First they came for the police Lego set, now the mob wants “Paw Patrol,” one of the most popular children’s cartoon show in the country.
Protestors and online trolls are coming for a show about animated animals who take care of their town by building, rescuing, and maintaining order and goodness. The Canadian cartoon on Nickelodeon follows a boy named Ryder and his team of six pups, each equipped with different skills, tools and a vehicle meant to help them protect and save those who live in the fictitious town of Adventure Bay.
Marshall is a Dalmatian who specializes in fire and EMT, Rubble is a bulldog whose focus is construction and rebuilding, Rocky appears to be a mutt who enjoys recycling and repurposing, Skye is a cockapoo who does aviation rescue and anything with heights, Zuma is a chocolate lab with jurisdiction and understanding of all things water, ocean, and lake, and finally, Chase is a German Shepherd police dog who also has spy training and just happens to be Ryder’s right hand man.
The show’s intent, according to Nickelodeon, is to promote safety, heroism, and show children what it’s like to work together with a team. In many of the episodes, the Paw Patrol is called into action by another character, Mayor Goodway, either for a mishap with her pet chicken or to help a struggling townsperson. In later seasons, the team is often employed to stop and fix anything the pesky Mayor Humdinger from one town over did in trying to sabotage special events and the nice people in Adventure Bay.
Like any notable name in the last few weeks, Paw Patrol also spoke out against racism by announcing that they would be “muting [their] content until June 7th to give access for Black voices to be heard.”
In solidarity of #amplifymelanatedvoices we will be muting our content until June 7th to give access for Black voices to be heard so we can continue to listen and further our learning. #amplifyblackvoices pic.twitter.com/NO2KeQjpHM
— PAW Patrol (@pawpatrol) June 2, 2020
The tweet, however, did not go over well with some of the Twitter community. Hundreds of comments poured in taunting the show, asking for Chase the police dog to be removed or “fired.” Cruder suggestions included euthanizing the German Shepherd, bullying him into suicide, or calling him a class and species traitor.
While some of the comments may have been made in jest, the intent behind them was not. With recent TV cancellations such as AE’s “Live PD” and Paramount’s “Cops,” it really comes as no surprise that any show featuring law enforcement, especially one shed in such a positive light, may eventually come under scrutiny.
While the concerns and frustrations of portrayal in the media is a long-fought battle that should not be completely ignored, good cop portrayals like Chase the police dog are absolutely necessary. Our society and nation needs admirable examples of public servants for kids and adults to look up to.
In Paw Patrol, there is no portrayal of violent crimes or weapons by the patrol or anyone else. Instead, the show highlights and promotes the safety and rescue duties provided by the Ryder and the team. Arguably, these are some of the same duties that are being renamed and intertwined into #defundthepolice campaigns as community programs.
Portraying a good cop on the screen doesn’t dismantle or belittle the Black Lives Matter movement. On the contrary, it provides a reference point for education, reform, and the promotion of service by the police force. It brings the motto “to protect and serve” into the limelight and gives a positive example to model changes after.
Like any good kids show, the characters make mistakes and Chase is no exception. Not only does the police dog have to learn what it takes to be a good community leader, he also navigates fear and miscommunication within his team. Despite these challenges, Chase recognizes in every episode that his first duty is to the people of Adventure Bay.
If you think that removing “good” cop shows, tearing down statues, and renaming Disneyland rides is going to solve racism, you’re wrong. Racism was not created in a day and isn’t going to leave when things get canceled or removed.
Instead of lobbying for Chase the police dog to be euthanized, why don’t we instead focus on the ways he models how police can assist communities by protecting and serving. Use the example of one dog to educate children on what it means to be a good law enforcement officer whose duties are beyond that of arresting and shooting people.
Or better yet, if you’re offended by a German Shepherd police puppy and his rescue pals saving someone from drowning, a snowstorm, or even just helping an older woman cross a street, don’t watch it. You may be better trolling on Twitter instead.