Foster's Home yin & yang
The idea of an imaginary friend and its creator being opposite personalities that complement each other is often used to set up conflict and comedy in Foster’s Home. But it’s not just a plot device; it is used so consistently that it becomes part of the bedrock of the show’s concept.
This manifests itself most obviously in the two main characters, who we spend the most time with. Mac is a calm, straitlaced kid, a bit of an underdog but well-adjusted. He has a strong moral compass and tries to think objectively. Meanwhile, his imaginary friend Bloo is uncouth, rude, egotistical to the point of delusion, and rarely shows respect or regard for others. Without Mac, Bloo would run utterly wild, with no one to remind him of the consequences of his actions. But without Bloo, Mac would never have any fun; his bullies would crush his spirit and his neurosis would take over.
But Mac created Bloo from some small part of himself. When it rears its crazy head, Mac’s wild side is far more anarchic than Bloo has ever been.
I think that in time, as Mac grows, his personality will level out and he will learn to incorporate what he needs from Bloo into his own personality. At that point, Mac and Bloo will no longer be yin and yang. Mac will be complete on his own. I suspect that that point is when the creator no longer needs the imaginary friend.
Eduardo and his creator Nina. Eduardo scared away Nina’s childhood bullies, but they returned upon discovering that Eduardo was a coward. Nina had to learn to stand up for herself and be strong. Nina is a strict, no-nonsense, tough policewoman; Eduardo is a mushy, irrational (but loveable!!) crybaby.
Wilt and his creator Jordan Michaels. Jordan was obsessed with winning and created Wilt to help him excel at basketball. After a traumatic incident, Jordan was forced to realize what was really important to him in life, and as a result he acquired Wilt’s traits of warmth and selflessness.
Some odd-couple pairs:
Some rare people never grow out of their imaginary friends. Jordan, once reunited with Wilt as an adult, was ready to offer Wilt a permanent home for the rest of his life. More prominently, Madam Foster’s friend Mr. Herriman has lived with her since she was a little girl.
Mr. Herriman and Madam Foster fit the yin/yang role just as well as Mac and Bloo, but here it is the creator who is wild and the creation who is reserved. Madam Foster is impulsive, devilish, and eccentric— the type who will enthusiastically yank off her dress at a moment’s notice.
Mr. Herriman hates frivolity and revels in rules and order— the type who enforces a strict two-sheet rule when it comes to toilet paper and towels.
The idea that a friend helps a person grow up and become complete is sort of problematic if you consider that some people never let go of their imaginary friends. The implications are a little weird. However, Madame Foster has a pretty unique legacy in the show. Maybe it takes a big kid who never grew up to run a household full of companions for children.
Coco’s creator is never spoken of in the present tense, and the show never reveals what happened to her. Considering that Coco was imagined by a girl stranded on a desert island, and that Coco was discovered on the island alone, it’s possible that her creator died. Coco’s off-the-wall nature and powerful ability to conjure objects may have been intended to entertain and comfort a little girl in her final days.
Even though Coco seems to be the token “random one” on the surface, I think she is a very sorrowful character. Coco seems insecure at times. Out of all the friends, Coco seems to be the most sensitive to comments about her appearance (Duchess offended her to the point of despair in “The Big Picture”) or personality (for which she shunned Bloo in “Cuckoo for Coco Cards”).
Comparatively, it’s easy for a character like Coco to appear overly sensitive next to the ever-patient doormat Wilt, self-proclaimed crybaby Eduardo, and big-headed, thick-skinned Bloo. But I tend to think that Coco’s emotional trouble, unhinged nature, and hints of insanity might be caused by a dark event in her history. It may be that her creator’s death broke her mind and spirit.
Foster’s Home has some weird stuff rippling under the surface, but that’s what makes it such an interesting watch. You can watch it for the surface stuff— comedy, fun plotlines, the attractive visual style— but you can also choose to pay attention to the hints they drop over the course of the series about the characters’ backgrounds and emotional lives. There’s something inherently dark about a series starring characters who were abandoned by their creators. I’m actually glad the show embraces that instead of glossing it over.