Exploring Incest and Mommy Issues in Animal Kingdom

Exploring Incest and Mommy Issues in Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom’s Janine Cody has earned her title of “Smurf” in all rights as a successful money launderer. But no criminal family is without drama or deceit. As such, Smurf has devised a rather wicked way to keep her kin loyal.

It is really difficult to ignore the creepy, sexual overtones in Smurf’s relationships with her sons, leading many a viewer to question whether or not she sleeps with them. Is this true?

Although Smurf uses an incestuous powerplay over her sons, it has not been confirmed that sleeps with them. Through their upbringing, she has trained them to crave her affection and attention in an utterly unhealthy way, leading to them always doing what she says.

Smurf has four sons—Pope, Craig, Deran, and Baz, and the way she tries to manipulate each of them is quite different. Let’s have a look at their dynamics and why Smurf doesn’t need sex in the equation to keep her sons on a leash.

Does Smurf sleep with her sons?

Most of Smurf’s plans and schemes raise eyebrows, but her behavior towards her sons is sometimes plain deplorable. Her business is always the first thing on her mind, so she doesn’t care what method she has to employ to get her tasks done.

Exploring Incest and Mommy Issues in Animal Kingdom
Smurf | Source: IMDb

To make life easier, she has been grooming her sons since they were young to crave affection from her that is incestuous. There are quite a few scenes that have shocked the audiences, be it Smurf kissing her grown sons on the lips, cuddling with them naked under covers, or walking into them showering.

As the eldest son, who has spent a lot of time with Smurf, Pope seems to be the most influenced and dependent on her. On the other side of the spectrum is Deran who is able to resist her, probably owing to his sexual orientation.

When he comes out to her, he even accuses her of wanting her sons to sleep with her—something she can’t do with Deran since he’s gay.

S6 Ep 10 once again reminds us of this unhealthy relationship in a flashback involving Baz. As an adopted son, Baz can be hard to “control.” To ensure this, Smurf is seen seducing one of Baz’s friends purposely in front of him.

The payoff is simple: Smurf has long expressed that sex is a powerful tool that can be used to control others. This is also one of the major reasons why she doesn’t actually have sex with her sons.

Exploring Incest and Mommy Issues in Animal Kingdom
Smurf | Source: IMDb

Smurf indulges in over-the-shirt action with her sons, but denies them anything beyond that. This ensures that they stay needy and desperate to please her—so that they are rewarded with some form of gratification. 

Smurf has created a Norman Bates-esque relationship with her sons, where they may resent her, but find themselves incapable of leaving her.

As twisted as that may seem, it works perfectly for Smurf. After all, she has worked to reach a position where she can make her sons do anything, even kill the love of their lives. (Oh, that one is Pope).

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About Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom is an American drama television series developed by Jonathan Lisco. It is based on the 2010 Australian film of the same name directed by David Michôd, who is executive producer for the series, alongside Liz Watts, who also produced the 2010 film.

The series follows a 17-year-old boy, who, after the death of his mother, moves in with his estranged relatives, the Codys, a criminal family clan governed by the matriarch Smurf.

The crime drama stars Ellen Barkin, Shawn Hatosy, Ben Robson, Jake Weary, Finn Cole, Danielle Alonso, Molly Gordon, and Denis Leary. Season 6 will be the final season of the show.