This was an animated series with children as the focus in a Science-Fiction, Spy, Action-Adventure series which dealt with a group of young spies called The Kids Next Door who battle villainous adults. Unlike the problems and expressions of culture discussed in class last week, this series deals with the surreal battle where adults only seek the misery of kids through homework, chores, and tricking them into acquiring mutated ice cream that plans to eat them.
The reason why I chose this series to point out is because while it does show an exaggerated idea of what childhood struggles are in a metaphysical superhero-esque style, all main five kids of the team have agency, each with a different ethnicity, and handle the bizarre situations with their unique skills. The British-American bald leader (Number 1) brings strict command, the large child (Number 2) presents a fascination for aerodynamics, the Asian-American happy-go-lucky girl (Number 3) has endless enthusiasm and ingenuity, an Australian-American boy (Number 4) helps with tenacity and strength, and a African-American girl (Number 5) is second-in-command who is resourceful and fearless against all odds. While the narrative never addresses where the kids are located in the world, the setting presents an environment in the suburbs and the main headquarters is in a massive treehouse powered by a legion of highly-skilled hamsters.
In the story, the kids are presented as capable of taking on whatever challenges come their way. The later seasons present their family life, schools, and their place in the global organization of Kids Next Door. Through the series, the characters grow by creating stronger bonds of friendship, family, and figuring out what they stand for. These are the kinds of things that are experienced by kids of all ages and for many kids they imagined themselves experiencing fantastic adventures. The characters’ world implies that they would eventually be decommissioned when they turn 13, erasing their memories of their adventures and metaphorically move forward into adulthood. It’s an entertaining story about growing up that galvanizes those fears and adventures created by childhood imagination to express the idea of growing up as what it is, a fantastic adventure.