Binky Barnes: Dog Or Man?

Binky Barnes: Dog Or Man?

Binky Barnes is perhaps the most complex, compelling and realistic character ever portrayed on children’s television.
1031
views

Binky Barnes is perhaps the most complex, compelling and realistic character ever portrayed on children’s television. The often overlooked anthropomorphic bulldog is as multifaceted and flawed as Odysseus. It would be a disservice to completely ignore such a well-constructed character that has truly stood the test of time.

Binky is a tortured soul, constantly hiding his love for the finer things behind a brutish mask of extreme virility. According to the Arthur wiki, “he dances ballet, plays the clarinet and flute, and is a lepidopterologist (butterfly collector).” These are things that our western culture, and indeed the culture of Elwood City considers effeminate; as a result, Binky hides these interests because he fears the ridicule he would receive if he was found out.

But why does he hide them? There are plenty of characters who are forward with their more eccentric hobbies. Prunella, for instance has no shame in divulging her affinity for the occult, as evidenced by her love for fortune telling and Henry Screever (a Harry Potter parody). Is Binky so ashamed of the activities that make him happy he sees them as lower than devil worship? Why does Binky so loathe himself? What made him this way? To uncover the answer we have to go deeper down the Binky-hole.

Binky is overprotected, and as a result feels emasculated by his parents constant affection. Freud posits in chapter three of "An Outline of Psychoanalysis" that early childhood mental development is heavily effected by parenting style, and neglect in any one of the child’s steps in development could result in a lasting mental strain. Perhaps, when Marc Brown created the character Binky, he intended him to represent a deep suppression of the id, as a result of his parents affection. It would certainly make sense.

Binky covers his true desires with ferocity and lives a lie of who he wishes he was. Instead behaving as he truly wishes to, he constantly overcompensates with absurd displays of false masculinity. This is no better conveyed than in the episode “D.W. Dancing Queen,” wherein Binky is assigned D.W. as his preschool buddy. To his horror, D.W. seems to be the personification of his id, his most secret urges. She expresses great interest in butterflies, unicorns, and Binky’s greatest, most suppressed passion: ballet. Binky’s first reaction is disgust at this, his higher consciousness attempting to keep this side of him repressed, but he eventually caves to the desires of his subconscious and teaches D.W. ballet.

The almost immediate result of his endeavor is further ridicule from his friends and D.W. telling him he is a bad teacher. From this, it’s clear that when Binky feeds his unconscious desires, it results negative feedback, and ultimately more repression. In an episode entitled “The Contest,” the characters are shown as they would appear in ten years. Binky appears much like one would assume. He wears a leather jacket and shades, appearing to be some sort of bouncer or in a biker gang. Based on this, it becomes clear; throughout the timeline of the entirety of "Arthur," Binky never resolves his disconnect with his unconscious self.

When taken individually, Binky’s various fears and suppressions show that he is an extremely round character, and certainly more complex than any children’s television show character before him. When viewed all together however, the truth that Binky is the most human character emerges. One of Binky’s great fears that he also suppresses, is his fear of the dark. This isn’t that uncommon, as Binky is only 10 years old, but as is common knowledge, Marc Brown doesn’t write simple characters. Binky’s fear of the dark should alert anyone well versed in 20th century psychology to Jung’s archetype of the shadow.

As Binky attempts to suppress the literal shadows in his room, he is figuratively pushing out the negative emotions he can’t handle processing. In addition to the shame and self loathing outlined in the previous paragraph, the allusion to the shadow also implies Binky recognizes his own mortality. Friedrich Nietzsche in "The Gay Science" compares death to a shadow, “[a] gloomy traveling partner that stands right behind." Other characters have simple fears, like Buster who fears aliens, or D.W. who fears octopuses and squids. Binky on the other hand fears something far less tangible. Binky fears his own mortality. As a result, Binky breaks through, and transcends his role as a side character, and becomes a fascinatingly round and human character.

Binky is a sad, broken man who doesn’t know who he is, what he believes, or what happens after death. I didn’t even touch on some deeper aspects of his confused soul, such as the fact that he’s never hit anyone, or his obsession with minimal post-modernism. It’s no wonder he resorts to a façade of violent confrontation, for in the words of Dr. Carl Jung,

“The healthy man does not torture others - generally it is the tortured who turn into torturers.”

Cover Image Credit: Arthur Wiki

Popular Right Now

3 Reasons Why Step Dads Are Super Dads

37061
views

I often hear a lot of people complaining about their step-parents and wondering why they think that they have any authority over them. Although I know that everyone has different situations, I will be the first to admit that I am beyond blessed to have a step dad. Yep, I said it. My life wouldn't be the same that it is not without him in it. Let me tell you why I think step dads are the greatest things since sliced bread.

1. They will do anything for you, literally.

My stepdad has done any and every thing for me. From when I was little until now. He was and still is my go-to. If I was hungry, he would get me food. If something was broken, he would fix it. If I wanted something, he would normally always find a way to get it. He didn't spoil me (just sometimes), but he would make sure that I was always taken care of.

SEE ALSO: The Thank You That Step-Parents Deserve

2. Life lessons.

Yup, the tough one. My stepdad has taught me things that I would have never figured out on my own. He has stood beside me through every mistake. He has been there to pick me up when I am down. My stepdad is like the book of knowledge: crazy hormonal teenage edition. Boy problems? He would probably make me feel better. He just always seemed to know what to say. I think that the most important lesson that I have learned from my stepdad is: to never give up. My stepdad has been through three cycles of leukemia. He is now in remission, yay!! But, I never heard him complain. I never heard him worry and I never saw him feeling sorry for himself. Through you, I found strength.

3. He loved me as his own.

The big one, the one that may seem impossible to some step parents. My stepdad is not actually my stepdad, but rather my dad. I will never have enough words to explain how grateful I am for this man, which is why I am attempting to write this right now. It takes a special kind of human to love another as if they are their own. There had never been times where I didn't think that my dad wouldn't be there for me. It was like I always knew he would be. He introduces me as his daughter, and he is my dad. I wouldn't have it any other way. You were able to show me what family is.

So, dad... thanks. Thanks for being you. Thanks for being awesome. Thanks for being strong. Thanks for loving me. Thanks for loving my mom. Thanks for giving me a wonderful little sister. Thanks for being someone that I can count on. Thanks for being my dad.

I love you!

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

10 TV Shows You Need To Watch On Hulu

Hulu is slept on

307
views

I have recently moved to watch shows and movies on Hulu and Netflix. Hulu has a lot of great shows and movies to offer that aren't on Netflix. While Netflix is still great, Hulu is definitely starting to grow on me. Here are some shows that I have watched or have started watching on Hulu that I think are pretty great!

1. 11.22.63

farm2.staticflickr.com

If you love James Franco and Stephen King, you'll love this show. The first episode is a bit long, but all the other episodes are only 45 minutes. The plot line is pretty interesting. I also like that it doesn't tell you everything, it shows it to you and you piece things together.

2. The Act

The fact that this show is based on a true story is just insane. The acting is really great, especially if you watch actual videos of Gypsy, Joey King does a great job.

3. Castle Rock

Another Stephen King masterpiece. This show is riveting and really makes you think about what the truth is in the context of the story, and brings in some ethical questions.

4. Future Man

I've only recently started this but it's pretty interesting and funny.

5. The O.C.

The O.C. (TV Series 2003–2007) - IMDb

www.imdb.com

This show was great. Sometimes it was a bit annoying, but it is a classic show from the early 2000s. You really become invested in all the characters and your opinion may change on some characters because they grow and develop throughout the show.

6. The Handmaid's Tale

If you've read the book, you should definitely watch the show.

7. Obsession: Dark Desires

https://www.hulu.com/

I just love true crime stories and this really dives deep into crime stories and the darkest parts of humanity.

8. Intervention

This show can be really sad or frustrating, but I think it's good for people to see the reality of addiction.

9. Smallville

Smallville (2001-2011)

www.imdb.com

I also started this one very recently and I've always wanted to watch it. It can be cheesy but it's pretty entertaining.

10. Brooklyn Nine-Nine

upload.wikimedia.org

This is a great show if you want to laugh. I love all of the characters and everything they bring to the table.

Related Content

Facebook Comments