Study Guide

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Disappointment

Disappointment

[Wayne's shrink ray makes an apple explode.] 

WAYNE: On the other hand, we've come up with an interesting way of making applesauce.

Wayne Szalinski has big dreams but little to show for them. The dude models himself after Einstein, Tesla, and Edison, but there's one big difference between him and those fellows—they actually got their inventions to work.

MAE: I shouldn't even be telling you this, but he was cut from the football team yesterday. 

BIG RUSS: What?

Big Russ expects his children—and especially his namesake, Little Russ—to follow in his footsteps and become athletes extraordinaire. That's a lot of pressure. What's more, it breeds a ton of conflict when they inevitably fail to live up to such high standards.

BIG RUSS: If he wants to feel big, he should act big.

Wow—the subtext of this statement is downright nasty. It shows just how little Big Russ respects his son's decision to take a different life path than his old man.

LITTLE RUSS: Dad, you know that weights aren't my thing. 

BIG RUSS: Fishing isn't your thing. Weights aren't your thing. Just what is your thing? 

LITTLE RUSS: I don't know, but I'll keep you posted, okay?

There's nothing wrong with a teenager being a little bit unsure about his or her identity. That's a natural part of growing up. On the other hand, there is plenty wrong with parents pushing their own expectations on their kids and responding with disappointment when they fail to accept them.

BUSINESSMAN: You, Mr. Szalinski, are hardly Einstein.

Ouch. Wayne's failed presentation of his as-of-yet unproven shrink ray at a scientific conference represents his fears of failure being realized.

WAYNE: I failed, Diane. I'm just going to get my old job back. If I can get my old job back.

After his failed presentation, Wayne resigns himself to giving up on his personal passion projects and rejoining the rat race. That's one bitter pill to swallow for a free-thinker like him.

BIG RUSS: Quit? I thought he was cut. 

MAE: He was afraid to tell you he quit.

Although Little Russ claims to have been cut from the football team at first, the truth is that he quit. That's notable by itself, but what's even more notable is that he's so scared to admit that to his father.

BIG RUSS: I didn't force him to join the team. 

MAE: I know. But you always make a big deal out of sports. 

BIG RUSS: Because sports build character. No, they don't. They build muscle.

Once he learns that Little Russ quit the football team, Big Russ is forced to take a long, hard look at how he's been treating his eldest son. That doesn't mean he realizes the error of his ways immediately—far from it—but this represents the first step in the healing process.

RON: They're never going to find us. We were right under their noses and they didn't even see us.

Ron is talking about being literally too small for his parents to notice him, of course, but we think this is a perfect encapsulation of the relationship between parents and their children in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.

LITTLE RUSS: Dad, if you really want me back on the team… 

BIG RUSS: I don't care about the team. I care about you. I'm proud of you.

Aww. Although it took a science experiment gone awry to make it happen, Big Russ finally acknowledges the fact that he's been projecting a lot of negativity towards his eldest son. Hopefully this represents a new, more equal, phase in their relationship.

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