chase the police dog on paw patrol

Eric Trump and Ted Cruz Jump to the Defense of … Paw Patrol?

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We cannot make this up, people. Amid calls to defund the police, Eric Trump and Ted Cruz have jumped to the defense of … Paw Patrol. Yes, the kids show about various cute dogs that get there on the double whoever you’re in trouble has come under joking fire for its portrayal of a “good cop,” and now a sitting US Senator and the son of the President have come to defend … the cartoon dogs. Woof.

To understand what the heck is going on, you don’t need to know much about Paw Patrol, which is a show for toddlers where various dogs with various skillsets save the day. The show is a pretense to sell toys, as most kids’ shows are. The cop dog is named Chase and he’s “on the case.” Last week, in a potential misguided attempt to be part of Blackout Tuesday, Paw Patrol‘s official Twitter posted that they were “Muted and listening.” It went about as well as one would expect …

These are just a few of the responses to Paw Patrol, and while most of them come from a place of humor as protest (Twitter’s specialty), they tie into a much larger cultural conversation going about how we portray the police in media. It’s a conversation worth having, given how much of our entertainment landscape is populated by cop shows. Just this week, COPS and Live PD, have been canceled and activists have turned their eyes to other “copaganda.”

The New York Times rightly wanted to discuss this and used the Paw Patrol as their entry point for a great discussion of cop television of critic Amanda Hess. The piece was provocatively titled “The Protesters Come for Paw Patrol.” Which served its purpose by getting a few of the easily ruffled and outraged to tweet about it without reading the article …

The NYT using Paw Patrol as the lead-in for a story about cops on television is an interesting tactic, but in this case, it’s maybe not a great choice. Not because we shouldn’t have a conversation about how we’re all indoctrinated from childhood to see cops as heroes, but because “Defund the Paw Patrol” is the absurd conclusion that conservative opponents will use, as Cruz and Trump have here, to discredit the entire conversation.

How we portray cops on TV is a vital discussion we should be having, but it’s probably not a great idea to base it on a children’s toy commercial dressed up as a TV show. (Though we could use it to talk about civil incompetence and how the Mayor of Adventure Bay has a really weird relationship with her chicken).

Paw Patrol for its part isn’t going anywhere. The show has been renewed for an 18th season on Nickelodeon, and a movie is headed for theaters in 2021. So maybe let’s keep the conversation about shows that excuse police brutality and cops who “don’t play by the rules.” We probably shouldn’t give these sentient jars of mayonnaise more ammo, or else real progress might, well, go to the dogs.

(via Decider, image: Nickelodeon)

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Author
Jessica Mason
Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.