#3. Alfred Pennyworth - Batman Begins
Alfred isn't just Bruce Wayne's butler -- he was the young Bruce's legal guardian after his parents were shot and killed in an alley.
Luckily for Bruce, Alfred appears to be an extremely caring and compassionate man, and while his parents' death was quite tragic, children have recovered from much worse. Also, he is rich and thankfully can be given the best psychological care money can buy. It's pretty much the best-case scenario for such an ordeal; no doubt with Alfred's help, Mr. Wayne can grow up to become an accomplished business man and a productive member of society ...
... or, you know, a giant vengeful bat.
Let's be honest here. It's fun to watch Batman, but it's not fun to be Batman. And if the kid you raised grows up to dress like a bat and wander the night fighting the mentally insane, you failed that child.
Let's go back for a moment to his childhood, After his parents' funeral, young Bruce Wayne blames himself for their deaths, and Alfred reassures him by saying, "It was nothing you did; it was him, and him alone." Which clearly plants a pretty big seed, because we then see that about 10 years later, Bruce is still carrying his grudge. He is so hateful that he actually attempts to assassinate the guy when he is released from jail.
Also, he spends years wandering around strange, muddy foreign countries and trying to get murdered. Which probably counts as "maladaptive" behavior.
Again, cool to watch in a movie, but not a healthy way to deal with grief. Couldn't Alfred have had at least a sit-down with Bruce about this during those 10 years? Or gotten him help, if he didn't think he was capable of getting through to him himself?
Then, after this attempt, Bruce Wayne runs away for seven years. During that time he is declared dead, and Alfred inherits everything. EVERYTHING. Then, after his adventures, Bruce finally decides to return home and is picked up by Alfred in a jet while covered in bruises and mud. Upon seeing him, Alfred says, "Master Wayne, you've been gone a long time. You look very fashionable. ..."
Seriously, Alfred? Not a single fuck you give?
"Ah, Master Wayne. So you'll just be standing around in the dark, surrounded by bats tonight? Very good, sir."
Alfred doesn't care about this man's well-being -- the man he raised as his own son. When Bruce shares his plans to dress up like a bat and risk his life every night to fight crime, clearly as a result of his lingering grief over his parents, Alfred just rolls with it. He's totally cool with it.
Could it be, perhaps, that Alfred's compliances with Bruce, as opposed to any kind of guidance or resistance, have something to do with who gets even more rich if Mr. Wayne kicks it?
"Master Wayne, I think this time you should try fighting the Joker unarmed. And nude."
#2. Every Adult Member of Starfleet -- Star Trek
Star Trek has been around so long, and we take it so much for granted, that we don't really stop and think about how weird the Starship Enterprise is.
Oh, hey, it's happy hour.
They seem to use it for everything: In one episode it's a warship, like the equivalent of a modern aircraft carrier. In another, it's acting more like a diplomatic vessel serving as an ambassador to alien races. But overall, they always talk about it first and foremost as an exploration vessel, more the equivalent of the old sailing ships that sat out to find the New World, knowing mortal danger may lurk over the horizon.
But the day-to-day atmosphere inside is more like that of a cruise ship. For instance, there are children on board.
You see them in the background of numerous episodes, and various plots involve them in one capacity or another. So ... why are they allowed on the ship? Anyone? Let's look at the ship's mission, which any even casual viewer knows by heart:
"Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. It's continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before!"
Bah! Nah Nah NAH! Nah Nah NAAAH!
Boldly going where no one has gone before -- meaning places full of unknown beings, diseases and environmental dangers we may not know how to deal with. And we brought our kids along.
Can you remember any time in history when human beings thought that was ever a good idea? Especially considering that this ship we are talking about is the freaking flagship of the Federation, an institution that already has way more enemies than you could shake a bat'leth at. The Enterprise gets attacked every other week.
Not to mention the space pedophiles.
And the danger to the kids isn't hypothetical; in one episode, a bunch of kids get kidnapped by aliens. In another, a tour group of kids almost gets killed when the ship malfunctions.
"Ah ... that, little Johnny, is a Romulan Bird-of-Prey. The green glow is the disruptor powering on."
There are other episodes where children get singled out and tormented by alien races, such as one where a little girl's imaginary friend turns out to be a homicidal being, or when a young boy's dead mother comes back to life as an alien, presumably studying how much you can traumatize a human child.
Give Mommy a kiss!
And it's not even like the Enterprise is just the victim of bad luck here, like it's an innocent fishing boat continually getting surprise-attacked by pirates. No, they used this ship to attack the Borg, a race of half-robots with no emotion hell-bent on taking over the entire human race. With the children on board.
Hey, it worked out pretty well for Seven of Nine.
What makes it even stranger: We can't think of an occasion where the crew has considered the safety of the children in any way when making decisions.
In the last TNG film, the new Enterprise is carrying a wedding party with it (cruise ship mode) when it is ordered to fly into enemy territory on a mission (battle ship mode). Long story short, this doesn't end well, and Captain Picard is left with a ship half blown open and finds himself face-to-face with the enemy's giant doomsday ship. His only choice is to ram the front of the Enterprise into the bad guy without any warning ... to anyone.
Now anybody (OK, maybe just nerds) can tell you what's at the front of the Enterprise -- it's a place called Ten Forward, a lounge where people go to socialize. But more importantly, according to previous episodes of the show it is also one of many emergency shelter locations in case of a deck evacuation within the ship ... something that had happened earlier in the battle. All of the men, women and children would have been huddled there.
And they use it as a goddamned battering ram.
#1. Indiana Jones - Indiana Jones Franchise
Ahhh, Indiana Jones. Professor of archaeology at Marshall College and father of one hideous greaser.
It's tough to imagine that this character would be bad for children when he pretty much raised an entire generation into adulthood. He's smart and courageous and can improvise the most elaborate stunt on the fly. He's the ultimate male role model, right?
He does have a thing for young women -- Marion was in her teens when Indy did her, which kind of puts the "female student who has a crush on him" thing in the third film in a new light.
That's two-thirds of a lawsuit, right there.
But these are young adults -- hell, most of his students are over 18, which, while still creepy, is not illegal. So what's the big deal? It's not like Indiana just walks around endangering random little kids he finds on the street!
Oh ... right. Short Round.
How did they wind up together? Indiana caught the 10-year-old picking his pocket on the street and then took him. Seriously, that's what happened in Temple of Doom -- Indy found an orphan on the street, named him like a dog and then used him as his own personal assistant instead of taking him somewhere that he could be taken care of.
Don't pretend any one of you wouldn't trade places with him in an instant to hang out with Indiana Jones all day.
One could argue that Short Round is better off being raised by Indy -- as opposed to just being put in some hole somewhere with other abandoned children -- but first, that's not Indy's legal decision to make, and second, do you recall ever seeing him after this film? Temple is a prequel -- it takes place one year before Raiders, so in the span of one year, Short Round basically disappears. Where did he go? Seriously, what the hell happened to Short Round? Did Indy forget to refill his water dish before going on vacation or something?
Actually, it's too bad he didn't have him around in Raiders; or else Indy could have used him as one of the child human shields he surrounded himself with when he was about to be killed by Belloq.
Yes, this happened.
David Bell is a freelance writer and video editor. You can see his work here.
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For more on bad parenting, check out 5 Horrific Ways Bad Parents Turn Their Kids Into Good Money and 9 Toys That Prepare Children for a Life of Menial Labor.
And stop by Linkstorm to discover the frightening truth of Shortround's whereabouts.
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