Saturday, June 07, 2014

Despicable Me: The Generational Warfare Reading

I think I've mentioned our fascination with the Strauss-Howe generational cycles before. We finally watched Despicable Me this week. (Living in Cincinnati for several years was enough to leave us permanently several years behind time.) Somewhere in the Strauss-Howe materials they point out that kid movies are generally aimed both at the current child generation and at the current parent generation. Despicable Me is a perfect example of this. (Note that further discussion is based on the Strauss-Howe archetypes and is not meant to resemble any actual persons.)

Gru is, plainly, a middle-aged Nomad (Generation X). He is coming to realize that not only has he never been able to get approval from his Prophet (Boomer) elders, nothing he does, no matter how spectacular, is ever going to impress them. And he is already old enough to feel a bit of a has-been, with an obnoxious Hero (Millenial) pajama-clad upstart nipping at his heels.

So, after one last attempt to do something worthy of notice, he gives up and settles into private life and finding fulfillment from a very child-centered and maybe a bit stifling form of parenthood to the Artist generation, thus making the Nomad midlife transition from frenetic competition to exhausted embracing of obscurity.

I have no idea where the Minions fit generationally, though.

5 comments:

Darren said...

I haven't seen either one of the Despicable Me movies, although I plan to.

But as a Nomad Gen-Xer myself, I fully embrace Gru's decision to settle down and raise kids in obscurity. :)

Mary H said...

The minions remind me of my curious and destructive 5 year old . . .

Litterairy said...

I have 3 girls and 2 boys. I see exactly where the minions come in.

Queen of Carrots said...

It really throws the ducklings when we see something with the wrong numbers and genders of children. Two boys and two girls usually corresponds so well to fictional families. I had to volunteer to be the middle girl and the boys found the minions too anonymous. However, the youngest girl was basically a string of direct quotes from Dot: "It's so fluffy! I'm just going to die!"

Wendy said...

This was really interesting: I had never seen the generational cycles before. I haven't seen Despicable Me, either, but maybe now I will.

It might be a little too highbrow coming right after watching all the Gamera movies, but we'll see.