The Fairly OddParents: Magic Characters That Didn't Have To Follow Da Rules

If you were a child in the early 2000s, "The Fairly OddParents" mania was everywhere. Nickelodeon had found a programming niche several years prior with "SpongeBob" and would continue to produce children's animated series that retained a mischievous edge. Amid that lineup, "The Fairly OddParents" felt right at home. Though squarely aimed at the elementary school crowd—its theme song devolves into playground rhyme games—the series found a viewership even with teenagers and some adults, quickly becoming one of the network's most iconic programs.

"The Fairly OddParents" follows Timmy Turner (Tara Strong), a nerdy kid who is given fairy godparents to help him deal with his neglectful parents and vengeful nanny. But while the show may have taken inspiration from fairy tales, its laissez-faire approach to the genre was at the core of its gleeful irreverence. Like other fantasy stories, a system of rules guides the magic of the various mythical beings who inhabit its world. The fairies can be particularly rule-oriented and keep all their statues in a big book, appropriately titled Da Rules.

But while Da Rules are constantly referenced throughout the show, they are haphazardly enforced and easily broken. In one episode, the fairy Cosmo (Daran Norris) rips a page out of the book to give himself the excuse of plausible ignorance for breaking a rule, but more often, the rules are broken without such contrivances.

Fairly OddParents was a show where magic rules are as made up as real ones

Most stories involving magic include a rigid set of rules governing its use and the consequences of misuse. The constant breaking of Da Rules in "The Fairly OddParents" feels like an intrinsic aspect of the show's appeal to kids of all ages, who understand, perhaps better than their elders, that rules exist to be broken. To children, rules are things that adults impose but rarely follow.

Even the strictest fictional magic systems allow the rules to be bent in service of the story (with the best example being the fan-created "rule of cool" in "Dungeons and Dragons"), but on "The Fairly OddParents," rule-breaking was commonly expected. As pointed out by The Film Theorists, in addition to Timmy and the fairies, who break the rules with astonishing regularity, there are genies, wizards, pixies, and other beings governed by magic rules, all of whom are shown to break those rules throughout "The Fairly OddParents."

Even Jorgen Von Strangle (Daran Norris), the drill sergeant-esque fairy who acts as a high-ranking official in Fairy World, ignores Da Rules from time to time. Though Von Strangle knows the rules inside and out and possesses the power to enforce or alter them, he lets violations of Da Rules slide plenty of times across the series.

Ultimately, Da Rules seem to exist to be broken, and the many characters who do so are what made "The Fairly OddParents" a delight for viewers of all ages.