The firsts few thoughts that enter your head when you hear the word Hollywood is glamour, beautiful actors and actresses and wealth. From the first tape role, to the first cinema and movie Hollywood has portrayed this perfect, adventures, risk taking lives that all of us can just dream of. Of course in some of the movies and shows there is some little truth, but over all it is just a big fantasy world that we all escape to for a few hours. There are no super humans with super powers, cat-woman or batman, Hogward’s school where little wizards attend to learn more spells.
Hollywood creates these movies for us to leave the reality for just a few hours and pretend we are someone or something else. Nothing wrong with a little bit of daydreaming, or imagination, but over all Hollywood is very misleading, especially with its characters. There are some shows, Disney shows, movies that really portray some characters as such, but it reality that would never be possible. In this paper I would like to discuss three stages of Erikson’s eight stages of psychosocial development. For each stage I have chosen, I have also chosen two characters that either enlighten this stage or mislead.
The first stage of Erikson’s psychosocial development theory is infancy. During this stage the child developes a sense of trust or mistrust that is provided from a caregiver. During this stage the child’s age is from birth to about 18 months. The characters that I have chosen for this stage is Stewie from Family Guy and Tommy from Rug Rats. Stewie from appearance is an infant who isn’t capable of anything yet just as we would suspect of an infant. In this show they portray Stewie as diabolical infant son of ambiguous sexual orientation who has adult mannerisms and uses stereotypical archvillain phrases.
He is very intelligent, capable of walking and master planning. He definitely does show no trust for his mother, which he constantly plans of killing in some ways. He always implies how she is terrible and a horrible mother. Perhaps he was/is ignored by her most of the time, which is causing him these negatives feelings towards his own mother. Stewie shows developmental stages of a young adulthood. He definitely shows isolation towards everyone in the family. He despites his mother, talk negatively and has no respect for his father, just ignores or disrespects his two siblings.
He feels no love, no connection to any of the family members. He is isolated and just cares for himself. Although one character he seems to show some intimacy with is Brian the dog. Both of them spend most of their time together. There are some traits of intimacy, love, compassion Stewie has for the dog. While it is very funny to watch him do and say the things he does, in reality there is no infant capable of what Stewie is portrayed by Hollywood to do. This is very misleading because his abilities and capabilities are exaggerated and distorted for our entertainment.
The second character I have chosen for infancy stage of Erikson’s stages is a courageous, adventurous one-year-old baby named Tommy Pickles from Rug Rats. Tommy, also very similar to Stewie, is an infant who is capable of doing a lot more than an infant should be. Tommy walks, talks and comes with up intelligent plans of how to resolve some of the issues he collides with on daily bases. Him and his few infant friends are portrayed to live this young adulthood lifestyle. Using their imagination, the babies transform routine tasks into surprising adventures.
In some of the episodes it shows how Tommy and a girl live in the doghouse, transformed as their own small home. It shows that the infants have intimacy between each other. They show love and compassion to one another. They had a loving, husband and wife relationship. Of course, in real life this would never happen so therefore this is very misleading, again just for our entertainment. Also could be for middle childhood children to relate to and teach them different ways of solving some of the similar conflicts, because in some episodes it shows how Tommy and his friends learn new concepts and work together to accomplish them.
It shows how these infants portray industry by over coming an obstacles and feeling the sense of competence. As we look at both of these characters from the stage of infancy, we can easily conclude that they both are very misleading, and strictly created for our entertainment. In our day to day life we certainly do not have babies’ who plot against their parents, with fully cognitive abilities of a full grown adult, or infants who wonder around by themselves at home having different role plays, talking and going on adventures in the backyards.
The second stage that I have chosen is Erikson’s fifth stage adolescence. During this stage teenagers begin to try and identify themselves, but sometimes they are just confused. Every teenager goes through the identity versus role confusion. That is why we have different teenager behavior. Some teenagers lash out with anger and rebellion, and some pretend to be in the young adulthood stage even thou they are mentally not there yet. The two characters’ that I believe fit this stage of Erikson’s psychosocial development are Louis Stevens and Renee Stevens from Disney’s channel show Even Stevens.
Louis is a wild, youngest sibling, viewed as immature, rude, and selfish. He always pulling jokes and is described as ruining everyone’s lives. He never seems to change with time. He is showing the perfect resemblance of what an adolescence child would do. He is a teenager who is still confused of what his role is and he is just discovering himself through different stages adolescence. As mentioned he is rude, lashed out with anger, unable to communicate with parents, these are all the perfect examples of teenagers and their unpredictable behavior.
This character is definitely enlightening to Erikson’s stage of adolescence, because he is showing typical developmental abilities and issues of this stage. The second character I have chosen is Louis’s sister Renee Stevens. Renee is an intelligent, well-behaved, perfectionist. She is the classic overachiever, constantly running for hall monitor and class president while trying to keep Louis’s schemes from becoming disasters. While she is in the adolescence stage, she seems to be acting out as a young or even middle adulthood. She is constantly watching over her brother, babying him like a mother would.
She plays a role of an older woman not one of a teenager. Also, she shows lots of generativity from middle adulthood. Since she is a perfectionists and an over achiever, she believes she has accomplished a lot in her schoolwork. She feels like once she is out of there, everyone will remember her as the greatest through all the activities she has done. Even thou she is still just a teenager she lives this life of an older woman. She doesn’t show any interest in her brother as a sibling, but more as a teacher, a higher authority to him. We can clearly see she is still adolescence by her appearance and some ways of reasoning.
I would say that Renee is a misleading character because her abilities and actions are much exaggerated through this TV show. Teenagers are difficult to deal with and while Louis shows the traits of adolescent and is enlightening to the fifth stage of psychosocial development, Renee has more of the middle adulthood behavior and is misleading to us because we clearly see that she is still in an adolescence stage. The third and the last stage that I have chosen is Erikson’s last stage, late adulthood. Movies and shows do shows lots of different scenarios of this stage.
Every dult has created a family and a great career to feel the sense integrity, or other have created the absolute opposite of integrity. As I went through the different characters, it was a bit challenging to pick the right ones. The first one that popped right into my head was Ebenezer Scrooge. Just by hearing his name, we right away associate The Christmas Carol, and the mean, old, grumpy man. I think he is the perfect example of late adulthood and integrity. At first he doesn’t show any integrity, just pure despair. He is mean and hateful towards everyone and everything.
He has forgotten all the good things in his life and was left with just bitterness and regret. But as we go through the movie and as we learn more about him through the 3 different ghosts, we see the change in Ebenezer. He becomes this full of life, loving, caring man. He strongly shows signs of integrity. He is proud of what he has achieved trough out his lifetime, and he shares his accomplishments and wealth with everyone he knows. This is a great enlightening example of an older man going through his life, reevaluating everything and feeling the sense of integrity.
Another great example is Carl Fredricksen, an older man from a Disney movie Up. He also is an example of Erikson’s last stage, late adulthood. At first we see him as a grumpier man who isn’t just as happy as he used to be. He has lost his beloved wife and his life just isn’t the same without her. He slightly goes through the stage of despair. Feeling disappointed and mad at himself and everybody else. Mostly he is disappointed in himself by breaking the promise he has made to his wife Ellie before passing to take their home to the cliff besides Paradise Falls.
He feels unaccomplished and bitter for not being able to do so as promised. Then he gathers all his courage and strong will to take the home of Ellie and his to the place where they both dreamed. He over came his despair and bitterness, and became this happy old guy. He felt the sense of accomplishment and full filament. He looked back at his life and felt the integrity, the kept promise to his wife. This is very similar to Ebenezer’s experience as both of the characters go through despair and into integrity. This, also, is a great enlightening example of developmental abilities of the character.
As we watch these TV shows and different movies we do not really pay attention to how could the characters relate to us, or how the characters are misinterpreted. There are some movies that can teach us a lesson, but there are some that is pure fiction. As I went through different stages of Erikson’s psychosocial development and applied them to different characters, I realized how some of these shows have these characters that are misleading and if looked more in depth could give a wrong message. Over all, it is good to see the picture behind it all and kind of start connecting the dots and understanding the deeper meaning.