This guest post was written by Angela Arsenault.
In the interest of full disclosure, I feel compelled to tell you at the outset that Ruby Gloom is only streaming on Netflix for another few weeks (until 2/6). It’s been there forever, or since my oldest was my only, which is forever by some definition in my life. Anyway – I’ve been talking about this show with love and adoration since then and wanted to take this opportunity to preach the Gloom love to a wider audience. Watch it with your kids while you still can!
You can tell a lot about a show from its theme song, and when the opening credits look as good as the song sounds, odds are that you’re in capable hands. This is certainly the case with the adorably animated Ruby Gloom.
The show centers around its namesake, Ruby, with her bright red hair, giant doe eyes and awesome striped tights. Ruby is the happiest girl you ever did meet, living in a Gothic mansion with her friends Misery, Iris, Skull Boy and a few others. As the aforementioned song promises, Ruby’s all about showing us “the b-b-bright side of the dark side.”
It is this mantra that made me fall in love with the show. I grew up with a Mom who was (and still is) averse to all things “dark.” This included everything from Halloween to depression. What I so respect about Ruby Gloom is the notion that you can take supposedly scary or sad icons and reappropriate them for decidedly upbeat and fun purposes.
Take Misery, for example. She’s a droopy-faced Debbie Downer type who insists that catastrophic bad luck runs in her family. Ruby has a way of making even Misery’s day better without trying to discredit her pain. Ruby lets it all live together – the beautiful and the morbid, the positive and the pessimistic – with acceptance and grace. If my son and daughter can pick up on this idea, even on the most basic level, then it’s 22 screen-time minutes well-spent.
Angela is a freelance journalist who’s not afraid of occasionally calling on two controversial babysitters – Netflix and PBS Kids – when facing a deadline. She lives in Williston, Vermont with her husband, her 6-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son.