Can we just talk about the lighting for a second? And not even in a 'wow the lighting is amazing' way (but also yeah, wow the lighting is amazing), I mean the fact that we can actually see what's going on the whole time.
Like this is a show that kicks off with three seventeen year olds dying in an alleyway just before they could achieve their dreams, leaving their best friend traumatised for decades after, that then goes on to talk about losing your family, running away from home, and being manipulated into hurting the people you care about. But it's also a genuinely happy show about music and forming your found family.
They trust their audience to take the sad scenes seriously without detracting from the happy ones, and one of the ways they do that is by keeping them all well-lit, even during night scenes. They saw the trend of making shows super dark and went no screw that, we're making a fun kids' show with great lighting that doesn't shy away from being absolutely devastating
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Hello! Can I ask about your "children shouldn't be given adult responsibility" post? (genuine question) Instinctively I agree as I believe children should be treated like human beings but not like adults, but I am confused on what you mean by adult responsability. Could you clarify? Thank you for your time, and have a nice day!
When I was younger, folks seemed pretty comfortable with telling me I was "an old soul", or, "acted like an adult". I was a sharp kid with a large vocabulary who spent a lot of time reading quietly, so I guess the perception was that I was therefore more "grown up" than other kids my age.
Which, you know, made an otherwise lonely and isolated child feel pretty important and special, so it was easy for me to feel flattered when it signed me up for extra responsibilities.
I was six when I was first left alone to take care of the baby. I was seven when I got my first summer job. I was eight when I was put in charge of my own chicken coop; feeding, cleaning, buying feed and all.
I was special, I was different, I was "treated like a grown up". I was proud of that.
Then I got older, and more tired, and the limitations stayed the same while the responsibilities and expectations kept piling up.
No, I couldn't stay home while my family went on an overnight trip, I was too young for that.
But the adults were both out somewhere overnight? Sure, I could take care of two younger kids, cook dinner, put them to bed by 8 and have them off to school in the morning.
I remember, once things began to decline, repeating rather often:
"Either give me adult responsibilities and adult privileges, or child responsibilities and child privileges. Don't give me child privileges and adult responsibilities- either I'm an adult or a kid. Make up your mind."
It turns out that "adult responsibilities" isn't quite the same thing as "adult respect".
But even if it was, though- even if I was treated with all the benefits and freedoms of adulthood alongside all the work, I was still a kid.
Kids need free time. Kids need sleep. Kids need to *not* have to lay awake at night wondering what they're going to make for school lunches, or how they're going to cook dinner for six when the stovetop burners went out.
And it's not necessarily because they can't handle the pressure, but because there should be Actual Adults in their life doing those things. If not for the labour aspect, but for the respect and security of it.
My parent says I can't wear shoes in the house? Why do they care? I'm the one who mops the floors.
I'm not allowed to stay home alone? What, you trust me with your baby but you don't trust me with your house?
The family pet died and I'm tasked with burying it? Cool, grief is isolated and nobody cares, and when I'm scared or in pain, the authority figures in my life will be distant and emotionally unavailable. I have no reason to believe anyone will support me through emotional hardship in the future.
When it comes to responsibility, its not so much a question of, "can the child handle the work?", but, "what precedent is this setting for their perception of the future?", and, "What is this teaching them about actual adults?"
A child who sits quietly and draws is no more an adult than a child who eats glue and sticks pens up their nose, but both deserve to be respected as people, and both deserve to feel as though the adults in their lives are stable, reliable, secure, and have their best interests in mind.
Responsibility is not the same as respect, and there is a mile of difference between "can" and "should".
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The thing that makes Dream SMP so horrific isn't the sheer scale of it's angst. There have been children's shows with a bigger death toll by thousands and even millions, like Steven Universe with it's themes of breaking free from an exploitative system through war that showcased suffering spanning galaxies wide, or Adventure time where it's entire basis of history is that their world is the remnants of an apocalypse, or as with Gravity Falls, where the whole fabric of reality would have been transformed to a nightmare if it hadn't been for the bonds between one rag tag family, etc. No, the pain in Dream SMP isn't grand, and that makes it all the more difficult to stomach.
Because instead of the main villain being some chaos entity from space that slaughtered numerous lives, it's that friend that acted like an older brother and laughed over the most stupid of jokes and fought with you over the most useless, mundane of things, before he turned around and started slipping further and further into his god complex until the only thing he lived for anymore was the enjoyment and fascination he took in your suffering.
And that authority figure you need to take down for their unethical management of the system is not some lackey or world leader who you only know by their title and evil deeds, no, it's that man that gave everyone pumpkin pie and promised you he could give you a home when everyone else had left you in the dirt and who told you how sad he was to see you frown and giggled over your valentines confession and created a whole sentient machine to help you combat your mental health struggles and build you a place where you could actually feel safe, only for him to fall to repeating the same torturous abuse on others that he swore he would protect them from.
Oh, and that otherworldly entity, beyond the veil of your mortal world, that wishes you to join them in their eternal game outside your reality, that knows the secrets of the universe, including it's end? What if that was once just your brother that played guitar, and your father that smothered you in affection, and your leader that tried to lead your close knit group to freedom and prosperity with diplomatic words, and stood as bait in the range of fire, unprotected, when it came to battle, and cried under closed doors when the speeches were done and all that was left was to lie face first into a pillow. Slowly, painfully, drifting away from his goal, from hope, as he let go of that vision and self destructed in his paranoia and pain, taking you all down with him. Dying with the conviction that the only thing he ever brought, and could bring, was suffering.
So it doesn't matter that the wars that they went through only featured a dozen people at most, because while there was no big, inconceivable number of the lives lost, the despair and utter loss of hope, and anger, grief, that the few people we follow displayed at the end of it, was enough to tell the story. And it doesn't matter that the exile arc only lasted about a week in our time, because while it didn't last years for the character like it could have in any other story, the plain and so unapologetically explicit depiction of abuse we sat through watching all 11 of those days was enough to leave us shaken to our core. And it doesn't matter that the possession esque plot in Ranboo's story is never actually fully displayed, never actually results in anything too grotesque or alien, just some property damage, because the horror in Ranboo's voice and his detailed monologues as realizations keep piling up about the following pain that has resulted from it, the fear and uncertainty of himself, his own mind, and all the implications, are enough to make us cry.
Because, in the end, there doesn't need to be some big, cinematic, world wide tragedy to make us believe this is serious, to make us scream at the unfairness of it all. There just needs to be the intimate, and horrifying realization, that in this story, the ones closest to us are the ones who can actually hurt us the most.
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