The ‘Ted’ Problem: What If Other Family Film Characters Had Stuck Around?


As kids, many of us wished for a formerly-inanimate plaything to gain consciousness or for an otherwise imaginary friend to become…a little less imaginary. Plenty of films have been made in which this wish is fulfilled for some lucky child, but they usually end with that new, fantastical friend leaving. Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane’s new film Ted supposes a scenario in which a young boy’s magical talking teddy bear never lost the ability to speak; the two growing into highly dysfunctional adults together. This got us thinking about what would happen if that same scenario were applied to a few other films. What if the magic never ended for…



Steven Spielberg’s 1982 classic is the heartwarming story of a boy and his dog; no wait, not dog, alien. Elliott, whose parents recently divorced, develops a bond with a lovable little extraterrestrial who gets left behind on Earth and is later rescued by his alien family. Music swells, people cry, credits roll. But what if E.T.’s ship had never returned for him? Elliott’s family would have had to move to escape the retribution of the government agency Elliott and his brother’s friends made look so foolish; able to elude capture while on BMX bikes. Also, E.T.’s newfound affinity for beer would inevitably lead to alcoholism and abusive behavior. As Elliott got older, this would spark fistfights and the hurling of levitated objects. Sure E.T. would heal Elliott’s bruises afterwards with his finger, but only to keep the beer and Reese’s Pieces flowing.

The Indian in the Cupboard

Indian in the Cupboard

A young boy is given a cupboard as a gift, because who needs videogames when you got antique room accents, right? Turns out this cupboard has the ability to bring to life any figurine or action figure placed inside. Omri (oof what a name), uses it to animate a plastic Indian (Little Bear) as well as a toy cowboy (Boone); evidently inhabited by the spirits of real people from the 19th century. Soon he realizes they must return to their own time and opts to let toys be toys. But what would happen if Omri didn’t execute that last turn of the key? You can bet eventually Little Bear and Boone would have resented the power Omri held over them, brought to life all of the Star Wars storm trooper action figures they could find, and lead a tiny, adorable, but startlingly bloody revolt against him.



Granted the affable apparition does not depart the house at the end of the 1995 film, but the credits roll just as Casper and his uncles get acclimated to having still-breathing housemates. We therefore miss out on the rest of the story; years and years of interaction between the respective planes of existence. Eventually, their divergent sleep schedules, the ectoplasm on all the furniture, and the recreational possessions would lead to no one being friendly with anyone else in the house. Give that a decade to stew, and you’ve got the makings of the next Paranormal Activity sequel.

Jack Frost

Jack Frost

Losing a parent is one of the most traumatic things that can happen to a child. In 1998’s Jack Frost, a young boy’s rock musician father dies in a car accident and is magically reincarnated as snowman to enjoy a few last moments with his son. After they reform the father/son bond strained by Jack’s hectic music schedule, he passes into the afterlife in a moving climax. But one wonders what would have happened if the spirit of this departed rocker had remained in that frosty shell. Though they lived in Colorado, eventually he would have to head north to stay ahead of the warmer weather; placing further stress upon his family. On top of basically transforming his family into snow gypsies, Jack would undoubtedly end up mistaken for the Jack Frost from the horror movie of the same name and be killed with antifreeze by frightened teens. Undoubtedly.

Child’s Play


Wait, what? Child’s Play on this list seems abhorrent, right? It’s not a family film at all! Sure, it uses the same setup, a kid’s beloved doll springs to life and the two embark on a crazy adventure, but the problem of course, is that the doll is possessed by the soul of a serial killer and has a penchant for murder. Luckily, Chucky is incinerated and then shot. He never even got a chance to learn a valuable lesson about right and wrong and turn the corner to being Andy’s lifelong best friend. Sure he was evil, but did we really give him a chance to find the good in himself? He still had a heart after all…it’s where the bullet ended up.

[Image Credits: Universal, Columbia, Warner Bros, United Artists]


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