TV Station Trolls Children by Airing Watership Down On Easter Afternoon
When it comes to children and media, I have basically zero sympathy for the people who take small children to see Deadpool or Watchmen and then yell at theater employees because their kids saw something inappropriate. Those movies are rated R, and any reasonable Google result would tell a parent what to expect when taking a child through the doors of the theater. That said, earlier this week a U.K. TV station aired a cute-looking rabbit cartoon in the afternoon on Easter, and that cartoon was Watership Down.
“Oh snap!” said everyone who has read Watership Down or seen the 1978 animated film.
“Aaaaugh!” said every parent who was unfamiliar with the property and now has to spend their nice, relaxing family holiday dealing with the fallout because their toddler just watched some cartoon rabbits get gassed to death, and then others rip each other to pieces, and now is going to have nightmares about the Easter bunny.
According to The Independent, Channel 5 showed Watership Down on Easter afternoon just as kids were sitting down to eat their chocolate bunnies. Anyone who has seen or read Watership Down knows what happens in that movie, but not everybody has read the book or been traumatized by that particular animated feature. I know that my parents haven’t read Watership Down. If they turned on the TV on Easter when I was a kid and saw some cute cartoon rabbits hopping around, they’d probably assume it was some nice Easter special and totally kid-friendly.
Then this would happen:
Oh my God, I think I just re-traumatized myself watching that video as a 30-something adult.
Watership Down is one of my favorite books of all time, but airing that particular film on Easter afternoon seems like trolling. I can just imagine my friends or I sitting around and saying, “You know what would be funny? Airing Watership Down on Easter afternoon, when all the adults have brunch comas and the kids are just sitting down to watch TV with their new stuffed rabbits.”
“Hahahaha!” the rest of us would say, because it sounds like a pretty funny prank. And it is a pretty funny prank, except for the fact that it’s generally bad form to scare small children as a prank.
Watership Down is a great movie, but if a programming decision is indistinguishable from a troll, maybe someone at the station should have reconsidered it.