‘The Legend Of Korra:’ propaganda for youth?


Jess Oakley, Reporter

On May 15, “Avatar: The Last Airbender” was added to Netflix. Three months later, “The Legend Of Korra,” TLOK, was added alongside it. If you are like me, or really anyone during this boredom inducing quarantine, you have probably been binge watching shows. While both of these shows have been available online for free on the Nickelodeon site, many people either had never watched or hadn’t seen it since they were children. I fall into the category of having never watched, and I honestly thought I might go through life having never seen an episode of either. When Netflix added the shows, the ease of access and bingeability couldn’t be resisted. I watched both of them in about two weeks and enjoyed every moment of it. I truly think the shows are great and don’t mean any insult by what I have to say in the rest of this article. 

What kind of pitfalls does TLOK have? I would say it is a show that tries too hard to take itself seriously. While Avatar had a good balance of serious moments and comic relief, TLOK just falls flat in comparison. For one thing, the relationships feel a little forced at first. In addition to that, the main character, Korra, is very hard-headed and stubborn. While she has a lot of admirable traits, sometimes she can become insufferable in her stubbornness. I do think the show did a good job at tackling things that Avatar is not equipped to, but it is also a pitfall. TLOK had the potential to really clarify some things that older children face, but the writers and producers didn’t seem to have a good grasp on the topics they wanted to tackle. 

For one thing, the writing of the villains in each season of the story is just unsatisfactory. It is really easy to get caught up in Korra’s emotions about the villains, and to feel the betrayals she feels, but it isn’t a very good allegory to real world issues. A Youtuber called Kay and Skittles does a very good job at explaining this. When watching these videos entitled “The Politics Of The Legend Of Korra” alongside the events of TLOK, it is easy to see how the writers and producers used the series to feed propaganda that follows a very strict agenda to a mass of children viewers. 

While I cannot say that propaganda is bad, I would like to say that the way that TLOK makes a narration of ‘only one thing can work, and if you try to change it, well then something really bad is going to happen to you’ is just wrong. Introducing people to nuanced political issues and stances should mean showing each on an equal footing, or at least not demonizing one ideology simply because you do not believe in it. 

In the end, I really enjoyed watching TLOK. It is a good show that made me really interested in the characters and what would come of everything. I think in an effort to introduce the audience with some new political ideologies, the writers and creators accidentally fell into a hole of demonizing everything that they themselves didn’t see as ‘right’ or ‘natural.’ I cannot even blame just the writers or creators. Propaganda is everywhere. We are taught from a very young age how things ‘should be’ and how it ‘will never be’ and it is very difficult for most of us to unlearn these biases and try to see the world in a different light. I recommend watching the YouTube videos I mentioned in this article and becoming a critical consumer of all the media you consume.

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