Values Dissonance in The Little Rascals
Just like the Our Gang theatrical shorts,
Hanna-Barbera’s series of The Little Rascals has fallen
victim to values dissonance since its Saturday-morning run ended in 1984,
hence its absence from U.S. cable reruns and home video. Some examples:
I now wonder, since CBS/Viacom claims ownership of the animated Little
Rascals series, could it be rerun on Comedy Central, as a contrast
to the deliberately vulgar South Park, or on what is now the
Paramount Network (formerly Spike TV, originally the Nashville Network)?
- In most episodes, the Rascals are free-range children, traveling and
engaging in various activities without the required adult supervision.
It is said that some parents disapproved of this.
- In “Rascals’ Revenge”, Alfalfa lets Darla precede
him out of the shed by saying, “Ladies first.” She thanks
him with a kiss. Both are likely to be considered sexist stereotypes
- Darla is shown barefoot in two episodes: “Cap’n
Spanky’s Showboat” and “The Irate Pirates”. In
the former, Darla scrubs the deck of the Mississippi Queen with
brushes on her bare feet, but she is still wearing her dress, and she is
barefoot for no more than 4½ seconds. The latter takes place on a
beach, Darla is wearing a bikini, and Porky is the only boy without a
shirt. I cannot see how the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, or
most parents, would take issue with a 6-year-old girl who is barefoot
but otherwise fully clothed.
- Cross-dressing is depicted in “Just Desserts”, in which
Alfalfa is forced to dress like a girl and substitute for the ailing
Darla, and in “Fright Night”, in which Darla dresses like
- It is believed that some episodes include tobacco smoking by adult
characters (not Officer Ed, thankfully).
- In the 30-second short “Out on a Limb”, the sight of
Alfalfa pushing Spanky on a swing would now likely be considered
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