When I was a kid, I never saw the hidden meaning to the shows that would run on our basic cable subscription (Captain Planet is trying to indoctrinate us to donate to the Sierra Club and hate corporations? What? I thought it was just about a creepy looking X-Men reject). But now that I’m older and have kids of my own, I’ve realized that everyone one of these shows has an agenda. Yes, even the happy-go-lucky, family friendly Jake and the Neverland Pirates.

The show seems fine on its face. Disney has taken a concept about real life thieving, raping, and pillaging monsters, then put it through the wash so many times that it has turned into a kinder, friendlier version than even what they spat out in Pirates of the Caribbean (ride or movie–take your pick).

Add in two funny looking pirates that sing and dance to the antics of an emasculated Capt’n Hook as he tries to play the schoolyard bully to the cool kids on campus, and you’ve got a show.

JAKE AND THE NEVER LAND PIRATES - "Mystery of the Missing Treasure" - Jake and his friends search for the culprit who stole the Team Treasure Chest from Pirate Island Beach. This episode of "Jake and the Never Land Pirates" airs Friday, January 3 (8:30 AM - 9:00 AM ET/PT), on Disney Junior. (DISNEY JUNIOR) MR. SMEE, SHARKY, BONES, CAPTAIN HOOK, IZZY, SKULLY, JAKE, CUBBY

A highly predicable, repetitive show, certainly, but they’re not aiming to entertain Rhode Scholars here.

Like I said before, there’s always a hidden agenda. With Jake and the Neverland Pirates, the scales have finally fallen from my eyes. Let me break it down for you.

Pirates are the worst.

I’m talking real pirates, of course. The kind of pirate that captures your ship and makes you take a long walk off a short plank. Watching a band of marauding pirates inch closer and closer to your majestic vessel would be a nightmare that only the best horror stories can emulate.

You know what else is the worst (and yes, I know that listing two items as “the worst” severely degrades the meaning of that word)?


It shouldn’t have taken me so long to see the connection. Pirates steal your money, sometimes at the behest of the government (though the government lovingly renames them Privateers). Lawyers steal your money, sometimes at the behest of government (though the government lovingly renames them Prosecutors). I mean, right there is enough of a connection to convince the Twitter mob.

There’s more, though. In every episode, Jake and his band discover something great that they’d willingly share with everyone, a clear reference to Equal Protection under a law written by We The People. Cap’n Hook, however, has no desire to share, and attempts to take the goods away from Jake and his friends, symbolic of lawyers and politicians (the majority of which are lawyers, which I’m sure is no coincidence) manipulating the plain language of the law to support their bloated way of life.

Like my high school English teacher would say when he spouted off a connection that nobody else in the class got, “it’s just too obvious.”

Just seeing a link isn’t enough, though. A good kids show is filled with propaganda, so what is the secret meaning behind these lawyers running around?

That took a little longer for me to find. Finally, it was the age of the pirates that gave it away. Jake and his band are young and idealistic, still believing they can be pirates (or lawyers) without descending into the corrupt practices of their forebears. Cap’n Hook is the veteran, the cynical old man who has tossed aside any hope of the world being fair, who has decided that the only way to get ahead is to make it all about him.

The two groups belong in the same profession, and they meet together every episode (no word if the creators originally had the singing pirates belting out tunes at a karaoke bar at a pirate networking event). They are friendly to each other, even though the old veteran sees the newcomers with derision, and the newcomers see the old veteran with contempt. Their world views are too different for them to be anything approaching friends.

At the end of each episode, the creators give naive hope to the preschoolers glued to the TV screen. Jake and his band ultimately use pixie dust to save the day, something they are told to use as a last resort. The pixie dust is obviously the Supreme Court. Because Jake is the hero, the SCOTUS always sides with them, giving these young whelps wings of excitement.

And that’s the message: many lawyers descend so far that they only see a sucky, self interested world. But you, dear children, can be better. There’s a lot to love, so love it well.

Unfortunately, like all good propaganda, it’s based on a lie. In twenty years, Jake will be just like Cap’n Hook: bitter, angry, and selfish, stealing all the good clients and interpreting all the best laws so they pad only his personal treasure chest.

But maybe, just maybe, Jake will be a little less incompetent when he gets there.