The Five Best Kiddie TV Villains

I’ve been thinking a lot about villains lately.
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Perhaps it’s because K. is focused like a savant on military conflict, or maybe because he recently developed an appreciation for “good guys” versus “bad guys” and all that goes along with it. (Monday, on our way to the first day of a weeklong summer camp, he asked me in the car: “Mom, will the kids at camp be nice … or mean?”)

Fortunately, in the world of children’s TV, the villians are never that mean, or bad, or scary.  In fact, they’re sort of amusing.  And they don’t get half of the credit they deserve for keeping both kids and parents entertained.  So without further delay, let me give these pint-sized pests their due!

In truncated Letterman fashion, I humbly present to you … the Five Best Kiddie TV Villians:

#5 – Swiper, of Dora The Explorer fame

Why We Love Him: Anyone who antagonizes the abnormally cheerful, eyeroll-inducing Dora is A-OK by me.

Why We Hate Him: That “Swiper, no swiping!” chant that worms its way into your brain, hunkers down and refuses to fly back out.

Subconsciously Reminds Us Of: That stupid kid in your junior high math class who always poked you in the back with eraser nubs.

Who Would Play Him in the Hollywood Adaptation: Steve Buscemi

Where He’ll Be in 20 Years: Working on Wall Street.

Sex Appeal (out of 5 stars): 4. There’s just something about that mask!

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#4 – Spud, from Bob the Builder

Why We Love Him: That devilishly charming cockney accent.

Why We Hate Him: We can’t stand to see anyone messing with that dear, sweet, Mama’s boy Bob.

Subconsciously Reminds Us Of: Our preschooler, on a bad day.

Who Would Play Him in the Hollywood Adaptation: Jeremy Irons.

Where He’ll Be in 20 Years: Writing for McSweeney’s.

Sex Appeal (out of 5 stars): 2. Love the accent, but hate the canvas sack over the head.

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#3 – Pete the Cat, a la Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

Why We Love Him: Pete’s just a big ol’ softie, as evidenced in the “Baby Goofy” episode as he demonstrates the proper way to burp a screaming Baby G. (ie, patting him on the back, singing: “Top, top, bottom, bottom, middle, middle, middle!”)

Why We Hate Him: Because he reminds us that we can become THAT FAT, yes, indeed we can, if we continue to eat Q-Bee Treats like they’re going out of style.

Subconsciously Reminds Us Of: U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler.

Who Would Play Him in the Hollywood Adaptation: Danny DeVito.

Where He’ll Be in 20 Years: Selling Amway products.

Sex Appeal (out of 5 stars): 1. (Pity point.)

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#2 – Oscar the Grouch of You-Know-Where

Why We Love Him: He’s been around forever. He reminds all the Generation X parents of cozy afternoons watching Sesame Street in our living rooms while our mothers folded laundry.

Why We Hate Him: We resent him for being able to play the “grouch card” to extricate himself from any stultifying social function.

Subconsciously Reminds Us Of: Our crabby 3rd grade teacher.

Who Would Play Him in the Hollywood Adaptation: Comedian Louis Black.

Where He’ll Be in 20 Years: Same place, gnarlier and stinkier than ever.

Sex Appeal (out of 5 stars): 0. Because we have cleanliness issues.

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#1 – Max from Max and Ruby

Why We Love Him: Let’s face it. Ruby is ANNOYING and deserves everything she has coming to her.

Why We Hate Him: He drives the Type A inside of us NUTS.

Subconsciously Reminds Us Of: Our own little brothers.

Who Would Play Him in the Hollywood Adaptation: Jonathan Lipnicki.

Where He’ll Be in 20 Years: Managing his own multi-billion dollar software technology firm.

Sex Appeal (out of 5 stars): 0. Ew, that would just be … well, wrong!

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