Baby Yoda, Genocidal Monster

A controversy has erupted after TV’s cutest character ate some frog’s eggs

We got another thrilling installment of “The Baby Yoda Show” recently, and one particular plot point has the Internet losing its everloving mind. If you missed it, here’s what happened: Mando and Child need to ferry a frog lady–named, appropriately, Frog Lady–and her eggs to an estuary moon so she can start a family with her husband. The eggs are her last hope at having children and continuing her family line, so they’re quite the precious cargo. In return for safe passage, she’ll give our hero the location of a Mandalorian covert, which should help him on his quest to return Baby Yoda to its kind. Sounds cute and straightforward, right?

Well, along the ride, The Child takes a look at Frog Lady’s eggs and decides they might make a cheeky little snack. The little green guy devours a number of them throughout the episode, much to Mando’s chagrin and our horror, which the folks over at LucasFilm intended to be a bit of discomfiting comedy. Instead, the Internet went banthashit. Warring factions drew the line fast and hard, and there was no straddling it. Either you thought Baby Yoda’s egg eating shenanigans were hilarious, or you felt The Child deserved to be sent to the Space Hague for crimes against frog-manity.

“One day,” opined a concerned netizen, “historians will record the American republic’s death blow. Not bigotry or inequality or corruption, but an argument over whether or not Baby Yoda eating frog eggs was funny.”

“Baby Yoda was the true villain of the episode,” tweeted another. “All my homies hate Baby Yoda. We stan Frog Lady now,” someone agreed. On the other side, people rushed to The Child’s defense. Someone almost immediately created #LeaveBabyYodaAlone, and heated opinions from both sides flowed. Things became so contentious, so quickly, LucasFilm itself felt the need to officially weigh in on Egg-gate.

“For the record, Chapter 10 of #TheMandalorian makes it clear that the Frog Lady’s eggs are unfertilized, like the chicken eggs many of us enjoy,” said LucasFilm’s Phil Szostak. “But obviously, chickens aren’t sentient beings and the Child eating the eggs is intentionally disturbing, for comedic effect.” He followed this with an additional note, saying, “Fans of horror know that disturbing things make some of us laugh and some of us squirm, or both. Your mileage may vary.”

If Szostak thought that note would quash the controversy flat, he had another thing coming. Frog Lady fans rushed to her support, denying Szostak’s attempt to sweep their feelings under the rug at Skywalker Ranch. “The eggs can either be something unspeakably precious to the mother or a quick gag to be discarded for laughs. It doesn’t really work both ways,” one replied.

On the other side of the fence were those who considered the outrage unwarranted and silly, given that the show is a work of fiction. Anyone who got upset by the “egg-isode” was clearly an overly sensitive snowflake who should quit watching The Mandalorian and find themselves a safe space. The Starship Enterprise, maybe. Some folks are just too thin-skinned for the brutal realities of the Star Wars Universe, they figured.

“I honestly can’t believe the stupidity in some of these comments,” said one indignant defender of His Majesty The Young Baby Yoda.  “If you are seriously offended by this, it’s easy…..DON’T WATCH. I hate to hit some of these people with reality, but here it is…..IF YOU’RE OFFENDED BY FICTION, YOU HAVE A REAL LIFE STRUGGLE AHEAD OF YOU.” He did not, sadly, include the hashtags #harrumph or #getoffmylawn.

To egg or not to egg
Photo credit: Ashley Stone.

We’ll get another episode of The Mandalorian this Friday, and perhaps that’ll help quell the flames on the egg-pocalypse a bit. For now, however, the controversy shows now signs of abating. In the meantime, I find myself conflicted on the issue. On the one hand, I’m the guy who wrote a book about trying to eat 31 animals in a month and every part of a cow. Being shameless about eating creatures is kinda my bag, and I adore eggs of every variety: chicken, duck, quail, fish, you name it. In theory, I should experience about as much cognitive dissonance about The Child having his egg snacks as I would making a Denver omelette. But that’s just simply not the case.

There’s another part of me that’s a new father. My wife and I went through a long, difficult, and painful series of infertility treatments before our son arrived earlier this year. I understand, in very real terms, how important eggs can be to a person. Yes, I know it’s a silly sci-fi space western, but I genuinely empathize with Frog Lady. I imagined how I would feel if, after months of hormone shots, anxiety, and the painful egg harvesting surgery, the reproductive endocrinologist called us to say, “We managed to retrieve seven healthy, mature eggs during your procedure. Unfortunately, my toddler wandered into the lab and ate half of them. Whoopsy!” I would be absolutely apoplectic. My fury would know no bounds, and it would take a lot of gentle, calming reassurance to talk me down from a state of pure, unbridled rage.

Given Frog Lady’s dire reproductive situation, Baby Yoda’s actions are clearly not cool. And maybe a little bit funny, but only in the cringe-inducing kind of way that we sometimes laugh at things that make us uncomfortable, like racism and Nazis. But are they beyond the pale? Is The Child really a genocidal maniac? Should we permanently cancel him for unspeakable interspecies child murder?

In my mind, Baby Yoda has two saving graces here. First, the eggs were unfertilized, not even embryos yet, so he’s not exactly “eating her children.” As Szostak said, they’re developmentally akin to chicken eggs. Then again, chickens aren’t about to go extinct, either. So, on ethical grounds, I think this point is a draw. Second, and perhaps more importantly, The Child is exactly that: a baby. And like an infant, he doesn’t understand the implications of his appetites and actions, and has no clue what he’s doing is wrong, no matter how strong with the force he might be. The kid is all id, no ego. Forgive him, for he knows not what he does.

What Baby Yoda needs is a good, stern talking to by Papa Mando to develop his moral compass and keep him from unwittingly turning any species extinct in the future, but sending him to eternal space prison for attempted genocide is probably taking things a little too far. So I’ll spare the rod and spoil the child, for the time being. Should Frog Lady prove even remotely adept with arithmetic, however, her anger and frustration with Mando and child would be 100% justified, in my opinion. Ultimately, I can say one thing that I think we can all agree on right now, no matter where you fall on this controversial issue:

This episode of The Mandalorian definitely highlights the need for child-proof lids in the Star Wars universe.

Baby Yoda

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Scott Gold

Scott Gold is the author of The Shameless Carnivore: A Manifesto for Meat Lovers, a selection of which was excerpted in Best Food Writing 2008. His writing has appeared in numerous publications both in print and online, including Gourmet, Edible Brooklyn, Thrillist, Eater, Tasting Table, Time Out, and OffBeat, and he has served as a feature food writer and photographer for The New Orleans Advocate, restaurant critic and dining writer for Gambit, and resident “food pornographer” for the New Orleans arts and culture website NolaVie.com. In 2016, Gold served as the "national bacon critic" for Extra Crispy. His radio essays have also been featured on “Louisiana Eats!” with Poppy Tooker, and as a correspondent for WWNO’s “All Things New Orleans.

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