Mr. Google has almost nothing on this, beyond “Dave Pilkey writes from his inner child,” so here goes.
Captain Underpants is clearly a Child archetype. Can we expand on this?
Archetypes are notoriously neither Good nor Bad. Archetypes are only reference points for your personal, subjective interpretation, can only be expressed by a real or fictional character. The actual archetype itself remains “hidden.”
Whether Captain Underpants promotes or degrades child literacy is not my topic. The Captain only EXPRESSES the Child archetype, in the realm of children’s literature, in the realm of K-8 educational aims; and soon, in film.
One striking aspect of Captain Underpants is his half-real half-parody heroism and persona generally. Dudley Do-Right and the indie comic book hero, The Tick, come to mind as earlier child-hero-parodies. Underdog, maybe?
The trailer for the upcoming movie very clearly demonstrates the potential for an inner experience of an archetype to TAKE OVER an individual’s outer persona, to the point of, obliterating any “adult in the room” who might be helpful.
This is a polarity within the Child archetype. On one hand, the power to inspire, to joyfully sing, to aspire to and work for Goodness, etc. On the other hand, the power to be deluded by our own imagination, fantasy and unexamined beliefs. The Child in each of us, has BOTH these capacities.
FYI I have never read an entire Scholastic Captain Underpants booklet. Saw them hundreds of times when I was a teacher. Tried reading them a couple times. I’ve simply read too much really excellent classic literature and classic fantasy and classic psychotherapy literature. I’m spoiled.
I’m partway on board with the hoopla over the movie because I view it as Steven Spielberg again taking a “really stupid idea” and turning it into a money-making movie with at least a real script and high production values. Think Spielberg’s production of The Flintstones:
The film, shot in California at an estimated $46 million budget, was theatrically released on May 27, 1994, and earned almost $342 million worldwide against a $46 million budget, making it a huge box office success, despite earning negative reviews from critics ~ Wikipedia
Childified-adult – Adultified-Child
As an outsider, and as-written, Captain Underpants seems vague about whether he is a child-fied-adult. I observe the exact prior movie released by Dreamworks was Boss Baby, which definitely portrays Adultified-Child concerns.
What else have I forgot to mention? Okay to expand this topic in the comments below.
Lastly for now, I realize Captain Underpants resonates loudly with concerns expressed in a new book, The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis–and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance. It’s by Republican Senator Bob Sasse, former college President, who was a guest on Wait, Wait Don’t Tell me, so for sure has a good sense of humor. Excerpt here http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/book-excerpt-ben-sasses-vanishing-american-adult/story?id=47531673
From there we are reminded of Neil Postman’s, Amusing Ourselves to Death—so I won’t go there.
What we need is new, younger Captain Underpants to help us envision and begin grassroots work on a more healthy, more sustainable future for the majority her on Earth. Consumerism as dominant force is over.
BIO ~ Author and Health Intuitive Bruce Dickson is a wounded healer who completed his Heroes Journey this lifetime. He likes to share the Elixirs of Life he found, with those interested. “Service to myself and others is why I get out of bed each morning.” Find him at http://www.Amazon.com/Bruce-Dickson-MSS/e/B007SNVG46