"Ruby Gloom: When childhood trauma taints your life" a guest blog by Bryan Peterson

on Monday, June 21, 2010

Ruby gloom is a wonderful children’s cartoon that from what I can tell only airs in Canada, presented by the Teletoon network. It teaches children the importance of sharing and friendship and over coming tough times but at the same time it has humor in it that’s subtle and clever along with your basic cartoon slapstick. I have a strong feeling that theirs more than meets the eye.

When it comes to Ruby and the Gloom Gang. Everyone in the show looks like a child, but their ages are never disclosed and I believe the lack of anyone bigger or older looking with the exception of Mr. Mumbles, who is the same relative size as the other characters, shows that they are all adults or at the very least "grown up" enough to take care of themselves. The relationships between the characters in the show are all very pleasant, unlike most cartoons there is no "rival" character or really even a designated bad guy for that matter, occasionally a shady character will pop up but everyone works together so seamlessly, nothing that takes place is more than a minor annoyance for the gloom gang. The dynamic of the show leaves a lot unseen, a lot of experiences not shown and adventures had when not on screen. When you get down to it, Ruby’s home is basically a flophouse for a group of out of work outcasts.

First lets look at the characters of relevance to Ruby’s personal life. The owner of the house Ruby is the girl in charge. She provides everything. Ruby cooks and cleans and throws parties for her friends every day. It’s never really explained where she got the house, or how she pays for everything, I always figured her parents must have died in a tragic accident while very young, which would explain her childlike nature and her style of clothing, no one to stop her from dressing the way she wants or reason to own any formal attire. Ruby clearly suffers from abandonment issues, and probably had a very close relationship with her parents, which is why she tries so hard to be the parent figure in her home. Her cat Doom Kitty is her faithful companion and closest friend but tends to be a little less trusting and a little more stand offish to compensate for Ruby’s gullibility. Her supposed love interest is the character Skull Boy, whose whole premise is that he doesn’t know where he comes from and only wants to know his place in the world. Although Skull boy and Ruby are very close, and might even truly love each other, their relationship would not last forever due to Skull Boys need for self approval would keep him from ever truly caring about anyone but himself on the most personal level. Although Ruby is the kind of person to stay in a neglectful relationship, there are many factors to protect her from this scenario. Two much more likely candidates for a love interest would never let this happen to their precious Ruby.

The first prospect for Ruby’s true love would be her friend Iris. In most episodes she is very protective of Ruby and there are several examples of her putting Ruby’s interests before her own (episodes “Seeing Eye to Eyes”, “Iris Springs Eternal”, ect.). Iris is most definitely the spazz of the Gloom Gang, over eager but very affectionate towards Ruby, but Iris seems to be much more loving towards Ruby then Ruby is towards her. Knowing her obvious obsession, it is more than likely that Iris would unintentionally bully Ruby into a relationship and Ruby being the most lovable door mat in the world would just go along with it, even though she has much stronger feelings for Skull Boy. Although Skull Boy is a very self centered character, it is more than proven in the Ruby Gloom musical “Hair (less)” that he does love Ruby and would do anything for her. If Ruby got the chance to be with Skull Boy she would take it in a heart beat, even if she was with Iris, and actually works itself into the perfect ménage a co-dependant 3. Iris is so obsessed with Ruby that she wouldn’t care if she had to share with Skull Boy, Skull Boy would be so distracted by himself he wouldn’t even know Ruby was screwing around with Iris, and even if he did he would not have any objections, them all being such good friends and all. As usual Ruby would accept the situation and "look on the bight side".

Although it would be fun for all parties involved for a time Ruby would probably sway even more towards Skull Boy, no matter how self-centered he is, due to Iris’ inexplicable adventures. There are many episodes where she does not even make an appearance, and if she does its very minimal before wondering off. Eventually everyone in the house would figure out the situation, and there would be an air of awkwardness whenever Ruby entered a room, it would be met with smiles and feigned ignorance due to Ruby being the main provider.

There is one more character that is a perfectly viable love interest, but before I go into why I’d like to talk about the other characters. Ruby has another pet, Scaredy the bat, he is not really viewed as a pet in the show but he is an animal that lives in the house. Scaredy is a character of little note, a comic foil, but is more independent than Iris or Skull boy in the sense that he is the drummer in Frank and Len’s band R.I.P. This band is the closest thing to a job anyone has. There is Poe the crow and his brothers Edgar and Allen who appear to be the polar opposite of the crows from “Dumbo”, well mannered and proper, and also independently wealthy in a house separate from Ruby’s. This may be a subtle case of reverse racism, but if that is true then Scaredy bat is pretty racist, with his thick Indian accent for no real reason other than he is another character of a darker color. Booboo is barely worth mentioning, I’m pretty sure episodes based around when the writers didn’t have any good ideas for the characters that matter. Now to Frank and Len, the two headed band leader of R.I.P. Frank and Len are characters that live in rubies garage and mostly stay out of her hair. They appear to be local celebrities in Gloomsville, putting on multiple concerts; they’re another case of a more independent character, although no one in the show is truly independent with their need to please Ruby. Frank and Len’s dynamic seems to be the classic case of the leader and the idiot, frank being the smarter of the two, but both not really too bright. Frank is a very healthy normal looking character who would probably do fairly well on his own. Len is a more dingy punk looking character with an eyebrow piercing and greasy hair. They are an accomplished guitarist with Frank’s arm strumming and picking, and Len’s arm taking the cords. Normally I’d say this is a case of ying and yang but despite their different appearances they’re very similar so I suppose they’re a representation of success through co-operation of the like minded. Frank and Len are well aware of Ruby’s feelings towards Skull Boy due to an incident where they were teleported into Ruby’s mind and saw him from her perspective. They would probably never make a move on Ruby knowing what they know. They appear to like the pairing of Skull Boy and Ruby.

Finally we come to Misery; a character with more issues than can be named. Although neither of them knows it Ruby and Misery are probably the most viable candidates for a happy relationship. Misery cares for Ruby, is the lead singer in Frank and Lens band, and owns a large section of the house, the crypt that is comprised of a seemingly endless series of tunnels. Although a walking disaster area, Misery is one of the more capable characters. Misery says what she wants not restraining herself even for Ruby’s sake. The relationship between Misery and Ruby is best described in the musical in the sense of Misery is the dark and Ruby is the dawn. Misery is the only character that Ruby’s home spun parental schlock dose not have any effect on. That allows Misery to live her life making her own decisions as opposed to every action being guided by Ruby. This defiance in Ruby’s life is exactly what she needs. Someone to treat her like a human being and not a princess, allowing her to eventually mature and grow. At the same time Misery is cursed to be constantly injured in horrible "accidents" and is in need of medical attention providing an outlet for Ruby’s need to mother and take care of something. It’s a perfect symbiotic relationship where Misery has someone to care for her, and Ruby gets someone who loves her and doesn’t treat her like a doormat. Sadly this love is not obvious to them, there’s a good chance that they may never be together despite being exactly what they need. Misery although bold and independent, lacks self worth and would never see herself to be good enough for Ruby. Ruby would never start this relationship or even realize its existence due to her misdirected affections towards Skull Boy. And so the inhabitance of the Gloom Manor are doomed to an existence of awkwardness with each other, but not knowing any other way, they all stay together in a great big happy family.