'Danger & Eggs' Did Something Quietly Revolutionary For Trans And Gender Nonconforming Kids
The premise of Amazon’s new cartoon series Danger & Eggs makes about as much sense as a dream spun from a lack of sleep and too much sugar. It centers on two best friends: D.D. Danger (voiced by Saturday Night Live’s Aidy Bryant) is a teal-haired and fearless little girl, who wants to be a daredevil like her dad (who is in a full-body cast with his jaw wired shut). Phillip (Eric Knobel) is a giant anthropomorphic egg, who wears a jumpsuit, knee and elbow pads, and is ever-concerned with safety. (He is an egg after all.) Also, he returns home each day to crawl back into his mother, a monument-sized chicken who sits calmly in the middle of the town’s park. As the theme song goes: “It’s kind of hard to explain.”
But don’t sweat the details. You only need to understand the basic premise of an adventurous girl and her comically cautious best friend so we can discuss its casual—and thereby groundbreaking—inclusion of a trans or non-binary character.
In episode 5, “Finding Cheryl,” D.D. and Phillip make a new friend, and with all the ease of children who just want to play. At episode’s end, they’re jamming in the bandshell, when a child with a trumpet wanders over, looking for a place to play. Without asking for a name or introduction, Phillip asks the kid to join them. Together the three play music until the end credits roll. But this encounter proves the setup for the next 15-minute ep, “The Trio.”
In this episode, we get to learn a bit more about this mysterious musician. Milo has become tight with D.D. and Phillip. The three call themselves the Buck Buck Buck Trio and play a music festival together. But their revelry is cut short when they discover Milo has to leave town. From there, D.D. and Phillip act out the stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, etc.), each stage narrated by the rationalizing but still distressed egg, and punctuated by a silly overreaction. Amid all of this, kids might not even notice that Milo is addressed with they/them pronouns.
Whether Milo identifies as trans, genderqueer, or non-binary is not made clear. Milo’s gender identity is not part of the plot. It’s never directly addressed. This is not a “very special episode” where D.D. and Phillip learn that LGBTQ+ people are people. It’s just matter-of-fact: When lamenting the loss of her friend, D.D. refers to Milo with they/them pronouns. This is a story about a group of kids facing that tough moment when someone has to move away. In it Danger & Eggs makes a powerful step in representation by normalizing third-gender pronouns, opening a door to normalize non-binary/trans characters. And while shows made for adults or movies made for the whole family make big shows about any queer inclusion, this cartoon for ages 6 and up does it with an ease and warmth that puts others to shame.
Milo isn’t a token, present purely to teach the main characters a lesson about acceptance. They just are accepted. They are not singled out because of their gender identity, and treated like a teachable moment.
Notably, the series was created by trans writer-producer Shadi Petosky. To play the role of Milo, Petrosky picked agender advocate Tyler Ford. And according to an interview Petosky gave to New Now Next, there’s more LGBTQA+ representation to come on the series, which includes gay dads, a lesbian folk duo, and a newly out trans teen (voiced by Youtube sensation/trans advocate Jazz Jennings), who talks about the importance of chosen family in a pride episode called “Chosen Family.”
Ironically, a self-proclaimed “hard to explain” children’s cartoon breezily takes on topics that parents might find hard to explain. But if kids can accept that a tween daredevil and a scaredy-cat egg are best friends, accepting that trans and gender nonconforming people exist shouldn’t be so hard. In “The Trio,” kids are offered a beloved friend, who likes the color pink, to play music with their band, and prefers they/them pronouns. Milo’s gender identity/gender expression is never an issue, or a problem, or a challenge. It just is part of who they are. And that’s not so hard to explain, is it?
Danger & Eggs is now available on Amazon Prime.
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