So my twin boys are a shade older than two-years, and they are starting to develop "favorites." One of them is Clifford the Big Red Dog. I have never seen an episode of the animated TV show, but my wife has. And the other day I heard her singing the theme song. I can't recall the words, but they tell the story of a city family that gets a dog... and then has to move because the dog gets too big and the family needs more space. And sure enough, here's the overarching narrative, as explained on Wikipedia:
Clifford was the runt of the litter, and was chosen by a city kid named Emily Elizabeth Howard as her birthday present. No one expected Clifford to grow, but Emily Elizabeth's love for her Saint Bernard (or Great Dane according to some sources) puppy changed Clifford dramatically. Before long, he was over 25 feet tall, forcing the Howard family to leave the city and move to the open spaces of Birdwell Island.
Ah, open spaces. The American Dream.
So what to make of this? Nothing, I suppose. But that never stopped me before.
I remember discussing other television shows in this regard a while back. I was having a hard time thinking of any popular sitcoms or dramas that portrayed city living in any other way than its current stereotypes. Cities are for criminals (any cop or hospital drama) or smarmy young professionals who haven't quite grown up yet. (Friends, How I Met Your Mother, etc.) Even the Huxtables lived out in Brooklyn... not in an apartment in a high-density neighborhood, but in a lovely brownstone. The family was constantly milling about in the backyard and shooting hoops in the driveway, which was always packed full of hilarious cars that the kids had procured in some fashion or another.
So now I am thinking about cartoons. And apart from the Jetsons (maybe), I am having a hard time thinking of any set in a city. There's Sesame Street, if you expand the idea out to "children's programs," but suburbia seems like the preferred backdrop by a long shot. The Simpsons. The Flintstones. Archie. Etc. Sure, there are a few set in cities, such as Super Friends and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but again, these reinforce the idea of cities as a place to fight crime.