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Inspector Gadget.

2009 February 16
by Alexandra Funk

So I’m not really sure when I first thought about this cartoon as worth mentioning, but I know it was in a different class (I will not name it for fear of being found out about my inspector gadget daydreaming when I should have been learning about something….well….not animated).

I LOVED this show when I was little. The Obvious: Penny is a little blonde girl who does cool things like save the world…..I was a little blonde girl who pretended to save the world. Woah. Uncanny.

But in all honesty, this show is great. Inspector Gadget is a detective who routinely makes foolish mistakes and has to be bailed out by either the awesome gadgets built into his body or his really smart niece Penny. Gadget’s ineptitude always gets him in trouble. Everyone in the show (other than Penny’s talking dog Brain) has noooo idea that Penny is really the master of technology and investigation. Granted she does sometimes play the whole damsel-in-distress bit, but still it’s never Gadget who saves her (oh yeah that’s right it’s the dog…who happens to be a master of disguise by the way).

I think I took this show for granted when I was growing up. I see the stuff that’s on today for kids….I have an eight-year-old brother… and I don’t recall seeing anything that has a strong female character in a technology position (where she isn’t treated as a freak or outsider). And I know what your thinking…”But he’s a boy of course you’re not seeing shows like that!” The way I see it, isn’t it important for both boys and girls to see females in non-traditional roles? There is always all this talk about how girls need to be taught that women can do anything, but boys need to be taught that too.

P.S. Favorite Inspector Gadget gadgets: Gadget’Copter and Gadget Springs. I soooo want the gadget’copter.

2 Responses
  1. Becky Yeager permalink
    February 16, 2009

    Oh, Inspector Gadget, such good times. I’m racking my brain trying to think of any current cartoon shows with girls in non-traditional roles.

    I know I was somewhat impressed by how there are two main female characters and one male in the trio from CyberChase, but they come off somewhat girly at times.

    How about Numbuh 5 from Codename: Kids Next Door? She’s fierce (and I can’t believe I just said that).

    Asked a friend and she said Kim Possible…but her technology technically comes from a genius boy who lives in a basement-like room.

  2. Alexandra Funk permalink
    February 16, 2009

    I mean although Kim Possible doesn’t really fit what I’m looking for, I think she speaks to a breakthrough of a different kind. Lora Croft has taken the whole female action figure to a new level….it’s much more accessible now. It just sucks that she had to be so “sexy” and scantily clad in order to get people thinking that women can do action.

    Another Tech woman from childhood: Sailor Mercury from TV show Sailor Moon. My father totally used to let me be late to school so I could watch this show.

    Codename: Kids Next Door is a good one. I vaguely remember seeing an episode of this. They have a tree house and one of them is British right?

    Do we consider Power Puff Girls good? haha I loved this show too.

    Sadly though, of all these shows only CyberChase is still on the air.

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