ragged edge magazine online



Issue 3

May, 2001



The toxic dump of The Oblongs

By Bob Mauro

The animated sitcom The Oblongs, which premiered on national television on April Fools' Day, employs every negative image and stereotype of just about every disability for "laughs." So how come I'm not laughing?

"This cartoon promotes ridicule"
says Rochelle Howard

Her petition to pull The Oblongs off the air is online at

The show, based on the books and characters created by Angus Oblong, is about a dysfunctional family living in a polluted valley on the wrong side of the tracks. The father has no arms or legs. The mother is a bald-headed alcoholic. The three children (or is it four??) consist of Siamese twin boys, a little girl with a penis growing out of her head, and a psychiatrically disabled boy. As syndicated humorist Dave Barry says, "I'm not making this up!"

The family cat has not been spared. Someone call PETA! This ferocious feline is a coughing, cigarette-smoking wreck who terrorizes the armless, legless Dad and family.

One wonders what children will learn from watching this extremely negative depiction of people with disabilities. One also wonders what the heck the producers were thinking when they created and put this toxic crap on the air. I guess you could say they were thinking Big Bucks.

Supposedly created for an adult, i.e., "mature," audience, The Oblongs will no doubt become as popular with kids -- and immature adults -- as South Park has, which is also rated for "mature" audiences. One also wonders what ever happened to Ozzie and Harriet? I guess all that atomic waste, all those toxic dumps and all that arsenic in our water has turned Ozzie and Harriet into The Oblongs . TV has evolved -- or devolved -- from what 1960s FCC Commissioner Newton Minow once called "a vast wasteland" into an electronic toxic dump.

But what will The Oblongs turn all of us into? A nation that ridicules those who are different and disabled? Or have some of us already lost our respect for each other and turned into those warped minds already? After all, what kind of mind would create a show like The Oblongs ?

Or is this really all some cruel April Fools' Day joke played on people with disabilities?? Stay tuned!

Or, better yet, turn off the TV and read a good book -- maybe one about toxic dumps.

Visit Bob Mauro's website at http://hometown.aol.com/bobezwriter

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