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Making “adult” fare out of children’s shows

So for sketchy reasons, I know that there’s a children’s show about this fellow here, named “Handy Manny”. He goes around fixing stuff for people. Very simple, generally with plenty of morality for the kids.

But as a writer, I can see this basic plot being twisted in many horrible ways. You might see some bizarre fanfiction where the man is ten feet tall, has godlike tools, and a Mary Sue complex. Then, there’s the lemons, which turn it into a bawdy sexual orgy tale that makes parents vomit, then their kid sneaks into the room. She can barely read, but it’s okay, because she’s in this show’s intended demographic. She’s like “Ooh, it’s a story about Handy Manny! Aw… the print is so small…” and then starts scrolling through the page. Then there’s a disturbing illustration. Twenty years later, the girl has become a successful but neurotic buisnessman with strange stress related issues and a psychologist is trying to help her uncover the cause of them. But I digress.

What if the series took place in a post apocalyptic world where natural disasters have culled much of the human population (obviously not our mechanic friend and his anthromorphized tools), rendered great amounts of land uninhabitable, destroyed much of the rest of the life on the Earth, yet the basic premise of the show stayed the same? There would be a lot of depressing subtexts and theories you could make.

My take on my own idea: “Manny and his tools are unable to cope with the idea that so much of their lives have been vaporized or otherwise destroyed by the apocalyptic events. Therefore, he travels from place to place, fixing people’s small appliances, furniture, and so forth in a desperate, yet futile attempt to restore normality to a world which deep down, he knows that he alone can not fix.”
Depressing, isn’t it? Arguably there’s a lot of ground for storytelling, but the only way I’d recommend to do it would be in the same morally heavy handed way that your average kid’s show does, or perhaps in the mold of a Greek Tragedy, in that Manny’s desperate attempts to make things right make things worse. Perhaps he consolidates power as a tyrant and tries to force his own views on the wastelanders. Perhaps he takes on a job far too large for him to handle and we see him waste away over several years trying desperately to finish some Herculean task.  But yeah, it just goes to prove that you can dredge darkness and terror out of the most innocent things. But we’ve also seen lighthearted joviality and humor derived from “maturity”. Ever seen “Saturday Morning Watchmen”?

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