Not only has the Cartoon Network show been praised for it’s LGBTQIA+ representation, but it also features varied depictions of Pinoy culture.
For the longest time, cartoons have been seen as a source of entertainment for kids and kids at heart. Their often lighthearted nature makes them a top choice for those looking for a fun viewing experience. But over time, as entertainment become more accessible to a wider group of people, more and more people are looking for characters who look and accurately represent them. And this shift in culture isn’t just limited to live action content, but in animation as well. Even if these aren’t real people, they have just as big of an impact. Case in point, a clip went viral recently from a Cartoon Network show that depicted Filipino characters. And the best part is that one of them spoke Bisaya, a language rarely seen in shows like these.
@kalapagong ?????? #craigofthecreek #filipino #philippines #cartoonnetwork #bisaya #uwu ♬ original sound – Kalapagong
The clip in question came from Craig of the Creek, a Cartoon Network show that began airing in 2018 and is currently on its fourth season. The show follows Craig, Kelsye, and JP as they explore an untamed suburban wilderness at a creek in Herkelton, Maryland. Specifically, the viral scene came from the season four episode, Sink or Swim Team, in which Eileen, a Filipino character herself, introduced Craig, the main protagonist, to her lola.
She tells him that she usually doesn’t understand what she usually says, but that he’ll have to do the “bless,” aka mano. We then hear the lola speak in Bisaya while watching TV saying, “Ah, mayo ra na sila sa sunod na salida.” (Ah they’ll be fine in the next episode.) When Craig meets her lola, he does the aforementioned bless and she then says to Eileen, “Ah, ka guapo, imu ning boyfriend?” (Oh, he’s handsome, is he your boyfriend?) leading Eileen to feel slightly embarrassed.
THE MANY TASTES OF PINOY FOOD
The Filipino representation in Craig of the Creek isn’t just limited to that scene alone. Later in the episode, Craig, Eileen, her mom, her older sister, and her lola sit down for a meal where they eat Filipino food. The delicacies served include tortang talong, chopped tomatoes, and sinigang na isda. In fact, it even features Eileen’s mom cooking the rice through the finger method.
@redtremblaymaples Reply to @redtremblaymaples Craig of the Creek S4 E4- Sink or Swim Team #filipino #tortangtalong #sinigang #philippines #cartoonnetwork #fyp ♬ original sound – Maples?
In another episode, Eileen shows her friends a dish she makes whenever her mom returns from the Philippines with special ingredients. She calls it the pan de fish; pandesal with Lolo’s Super Smooth Peanut Butter, with it’s packaging looking very similar to local favorite Lily’s Peanut Butter, and topped with a gummy fish. While the combo might seem unique to some, Eileen’s friends love the snack and fawn over it, which makes us want to try it ourselves tbh.
This actually isn’t the first time that Cartoon Network has depicted Pinoy food in one of its shows. Back in 2018, an episode of Steven’s Universe had a scene where Steven, Lars, and Sadie made an Ube cake/roll, a dessert Lars ate when he was growing up. The show even made a cute original song to soundtrack the scene.
REPRESENTATION IN CARTOONS
The Filipino representation in Craig of the Creek wasn’t done randomly or as a ploy to attract more Pinoy viewers. Quite a few of the staff who work on the show are Filipino like Tiffany Ford, a writer and storyboard artist on the show who has roots from Cebu. It’s clear that the creators of the show have an understanding of Pinoy culture and aren’t just including them for just the sake of it.
It’s already rare to see characters in shows like these speak in Tagalog. But it’s even rarer to have them speak in other Filipino languages. So, to have the lola speak in Bisaya is not only a treat for anyone who speaks the language, but also a thoughtful expansion of the rich Filipino culture represented onscreen. The scene also makes all-too relatable references to aspects of Pinoy culture like doing a mano and the comment of how the lola thought the guy Eileen brought over was her boyfriend. The fact all of this is done in a kids cartoon that Filipino kids, especially those growing up outside the Philippines, can watch means that they can see someone who looks like them and their family.
When boarding the #CraigoftheCreek episode Sink or Swim Team, we brought all of our home experiences and tried to put them in the ep!— ashhu ?ENDWALKER brain rot ? tahilan (@oni_hat) January 19, 2022
From cooking rice with the finger??method, to the overused Cool Whip container and psst…#DontSleepOnTheCreek pic.twitter.com/07kt0zJHAN
Not only has Craig of the Creek been nominated for a Daytime Emmy, but it also received a nomination from GLAAD because one of it’s main characters is lesbian. So, this accurate representation is another notch on their belt. Hopefully, this is just the start of proper Filipino representation in cartoons. Craig of the Creek is currently airing on Cartoon Network. You can catch the first three seasons on HBO Go.
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