I often find myself in disagreement with people over kid characters in shows. Kids aren’t the problem. It’s the character being poorly written. As proof, and probably the only time at the Spotlight you will see praise for anything related to The Walking Dead, video game commentator (and a bit of a character himself) Jim Sterling posted a video this week that goes over how you do this right and wrong. Just prepare to dodge the falling f-bombs. Dude kisses his baby with that mouth? (That sentence makes more sense after you watch the video.)
I have little problem with kid characters, but they do have to be written right or at least explainable. Scott Trakker on MASK can actually be useful, even if he is dumb enough to get into trouble at times. Daniel Witwicky, the punching bag of Transformers fans, grew up with no apparently human contact, with his only friends being emotional robots who get blow apart and put back together ever few weeks. It’s not surprising he has issues. I don’t think he was ever depicted with human friends. Even Spike had a few.
Sterling is right, and it’s something that’s always said about female characters as well. Make them characters first, and kids second. The fact that they’re a kid will obviously impact the character, but make them characters first. It’s why Peanuts or Fox Trot still have a place in the newspapers, and the former hasn’t had a new strip since its creator retired (and died shortly thereafter).
And before someone adds it, kid characters who talk or act like adult characters aren’t as cute as you writers/directors think. It just means you wrote an adult instead of a kid. Learn how a kid talks. You used to be one, you know.
You can catch Jim Sterling, in and out of character, at Destructoid.com and The Escapist. Apparently his full name is Jimothy, and it appears to be an actual first name. Didn’t see that coming. By the way, the cartoon clip he uses is the opening to a show called Midnight Patrol: Adventures in the Dream Zone. I’ve seen the show. It was kind of meh, but unoffensive and kids might enjoy it. I don’t think it holds up but I didn’t really get into it.
Oh, and I still couldn’t care less about zombie stories or games so I have to take Jim at his word about the little girl. Stinking zombies.