I’m a big Godzilla fan. I’m not saying this to jump on the Godzilla: King of the Monsters bandwagon. Although full disclosure: I am firmly on that bandwagon. I’ve been a kaiju fan for a long time. My childhood weekends were spent watching Tom Hatten introduce Godzilla and Gamera and King Ghidorah on KTLA’s Family Film Festival on Channel 5.
Godzilla originally debuted in 1954, as a prehistoric-looking sea monster “accidentally” created from radioactive fallout from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This T-Rex on steroids stomped his way across Japan, and right into our hearts. We loved his signature roar, his glowing spines, his atomic breath, and his ever-shifting allegiances. Sometimes Godzilla was our pal, and sometimes Godzilla threw a train into our apartment building.
So with a new Godzilla movie on the flaming horizon, I decided to embrace my inner gojira and rewatch every Godzilla movie. I immediately noticed two things: 1) There are a lot of kids named Kenny in these movies; and 2) Godzilla is basically a 350-foot toddler.
Anyone who’s been around a kid in their “terrible twos” knows that these walking terrors will hit and kick anybody and anything when they aren’t getting what they want. Baby books tell you it’s because your little bundle of joy is learning how to assert his or her independence. Well, I’d argue Godzilla is doing the same thing.
Look at it from Godzilla’s perspective. He’s just been woken up from his centuries-long slumber. That’s bound to make even the most well-behaved sea monster cranky. And he wants to go to Tokyo. But you don’t want him to go to Tokyo. And he hasn’t learned how to anticipate the consequences of his actions. So it’s a pretty good bet Tokyo is about to get punched.
Usually when Godzilla goes on a city-destroying rampage, local government officials fight back with guns and tanks and missiles and the occasional cyborg from the future. But if they would just realize they’re dealing with a 35-story rampaging toddler with no impulse control, they might have a better chance of dealing with the problem at hand.
So what should we do when a giant sea lizard with no object permanence decides he wants to kick some shit? First, make sure the target of the attack is okay. Tell that elevated subway platform that Godzilla isn’t really mad at it. He’s just frustrated.
Next, take Godzilla aside and gently explain, in a calm but firm tone, “you hurt Nagoya Castle when you heat-rayed it. That’s why we don’t melt things, sweetie.”
Remember, your toddlerzilla doesn’t understand how to express his or her emotions using words, which is why they act out physically. So while you should tell Godzilla it’s not okay to kick Hedorah the Smog Monster in the head, you should also teach him it’s okay to feel strong emotions like anger or disappointment in Hedorah’s casual attitude toward environmental pollution.
It’s important to reward good behavior as well. So when Godzilla decides to have a play date with Mothra instead of ripping her wings off, we should praise our giant atomic lizard with smiles and hugs. Or at the very least, wave and cheer from a reasonably safe distance.
Experts also recommend channeling your toddler’s energy into something more constructive, like dancing to music or running outside. And as you can see, Godzilla is a huge fan of playing outside.
So even though Godzilla may smack and kick and stomp over everything you hold dear, just remember he’s not doing it because he’s a dick. He’s doing it because he’s a toddler dick.