Last week I wrote an article detailing why The Fairly OddParents might be a metaphor for mental health. But in writing that article, I realized something: Fairly OddParents is one sad-ass show. It's like eating-ice-cream-out-of-the-tub-with-your-hands-level sad, or at least it would be if it weren't an animated show for kids. But if you strip away all of the jokes and all of the fairy magic, then you get a level of tragic circumstances unmatched on most daytime soap operas. Don't believe me? Watch this clip and really think about the subtext:
Here's a character who is so inherently mean that it has ruined her life. The series is filled with moments like this, and it's why we've decided to add The Fairly OddParents to our "Who is the actual worst?" series. (Or, in the case of It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, "Who is the actual best?" Or, in the case of The Umbrella Academy, "Who is the most tragic?") We're taking The Umbrella Academy route with this one and doing a dive into which character is indeed the most tragic. Arguments can be made for many characters, including Vicky, who doesn't even make my top three. Here are the ones who do:
The Case For Timmy:
There's a reason that Fairly Oddparents trends in the gloomy direction. It's inherent to "Da Rules" of having a fairy. Only the most miserable of children are allowed to have fairies, and the only way to lose those fairies is to no longer be miserable. Timmy might seem to be happy when in the presence of his fairies or in making an outlandish wish, but once the quick hit of dopamine fades, Timmy is back to being as depressed as ever. Frankly, he has good reason to be. He struggles in every aspect of his life from academics to romance to sports, he has an abusive babysitter, and his parents seem to view him as a burden. Here's Timmy's dad giving shade like a 50-foot cliff:
It might be hard to feel bad for Timmy when he has fairies, but those fairies come with extensive restrictions. He can't wish for love or to win a competition or even money. Every episode (for the most part) has Timmy returning to the status quo. Having fairies in this universe is like playing World of Warcraft. It's a game. It's something to do for fun that distracts you from your troubles and can be incredibly immersive. But once you're done playing, you're back to square one with you same shitty life. Unless you play Warcraft to make YouTube content or something, but my point is, Timmy's fairies are only a bandage to profound depression. The fact that he's had fairies for so long (he creates an addendum in "da rules" to keep his fairies into adulthood) and relies on them so extensively (he's made more wishes than any child in the universe) is proof of how deep that depression runs.
The Case For Tootie:
A great source of Timmy's anguish comes from his babysitter Vicky, but at least he doesn't have to live with her. Tootie, Vicky's younger sister, doesn't have that luxury, and combined with her unrequited crush on Timmy, feels like a Jane Austin protagonist brought to life. There are blind puppies who come across as less pitiful than Tootie.
But if Tootie is so miserable, then why doesn't she have Fairy Godparents? Well, it's speculated that Tootie did once have Fairy Godparents, but she revealed them to someone else, which is a violation of "da rules" and lost them along with any memories of having them. This feels quite possible as Timmy once loans Tootie his fairies in the episode "Birthday Wish" and Tootie almost loses them by blabbing. If this is true, then that would mean Tootie could be just as miserable as Timmy but without the aide of Fairy Godparents to comfort her.
The Case For Crocker:
Denzel Crocker is Timmy's fairy-obsessed and mentally unstable teacher, and, at first blush, it's hard to feel too much pity for him. Crocker is an unrelenting, weenie of a teacher. He's caused more kids to fail out of school than teen pregnancy and the common core curriculum. He makes Severus Snape look like Mr. Feeny on happy pills. He's an asshole.
Yet, at the root of that shittiness is pain. You see, Crocker was once also a miserable child with fairies, but he then lost those fairies upon turning 11.
Ideally, the point of fairies is to be a stopgap for children. It's a way to get them through their tough adolescent years. Their minds are then wiped of any memories of fairies so that they're no longer holding on to magical wishes as a source of happiness. They can instead take joy into their own hands by the choices they make.
The problem for Crocker is that he never let go. He wrote down that fairies existed and then made it his life's mission to find them. But in the process, he never learned how to be happy in his own right and, as a result, not only did he have a miserable childhood, but he had a miserable adulthood as well. It's why Crocker is my pick for the show's saddest character, but again I think there's an argument to be had for all, except for maybe Cosmo.
That guy is just pure party.
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Top Image: Nickelodeon