The Troll Under the Bridge, social justice edition

Robbo Mills sends in this episode of his Rufus the Dog kids' show, a social justice-oriented retelling of "The Troll Under the Bridge." He says,

Social justice and kids TV puppet shows don't seem a likely mix but we managed to make it work for a bunch of our episodes before it got cancelled. We made these shows for YTV Canada and after recently getting the rights back we started putting them online - under a CC share-alike license - where they'll have a home and reach kids.

We're also making new shows with the same characters - and the first one out of the gate is our own daft version of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol". Funding for this is being raised through IndieGoGo and we're hell bent on getting it done and online before the holidays. And yes - there WILL be Tiny Tim and there WILL be a Flying Spaghetti Monster.

The Troll Under The Bridge - Ruffus The Dog (Thanks, Robbo!)



  1. Trolls!
    This made me come out from under my bridge.

    But no, the poor should be rounded up and thrown into printing presses and turned into money!!

    Goatseeeeee!!1! bwhahaha

    Troll troll troll!
    Pay attention TO ME, and you bettar not delete my comment or you’re an evil nazi trying to censor meeee!
    I will fight you fascist moderators!

  2. I don’t really get the term “social justice”. It seems to imply that if I have more resources than another person, then an injustice has occured. That I am somehow guilty, and that my resources should be reallocated as punishment.

    I suppose there’s a fine distinction between having your government help the poor because it’s right, versus them doing the same thing because you’re in the wrong — but I much prefer the former. The latter seems like a slippery slope.

    1. I think the confusion is cause by 2 different definitions of justice. The common idea of justice provided by the state is retribution: punishing crimes. Its what our Justice Department does. But welfare isn’t under the Justice department. (heh).

      So when you hear social justice, you think retributive justice: people getting what their actions are due.

      But the Social Justice definition of justice isn’t really about that at all, though they use the same term. Its more distributive justice simplicter. People having equal access to the things they need. They might not have it because a crime was committed, or they might not have it because people haven’t given it to them like they ought to.

    2. You didn’t even try to watch the video, did you? Just saw the words “social injustice” and had to rage about what you imagined to be something about government redistributing wealth… which is especially ironic since the story was about people making judgments without knowing any of the facts.

    3. @Rayonic I think the problem also though is the Haves are under the mistaken impression that they are not beneficiaries of public goods as well, not just the Have-nots.

      You are able to accumulate wealth under the protection of National laws, institutions, infrastructure, and assistance. Laws that enforce contracts, banks to fund enterprise, roads/rail/shipping to transport goods, education, health and environmental laws to protect you… all are common goods that government provides that you benefit from. There is no such thing as a self-made man, that is a useful myth that keeps people from participating in society, and one of the most destructive forces in American culture today.

  3. It would be interesting to see how the FSM fits into a Christmas Carol.

    Like Scrooge says “you’re nothing but an undigested bit of beef” and the ghosts disappear in a poof of skepticism?

  4. Well there’s always the Wikipedia explanation of what “social justice” means:

    For me personally it boils down to 2 core principles: Don’t profit from the suffering of others and don’t make poverty a crime. If those 2 points are observed and acted upon by us individually, and as a society, things will be better for everyone – not perfect, just better.

    And we need more puppets.

    And Flying Spaghetti Monsters.

    Thanks for posting this Cory – it means a lot.

  5. “Social justice and kids TV puppet shows don’t seem a likely mix”

    Umm….Sesame Street?

    @Rayonic: You are correct in admitting that you don’t really get the term “social justice”.

    Guilt and punishment are not factors. It is not strictly a poverty issue- the poor are not the only members of society, from which “social” is derived. If you exist within a human society than you are susceptible to some form of injustice, even if you come from a privileged background.

    An example of a social injustice that is pervasive regardless of socioeconomic class is the prevalence of domestic violence and sexual assault. The victims are not exclusively adult women: children of all genders are also subjected to such disgusting behavior. The problem has many aspects and so far no solution, simple or complex, has succeeded in eradication. However, social justice activists do help in this situation- many, for example, work as advocates for people imprisoned for killing their domestic partner in self-defense.

    I urge you to go ahead a read the wikipedia article. If you start reading about the idea without as many preconceived judgement as you can (let’s be honest, we can’t get rid of all of our biases) you might learn something new, maybe even find the idea compatible with your own beliefs. If anything, I hope that it will encourage you to engage in constructive dialogue about social justice and remedies for society’s woes in general.

  6. Hey guys, no need to get your knickers in knots. I was more objecting to the term than the definition (which everyone seems to have their own of anyway.)

    And yes I watched the video. It ends with a big guilt trip, so I’m not surprised it got cancelled. There’s only so much heavy handed moralizing people can take. Then there’s the awkwardness when your kid watches this and then wants to help out the alcoholic and/or crazy “troll” that lives nearby. “No sweetie, thats, um, the job of government services and other charity programs.”

  7. Another awesome addition from Cory.

    Thanks for this post, I really enjoyed it.

    Shame more kids productions don’t have anywhere near this value.

    Nice to see that it was made in Canada, too bad Sesame Street was never this good.

  8. When I think of social justice, I think of a cowboy coming to the rescue to give a helping hand. Sort of like Robin Hood, except the rich voluntarily give to the poor. ^-^ But I like wikipedia’s definition of an egalitarian society too.

    You can download many of the episodes on their website for free, which is also awesome! (Also the linked to blog has the f— word on it, not trying to be prudish just a warning if you don’t want the kiddies to see it)

    @Robbo- agreed on all points, especially about the puppets!

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