Jennifer Anne Martin
TaleSpin - Ahead of its Time
As a kid-at-heart married to an even bigger kid-at-heart, during Amazon's Prime Week, we saw that the complete series of Disney's TaleSpin was available for less than $30 - the three full seasons - so we had no choice, but to buy it!
As 90s kids, we were very fortunate to be growing up with a plethora of entertaining Disney and Nickelodeon shows, never mind the TGIF lineup. My husband and I both share an affinity for this show that features the lovable Baloo and his adventurous young sidekick, Kit Cloudkicker, and of course the savvy businesswoman in Rebecca Cunningham and her cute daughter, Molly.
So our DVDs arrived in the mail the other night and we immediately watched the 4-part pilot episodes. An animated kids' show had a 4-part pilot - hard to believe these days. As an adult looking at the show with older and wiser eyes, it dawned on me that TaleSpin may have been a bit ahead of its time.
As I said, it featured, Baloo, Kit, Rebecca and Molly. What is unique is that Rebecca is a single mom who used her business education to buy Baloo's failing air service to turn it into the successful Higher for Hire. Here in 1990, kids were introduced to a strong-willed, smart woman who also took care of her young daughter, all on her own. The 90s were filled with classic family sitcoms - Family Matters, Boy Meets World, Home Improvement, just to name a few - that featured women more or less taking care of the household. In this animated kids' show, a lot of kids were able to see their own mom in Rebecca Cunningham - a woman who not only cared for her daughter, but also advanced her station in life by taking classes and owning her own business. How inspiring!
I'd like to say this affected me as a kid, inspired me that women can do anything they want if they put in the hard work required. But what sticks out the most is the love the four of these characters shared. While not a traditional family, they showed what it meant to love one another and to have each other's backs. As an adult, I appreciate that message, but now, I also appreciate the message that women are powerful and can do just about anything they put their mind to.