Tuesdays, ANIMATED INSIGHTS BY SHANNON MUIR takes you inside Shannon’s latest reflections on writing, animation, and life in general. To catch up on all posts, check out the Animated Insights portion of the website! This week focuses on when animated stories don’t seem to reach their full potential, and that it isn’t always the fault of the storyteller.
My husband and I just finished catching up on the latest episode of an animated series we like. We knew that the episode should feature the parents of one of the leads, and we were excited to learn more about this parent’s backstory and maybe even some of how the parent came to be married and living in the area the story takes place in.
By the end of the episode, we’d learned none of that, missing an opportunity that seemed ripe to let us get to know this character and how the character sees the world. This parent figure isn’t what you’d normally expect in this role, so there definitely was an interest to learn more. Instead, a sibling was introduced and we spent more time on the ongoing sibling rivalry with a character we’d just met versus using it as an opportunity to learn more about a character we will be invested in for the rest of the series.
Ultimately, a storyteller has the right to tell a story – in animation or otherwise – as the storyteller sees fit. My husband and I just came seeking the story we would want to tell. In that respect, our disappointment is solely on us; but we both still hope to learn more about this character!