (This just reminds me of watching Final Fantasy. When the one big black marine sacrificed his life for the white guy and his magic scientist girlfriend I thought “even a digitally animated brother can’t catch a break.”..
“even a digitally animated brother can’t catch a break” indeed. I think the only film I’ve ever seen that bucked this convention was Deep Blue Sea where (even though Samuel Jackson buys the farm in a quite spectacular fashion early on) LL Cool J’s character makes it all the way to the end and even makes the comment: “brothers never make it out of situations like this. Not ever.”