Wednesday, Prince Spaghetti Day, 2011 Version

Hi Readers! I love this idea that one of you sent regarding the Prince Spaghetti commercial. Enjoy it and have a great weekend — I’m off to Toronto to film another episode of my show. Remember: We still need some overprotective families in Toronto and/or New York City. So far, all the families that have participated really enjoyed it. (Me too!) — L.

Dear Free Range Kids: Yes, I remember that commercial.  They should update it and get some real publicity! (Hey, Lenore, Prince Spaghetti could be a sponsor of your TV show — with this new commercial)

The kid runs through the streets. Concerned helicopter parents watch as he passes. Several whip-out cellphones and call CPS.

Bystanders watching the boy talk of how dangerous it is to be unattended as a child in a dangerous city. (A siren sounds in the distance.)  The camera zooms in on a woman peering from a second story window, a look of grave concern etched on her face. She turns to somebody in the room and suggests calling the police. A voice says, “Don’t worry, he’s probably running home because it’s Prince Spaghetti Day.”

Scene change. Two policemen arrive with Anthony at his mother’s door. They read Mom the Riot Act and Anthony pipes up that it’s Prince Spaghetti Day, but the police say that’s no excuse to risk his life at HIS AGE because you never know when a pervert or murderer will kidnap and murder you.  The policeman finally leave. One says, “Maybe it was worth the risk since it’s Prince Spaghetti Day.” His partner jabs him in the ribs and says, “You can’t be serious!!”

The door closes. Anthony rolls his eyes at his mom. His mom nods and says it’s time for dinner. Then statistics roll across the screen telling how safe it actually is today for children to play outside …and that the likelihood of a child being killed in a car crash is far higher than being kidnapped. — Steve

19 Responses

  1. I’d watch that.

  2. How about we just convince them to show the original again, with a voice over/text over that crime statistics are down in all categories…

    What we SEE is what becomes normalized.

  3. Another good one to pass on…

    Canadian Stats for missing children.

    A child was kidnapped recently in the BC area, and it’s getting publicity, so CBC News put out the stats.

  4. I don’t think it would work. Free-rangers would get the joke maybe, but most people would probably just nod their heads and agree with the police officers and the bystanders.
    I guess it depends on how many people will recognize the original commercial; I actually don’t, though maybe if I watched it again I would remember it. Might work better with a kid from a well-known or iconic TV show or series. I’m kind of drawing a blank on a specific example, though. Did the Brady Bunch show kids roaming the neighborhood? Maybe Leave It to Beaver and those shows: put up a scene of them riding their bicycles outside or something, with overlaid text comparing the crime rates from that era and today.

    Could definitely be powerful.

  5. Here’s a better idea : Bottom of screen “South Boston”
    Waiting in every doorway , and on every corner, all sorts of greasy, suspicious, mean looking , and often armed characters wait like gauntlet up Boston’s mean streets.
    A black helicopter whoop-whoop-whoops overhead, as APC’s thunder up the streets.
    A tourist-y type looks bewildered, and asks, “What’s going on?”
    A policeman passing by in a patrol car answers, “Don’t you know? It’s Wednesday – Prince Spaghetti Day!”

  6. Love it, Steve!

  7. […] Read more from the original source: Wednesday, Prince Spaghetti Day, 2011 Version […]

  8. I like the idea, but it’s way to complicated for a commercial. How about the original spot, but in the end, a concerned neighbor rings to give mom the riot act — but then he/she smells the spaghetti, and mom politely asks her to join. Next scene: neighbor sits with the familiy and laughs and is enjoying herself, while the kids… uh.. I don’t know, do the dishes or whatever…

    So long,

  9. I think it would have to be Fat-Free Friday, or the kid actor would have to be significantly overweight. Running down the street? Really?? (And without a helmet??!)


    Well, this is good news. A three year old kid disappeared for four days, and may be one of those rare cases of a non-familial abduction.

    But he was returned home safe and sound.

  11. nice share, thanks for share…

  12. You included sirens in the distance, but missed the chance to include an ominous, lurking, white van in the scene. Can’t forget the white van!

  13. It would be more fun (or at least more constructive) to redo the commercial as-is with a 21st century atmosphere — modern clothing, a more modern setting, kid on a razor scooter, etc.

  14. Speaking of people call CPS, my daughter-in-laws mother still has 3 younger children at home and lives in San Diego. She had her kids, her grandson, and a couple of friends kids, totaling 6 children under 10 at the beach and her oldest was running around and not listening to her so she smacked him ONCE on the butt and told him to stay with the other kids. Someone actually called the police on her for that! Luckily the police were very reasonable and watched her for awhile before coming up to talk with her and told her about the call and not tow worry about it because that thought she was doing a great job of keeping six kids in line all by herself. What a bunch of busy bodies.

  15. Don’t forget that it would have to be fresh, whole wheat pasta! None of that nutritionally void white flour crap!

  16. In all seriousness, how do you know if you are a “helicopter” parent? I just joined this blog and would like to know if I am one or not. I am a SAH mom of a 2 and a half year old. What are the characteristics of helicopter parenting vs. free range?

  17. Karlotta, watch this:

  18. Or maybe change the scene to this:
    Have one scowling policeman, age 30, as the uptight one reading mom the riot act, while the other is older, near retirement, and easy-going.

    Both of Anthony’s parents meet the cops at the door and invite them in. Officer Uptight chastises Mom for being so lax, while Dad goodnaturedly invites Mr. Easygoing out to the kitchen and puts a plate of spaghetti in his hands, which the officer brings out to the front room. He sits down and eats, watching and grinning at Officer Uptight, who remains oblivious to anything else going on. We then over-hear Officer Easygoing say to Dad, “Back when I was a kid, I had the run of the whole city.” He nods at his partner and says, “I’m having a hard time convincing him that statistics prove the streets are just as safe today, in spite of all the fearmongering.”

  19. Karlotta, it’s more a mentality than a list, but at your stage of life, I’d suggest this as a diagnostic:

    Are you (instinctively, not intellectually) more oriented toward looking forward to your child being able to do more and more on her own, and explore and enjoy her world, or are you more oriented toward protecting her from whatever you perceive that she needs to be protected from?

    Of course it’s almost never all one way or the other, but people do tend to “tip” one way or the other. And of course someone who “feels” overprotective can learn to be more Free Range.

    And then maybe the other denizens of this board will tell me I’m all wet, but that’s how it comes to my mind.

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