“Is Ruby Max’s mommy?” asked my 5-year-old, as we watched yet another episode of the animated Nick Jr. series, “Max and Ruby.”
“No, she’s his big sister,” I replied.
“Then, where’s their parents?” she retorted.
It’s a question that has launched a thousand ships… okay, the vessels may still be in port, but the subject has apparently bothered enough people that there are now multiple Facebook pages dedicated to answering the question every parent (who has ever had to sit through more than one episode of the preschool series) has asked themselves: “Where are Max and Ruby’s parents?”
I’ve pondered the questions a few times, but never really pursued an answer until last week when my daughter became couch-ridden with strep throat and hand-foot-and-mouth disease. (Yes, despite what medical archives show, it is possible to contract both painful ailments at the same time.) Consequently, I spent the better part of the last four days massaging my child’s back, swapping out cold compresses and praying that her 104-degree fever would break, all while watching back-to-back episodes of “Max and Ruby.”
Yes, it’s been one of those weeks.
If you have young children and access to cable TV, then you have likely seen at least a few glimpses of the animated children’s series, which features bossy big bunny sister Ruby (who’s like maybe 7) and her little bunny brother Max (who, given his stunted vocabulary—he only utters two words per show—is no more than 3)… and their noticeably absent parents.
Max and Ruby’s house features photos of missing mom and dad, but they are never featured in any of the episodes. Grandma’s around from time to time and some adult bunny friends named the Huffingtons drop by every so often (mainly to drop off Baby Huffington, so Ruby can bunnysit), but other than those sporadic visits, Max and Ruby live parent-free lives.
The mystery of where these bunny parents hopped off to finally pushed me over the edge. A couple of days ago I turned to the almighty Internet to find out if bunny parents actually ditch their young in real life; perhaps “Max and Ruby” was simply a nod to this time-honored bunny tradition. That’s when I discovered an entire cult of “Where are Max and Ruby’s parents?” trolls.
“Where are Max and Ruby’s parents?” Facebook page has nearly 3,000 fans, mainly parents of young children who take comic stabs at guessing where Ma and Pa Bunny are hiding.
“WHERE THE HELL ARE MAX AND RUBY’S PARENTS???” is yet another Facebook page dedicated to… well, I’ll just let you read the official description of the page, and you can come to your own conclusions, as to what this popular query has incited in cyberspace:
Facebook page description: “Too all those parents who sit and watch MAX AND RUBY and wonder where da hell are there parents?? like hello child services would be knocking on my door if I was away that much.”
Really? Really? These are animated bunnies that wear human clothes and walk on two legs, people. Let’s exercise some perspective.
It took a while, but I actually found a legitimate answer to the nagging question of where Max and Ruby’s parents may be enjoying life sans kids. Deep, deep in the dark recesses of Google results is an interview with Rosemary Wells, the woman behind the “Max and Ruby” books, which inspired the animated show. According to Wells, her goal is to show Max and Ruby solving problems on their own, without having Mommy or Daddy around to help.
I guess if Diego can navigate the Artic Sea on a jet ski by himself and Dora can climb an active volcano by herself, then why can’t a pair of young bunnies take the bus downtown to buy a dragon shirt, eat ice cream in the tub, plant marigolds, build a clubhouse, and trim an entire Christmas tree, without a couple of pesky parents raining on their parade?