I wasn’t gonna watch Milky Holmes until I read this post by Melforaine. But when I saw that this series was apparently willing to do nasty things to its main characters, I had to check it out.
I love me some main character abuse.
The scene discussed in the above post is pretty awesome if you ask me. It’s the perfect sort of test that a villain can give to a hero. A memento of their past exploits is wired to a bomb. Knowing full well that the Milky Holmes team has lost their super mutant detective powers, the villains set up the bomb in such a way that the only way to defuse it is to use one of their four unique powers.
This is the sort of nasty thing that I like to see in kids stories. The kids aren’t being put in any physical danger. You save that sort of stuff for the climax of a story. What’s going on here is purely emotional. If that picture is destroyed, nothing of real physical value is being destroyed. The girls will still have their memories of their first case, and I’m sure they still have the actual certificate that they received for busting their first bad guy. It’s all in the symbolism of the shit.
What’s important in this scene isn’t the destruction of this picture, it’s the idea that something’s genuinely at stake here. “Next time it won’t just be a picture, it’ll be your futures as detectives on the line,” is the point the series is trying to get across. That picture wasn’t of any real significance, but it represents something of genuine value, and by destroying it the girls (and the viewers by proxy) know that there are no guarantees of their success.
And the girls get this. They get that they need to shape up and find some way to get back into the swing of things. This is exactly what they needed to kick their asses back into gear. Before this, they were resting on their sugar-colored rear ends and coasting on their former glory. They were getting special privileges based on past exploits, and they were all too willing to go about their school lives exploiting their reputation. They needed to be kicked back into reality and shown that they can’t be the top cats if they’ve long since lost the very skills that made them important.
The linked post is right in that some kids may be scared by this. I think this is a good thing. Kids entertainment shouldn’t be about nice, sweet, innocent, safe stories. This is the prime time to shock the kids with some life lessons. This is why Bambi’s mom dies, why Luke’s uncle and aunt get slaughtered by Stormtroopers, and all that shit– these stories depict the harshness of reality without beating the kids over the head with the actual reality part of it. This sort of stuff works far better as a means of telling kids that not everything’s hunky dory about the world than far more “realistic” depictions of real life that you’d get in, say, a history class or some straight-faced, serious story. Give it to them in the crazy cartoons and movies that the kids want to see anyway. Scare them there. They need it, and many of them probably want it. I know many of my favorite movies and cartoons from when I was a kid were the ones willing to veer off into such directions, while the ones that tries to sweet talk me were the ones that I shrugged off as stupid and asinine.
Kids want to be scared, so scare the shit out of them.