I hate Richie Rich.
I hate him so much, in fact that when I was having lunch with Dr. K yesterday, an offhand remark turned into a two-hour discussion of why I–and, as it turns out, the good Doctor–can’t stand the little oligarch. Essentially, it boils down to the fact that Richie, a kid known for doing things like building a little castle out of cash and playing football with a huge chunk of pure silver (and, of course, for having terrifying abs), throws around so much cash that it makes P. Diddy look like a Franciscan monk, and he does it with his friends who can’t even afford to buy a new pair of pants.
The only other explanation, and the one that I think we’re supposed to buy given the “Poor Little Rich Boy” tagline, is that Richie isn’t ostentatious, he just has absolutely no concept of the value of money. Seriously, that’s the better of the two possibilities, and imagining Richie’s blank stare as Freckles tries to explain why he doesn’t just sew hundred-dollar bills onto his jeans doesn’t do a whole lot to generate sympathy.
The only way you can make these stories work, then, is to do them with a character that understands a little something about loss, who learns the hard way that there are problems even improbably large safes full of gold coins can’t solve. Someone like…