13. Charlie and Lola
One of the unspoken truths of parenting is that at some point in your life you will think one of your child’s friends is an asshat. This is only natural. All children go through phases and some of those phases are more asshatty than others. Your own child will, at some point in their development from baby to adult, be an asshat too. Chances are, you will be largely blind to your own child being an asshat, despite how easily you will spot asshattery in others. It’s just your hormones and your unconditional love for your child. Don’t worry, that’s natural too. Of course, this will make you a bit of an asshat as well, but this is also perfectly natural. We are all asshats. You, me, that guy over there. That’s fine. It’s ok.
Which doesn’t escape the fact that sometimes other people’s children are just fucking awful.
While not the worst child on Cbeebies (oh, we’ll get to that twerp, believe me) the television portrayal of Lola does manage to be something almost entirely offensive. Want, want, want. Me,me,me. She is the epitome of ‘other people’s children’. That kid running around the restaurant shouting at the top of his voice? Lola. Those kids that just scream all the while for no fucking reason? Lola. That kid who grows up to be a television personality whose fame is based largely on them pretending to believe controversial things? Lola.
AND WHERE ARE THEIR PARENTS? EH? WHERE ARE THEY?
Poor Charlie has to put up with Lola’s narcissism, patiently encouraging her to eat peas or whatever, because their parents are perpetually absent. It’s no wonder Lola acts out so much. She is being raised by her brother who is, what? Twelve? He tries hard, and he is coping pretty well, but damn somebody needs to ring social services and get that kid the help he needs. I mean, yeah, sure, there is clearly money pouring in from somewhere, but you don’t raise children by throwing cash at them and hoping for the best. They will end up broken, touring South Africa trying to stir up racial hatred for a documentary that nobody is going to watch, or punching a co-worker because their dinner is late, or something like that.
What I really struggle with is why somebody would create a fictional world where parents are absent, and portray the psychological scarring that world creates, but never acknowledge that there is a problem within that world. Just one scene of Charlie on the phone to Childline, a single tear rolling down his cheek, as he surveys a room full of abandoned toys and spilt pink milk, knowing he can’t sleep until things are put away and clean, listening to advice he won’t take because he doesn’t want to get his parents in trouble, doesn’t want to make a fuss, doesn’t want to rock the boat. Is that too much to ask? Apparently so.
I do quite like the theme music though. And the animation. The animation is nice.