Have you ever wondered if The Count’s extreme affinity for counting stems from a numeral-based neurological condition? Or if Belle from Beauty and the Beast really just had Stockholm Syndrome? Sometimes, kids’ film and TV characters are just plain diagnosable. Not in a bad way — just in a way that, if these characters existed in real life, their quirkiest qualities might be explained by a few fascinating syndromes and conditions that most of us never knew existed. We decided to channel our inner Lucy van Pelt, check out a few quirky characters’ symptoms, and lightheartedly diagnose them with some of the world’s most peculiar conditions. Read on for some foreign accents, sun-sneezes, and blue people; the doctor is in.
Belle, Beauty and the Beast
Diagnosis: Stockholm Syndrome
Excuse us as we toy with one of the globe’s finest fairy tales, but think about it — what if this interspecies love connection was a product of Stockholm Syndrome rather than true love? Good ol’ Wikipedia defines the syndrome as “a real paradoxical psychological phenomenon wherein hostages express empathy and have positive feelings towards their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them.” That’s a Beauty and the Beast plot synopsis right there. Seriously, watch Disney’s “Something There” musical number again. Cogsworth knows what’s up.
Libby Hurley, The Adventures of Pete & Pete
Diagnosis: Autosomal Dominant Compelling Helio-Ophthalmic Outburst Syndrome
Libby Hurley was once an unstoppable Nightcrawler — that is, until the sun betrayed her. For those unfamiliar, Nightcrawlers were the neighborhood kids assembled by Little Pete Wrigley to challenge the “bedtime conspiracy theory” by staying up 11 days past their bedtimes. To fight the temptation of sleep, Libby would look to the sun, inexplicably sneeze, and “blow the snooze right out of her.” This girl surely had Autosomal Dominant Compelling Helio-Ophthalmic Outburst Syndrome (appropriately known as ACHOO Syndrome), a hereditary trait that causes one to sneeze amidst a change in light intensity. A sunless afternoon left an achoo-less Libby to fall asleep in a stranger’s backyard, and we never saw her again for the rest of Pete & Pete‘s run. Suspicious.
Dexter, Dexter’s Laboratory
Diagnosis: Foreign Accent Syndrome
For some reason or another, Dexter has an accent. Do his parents have accents? Nope. Does his older sister have an accent? Negative. So, where in the world did Dexter’s accent come from? Aside from the excuse that all mad scientists need accents, we’d like to propose a diagnosis: Foreign accent syndrome, a rare condition that causes one to speak in an inexplicable foreign accent. The syndrome is most often a result of severe head trauma, but who knows — Dexter has always been the subject of bullies and Dee Dee’s devilish antics; there’s plenty of room for brain damage in that kid’s cartoon past.
Count von Count, Sesame Street
There’s no arguing that this guy loves him some numbers. They’re pretty much all he dreams about — aside from maybe human blood, but we don’t like to think about that. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if The Count had the ordinal-linguistic personification form of synesthesia, a condition where the brain associates numbers with their own specific personalities. How else could he find basic numbers so exhilarating for 39 years and counting?
Let’s talk Pig-Pen. It’s not that he doesn’t bathe; Pig-Pen loves bathing. We’re just wondering if his childlike affinity for getting dirty might be accompanied by trimethylaminuria, a metabolic disorder where a build up of trimethylamine is released through sweat and other bodily fluids, causing excessive body odor and an enhanced ability to hoedown. That’s right. Work it, Pig-Pen.
Steve, Blues Clues
Diagnosis: Paraphilic Infantilism
Albeit fully capable of receiving mail like an adult, there’s something special about this Steve guy. Paraphilic infantilism, perhaps? Steve never wears diapers (as far as we know), but he definitely likes to engage in toddlers’ activities and has the excitability of a puppy.
We’re not sure how to diagnose Roger Klotz’s reverse Oompa Loompa syndrome, so we’ll just blame that on too many carrots and move on to Skeeter. Lo and behold, Argyria, a condition caused by the ingestion of unfathomable amounts of silver, can actually turn people blue. That being said — remember the name of Skeeter’s superhero alter-ego? You got it. The Silver Skeeter. Case closed.
Froggy, The Little Rascals
This little guy (or this guy) has the croakiest voice of all the He-Man Women Haters. It’s often linked to his affinity for reptiles, but in reality, Froggy probably has dysphonia, a medical condition where the voice is often “hoarse or excessively breathy, harsh, or rough, but some kind of phonation is still possible.” Did you know that his 1994 film voice was dubbed by Elizabeth Daily, the voice of Tommy Pickles? Otherwise known as Dottie from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure? That chick got around.
Arnold’s Grandma, Hey Arnold
Diagnosis: Diogenes Syndrome
Diogenes syndrome is characterized by a lack of shame, uncleanliness, and occasional animal hoarding. We didn’t see Arnold’s grandma as much as his grandpa, seeing as she’s usually off being a little loony on her own, but those were certainly three of her main qualities.
Sam Anders, Clarissa Explains It All
Sam Anders, beloved best friend to Clarissa Darling, considered Clarissa’s bedroom window to be the only acceptable entrance into the Darling house. We’re sure that Sam had the purest of intentions at the time, but the ease at which he threw that ladder to our protagonist’s window and uninvitedly climbed on up was indeed curious. Was that the beginning of Sam’s budding kleptolagnia, pleasure gained from breaking and entering? The world may never know, but remember that time he brought a straightjacket over?