Is Hulu’s HOLLY HOBBIE a Good Role Model for Young Girls?
By Carmen Capoziello, Contributing Writer
HOLLY HOBBIE is a Hulu original series that released in fall 2018. It has spanned for two seasons with a third season still to be determined. Created by the writer and illustrator of the same name, Holly Hobbie first debuted as an illustration on greeting cards in the 1960s. The rustic, nostalgic images soon became a franchise that would include rag dolls, toys, literature, and an animated television series. Hulu’s live-action installment combines a hometown, 1960s flair, with a modern take that includes a new look for Holly by the second season.
HOLLY HOBBIE is produced and created by Sarah Glinski, who is best known for her work on the DEGRASSI franchise. The series features Ruby Jay, Saara Chaudry, Kamaia Fairburn, and Hunter Dillon.
View this post on Instagram
Holly Hobbie is a 14-year old singer/songwriter from the small town of Collinsville. With her guitar in hand, and the help of her friends and family, Holly sets out to change the world. Whether she is finding a way to save her grandmother’s coffee shop or fighting to save the local wildlife, no job feels impossible for her. Environmental causes, bullying, gender equality, and social justice are just a few of the issues that HOLLY HOBBIE tackles.
HOLLY HOBBIE is visually appealing and an interesting show that features engaging storylines and catchy musical numbers that will appeal to younger audiences. The series is rated TV-PG and is listed as a family series on Hulu. There are some occasional light obscenities and two OMG profanities. However, there is no violence, nudity, or sexual content. There is some occasional hand holding and a brief kissing scene between a 14-year-old boy and girl. In one episode, Holly fights for and wins permission to allow a boy to work on a project with her in her bedroom. There is a brief scene that features a homosexual couple. There are also a few visual references to homosexual causes, such as a “Safe Space” poster hanging on a wall at school. Diversity is promoted but stereotypes are also reinforced.
The show presents an animistic and new age worldview. Holly and her friends wear costumes and recite made up incantations to a nature goddess before going for a seasonal midnight swim in the creek. Characters often refer to “projecting what you want into the universe,” “putting good into the universe and hoping it sticks,” or looking for signs from the universe. One younger character on the show believes in ghosts and spirits.
HOLLY HOBBIE is a relatively clean show with some redemptive qualities. Friendship, forgiveness, and putting others needs before your own are celebrated and encouraged. The song, “Two is Better Than One,” could also be reflective of Biblical values.
Unfortunately, however, HOLLY HOBBIE is not very friendly to family values. Holly’s mother follows her dream of becoming a social worker and takes a job that keeps her away from home several days a week. Taking the job is not necessary to the financial stability of the family, but the father understands that he “owes” it to the mother since she had given up things for him. The negative impacts of this choice are seen in their family life, but everyone moves forward. Family members also keep secrets and often don’t tell each other important things. With the help of her brother, Holly and her friends sneak out of the house to attend a late-night event. Holly blackmails her brother into keeping their secret.
Holly Hobbie is presented as a heroine and role model for younger teenage girls, yet she sneaks out of her house, runs away from home, slips into a museum after closing to search for a lost necklace, steals money in order to give to others who are in need, and often defies the authority of her parents or teachers in the name of social justice. Because the full repercussions of her actions are never fully realized, young people can easily get the impression that it is ok to break the rules if it is for a good cause or you are ultimately able to receive what you want.
Because the series does not promote Biblical family values, HOLLY HOBBIE we would not recommend the series for impressionable audiences.